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The search for colleges, training programs and graduate schools is tough. Finding the perfect-fit school that meets your current needs and can help you reach your future career goals in a practical way is all about balancing key aspects like financial aid, degree offerings, flexibility and scheduling, accelerated programs, concentration and speciality programs, career support, and more. If you are a nursing student, or a prospective nursing student, you will also need to find a quality school that can prepare you for any professional certification or licensing exams, and programs that feature field training opportunities that let you practice the skills and principles you learn in a classroom or online.
One way to make your search easier is to consider the schools and programs featured on nursing school rankings and ratings lists. Many of these lists are published online and are found through websites of publications like U.S. News and World Report. Other fully online rankings, like the Nursing Online Education Database also provide rankings and ratings of the top nursing schools. Within these rankings, you can find information and ratings according to financial aid and tuition, scheduling flexibility, the number of degrees offered, the number of specialties and concentrations offered, certification and licensing preparation, and more. You can find ratings that only rank online nursing schools, undergraduate nursing schools, graduate nursing programs, and best value nursing schools.
When you research nursing school rankings, make sure that you consider the findings from several different systems. Schools will be ranked differently on various lists according to the ranking’s preferred system and according to the factors that it considers most important. For example, some lists might rank a school higher because it is more likely to give financial aid, while another list may rank the same school lower because it fails to offer a large range of degree programs. Check for any summaries of the ranking that explain how and why each school was chosen and the factors that the rankings were based on. Compare rankings to get a more realistic impression of the schools you research, and focus on the lists that rate schools according to the same factors that are most important to you.
To verify that a nursing school ranking is legitimate, make sure that it has not been sponsored or funded by any particular schools. This bias can throw off an entire ranking system. Stick to nursing school rankings that have been compiled by known resources and that explain their methodology. After you have found a few schools from nursing school ranking lists, continue to research them by visiting their official websites and learning about the kinds of programs they offer. Getting the information straight from the original source, and then using your own judgment to determine its value according to your needs, is most important.
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