Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How can I get accepted into the Nursing Program?
A: Admission is competitive based on the number of admission points earned by each applicant. While each application period is unique based on the applicant pool, it is advisable to prepare yourself to be in the best competitive standing possible. This is done by earning excellent grades, maintaining a high GPA and scoring as high as possible on the ACT. See “Admission Scoring Criteria” for courses that earn admission points.

Q: I don’t have all A’s or a high ACT.  Should I even bother to apply?
A: While eligibility may not equate to competitive status for a specific application period, if you don’t apply you have no chance of being accepted into the program.

Q: What is the point system?
A: See “Admission Scoring Criteria” for a breakdown of point distribution and courses that earn admission points.

Q:  My A&P grades are more than 5 years old.  Do I have to repeat them?
A: Yes.  BIOL 2010 and 2020 credit can be no more than 5 years old at time of program entry (for both traditional and LPNs).

Q: Do I have to complete all the pre-requisite classes before applying?
A: Note that there is a difference between “pre-requisite” and “co-requisite” classes. “Pre-reqs” must be taken prior to program application/entry/specific semester. “Co-reqs” can be taken either before program entry or with specific program courses. The revised nursing program is structured so all required courses for the nursing degree can be completed in four semesters. However, it is strongly recommended that students consider completing general education courses prior to program entry. Completion of specific courses prior to program application can 1) increase the applicant’s competitive status AND 2) allow more time for focus on Nursing studies while in-program. 

Q: When should I apply?
A: It depends. If you have a good academic record, with a GPA of 2.75 or higher, apply during the next application period. If your previous or current GPA is below what is required, you may need to take college classes to increase your GPA. All students must complete any required Learning Support courses (based on placement or ACT testing scores) before being considered eligible for admission.

Q: How many students are accepted into the nursing program each semester? 
A: The average class size has been 64 students per semester, with 32 students attending each campus, Columbia and Williamson.

Q:  How long will it take for me to find out if I’m accepted after I apply?
A: All applicants will be notified within 4 to 5 weeks of application period closure. 

Q: Are applicants able to enroll in the program during any semester?
A: The Nursing program starts a new class each Fall (August) and Spring (January).
Q: Can I choose which campus I wish to attend?
A: The Nursing program is offered at both the Columbia and Williamson campuses. While not always possible, attempts are made to honor campus preference requests.

Q: Will I be required to attend class at any of the other campuses?

A: We make every attempt to assign students to their campus of choice. Occasionally, the availability of instructors or classroom space requires students to be assigned to another campus. Students should be prepared to travel to clinical locations in the middle Tennessee area.
Q: What happens if I need to defer admission to nursing?
A: Students who do not accept admission will have to re-apply to the program.

Q: Is it possible to transfer credits from another college or university?
A: Equivalent general education coursework may be transferred from another school. Transcripts of students who have been in another nursing program will be evaluated individually. 

Q: Is it possible to combine nursing courses from more than one semester?
A: No, all nursing courses must be taken in sequence.

Q: Are students able to work while enrolled in the program?
A: Many students work while enrolled in the program. Class and clinical schedules are set at the beginning of each semester, allowing students to give notice to employers. Work schedules must be arranged around class/clinical requirements. Each student should consider the possible impact of work on the potential for program performance and success.  

Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Nursing students are eligible for the same assistance programs offered to Columbia State students. A few scholarships are available to nursing students.

Q: What type of uniform do I need?
A: The Department of Nursing Student Handbook covers all information regarding dress code, uniforms, lab coat and patch placement. A name pin/ID must be purchased through the nursing office. This must be printed with your legal name (not a nickname). The badges will be printed at orientation (the date of which is communicated with acceptance letters). 

Q: Where do I purchase books?
A: There is a bookstore on both the Columbia and Williamson campuses where books can be purchased.

Q: Do I need to purchase malpractice insurance?
A: While you will be required to have malpractice insurance, the college obtains this in a group policy paid for by a fee that is assessed annually as a part of registration.

Q: I am a licensed practical nurse. Can I get credit for being an LPN?
A: Yes, if you pass the challenge exam. For details see “LPN to RN Bridge Program” link on Nursing’s homepage. 
Q: What about job placement for program graduates?
A: Nursing graduates consistently have a high percentage of job placement in the field either prior to or within six months of graduation.

Q: The catalog states that the Columbia State nursing program is “designed for the student who does not intend to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.” Does this mean that I cannot apply the coursework I do at Columbia State towards the completion of a bachelor’s degree in nursing?
A: Not at all! The statement in the catalog is based on the Tennessee Board of Regents designation of the nursing program as a “terminal degree” program, which means that graduates are prepared for professional licensure and career entry. The program was designed so that upon graduation, students can take the registered nurse licensing examination (NCLEX-RN). Once a graduate has passed the licensing examination, he or she will be able to obtain work as a registered nurse. Many graduates pursue advanced degrees in nursing and receive credit for courses taken at Columbia State. Many colleges/universities have articulation agreements that provide credit to licensed RNs who first obtained their associate degree in nursing at a community college.

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