NP program admissions teams conjure a vision for their ideal applicant. Grades, standardized test scores, interviews, and recommendations must all be favorable for a student’s application to get an in-depth look. Personal statements must be on point. When it comes to personal statements, admissions faculty identify applicants whose career goals and mission fit with those not only of the school, but also the specialty to which the prospective student has applied. A misguided essay is enough to give your nurse practitioner program application the boot.
Before applying to a nurse practitioner program, you must have a basic sense of the direction you see your career taking. NP program applications almost always ask applicants to discuss specialty selection and career goals in a personal statement. If you are a critical care loving RN, you may not be able to see yourself in a setting outside of the ICU. So, you select the acute care nurse practitioner track and convey your enthusiasm in your app. Nurses looking to focus on kids with their career path naturally apply to pediatric nurse practitioner programs, expressing this passion in application essays.
In some situations, nurse practitioners may not have the option of applying to a specialty that fits exactly with career goals. In other cases, the disconnect between academia and the real-world is evident in specialty selection. NP programs may not offer a specialty program geared towards the field in which the aspiring nurse practitioner hopes to practice. So, what do you do if your professional interests don’t clearly align with the specialty to which you’re applying?
Twisting the truth, or rather, taking a different angle when explaining your intentions for applying to your NP program and specialty, are a must for prospective nurse practitioners whose career plans don’t fit within a specialty’s traditional bounds. Prospective family nurse practitioners anticipating a future working in the emergency department, for example, will need to present their intentions from a different perspective to convince FNP faculty to award a letter of acceptance. Working in the ER doesn’t fit perfectly with specialty’s goal of training family nurse practitioners in primary care. So, students must address their career aspirations creatively to match the program’s mission.
Lying on your nurse practitioner program application, of course, isn’t advised. Rather, modify the way you present your plans so they don’t raise the eyebrows of faculty reading your essays. Applicants finding themselves in the above situation, for example, may focus a personal statement on how the primary care education will actually prepare them for work in the emergency department. Lack of access to primary care in many areas leads patients to seek such services in the ER. So, NPs must increasingly deliver preventative care in the urgent or emergent care setting.
If you find yourself in a situation where your career vision diverges from the NP specialty to which you are applying, you’ll need to get creative. Admissions staff want to see that you understand the role of a nurse practitioner in the specialty to which you’ve applied. Address the disconnect between your goals and the program’s mission showing how your education will prepare you to achieve your dreams.