You might be ready to plunge headfirst into nursing school, but you'll have to pass several courses before getting accepted. If the nursing school's competitive, you'll also have to get good grades in your prerequisite courses to be considered for admission. Once you decide to apply to nursing school, begin working on your prerequisites to beat application deadlines.

Humanities

Nursing schools require students to take one to two semesters of English. Typically, the first two semesters of college-level English, sometimes called freshman composition, are all you need to quality for nursing school admission. Depending on the school, you might be required to take a logic or ethics; nursing schools within religion-focused colleges and universities, such as Georgetown University and Baylor University, require students to take religion courses to qualify for nursing school admission. The number of humanities courses you'll take depends on whether you pursue your nursing degree at a two- or four-year college. Typically, two-year associate degree nursing programs require fewer prerequisites than four-year bachelor of science in nursing programs.

Hard Sciences and Math

You must pass at least one year of hard sciences to get into nursing school. To fulfill this requirement, some nursing programs require you to take two semesters of anatomy and physiology, while others accept one year of biology or basic life sciences. You also might be required to take at least one course in microbiology, chemistry, nutrition and medical terminology, depending on the program. As a prospective nursing student, you must pass college-level math, sometimes called college algebra, to get into nursing school; you also might be required to take a basic statistics class, especially if you apply to a direct-entry BSN program.

Social Sciences

You'll also have to take one to two semesters of lifespan span psychology and at least one semester of sociology. These courses prepare you for the range of cultures and social conditions you'll encounter should you complete the program and enter the nursing profession.

Considerations

Focus on completing the prerequisites required by your top three or four nursing programs; this keeps you from paying for courses you don't need. If you already have a bachelor's degree, talk to the nursing program's admissions counselors to find out if any courses you've already taken qualify you for prerequisite waivers. Note that many nursing schools require you to retake math and science prerequisites, or to take placement tests to prove that you remember what you learned, if you completed the courses more than five years ago.