Best colleges for nursing students in America


Colleges for Nursing Students

Once you decide that nursing is the right career for you, the next step is to choose the school where you will study your program. There are many factors you need to consider before you settle for a nursing school depending on your personal preferences.   Different colleges have favorable and unfavorable elements to prospective students.      It is important that you choose a nursing school matching your individual needs and career endeavors.    Before you pay a hefty amount for your tuition, you should do everything to choose the best college for you.

Factors to

Consider When Choosing a a Nursing College

NCLEX examination pass rate

Find out about the pass rates of a nursing college by its previous students. The NCLEX exam is a test that nursing graduates should take to get licensing for working in their state. When you know the pass rates of a school is going to give you an idea of whether a nursing program and curriculum is good enough in preparing students to pass their test and get their licensure. Dig for data of the last 5-10 years. The percentage of the students who pass their NCLEX exam is usually a good indicator of the success of a nursing school in preparing students. Remember that a nursing school might have a superb overall ranking but weak in your specialty area. Choose the best program for your career plans even if it is at less-known nursing school.


Accreditation is one of the most important things that you should consider before you go ahead with plans to seek admission. Certification indicates that the nursing school has met educational standards set by an authorized national accrediting organization. A good nursing school must have a regional or national accreditation from a recognized agency.

Nursing programs specialties

You should first decide on the nursing program fitting your interest in nursing before you take a decision on a school matching your program. Various nursing specialties are requiring a 4-year degree course unlike an Associate Degree in nursing. Decide whether you are interested in starting with an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or RN (Registered Nurse) then look for a job after completing the nursing program. Find a nursing school offering programs and degrees that fit your nursing career and research interests. A nursing program should support your career goals.

Although it might not be a concern for every person, it is important to have you schedule in mind when choosing a nursing school. Pick one offering flexible programs. You can, for instance, settle for an institution with part-time or online class options. Even if you are working at the moment, it is possible to get a part-time job or volunteering opportunity that you cannot balance with full-time classes. Evening, weekend or accelerated classes are a convenient option.


A good nursing school for you should be at a convenient location for trouble free commuting from your home or residence. It should also be near places you go regularly go for other activities. Consider issues such as attending a specialized program and volunteering at a hospital as you attend nursing school.

Size of nursing classes

The size depends on whether you prefer a large institution providing intellectual stimulation or a small nursing school providing close attention. It is important to find out about the ratios of students to faculty during classroom and clinical instructions. For instance, a small class size is more important for the clinical rotation than when you are learning about basics.

School's reputation

The reputation of a school is an essential consideration when picking a nursing school and program. If you know reliable people in the nursing profession, it is helpful if you can ask them about the best schools and why. Do a wide research on the school and credentials for some of the staff such as whether the instructors have at least a Master's degree as the minimum.


The cost of the nursing program varies dramatically from one school to another. Public and private schools charge different prices. The cost also ranges from in and out-of-state residents. When researching about cost, remember to find out whether the schools you have set your sites on offer financial aid or scholarships. Keep it in your mind that student loans require you to pay back. It is important that you consider the affordability of a nursing school. Note that a nursing program that costs more is not always the best provider of education.

Clinical rotation

Clinical rotation is an essential part of nursing training as it gives you the experience of working with various departments of a hospital. It is also during clinical rotations that you rotate through various medical specialties and treats patients while under the supervision of different physicians. Classroom work in the first two years of training is important, but the clinical experience plays a significant in you education as it gives you practical knowledge about what you will be doing when you start practicing.

Go further to establish the hospitals where a school sends students for clinical rotations and if they have plenty of opportunities to learn. You should also determine if the size of the facilities is the same or different. Diverse clinical assignment locations such as small community hospitals and large teaching hospitals are more likely to give a broader sense about the daily activities of a nurse. A favorable nursing school for you is the one that provides enough time for clinical rotations. Find out whether the clinical placements have enough variety and if they allow you to get hands-on experience. Current students are a good source of information.

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 Online learning has become a universal provision by almost all nursing colleges, especially for graduate programs. It is a good option if you want to study at a time when you have family or work commitments.   Online classes have the convenience to let you study at the most convenient time for you.   You also enjoy these other benefits.

• You can attend your lessons from any location with a laptop or PC and internet connectivity. 

• Learning at your pace as most nursing colleges offer self-paced online programs.

• Online discussions help to keep in touch with your faculty and other students

Various nursing schools offer the best quality of education for their students, but not all can fit your personal preferences.  It is not possible to get an accurate picture of the life at a campus through internet advertisements and brochures. It is better if you can visit the colleges that meet your criteria when classes are in session to get a feel of the campus life.  Make an appointment with the administrators or someone who can provide you details about curriculum,   living, and tuition costs as well as financial aid options. Discuss everything you think is pertinent to your education.

Some nursing schools require students to take pre-admission exams or tests and only admit the best performers.  Ensure that you know in advance if your favorite college will require you to take an exam after applying and prepare accordingly. 

Top Ten

Best Nursing Colleges in America

  • 1. Molloy College 

    Molloy is a private liberal arts college with its roots in catholic values. It offers comprehensive academics in small class sizes for students to work in close collaboration with members of the faculty and gain a complete understanding of the chosen field.

    The nursing program at Molloy College immerses students into the medical field and gives term very well-rounded education.   The training helps students in improving their interpersonal and technical skills in various clinical settings. The program ends with a personalized practicum placement. Molloy offers various healthcare tracks to students giving them a choice to work towards earning an RN or LPN degree.    Students can get advanced degrees and specific certifications by taking one of the dual degree programs. Whichever direction a student chooses to follow, Molloy College graduates have ended in successful careers with average earning of $70,000 for early career and $91,000 mid-career salary.

