There are many things that high school students can take to make their transition to a nursing program a lot easier. Education is all about building upon previously mastered knowledge. Although a lot of this advice is geared towards California high school students, it can be applied generally to high school students in other parts of the country
Algebra and Chemistry in Nursing
Your life in Chemistry class will be a lot easier if you completely master first year algebra beforehand. You will need the skills mastered in algebra in order to get through those chemistry problem sets. Although math grades in high school won’t affect your chances of getting in, your chemistry grades in college will. In other words, if your algebra sucks, you will struggle to get that “A” in chemistry.
You do not need Algebra 2, geometry, calculus, or any other higher math to get into a nursing program. But you need to have solid algebra skills. Get tutoring in Algebra if you need it.
High School Biology and Nursing
Your grades in high school general biology won’t count, but it will help you transition into any college biology, anatomy, and physiology classes that you will have to take later on. Try to do well in biology so you will struggle less in your college classes as there is some overlap in topics.
Taking California Community College Classes While in High School
This is a great way to jump start your progression into a nursing program. However, this is a great way to kill your college GPA which can decrease your chances of getting admitted into a nursing program. Remember, many colleges will admit you to their school without admitting you into the nursing program. In many cases, nursing is the only major that you can be denied permission to enter.
After the 10th grade, a high school student can take up to two community college classes per term with the permission of their high school guidance counselor and parents. The safer option is to take all of those general education courses you will need to graduate anyway. The much riskier option is to take nursing prerequisite courses while in high school. While it can be very easy to earn an “A” in general education courses, the same cannot be said about the science prerequisite courses. It is not unusual for a straight “A” student in high school to earn their first “B” or “C” grades in college science courses due to their increased difficulty. Taking those general education courses will speed your progress to graduation in college, so that is the best way to go. Some nursing prerequisites are not too difficult such as those that require sociology or psychology as part of their non-science requirements.
AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and Nursing
A good way to take college level science courses without exposing yourself to risk of a low grade is to take AP Chemistry or AP Biology instead of the community college version. You may have to retake those science courses even with a “5” on the AP test, but you will have a huge advantage if you need to retake those courses. If you score a “2” or “1” on the AP test, it won’t hurt you. And your high school grade in those two courses won’t count either with respect to the nursing program admissions process. However, don’t get a bad grade because you may not get admitted to a 4-year university if that is your goal.
There are lots of things you can do to help get yourself into nursing school while taking classes in high school. With high school level science and math courses, AP classes, and community college courses taken while in high school, you can do a lot to help you get into nursing school sooner and improve your chances of getting in at the same time. Nursing school preparation starts when you take algebra in either junior high/middle school or high school.