Application review process

There are always more qualified applicants than space available in our nursing programs. Therefore, our process is competitive, and we have to deny admission to some students with good academic records.

All applications are holistically reviewed by program-specific admissions committees, comprised of faculty and staff. Committee members read applications prior to a committee meeting where all applicants are discussed.

Even when taking many factors into consideration, it is sometimes difficult to provide specific feedback on why a student has been denied admission. This section provides information that may help you better understand our decision-making factors and how you can strengthen your application in the future.

What is a “holistic review”?

We use an evaluative rather than a quantitative process in our admissions review. This means our decisions are based on more than simply which applicants have the highest grades.

We form an overall evaluation based on academic background and other factors, such as outside interests and activities, evidence of leadership and a sense of direction, and life experience.

We do not expect all students to excel across the board, but achievement in relevant academic areas or evidence of overcoming hardships can strengthen an application.

What it means to be on the waitlist

The UW School of Nursing has extremely limited space in all degree programs. Competitive applicants who we do not have enough space to admit to a particular program or track will be offered a place on our waitlist.

Frequently, offers of admission are made to competitive applicants whose plans may change or they decide to accept an offer from another school. If an admitted applicant forfeits their offer of admission, we contact the next person on the waitlist.

Because we have no control over any individual’s plan to accept an offer of admission, there is no way to know if or when a space will open up for anyone who is on the waitlist. There are many considerations in addition to the instructions stated in your letter:

  1. The SoN makes offers from the waitlist until the last possible date where a prospective student can realistically meet compliance requirements necessary to begin the program. Sometimes, students are admitted off the waitlist up until one week prior to the beginning of the quarter the program begins.
  2. Waitlist lengths are limited to a number that is realistic in terms of how many spaces we think may open up any given year. In other words, we do not want to “tow anyone along.” If you were offered a waitlist slot, the faculty believe there is a possibility that space may open up and you could be offered a spot in the program.
  3. If a space opens up for you, we contact you immediately by email. If you do not hear from us, you can assume that there is no space at this time. If your contact information has or will be changing from what you submitted in your application, log into the application portal to update your contact information.
  4. Historically, there is no consistent pattern and thus, there is no way to predict exactly how a waitlist will run for a program or track. Some years, we go through the entire waitlist. Some years, only a few spots open up. It is rare that everyone who is made an offer of admission accepts it.

If not admitted

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs

Many factors contribute to why the admissions committee may have denied an applicant. Each applicant is scored and considered in relation to their competitiveness within the entire pool of applicants.

If you were not admitted to the BSN/ABSN program

  • Minimum requirements were not met. For example, an application was submitted despite not meeting stated prerequisite, grade, GPA, or application completion criteria. Or, if minimum requirements were met, it is possible that an applicant was denied based on a low ranking within the entire applicant pool.
  • An applicant is considered an academic risk if they have repeated and/or withdrawn from several Natural Sciences courses in order to meet the minimum GPA requirement for the program. Or, there may not have been enough evidence that an applicant could adequately handle the rigorous workload. Though the applicant may have met the minimum requirement, a pattern of repeats, withdrawals, or inconsistent performance makes them less competitive within the context of the entire pool that applied at the same time.
  • The applicant may have expressed minimal or less relevant healthcare experience in relation to their stated goals or in relation to the pool of overall applicants. Specifically, an applicant must clearly articulate a match between their experiences and goals as related to nursing. Please learn more about the hands-on healthcare experience requirement.
  • The applicant did not clearly articulate how their background, experience, and goals have prepared them to succeed in the program and in the profession. For example, if an applicant did not follow directions for how to format their resumes, the admissions committee was unable to ascertain information about an applicant’s health experience, community service and involvement, leadership, and training and certifications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence in the application that they are a solid fit with the program and profession.
  • The applicant submitted inconsistent or inappropriate essay responses for the personal statements by not indicating a clear line of thinking with supported rationale, evidence of critical thinking and self-reflection, or problem solving. Some applicants fail to respond to the actual essay prompts. The components of the application are designed to glean whether an applicant possesses the “Essential Qualifications for BSN and ABSN Students.”
  • The overall presentation of the application did not indicate to reviewers a level of maturity, self-awareness, and/or self-reflection necessary to succeed in the program, which is academically and personally demanding.

This is not an exhaustive list, but does summarize and highlight the most common reasons for denial of admission. If you are considering applying to the program at a later date or if you seek more information about how your file was reviewed, we highly recommend that you attend and/or listen to an ABSN/BSN Information Session.

Additionally, we go over each application requirement with the aim of transparently informing applicants exactly how and why the admissions committee weighs an application fairly within an extremely competitive pool. Visit our information session web page to find ways to improve upon your application should you decide to reapply.