Hardest Nursing Schools to Get Into in California

Hardest Nursing Schools to Get Into in California

If you are looking for Hardest Nursing Schools to Get Into in California, then you are on the right article. Having a degree in nursing allows individuals to get high-paying jobs and a good future in the USA. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for medical personnel has increased. Millions of youths are pursuing their higher studies in the field of nursing in the USA. 

However, the number of colleges and nursing schools is less as compared to the applications of the students. Also, to get good employment you need to achieve a degree from any renowned nursing school, which is very difficult. 

There are some highly competitive educational institutions which allow the students to achieve a degree in nursing. These hardest nursing Schools to get into in California are very difficult to get enrolled in. We have researched and shortlisted some of the hardest nursing Schools to get into in California

Top 5 Hardest Nursing Schools to Get Into in California

1. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA):

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

The School of Nursing at UCLA stands out as one of the most renowned educational institutions in nursing education and research, recognized among the top nursing schools across the USA, particularly among the hardest nursing schools to get into in California, renowned for its quality education and high-value degrees.

However, the students need to go through a highly competitive admissions process. The acceptance rate is less than 13% which means only 13 out of 100 students can secure their seats in the college.  

The college has not only a strong academic background but also a dedication to community involvement and healthcare experience. The nursing school, UCLA offers various programs to the medical applicants, these include BSN, MSN, and DNP. 

These programs provide the students with the most demanding clinical opportunities and guidance from qualified faculty. The students must have excellent academic scores and need to satisfy various other qualifications to get admission to the college. 

2. Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing:

Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing

The UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing stands as another notable institution recognized for its commitment to evidence-based practice and patient care schedules, particularly among the hardest nursing schools to get into in California.

The process for Admissions is difficult and several factors are considered for admission, these include academic achievement, letters of recommendation, and personal statements by the students. 

The nursing school has an acceptance rate of around 23% which is less as compared to other nursing schools in California. The school allows the applicants to achieve their nursing degree in BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. The college delivers a comprehensive nursing education with a strong focus on the base, research, and clinical practice in nearby medical facilities. The best part of the college is the practicum period which offers practical exposure to the students. 

3. University of California, San Francisco (UCSF):

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

The UCSF-affiliated School of Nursing is renowned for its primary focus on research and innovation relating to the medical field. The high acceptance of the degree makes the process of admissions highly competitive. The students who apply for admissions need to demonstrate their GPA, good test scores, and a statement of purpose depicting their passion for nursing. The college has an acceptance rate of around 47% which is quite average as compared to other colleges and educational institutions. 

UCSF offers various nursing programs like the BSN, MSN, and DNP courses. The courses allow high-quality education and clinical experiences to the students at nearby medical facilities. The educational institution has a collaboration with the top medical facility in California which offers practicum tenure to the students. 

The colleges provide a comprehensive learning experience, preparing students to make impactful contributions to the healthcare industry through world-class education, particularly in line with the standards of the hardest nursing schools to get into in California.

4. San Francisco State University (SFSU): 

The SFSU’s School of Nursing presents courses emphasizing community health and social justice, making it a competitive choice due to its availability and difficulty of admission. Notably, the college’s affordability and robust reputation in the medical field add to its appeal, aligning with the standards of the hardest nursing schools to get into in California.

The admissions consider various factors including academic records, relevant healthcare experience, and the dedication of students toward nursing. The college has an acceptance rate of approximately 54%, which makes it difficult for the student to secure a seat. 

SFSU offers a BSN program that is focused on community engagement and patient care. The main motive of the nursing school is to produce compassionate and culturally competent nurses in the medical field. 

The competition in nursing has increased after the COVID-19 pandemic in the college. The best part of nursing schools is that they offer practicum tenure in the top medical facilities in California. 

5. University of San Diego (USD) Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science:

University of San Diego (USD) Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is popular and known for its practical approach to learning and blending theoretical knowledge along with practicum. The college offers an acceptance rate of around 38% which is quite difficult to meet. 

The nursing school strives to produce culturally competent nurses ready to serve diverse communities with comprehensive knowledge, reflecting the rigorous standards of the hardest nursing schools to get into in California. Additionally, the college’s collaboration with global health initiatives further enhances its reputation and appeal.

The program offers the students a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare field. The campus is loaded with State-of-the-art simulation labs and the clinical placements in world-class medical facilities allow the students to enhance their educational experience. 

The institution is committed to providing excellence in nursing education. The main motive is to shape graduates into compassionate and skilled nurses.  

Why is it difficult to get admission to nursing schools in California? 

Getting into nursing schools in California is tough and competitive. Many students wonder how hard it is to get into these programs. There are several reasons why these top nursing schools in California are highly competitive. Check out some of these reasons below. If you’re looking for other options, learning about Nursing Schools in California that Accept Transfer Students could give you different pathways within the state.

