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Western Kentucky University

Frequently Asked Questions


Is WKU Regionally Accredited? WIll they accept transfer courses?

WKU is regionally accredited by SACS-COC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges), which means that we can only accept courses from other accredited universities.  This is important if you plan to take courses from someone and transfer them to any accredited university. When people ask if you have attended an "accredited university" in the United States, they commonly mean a regionally accredited university. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 85 percent of all colleges in the United States are regionally accredited. Some schools or universities may report having some type of "national accreditation". National accreditation is not  helpful if you need to transfer coursework. If you don't understand the different between regional and national accreditation, please review the following link before you spend your money on a non-regionally accredited school, as your coursework will most likely not transfer.

Do WKU Nursing Programs have full Nursing Accreditation?

Great question and one you should ask about any nursing program that you are considering. Yes,  in addition to having SACS-COC approval, all WKU nursing programs are fully accredited by professional nursing organizations.  The BSN and Higher programs at WKU are accredited by AACN-CCNE. The ASN program is accredited by ACEN. All WKU nursing programs are fully approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

 What is the NCLEX Passrate for students graduating from the WKU Nursing Programs?

Another great question that you should ask about any nursing program you are considering. NCLEX passrates vary from year to year, but for the past 5 years the pass rate has been 85% or above for the ASN program, and above 91% or above for the BSN program. To find out the passrates for any nursing program in Kentucky, see the KBN NCLEX website.

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 of Science in Nursing (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 = 120 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 of Science in Nursing (total program = 69 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 ASN 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 of Science in Nursing program at the same time?

You may apply to both the Baccalaureate and the Associate of Science in Nursing 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.

 How do I get a nursing advisor?

Pre-Nursing students at WKU are all assigned a pre-nursing advisor from one of the professional full time advisors in the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) center. You have to change your major to pre-nursing on Topnet to trigger this event, but after that you should be assigned an advisor. If you are not a WKU student, we can not assign an advisor to you, but general questions will be answered by the program support staff. See the individual nursing programs website for information on the program contact person. 

 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 BSN 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, HESI 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.

What is Guaranteed Early Admission and do I qualify for this?

Guaranteed Early Admission (GEA) is a way for qualified students to reserve seats in the WKU BSN program. Because this program is designed to attract highly qualified students to WKU, it is only for first –time, full time college freshman and is not available for transfer students. Students seeking the GEA must have an ACT composite score of 23 or above and complete all college coursework at WKU.  Students granted the GEA must complete all pre-requiste courses and maintain a grade of B in Chem 109, Biol 131, Biol 231, Bio 207, Bio 208 and NURS 102, and overall GPA of 3.0. You must also meet basic health, immunization and core standards for nursing. GEA students who maintain the above standards will be guaranteed admission to the WKU BSN program to start the nursing courses in either the fall or the spring semester their Junior year at WKU.  See  GEA Form to apply.

Do I have to get immunized?

You must meet all of the health standards for communicable disease, including having all required vaccinations up to date. This also includes annual flu vaccination and TB testing. Our clinical agency partners do not allow any exceptions to this requirement as of 2014. 

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:

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:

I have a disability, can I still be a nurse?

Nursing students must be able to meet the core requirements as outlined by the Southern Regional Educational Board for Nursing (See Core Standards for details).  This includes the ability to see, hear, feel, and move about in the clinical setting in order to respond to patient needs.  Reasonable accommodation to assist you to meet these standards is allowed, but the accommodation (special stethoscopes or whatever) must enable you to meet the standards by yourself. You can not have a second person perform the required skill or assessment for you. You must also be able to perform in a wide range of settings, which may not allow for large physical devices. 

For those with learning disabilities, you should be aware that nursing is highly regulated and therefore accommodation for learning disabilities is also highly regulated. No accommodation will be provided unless the student meets the criteria for accommodation established by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). This includes requests for additional time for testing. If you think you have a need for additional testing time, please see the WKU Nursing Student Handbook for details on the type of documentation you will need to obtain accommodation for learning disabilities once you enter the nursing program. Please note, obtaining additional testing time within the nursing program does not guarantee that you will be granted additional time on the NCLEX, you will have to apply for that at the time you are approved to take the licensure exam and approval will be granted by the NCSBN, not WKU.



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 Last Modified 1/9/15