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 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.

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.

Even when taking all these 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.

What it means to be on the waitlist

The UW School of Nursing (SoN) has extremely limited space in all degree programs. Frequently, offers of admission are made to competitive applicants and for any reason, their plans may change or they decide to accept an offer from another School. If an admitted applicant forfeits their offer of admission, the SoN contacts the next person on the waitlist.

Unfortunately, because the SoN has no control over any individual’s plan to accept an offer of admission, there is no way for the SoN to know IF and/or exactly when a space will open up for anyone who is waitlisted. There are many items to consider 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 all the way into the beginning of the quarter of matriculation.
  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 phone and 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, make sure you let us know.
  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:

  • The applicant did not meet minimum requirements. 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 world 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 and/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, several applicants did not follow directions for how to format their resumes, and as a result, the admissions committee was unable to ascertain information about an applicant’s health experience, community service and involvement, leadership, and trainings 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 between the personal statements and proctored essay by not indicating a clear line of thinking with supported rationale, evidence of critical thinking and self-reflection, and/or problem solving. Some applicants failed to respond to the actual essay prompts. The components of the application are designed to glean whether an applicant possesses the “Essential Qualifications of Candidates for Undergraduate Admissions, Continuance, and Graduation.”
  • The applicant got all word problems on the proctored essay wrong.
  • 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 each applicant 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 next year. If you still have questions once you have reviewed all the information we have made available to you about your application, we invite further inquiries at sonsas@uw.edu.