Western Kentucky University

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to be a Registered Nurse, is this an Associate Degree program or a Baccalaureate Degree program?

WKU has both types of programs. You can become a Registered Nurse by either attending the Associate Degree program (ASN) located on the South Campus and the Glasgow Campus or by attending the Pre-licensure Baccalaureate Degree Program (BSN) located on the Main Campus. Both degrees will prepare you to take the NCLEX exam, and obtain a license as a registered nurse in Kentucky or any other state in the US.

What's the difference between the two programs?

Baccalaureate prepared nurses receive additional education (total program = 124 credit hours) with experiences in public health, community health, and nursing leadership. They are more likely to be advanced to positions of leadership within the profession of nursing.

Students who have an Associate Degree in Nursing (total program = 72 credit hours) and who have successfully taken the NCLEX exam are eligible to return to WKU and take the RN to BSN program. An additional 36 credit hours of nursing and completion of WKU general education requirements will allow the ADN to graduate with a Baccalaureate in Nursing. So either route will allow you to become a Registered Nurse.

Can I apply to the Baccalaureate and the Associate Degree program at the same time?

You may apply to both the Baccalaureate and the Associate Degree program at the same time, which may increase your chances of being accepted into one of the programs. However; this process involves completing two different applications and sending them to different offices.

Do I have to take an entrance exam?

You must complete the HESI Nursing Entrance Exam prior to applying to the program. This exam is required for students seeking admission into one or both of the WKU nursing programs. It evaluates general knowledge in areas of Anatomy and Physiology, Math, Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and Grammar to assess each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Scores on this exam will be a part of the admissions process.

I hear the Nursing programs at WKU are hard to get into. How many people apply and are accepted each semester?

Nursing is one of the most popular programs at WKU, and we have limited numbers of faculty and clinical sites. Currently, our main campus pre-licensure program is restricted to 80 students per semester. While it changes from year to year, we usually have between 75-150 people apply for the program each semester. Students are ranked by their GPA, science grades, completion of prerequisite courses, HESSI exam scores and overall professionalism. The top 80 students are sent admission letters, and an additional 10-15 students are placed on the alternate list. If any of the first 80 students decide not to accept admission to the program, then students on the alternate list are allowed to take their place.

Do I have to be a WKU student to apply?

Yes, all applicants must be officially accepted by WKU before being considered for admission to the Nursing program. Applications to the university may be obtained by calling 270-745-2511 or online at: http://www.wku.edu/Info/Admissions/

What if English is not my first language?

A certain level of English proficiency is necessary for academic success in nursing as well as for patient safety. In addition to the University requirements, all applicants to the School of Nursing for whom English is not their native language (including international and/or U.S. residents) must meet additional requirements. For a list of these requirements please click here.

If I am not accepted into the program, what can I do to improve my chances of getting in?

You may re-apply if you are not accepted into the program. Often students who are not successful on the first attempt are able to take additional classes, increase their GPA, and thus be successful when they re-apply. If your science grades are a C, you may consider re-taking the class to increase your grade, particularly if you feel you could improve it to an “A”. This will greatly improve your chances of admission.

How many classes can I re-take to improve my GPA?

WKU has a policy that limits the number of courses you can re-take. You may repeat a maximum of 6 classes or 18 hours (whichever comes first). So while you can repeat a course you must be careful not to use too many hours in the “retake” category. If you use all of the hours before you come into nursing, then if you need to repeat a nursing course you would be out of hours and would not be able to complete the program.

I want to transfer from another college to WKU. How can I find out which of my classes will transfer and what they will count towards?

Go to the website below and select the college you want to transfer from. Select the classes you have taken and it will tell you the WKU class it will transfer as.


If the class or the college is not there, you can still apply to the department the class is taught in to see if it will transfer. For instance, if you want to transfer a Chemistry class to WKU that is not on our transfer page, you need to contact the WKU Chemistry department. The form you need for this process is located here: http://www.wku.edu/Info/Admissions/petition.pdf

What classes count for the statistics requirement in the pre-nursing program?

Math 183, Econ 206, Social Work 344, Soc 300, PH 383 and Psy 301. Any one of these classes will meet the three hour undergraduate statistics requirement. What tends to confuse students is that the classes are NOT listed under “STATISTICS” in the catalog. They are listed in their individual departments, so if you are looking for the class in the catalog, you have to look under the various departments to find the course descriptions.




 Last Modified 7/23/13