The Nursing Program: How To Be A Competitive Candidate

This one is for my prospective nursing students from the class of 2019! I have been getting several emails and messages on Hope on Facebook regarding applying to the nursing program, so I thought I’d blog about it! It’s all in a Q & A format. At the end, I also have some advice from current junior and senior students. I hope you all find this useful, future Hope nurses.

1. How difficult is it to get into the program?

No sugar coating here. Hope College’s nursing program is a competitive one. And as the years go on, it gets even more competitive. Because more people hear about how amazing the program is, more people apply. Simple math. But the department can only take a handful of students. These students are the ones who are the most competitive in the applicant pool. To answer this question, it is competitive to get into the program, but for good reason!

2. When do you apply for the nursing program?

Great question! Applications can be found on the nursing website and the application process starts in the FALL of your freshman year. Applications are due SPRING of you freshman year. Details on application dates can be found on the nursing website. Applications come out early so you can perfect it. It is important to establish connections and relationships with your professors and faculty because you will NEED references, so make them great ones! When you submit your application, your grades from fall semester play an important role. There is a GPA requirement, so you’ll need to do well in your classes. Also, you will have to take a test, termed the TEAS. This merely measures foundational knowledge so it will give the department an understanding of your knowledge.

3. What classes should I take for pre-nursing?

Read up, this is important! If you are applying for the program, make sure you apply for the classes that are needed to apply for the program. The department has established a “Plan of Study.” This outlines which classes need to be taken each semester in order to graduate. It also lists the name of the classes and whether they are offered only during the fall, spring, or both semesters. When you register for classes later on, you will know for sure which classes to take!

Now, for some advice! I hope these quotes will help you out!

As a freshman you’re excited about being away at college for the first time and there’s so much freedom & opportunities that can fill up your time. Although it’s important to build friendships & find extra curriculars you enjoy, school & grades are important in your first semester at Hope if you’re going to apply to the nursing program. I would recommend maybe picking one extracurricular your first semester to give yourself a break from homework, but focus on school. That first semester is a quick 4 months that can effect the rest of your college career; have fun but work hard so you have the grades to show you’re committed & deserve a spot in this wonderful program. – Junior Nursing Student

Advice #2

Involvement in volunteer services is key! Gain experience through shadowing opportunities, volunteering in the community and CNA/medical office work. Buy the TEAS study guide book and use it to take practice questions. It will help to boost your score on the TEAS as well as prepare you first NCLEX-style questions in nursing school. – Junior Nursing Student


Advice #3

Get ready to work your butt off. It’s going to be difficult at times, and you will definitely want to quit. I have thought about quitting on several occasions. But the result of working hard is success! Because of my hard work, I was able to have great grades and was accepted into the program. Make sure to focus on academics, but get involved. That’s why its hard. Involvement makes you a well-rounded individual, and those make the best nurses.

-Senior Nursing Student


I hope that this blog gives you some comfort about the application process. If you have any more questions, please please please do not hesitate to email me or message me. I tweet and post instagram pics quite often regarding my everyday life in the nursing program. If you want to follow me on Twitter at @HopeMarvin15 or follow me on Instagram at MarvSolberg, that’s always an option!

My friend Molly and me as freshmen. Now are are seniors in the nursing program!
My friend Molly and me as freshmen. Now are are seniors in the nursing program!

Nursetalk: Deciphering Nurse Conversations

Do you have a nursing major roomie, or have friends who are nursing majors and you can’t seem to understand what they’re talking about? This the is blogpost for you. As a nursing major, I find myself using jargon that no one understands but nurses (and other healthcare professionals). At times, I feel bad because people don’t have a clue to what I’m talking about. Hopefully, this blog will help you understand some of the common lingo nurses here at Hope use; then you’ll know what we’re talking about.

Formal name: Practicum
Definition: Clinical/Practicum experiences are at several hospitals throughout the area. Nursing majors practice their skills and care for patients there. The various clinical/practicums are psychiatric nursing, OB nursing, pediatric nursing, adult nursing, gerontological nursing, community nursing, family nursing, and research practicum. You’ll hear us complaining about them often because they are 8 hours long, and many of us have to wake up 5:00 AM to go to the hospital.
Used in a sentence: Ugh, clinical was so busy today that I had no time to sit and chart anything!

Formal name: Nursing Process Worksheet
Definition: A worksheet nursing majors fill out about their patients at their clinical/practicum setting. These are extended and tedious, so you will hear this word come up. Most of the time, these end up being more than 10 pages, single-spaced.
Used in a sentence: Because clinical was so busy today, I had no time to sit and gather patient data for my NPW. I’m going to do so bad!