1. Academic strictness 

California’s nursing programs have strict academic requirements as compared to other states. The students need to perform well in the aggregate courses to secure a seat. These nursing courses include science and general education which require a strong knowledge of subjects like biology, chemistry, and anatomy. Also, the high academic standards needed to be satisfied by the students and the applicants must be very skilled in the field which makes it difficult to secure a seat in the courses. 

2. High Program Demand

The state of California has a successful and strong healthcare system and is contributing to the role of a leader in medical innovation. All these features led to a massive demand for nursing programs in the state. Also after the covid19 pandemic, the demand has increased. The medical sector always needs trained healthcare workers to meet the current world challenges. A lot of applications apply for the course which is much more than the number of seats available. The high demand makes the competition for getting into colleges more difficult. 

3. Limited Clinical Placements:

According to the experts, clinical experience is a key part of nursing education. It offers the students practical training in real healthcare facilities and environments. However, there are less number of clinical placements available in California, which makes it difficult to find one for every student. The fight for admission at top healthcare facilities is very high because they are already collaborating with some selected nursing programs. So, having insufficient clinical opportunities makes the admission process in these colleges harder. 

4. Strict Admission Criteria:

California nursing schools have difficult eligibility admission rules and requirements. There are a lot of factors that are asked of the applicants including the academic results, activities outside of school, recommendation letters, and personal statements. The Students must need to take certain courses and have a qualified minimum GPA. 

Also, they might be asked to pass the qualification tests like TEAS or HESI A2. Some California-based nursing schools select students who have experience in healthcare or have already done community service in the medical field. All these factors create a bar of difficulty for students who want to apply and are looking for admission. 

All these challenges are huge and the people who want to make their career in the healthcare sector need to show their strength and commitment while applying for admission. 

If the students are already aware of the challenges that make the admission process difficult, they get ready to face these challenges and increase their chances of getting approval for admission and success in their goal of a nursing career in California. Make sure to consider all the above-mentioned factors while applying for admission to nursing schools. 

Essential Requirements for Nursing School Admission

Students who are looking to get admission to nursing schools need to fulfill some requirements and meet eligibility criteria to do so. Some fundamental criteria are provided for U.S. nursing programs. To get admission to any college program the student must have a high school diploma or its equivalent qualification, such as a GED certificate. 

The students who aim to get enrolled in the post-baccalaureate programs which include master’s or doctoral degrees must have to secure a bachelor’s degree. More importantly, some of the advanced programs can also demand healthcare work experience as their eligibility for admission. 

Both associate and bachelor’s degrees play a crucial role in preparing future nurses for the NCLEX licensing exam. To meet the same, many programs are offering the same coursework for nursing students. The applicants need to have the prior qualification or comprehensive knowledge of the following subjects to become eligible for advanced medical or nursing courses: 

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • English composition
  • Lifespan growth and development
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Statistics

Admission to master’s or doctoral degree programs can also require the completion of an entrance exam during the process of admission. The applicants need to provide their scorecard for the exam. 


1. Which nursing program in California has the most accessible admission requirements?

The West Coast University Situated in Los Angeles is one of the top nursing schools which includes an easy admission process. The West Coast University campus is a prime choice for students who are looking for a straightforward admission process in California.

The higher acceptance rate makes it possible for qualified students to secure a seat in the college easily. 

2. What is the top nursing program in California?

Having a degree in nursing is not worth it until it is achieved by any renowned or top educational institution. As per the U.S. News and World Report, the University of California-Los Angeles is recognized as the leading nursing school in the state with the best quality education and success rate.

The students who have achieved degrees from the school have good-paying employment in the top medical facilities across the state or nationwide. 

3. Which nursing school in California has a higher acceptance rate?

There are several nursing schools in the state of California but among the top ones California State University is offering a more accessible entry, with an acceptance rate of around 78%. With such an acceptance rate the nursing school is surpassing many nursing schools in the state. Explore our detailed article on Nursing School Acceptance Rates in California.

However, the students who are applying for admission need to be eligible for admission and must meet qualifications like academic scores, GPA, and many more. 

4. Is gaining admission to nursing school in California challenging?

Yes, it is very difficult to get admission to nursing programs in California because of several factors. The difficulty level of nursing school varies on several factors and is different for each college or nursing school.

Some eligibility criteria are determined by these colleges which need to be satisfied to get admission, for example, qualifications in organic chemistry and microbiology. 


Nursing degrees are in high demand, drawing thousands of applicants toward pursuing the same. Consequently, gaining admission to nursing schools becomes a challenging and highly competitive endeavor. Several top nursing schools in California contend with receiving thousands of applications, but only a handful are selected based on the colleges’ capacities. In our article, we’ve highlighted the hardest nursing schools to get into in California—take a look at them for more insight.

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