nursing students

General Admission Requirements

Columbia State’s nursing program has enrollment limitations. This necessitates the screening of applicants, utilizing selection criteria that have been established for the program. General criteria for consideration are stated below. These requirements apply to all nursing applicants, including licensed practical nurses applying for the LPN to RN Bridge program.

Note: Criminal background checks are a requirement at most affiliated clinical training sites. Based on the results of the criminal background check or drug screen, an affiliated clinical site may determine to not allow a student’s presence at their facility. This could result in the inability to successfully complete the requirements of a specific course and the program. More information is available from nursing program director. 

  1. Meet all College general requirements for admission as a degree-seeking student as stated in the catalog and be accepted to the college.
  2. Review “Programs with Special Admissions Requirements,” in the Columbia State Catalog.
  3. Applicants must satisfy all mandatory assessment and placement requirements prior to submitting an application to the Nursing Program. This includes satisfaction of all required Learning Support (LS) competencies and/or co-requisite general education courses.
  4. Applicants must have a composite ACT score of 19 or higher (900 or greater for SAT) to be considered for admission. In keeping with the college’s placement policy, individuals who have satisfied all required LS deficiencies will receive nursing admission points equivalent to an ACT composite score of 19. Likewise, students holding bachelors or higher degrees without an ACT score but with passing transferable English and Math credit on a college transcript will receive nursing admission points equivalent to an ACT composite score of 19.(NOTE: while a composite ACT score of 19 is the minimum accepted, the competitive nature of the admission process encourages higher scores.)
  5. Applicants must have a cumulative weighted average GPA of 2.75 or above on a 4.0 scale for prior college level coursework. The high school GPA is used for students who have fewer than 12 college credit hours. An applicant with no college level credit that has no high school GPA must have an actual ACT composite score of 19 or higher.
  6. Transfer students: If the applicant has previously been enrolled in another Nursing Program within the past three years of the date of application, the applicant is considered a transfer student. 

    Transfer applicants seeking advanced standing and credit for prior nursing coursework are evaluated for transfer credit on an individual basis. Eligible transfer applicants will be accepted on a space-available basis. Nursing credit must be within 3 years and a grade of “C” or better is required for all transferred nursing courses. Eligible transfer applicants may be asked to validate clinical skills and/or knowledge obtained from previous nursing courses.

    To be eligible for entry into the Nursing Program, transfer applicants must:
    • Apply for admission to Columbia State and be eligible for admission as a degree-seeking student OR be admitted/currently enrolled at Columbia State (including official transcripts from all colleges attended).
    • Complete all required Learning Support classes (or be permanently exempt from all Learning Support requirements).
    • Have a combined, cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher based on all prior college work attempted.
    • Have a grade of “C” or better in all required science and math courses.
    • Complete a Nursing Program Admission Application for Transfer Nursing Students (provided upon request by the Nursing Program Director).
    • Request a letter to be sent from the Dean/Director of the nursing program in which the student was previously enrolled directly to the Columbia State’s Nursing Program Director, stating that the student is in good standing and eligible to continue in that previous program.
    • Submit transcripts from all colleges attended, including Columbia State, attached with the transfer nursing application.
    • If nursing courses are older than 3 years, transfer applicants may seek traditional admission to Columbia State’s nursing program.
    • If transfer applicants are not seeking advanced standing or credit for prior nursing coursework, but have nursing credit from another program within the past 3 years, they may seek traditional admission to Columbia State’s nursing program, but they are still considered transfer students and must request a letter to be sent from the Dean/Director of the nursing program in which the student was previously enrolled directly to the Columbia State’s Nursing Program Director stating that the student is in good standing and eligible to continue in that previous program.
    • The standard admission/readmission requirements, rating criteria, and selection processes are applied to those seeking traditional admission to the nursing program.
      • Students who exit any nursing program prior to the second semester for any reason (voluntary or academic) are not eligible for admission/readmission to the Columbia State Nursing Program. The possibility of a formal appeal based on extenuating circumstances, if applicable, may be discussed with the Nursing Program Director. 
      • Students who have 2 attempts in any nursing program(s) are ineligible for admission/readmission into the Columbia State Nursing Program.
  1. If three or more years have elapsed since enrollment in a nursing program, the nursing courses must be repeated.
  1. If five or more years have elapsed at the time of program entry, the following requirements apply:
    • Anatomy and Physiology courses must be repeated.
    • All current application/enrollment requirements apply.
  1. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all applicants and admitted students must be, with reasonable accommodation, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the program outlined below in the Core Performance Standards of Admission and Progression developed by the Southern Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing and adopted by all Nursing Programs in the Tennessee Board of Regents system (TBR Policy 2:03:00:00 II B 6).
    • Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal, nonverbal and written form.
    • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
    • Critical thinking ability sufficient for appropriate clinical judgment and utilization of the nursing process.
    • Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.
    • Strength to perform patient care and assist with patient mobility.
    • Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care.
    • Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
    • Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary to provide safe and effective nursing care.
    • Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and intervention.
    • Ability to be responsive within appropriate time periods.


Additional Requirements (After Admission)

Once admitted, students are required to submit documentation of the following entry requirements:

  1. Health Requirements: All nursing students must submit evidence of good health by returning a completed Physical Examination form. Forms are given to the students once admitted into the Nursing Program. It is essential that all documentation be submitted before or by the deadline date given. If the documentation is not completed by the stated date(s), students will not be permitted to start the Nursing Program.
    • All students must have a:
      • Documented negative TB Skin Test and/or Chest X-Ray yearly. An initial two-step TB Skin Test must be within three months of the start of the program as a condition of participation in clinical rotations. After the initial TB skin test another TB skin test is required within two (2) to three (3) weeks. If the second TB skin test is positive, a baseline chest X-ray will be required. Thereafter, TB skin tests are required annually.  
    • Evidence of Immunity for:
      • Rubella (positive titer).
      • Varicella Zoster (chicken pox) (positive titer).
      • Rubeola titer (positive titer).
      • Mumps (positive titer).
      • Hepatitis B (positive titer).
    • Tetanus/diphtheria booster within the past ten years.
    • Influenza immunization (seasonal deadline).
    • Other vaccinations may be required by specific clinical affiliates.
  1. In order to meet Clinical Affiliate expectations, students coming into health sciences programs are required to submit copies of current BLS (Basic Life Support) Provider certification compliant with American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. Clinical affiliates accept neither AHA HeartCode® (blended/hybrid style) nor AHA HeartSaver® (by-stander/public) versions. BCLS certification classes are offered by Columbia State Community College or the American Heart Association. Certification must be maintained continuously for the duration of program enrollment.
  2. Malpractice Insurance: Malpractice insurance is required for all clinical nursing courses. A group policy is available. The fee is assessed annually as a part of registration.
  3. Health Insurance: Students are responsible for all costs incurred related to health problems, including injuries occurring during clinical experiences. Students must provide evidence of health insurance coverage before clinical assignments can begin.
  4. Criminal Background Checks and routine drug screens are required at most affiliated clinical training sites as a condition of participation in clinical education. Based on the results, an affiliated clinical site may determine to not allow your presence at their facility. This could result in the inability to successfully complete the requirements of a specific course and the program. More information is available from the program director. In addition, applicants who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation may be ineligible for licensure.
  5. A 10-panel drug screen and urine alcohol screen are required. These items are ordered through Truescreen with results available to Columbia State’s Health Science Records Clerk electronically. Clinical agencies may deny a student access to the facility based on the results of the background check or the drug screen. This could result in a student being unable to successfully complete the requirements of a course or the program.