Formal name: Clinical/Practicum Break
Definition: This is a time in which a nursing major does not have a clinical/practicum class, lasting for 8 weeks. Despite the relaxation it brings, nursing majors find themselves bored because they have nothing to do.
Used in a sentence: I have psych this half semester! What clinical are you in? “Oh, I actually don’t have a clinical; I’m on break!”

Select “All That Apply”
Formal name: A test question type that all nursing majors dread
Definition: These questions are multiple choice questions with more than one right answer. At times, all options may be right, and at other times, only two options may be right despite the many answer options.
Used in a sentence: For the select all that apply question on page 3, which answers did you get? “I picked a, c, and d.”

Priority Questions
Formal name: A test question that all nursing majors also dread
Definition: These questions are multiple choice questions in which all the option are correct. Nursing majors just have to identify which of the options is MORE correct.
Used in a sentence: Did you see that priority question? I would do all of those options first!!

Formal name: Assessment Technologies Institute (yeah, we don’t use the formal name)
Definition: At the end of each clinical, nursing students take ATI’s regarding their clinical subject. Its goals are to measure skills in that nursing discipline in hopes to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN. Nursing majors think they are ridiculous. The results of this test are ranked by level 1, 2, or 3 with sub-levels of low, medium, and high. For example, my score for my psych ATI was a high level 2.
Used in a sentence: YOU GUYS! I got a level 2 on my adult ATI! I PASSED!

Last, but not least…

Formal name: National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse
Definition: This is what all nursing majors are working towards and preparing for. A lot of use think that we are going to fail it, but in reality, the Nursing program at Hope prepares its students so well as evidenced by their high pass rates.
Used in a sentence: You guys, I’m really nervous for the NCLEX. There’s just too much information for me to remember!

Hopefully, this will give you the necessary base you need to understand nursing majors. There’s more lingo to learn, but I’ll save that for another day. Thanks for reading, friends!

The Crazy Weeks Are Upon Us

You betcha. Crazy weeks are upon us here at Hope, but I’m sure they’re at your high schools, too. For some, it may be your spring break, and for others, this is the homestretch. If you’re on spring break, be sure to take advantage of your relaxing time. After spring break, everything is going to happen FAST.

This week has been hectic to say the least, and unfortunately, the remaining weeks look the same. But it’s okay, the days may seem like they drag on, but the weeks will fly by. That’s usually what happens (I sure hope that happens!) For me, the next few weeks might be stressful and hectic, but I have something to look forward to afterwards that make it so worth it, EUROPE! That’s all I can think about, EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE. Only 39 more days. I merely cannot wait.

In the present moment, this week has been packed. Monday and Tuesday were clinical days. Tuesday afternoon, I conducted interviews with my fellow directors for SAC next year! It was so exciting to get interviews rolling! Wednesday, I had class from 8:30 a.m. until around 4:00 p.m. I had some time to relax before TAing for a nursing lab. From Monday-Wednesday, I also studied for my first Adult Nursing Theory exam. Thursday, I woke up early to conduct more interviews, followed by an exam, lecture, and more interviews. And today, my day was packed with interviews from 10a-5:30p. I know that it may not seem a lot in words, but living that life was just stressful. But now, I am so glad I can chill for a little bit. This weekend is going to be a precursor to my next week, which is as intense. If not, MORE CRAZY!

Here is a prelude to next week: 2 exams, 2 nursing process worksheets and nursing care plans (you have no idea, these take a solid 8 hours for quality), 1 research critique, study guide questions, meetings on meetings, and I have to fit in sleep somewhere. To prevent stress and being overwhelmed, I am mapping out my weekly plan. Yes, I do use my planner, but this next week, my planner simply cannot handle my workload.

Before I finish, a couple of exciting things happened that ended my week well; SAC interviews are complete, and my leadership team will be making decisions soon! AND My flights to Rome and Prague have been booked for this summer so I AM PUMPED! Alright, that’s all for now, but look forward to “Dear Abby #3!”

It’s Been A Long Week

Hey Friends! I’m so happy I’m finally posting. It’s been a long week to say the least. But now that “humpday” is over, I can truly recuperate from the busy-ness and the stress. I just want to share with you al what happened last weekend and this week!

WEEKEND: My weekend wasn’t really eventful until I had last minute plans. But before those last minute plans, all I did was homework. I was doing it for “prophylactic” measures. In nursing, prophylaxis for something means prevention. So, I did homework to prevent massive piles of it later on. And boy did it pay off. Right now, I would be drowning in an ocean of papers. But on Saturday, my friends Joey, Erica, and I went to an Asian Fusion restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids. Let me tell you how delicious it was. It was delicious. There. This was totally worth the 30 minute drive. Here are two photos from the excursion!

