How Can Implement Holistic Review at My Nursing School?

In order to assist schools that are just now beginning their holistic review journey, we have collected example tools and resources from nursing schools already using a holistic process that have agreed to share their work. We are providing these resources to nursing schools in the spirit of collaboration and continuous improvement: they are not intended to be definitive or comprehensive. Please be mindful that every nursing school is unique and must develop its own admissions process based on its mission, goals, and local or community context.

Resources and tools will be updated periodically as we receive new information. If you do not see what you are looking for here, please check back again soon!

Sample Essay Questions

Discuss a person, incident, or experience in your life that prepared you most to become a nurse who will care for a diverse population of patients. 

All students can contribute to the creation of a diverse and inclusive environment when diversity is defined most broadly. Whether by a personal attribute, characteristic, culture, experience, or behavior please tell us how you believe you will contribute to the diversity of [University Name]/nursing profession.

Share life experiences which have influenced your interest in nursing.

Describe how your personal strengths, experiences, & aptitude will contribute to your success in nursing school and career in nursing (community service, leadership experience, healthcare experience).

Explain the academic challenges, success, or obstacles in your life that impacted your ability to achieve your goals.

Obtaining a college degree requires persistence and the ability to stay focused on the end result.  Share with us a long-term goal that you had, the steps/process you took to obtain that goal, and how you overcame any obstacles that you encountered.  This goal could be academic, personal, or extracurricular in nature.

Sample Applicant Criteria

Each individual nursing school must decide which experiences, attributes, and academic metrics are most important in the context of the school’s mission and goals. Example applicant criteria that have been added by other nursing schools include:


  • Applicant attended a local high school that is under-resourced or has low graduation rates
  • Applicant is from a rural/disadvantaged urban area
  • Applicant is from a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or a Health Professions Shortage
  • Area (HPSA), or commitment to practice in one of these areas
  • Economic disadvantage (e.g., poverty index, SNAP/WIC recipient, Pell grant eligibility)
  • Experience with diversity or underserved populations
  • Prior health care experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Evidence that the applicant overcame challenges
  • B/C grades while working full time or caring for family
  • Veteran status


  • First generation college student
  • English is a second language
  • Committed to social justice
  • Able to work in teams
  • Has passion for nursing
  • Older than age 25
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Race/ethnicity


  • GPA
  • Science GPA
  • TEAS
  • GRE
  • TOEFL 

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