  • 2. New York University

    NYU is one of the oldest nursing colleges. It was established in 1831, and since then, it has a reputation for its comprehensive academic programs. Members of the faculty have much commitment to provide students with a strong educational foundation preparing students for successful careers in the chosen field.  NYU College of Nursing helps students to acquire knowledge and skills useful for providing patients with excellent care.   The college has a Clinical Simulation Learning Center to provide a hands-on training and ensure that all students are well versed in the most recent nursing practices.  New York University offers the traditional for year program and 15-month accelerated program to give students an option of choosing one that works in their best interest. NYU prepares students well for entry to the nursing profession with almost all the students passing their licensing examination for registered nurses in their first attempt. The early career highest average salary is $71,000.

  • 3. Drexel University   

    Drexel University is one of the top research institutions that also teach students on ways of applying findings in practical situations. It offers a multidisciplinary curriculum focusing on providing knowledge and skills to students for them to excel in their chosen fields. Drexel University nursing program lays a solid basis for a future successful medical career. Nursing students have an option to join a co-op program incorporating a period of full employment to the curriculum. When students are serving in their full-time positions, students gain practical hands-on experience to supplement their classroom learning.  Graduates of Drexel University are among the nurses who receive top compensation with an average early career salary of $63,000 and $76,000 for the mid-career level.

  • 4. University of Pennsylvania 

    The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League research school, is known for providing an extensive curriculum in various fields of nursing.   The community refers this university founded in 1740 as Penn. In addition to nursing education, it has a tradition of developing entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. For an undergraduate nursing program, Penn integrates science courses with humanities and arts. The plan is to provide students with basic knowledge of healthcare.  In addition to BS in Nursing, students can pursue dual degree programs or join Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation that ends in a PhD degree. Graduates of the University of Pennsylvania have been finding positions in various healthcare centers taking home $63,000 for entry level and $87,000 for mid-career.

  • 5. George Washington University 

    This is one of the most prestigious institutions offering various esteemed academic programs. It is a highly selective school pushing students to try new challenges for themselves and reach the highest potential. The university's School of Medical and Health Sciences is at the front position of medical academics and research. GW Hospital is a renowned medical center doubling up as a teaching hospital for the students. Graduates with a bachelor's degree from this University earn an average early career salary of $64,000

  • 6. Johns Hopkins University 

    This university has a strong reputation as an excellent medical university.  Members of the faculty are world renowned for their success in the medical field.  Johns Hopkins has a rigorous training to build a strong foundation in the students for them to begin their nursing career on a strong note.

    After completing their programs, students can take their National Council Licensure Examination. After graduating, some students decide to continue with their studies pursuing one of the specialized advanced nursing programs at the University.   A degree from Johns Hopkins University enables many students to have a great start for their nursing careers.  Bachelor in nursing graduates joins early career positions for an average salary of $56,000 while their counterparts in mid-career positions get $73,000. 

  • 7. Simmons College 

    Simmons College is a private women’s college providing students with exceptional liberal arts education.  It has a well-establishes School of Nursing and Health Sciences that prepares students for a rewarding career by offering clinical and research opportunities.   Students get an advantage to learn from practicing professors who turn to mentors as students go through the nursing program. Nursing majors student acquire advanced knowledge of the nursing field and useful skills in providing quality health care to patients.   Many Simmons alumni are applying their training in various positions at clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare centers at $79,000 average mid-career salary.

  • 8. Villanova University 

    A large but a reasonable priced private university, Villanova runs on Roman Catholic principles. It is at a convenient location in a Philadelphia suburb where students get an opportunity to learn and practice their skills in a busy city. The university boasts of an impressive on-time graduation rate of 86%. The average early career salary for nursing graduates from Villanova University is $63,000.

  • 9. University of California (UCLA) - Los Angeles 

    UCLA School of Nursing has much experience in preparing nursing students for successful careers. It has been teaching since 1950. In addition to offering a Bachelor's degree in nursing, the school also offers Master's and PhD degree programs.  A BSN degree program is one of the most competitive programs in the college. Make sure that you have an outstanding and orderly application for the admissions staff to consider you for admittance.  Graduates of UCLA bachelor's program average starting salary is $65,000.

  • 10. Azusa Pacific University (APU)

    APU subscribes to Christian worldview even for its nursing school that prepares nurses for collaborative health care and leadership.  It has expert faculty and innovative programs that engage students in challenging discussions, state-of-art- simulation labs and invaluable practical experience.  Students go through mentorship programs in a small classroom setting and get to practice in a diverse environment including global study as well as research opportunities. Azusa trains nurses to practice within strong Christian based values, be strategic leaders in the evolving health care system and make a difference that transforms lives. It offers various nursing undergraduate, master and post master’s nursing degree programs.  The average salary for APU graduates in the early career level is $67,000.

     After choosing the college that serves your needs, it is essential to determine if you made the right choice. It is useful to have a discussion with an admissions counselor to gather more insider information about your chosen nursing program to ensure that it aligns with you career plans.  Making long-term plans is a wise decision.  It is essential if you have a discussion with a nursing recruiter or nurse manager.  Ask if they have any nurses who studied at the school you consider to join.  Shadowing a unit is important as you do not want to take a course and find out later that it does not meet the requirements for your career requirements.

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