It's Joey, Erica, and myself!
It’s Joey, Erica, and myself!
Ok. This is the best Thai curry out there. Massaman Curry. If you haven't had it before, go get some NOW!
Ok. This is the best Thai curry out there. Massaman Curry. If you haven’t had it before, go get some NOW!

After our Asian food, we drove back to good ol’ Hope and went to OrangeLeaf, the best FroYo joint in Holland. Although it was like -10 degrees outside, this froyo was worth it because 1) I was with some of my best friends, and 2) it was pistachio flavor. If you haven’t had pistachio flavor, GO TRY SOME! Then on Sunday, I woke up super early, as in 7:30 AM to get even more work done. I am so glad I did. Because now, I have put myself super ahead on all of my work. I truly wish I had this motivation like, Freshman year? Anyways, I did homework with Joey for a while.

Once Joey and I had a good amount of homework done, we planned our weekend excursion in Europe! We are both going to the Vienna Summer School, and because we are attending both the May and June session, we get a free weekend! So, we decided on visiting ROME, ITALY! It’s quite exciting because we have our hotel booked, and our flights determined. This is just super exciting! (PAUSE: Time to jump up and down).

On a side note, after Europe this summer, I have another trip planned down my sleeve. This time, it’s CANADA! I am going to visit my family and Canada’s natural beauty, of course! This summer will be fun for sure. Here is a picture that is my main motivator for the rest of this semester! How can this picture not get you stoked for an adventure of a lifetime?

Top: Vienna, Austria Bottom: Banff National Park, Calgary, Canada
Top: Vienna, Austria
Bottom: Banff National Park, Calgary, Canada

Just last week, we, Hope College, had midterms. Now, we only have 8 weeks of class left. Time is seriously flying by. This last half of the semester, I also started a new clinical, ADULT NURSING! I am so stoked because I get to perform so many nursing skills and I get to observe really cool things. Nursing in general is just great. But with the start of this class comes with all of the extra work! But hey, its what I signed up for. In the end, its going to be worth it! Now, I am just cursing until Friday. I have great plans for this weekend. More homework, hanging out with some friends, and I’m going to Ann Arbor to watch a University of Michigan basketball game! I’m so STOKED!

Anyways, that’s it for now. Expect another blog post coming up – I am going to answer more questions from my “Dear Abby” question bank! It’s a good one, I promise!

A Random Slew of Things

Good Tuesday afternoon, friends.
It has been one of “those” weeks. I’m just so exhausted and stressed, but I can’t stop and have to keep going. Otherwise, I will not get anything done. Last week was super stressful, but now that’s over, and this week is going by so fast, the rest of this week should be looking good. Nothing exciting really happened this past weekend. I mean, all I did was study. That’s exciting, at least for me (because now I know the content and material)! This post is just going to be a bunch of random events that have occurred, but hey, it’s something.

1) February is almost over: You heard me right. It’s about time, though. Although February is the shortest month of the year by days, it’s the longest because it’s smack-dab in the middle of winter, and there are no exciting events that occur. But this Friday is the last day of the month. I am so pumped, you have no idea! Why? Because that means it’s more than halfway through the semester, spring break is approaching, and before you know it, THE SEMESTER IS OVER! Time flies, especially at Hope.

2) My clinical/ATI: So as nursing majors in clinicals, we are required to take ATI tests which measure our knowledge in that particular field of nursing. It’s basically a standardized exam that prepares students from the NCLEX-RN licensure exam when we graduate. I’ve started studying for this last week, but really focused on it this past weekend. As annoying and time consuming these exams are, it will be worth it in the end, because (I hope) I will pass! 🙂 Today also marked the last day of my OB clinical. I DID IT! To celebrate, my peers and my professor went out to lunch. It was great company. Here’s a picture!

Here are my awesome peers and the best OB Nursing professor you will ever have.
Here are my awesome peers and the best OB Nursing professor you will ever have.

I’m glad that this clinical is over, but I will definitely miss the cohesion we all had as peers and the instruction we received from our professor.

3) The Winter Blues: Yes, I’m pretty sure the campus is experiencing a “Winter Blues” type of illness. I’ve just noticed through observation that many people are stressed, tired, and lethargic, including myself! Winter is great, but it’s time for the summer. I need the heat, the beach, and the sun. I want to be out and about running. I can’t stand running inside anymore! Here are some things I’ve been doing to manage my “Winter Blues.”

