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Updated for 2020/2021

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A Guide To Successfully Securing Nursing Scholarships

Understand the different types of nursing scholarships available to students today - and how you can increase your chances of securing the perfect one. See where to look, how to write your essay, and get insider tips!

Section 1: The growing demand for nurses

The U.S. healthcare system is crying out for qualified nursing professionals. According to recent studies, the nation needs 11 million additional skilled nurses to fill the gaps and avoid further shortages in skilled healthcare labor. To meet that need, experts are predicting that employment opportunities for nurses will rise at a faster rate (15%) than any other occupation, from 2016 through to 2026.

Experts are predicting that employment opportunities for nurses will rise at a faster rate 15% than any other occupation, from 2016 through to 2026. Despite the huge demand in the U.S. for new nurses, the cost of training can be a barrier for prospective students.

Cost does not need to be a barrier to entry

Fortunately, as an aspiring nurse or healthcare professional, private or merit-based nursing scholarships do exist and provide a practical option for helping to finance your education. Scholarships come in many forms, and depending on your current level of experience, location, and the specific program you’re pursuing, scholarship amounts will vary. As a guide, most modern nursing scholarships offer amounts from $250 per semester to $7,000 per academic year (some offer more).

Let’s take a look at how you can make the nursing scholarship research and application process more efficient and successful.

Section 2: Tips for applying to nursing scholarships

Here are the three core aspects to consider when looking at potential nursing scholarships:

The amount offered

The amount offered by the scholarship also can include what costs the scholarship will cover - for example, some scholarships cover just tuition and fees, while others may offer to cover costs for living expenses, books, and more.

The requirements

The primary requirements to look at are location and program type, as scholarships can vary by geography and level. Other requirements may include minimum credentials, certifications, or experience - for example, some scholarships may exist to help nurses get to the next level of their career.

The application process

Depending on the provider or the type of scholarship, the application process will vary. That said, you should research the application process for any potential scholarship to understand what you will need to do to succeed.

Where to look

Before you start the application process, knowing where to look is essential. In addition to our own search tool, here are some great resources you can explore:

We Make Scholars

Nurse.org

Johnson & Johnson

AAC Nursing

Nurse Journal

How to write your essay

Your essay and personal statement are important parts of the application process. It’s your chance to showcase your experience, commitment, and passion. The trick is to make as much impact with your words as possible while being clear and concise. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  1. Make sure your opening paragraph sums up your whole essay to hook the reader in and keep them engaged.
  2. Be mindful of the character or word limit and make sure you stick to it—no exceptions.
  3. Tell a story. A strong narrative always resonates and sticks in the mind, so give your essay a clear-cut beginning, middle, and end.
  4. Make an effort to demonstrate that your personal skills and attributes align with the values of the institution or organization offering the scholarship.
  5. Back up all of your statements with solid, real-life examples.
  6. Use action words and verbs where possible to sound confident.
  7. Take a break, return to your draft, and trim away any words or sentences that go beyond the requirement.
  8. Proof your essay thoroughly and have a friend proof it for you before submission.

How to land a nursing scholarship

In addition to writing a compelling essay, here are three more tips to help you stand out when applying for competitive nursing scholarships:

  1. Research past scholarship winners to get a feel for how and why they were successful. Use this for inspiration in telling your own story.
  2. Make sure you communicate your commitment to continual learning & development in your application.
  3. Give yourself ample time to conduct research, fill out every detail, and complete your essay with confidence. To be awarded a scholarship, you need to check every box - this may sound obvious, but it’s very important!

Now that you know what to look for when considering a nursing scholarship, how to write your essay, and where to look, let’s explore the different types of scholarships available.

Section 3: Different types of nursing scholarships

Two of the most common kinds of scholarships are private and merit-based scholarships.

Private nursing scholarships are typically awarded directly by companies, organizations, service groups, and foundations.

Merit-based nursing scholarships are typically awarded based on academic achievement, experience, or existing credits. To find these, you should explore your college’s financial aid section on their website or schedule an appointment to chat with your college’s financial aid team.

Location

Nurses are needed in a variety of sectors across the nation. Some areas are suffering from more of a nursing skills shortage than others, which means there is likely to be more scholarship opportunities in certain regions. 

Although some nursing scholarships are only available to students in specific regions, a lot are also available nationally, which means you can apply regardless of where you live.

Scholarships by program type

Scholarships for specific nursing programs are very common. These are scholarships that are only awarded to students pursuing these specific programs, whether it’s an associate degree program, RN to BSN, or just undergraduate studies as a whole.

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RN to BSN scholarships

RN to BSN scholarships are available for registered nurses  looking to take their skill set and their career to the next level.  Check out our full list of current RN to BSN scholarships to see what is available right now.

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Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) scholarships

An Associate of Science degree in Nursing (ASN) is a nursing degree that typically takes about two years to complete. There are a variety of scholarships available for students specifically pursuing this type of program.

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Undergraduate nursing scholarships

There are also nursing scholarships available to the more broad ‘undergraduate’ category, which would include 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, and ASN. Check out our full list of undergraduate nursing scholarships.

Scholarships by demographic

Scholarships by demographic are the second most common type of nursing scholarships. These are awarded to students who fit into a specific segment within the population like gender identity, racial or ethnic background, family, education level and more - that means you can find scholarships for men, moms, high school seniors, and more.

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Diverse & inclusive nursing scholarships

Diversity and inclusion in nursing has been shown to reduce health disparities and promote health equity (source), and things are moving in the right direction. The number of nurses from varied backgrounds is on the rise. As such, there are more diverse nursing scholarships on offer than ever before, including: 

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Nursing scholarships for men

Women currently make up around 85% of professional nursing jobs. But, as an increasing number of men begin to enter the field, more scholarships exist for aspiring male nurses at all stages of their professional journey. Nursejournal.org has a great list of nursing scholarships for men, including:

By the way: many nursing scholarships tailored to men also accept female applicants. This information is usually available on the application.

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Nursing scholarships for moms

There are flexible nursing scholarships perfect for busy moms looking to start a new career or advance an existing one. Perhaps the easiest scholarships for moms to apply to is scholarships4moms.net. Just fill out a short form and you’re automatically entered for a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship that you can apply towards your nursing degree. If you’re a mom, you’ll also want to check out these awesome scholarships:

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Nursing scholarships for high school seniors

If you're a high school senior looking to enter a nursing program, there are tons of scholarships available to help you take those big next steps. Here are just a few:

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Nursing scholarships for veterans and active military

If you’re a veteran or someone actively serving in the military, there are nursing scholarships out there that will meet your needs.

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Nursing scholarships for those who are foreign-born

Each year, more than a million people immigrate to the United States. They live, work, and go to school here. Many scholarships are available for foreign-born students. If you were born outside of the U.S., here is a selection of scholarships you may want to look at:

Section 4: Time to start your journey

As you can see, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or the nursing program you’re pursuing - there are scholarships available. The key is to understand your unique angle. Are you a single mom? High school senior? Do you have military experience? Understanding what could make you stand out will help you find more specific scholarship options, increasing your chances of success.

If you want to know how Labouré can help you take your next steps in nursing, click the button below to talk to one of our admissions counselors. 

Good luck!