  • Watching Netflix (30 Rock)
  • Sleeping (sleeping longer and napping more often)
  • Working-out
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Getting ahead on school work (for motivation)

It’s really crazy to think that this week is midterms. I can’t get over how fast time is flying by. It rocks. As of today, Tuesday February 25th 2014, I have 70 days until my summer excursion in Europe! How exciting! Alright folks, I’ll be posting later this week. In the meanwhile, follow me on twitter at @HopeMarvin15. You won’t regret it.

I Heart Hope!

Happy Valentines day to all, in a relationship or not. Essentially, Hope College is my Valentine, and that’s why I heart Hope! But here’s my take on this ridiculous holiday…

“There’s no ‘us’ in Valentines Day, but there is an ‘I.’ HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO ME!

Anyways, this week has been the longest short week ever. Although we only had 3 days of class, I honestly felt like we had an entire week of class. There was just so much to do; papers, homework, working, and planning. Boy am I glad it’s Friday! After class, I just have to do work for Student Congress and then it’s more homework, studying, and hanging out with some of my best friends. On the plus side, in two weeks, we will be halfway through the semester already. Time really does fly.

Today is a special day because not only is it a Visit Day, but it’s also the Nursing Showcase. Yeah, I may be a bit biased because it’s my major, but it’s such an interactive day. If you are interested in the nursing major and are on campus today, you’ll get to meet the outstanding nursing staff, and you’ll be able to go to the skills lab!!! This lab is so sweet; there are mannequins students practice their skills on so you’re ready for the clinical setting!!

If you’re here for the visit day and the nursing showcase, I truly wish that you find this campus as your future home. Please take advantages of visit day! Ask questions, talk with students and professors, and experience some Hope culture! I hope you all have super time here, and if you need any help or have questions, just DM or tweet me @HopeMarvin15HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! GOD LOVES YOU!

Pursuing the Nursing Major

Hey readers! This past October, I posted a blog regarding the ins and outs of the nursing major here at Hope College. If you want to read that, click here. It’s information heavy (maybe); just a fair warning! But what I want to do now is to post about it again, because I’ve met so many people from the incoming class of 2018 pursuing this major, which is just awesome! Again, I am super biased. I think this is the best major at this awesome school.

Although I think it’s one of the best majors, I’m not going to sugar coat anything, but I’m also not trying to scare anyone away! I am just being honest as a nursing major. But let’s get going!

If you know this is something you want to do, you can pre-apply to the program. How cool is that!? Before applying, there are requirements (of course). Two of the most important being your acceptance to HOPE COLLEGE and your ACT score of 28, or SAT critical reading score plus math score equal to or greater than 1260. Then, you obviously have to apply. CLICK HERE for an extensive explanation of the details. For you seniors who fulfill these requirements, I strongly recommend trying to apply early! Remember, everything is due February 15th (all items must be received by this date!) Good luck to those who apply!

Don’t fret! Just because you don’t pre-qualify doesn’t mean anything. Actually, not many students who pre-qualify decide to apply, because they may change their minds. Anyways, if you are interested in the nursing major, there are certain classes you should be taking your 1st semester of your freshman year. Don’t worry though, because the nursing program has very specific classes you have to take, the department established a 4-year plan, which is so awesome. This really helped me out because it is super structured, and I like that! You don’t register for classes until the summer, but you should take these classes:

  • IDS 100: First-Year Seminar (FYS)
  • English 113: Expository Writing
  • Language II (2nd year level)
  • Kinesiology 140: Health Dynamics
  • Biology 103: Cellular Biology

So those are the recommended classes you should take, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow that structure. There is usually more flexibility in the first two years for classes. Here is the program plan, CLICK HERE! (*The bolded classes mean that they are only offered during that semester). Students can also get credit for some of these classes either through AP exam scores and IB exam scores.

Applications are on the department website, found HERE. Applications are due October 1st of your fall semester. Then, students must apply for the TEAS test, or the Test of Essential Academic Skills. Don’t fret, this is a test that measures your abilities in academia. There truly is not way to study for it. But, I’m not saying you shouldn’t study for it. There are tools you can utilize to study for it. Just google TEAS test prep! Anyways, you’ll take this test, then the department will have you write an essay. Then from there, you just wait until February 15, which is when you receive your acceptance letters!

If you get accepted to the program, congratulations!!! If you don’t, IT’S OKAY! IT’S NOT OVER! The same application process will occur, and you will have to re-apply for acceptance in the fall semester of your sophomore year. Many students re-apply. But if you are accepted, it doesn’t end there! You must maintain your GPA, get drug tested, get a background check, and sign up for a medical CPR class. I know it sounds a lot, but it’ll be fine. I mean, I survived, and so did everyone else in the program. So YOU CAN DO IT!  From here, you will be automatically declared as a nursing major and will receive a nursing advisor. Then, you can start planning your semesters!

Okay, I know that was information dense and full of words without pictures. I know its not fun, but I hope it helps! If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Thanks for reading!

The Nursing Major

I’m not trying to be biased or anything, but the Nursing Major at Hope College is one of the most rigorous majors, and it is very competitive. It is awesome in this aspect because it provides a structured class schedule so you’re all set with a four year plan. In this blog, I’m going to describe the application process!!

Typically, students apply their 1st semester of their freshman year. There are many requirements that you need to fulfill in the first semester, so it is important to do your homework, get help when you need it, and study, study, study. It is so important to maintain your GPA and keep up with your classes. Why? Because it only gets harder from there. Here is a sample of what a four-year plan would look like for a nursing major:


So once you’re in the right classes, and keeping up with the grades, it’s time to fill that application out. Make sure you are professional when doing so! You’ll also need references. This is such an important part to your application. Make sure your references are someone you know, and know well. Get connected with your professors as well, because you’ll need a faculty reference! After first semester is done, make sure you have turned in your application. The sooner you can turn it in, the better. But come spring semester, you will need to take the TEAS exam. This exam measures you academic abilities in general. It’s ok, don’t fret, just try your hardest because it’s important that you do.

THEN, before or after spring break, you’ll find out the news. This was probably the most nerve-wracking part of my life (over-exaggerating, of course). If you don’t get accepted, don’t give up. Continue with your studies, and re-apply in the fall. Make sure you keep up, that’s the best advice I can give.


Ok, so you’re in high school, and you know your calling is nursing, what do you do? YOU CAN APPLY! But first, you must apply to Hope College and get accepted. Once you do this, apply to the nursing program ASAP! You have to have an ACT score of 28, or an SAT critical reading score plus math score equal to or greater than 1260. Then, when you come to Hope, you’ll be a pre-accepted student!

Have any more questions? CLICK HERE to learn more about the program. I highly suggest you read it. It’s full of information! And if you have any questions for me, tweet it up! CLICK HERE. Follow me while you’re at it 😉

Thanks again for your attention all, and I’m looking forward to answering your questions!

The Final Stretch Until Fall Break! (part 2)

Good morning to you all! Here’s my mid-week/almost end of the week update! It truly has been one of those hectic weeks you have in college. Papers are due, presentations are due, and there are a plethora of exams you need to take. But hey, Fall Break is TOMORROW, so I should just stop complaining, right? Pretty soon, I’ll have 5 days of relaxation and sleep…

Well not in my case. My bestie Amanda and I are going to be busy this Fall Break with work and studying. My mom is opening a new coffee shop! GRAND OPENING is SATURDAY! This is something we do every break. I remember last year during Winter Break, we planted ourselves in the library everyday doing work just to stay on track. That’s what you get with being a science major right? Well, anyways, here, take a peek at what I have done this week, and what’s in store for me for the rest of the day and tomorrow!

MONDAY was my last day being at Holland Hospital for my psychiatric mental health nursing clinical. I can’t believe it has been 8 weeks. Time really flies when you’re at school. Remember, live each day as if it were your last, and take advantage of the time you do have!

TUESDAY: Instead of being at the hospital for our clinical, we had a four-hour lecture in preparation for our exam THURSDAY (TODAY!) It was great to wrap things up!

WEDNESDAY: So, yesterday was probably one of my better days. I got a bunch done, and I felt good about it! So, I worked out in the morning, worked, had four hours of class, then I went for a 5.35 mile run. SCORE! Talk about a great stress-reliever.


But seriously though, after that run, I felt like I could do anything. After, I ate and worked some more being a TA. After, I studied for my psych exam for a while which is TODAY. I am ready to tackle that sucker.

THURSDAY (TODAY!): Right now, I am working some more (yeah, I work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), then I am going to have lunch, then it’s off to my EXAM! I’ll probably do more work after because I have some grading to do. Oh bother.

FRIDAY (TOMORROW!): FALL BREAK. But before leaving, I have my pathophysiology exam. It’s going to be tough, but with studying, and having faith, I will survive like I did last time.

I know, there is so much room for complaining, and I take advantage of it. But hey, I’m just a college student with college problems, like exams back-to-back! Ultimately, this is what I really want to do in life, so I am working very hard to achieve my goal! If you have any nursing questions, or questions in general about college, SEND ME A MESSAGE! I’d love to converse with you about upper education!

If you haven’t already, follow me on the Twitter. CLICK HERE! It’s another great way to see what college life is like!