You guys… It’s finally here. The time to apply to the NECP is upon us! I have been talking about this for almost two years, and it’s finally happening. I haven’t been around much because the last two years were spent preparing for this.
Changes to the NECP Application
First, let me spin you up on some recent NECP changes. This was the first time in more than five years that AFPC looked at the requirements, deciding an overhaul was needed. Unfortunately, some of the things I hoped to see change didn’t, but some limiting factors were removed. The two biggest changes were the removal of prerequisites from the NECP application and the addition of a video interview.
For example, the NECP once required you to complete certain courses that most nursing schools required. If you were accepted to a nursing school that didn’t require a course required by the NECP, you had to get a waiver and have an academic advisor submit a letter stating it was not required for the program. Now, whatever the school requires is fine with the NECP, as long as the school fulfills all other requirements (AFROTC, under $15k/year, CCNE or ACEN accreditation, under 24 month completion).
Previously, a 250 word essay was required with the application. A 2-minute video interview has replaced that. Thankfully, you have the questions prior to doing the interview, and it will be submitted with the package. It is NOT a live interview. I can only assume they have added this to see if their applicants are professional and look the part that they will be playing (a.k.a. officers).
Schools I Applied For
Over the last four months, I have been applying to numerous colleges and taking the steps needed to gain regular admission to them. I plan on applying to five schools because I don’t want my chances at the NECP to be ruined because I didn’t get into a nursing program.
1. University of West Florida | Pensacola, FL
Everyone I know applies to UWF because they know all about the NECP and set aside slots specifically for military students. They are super military friendly and require more than just a great GPA. I had to take the ATI TEAS Nursing Exam for entrance into this school, and the minimum score to apply is 75%. I made a 77%. I will be taking the TEAS again in January after some much needed studying of anatomy and physiology. UWF also has some additional things you can do to increase your chances of admission, like volunteering and taking additional courses. To ensure the odds are ever in my favor, I will begin volunteering in the emergency services department at a local hospital at the end of December.
2. University of South Florida | Tampa, FL
South Florida is another school that everyone trying for the NECP applies to. This is for the same reason they apply to UWF — they know about the NECP and are very military friendly. USF only requires a high cumulative and prerequisite GPA, plus an in-person interview. I would love to get into USF because I have a friend down there (who met me via my Air Force posts) and because I love the ocean. I wish there was more I could do to increase my chances of acceptance here.
3. University of Memphis | Memphis, TN
I consider University of Memphis my safety school. I wouldn’t mind going there because they have an accelerated program for students that already have Bachelor’s degrees. Admission into accelerated programs is tough, but it has a smaller applicant pool than traditional nursing programs. Memphis is closer to home as well, so that’s a plus. Fewer people apply to this school. They are not as familiar with the NECP, though they do know of it.
4. New Mexico State University | Las Cruces, NM
Believe it or not, NMSU is another school I would love to get into, but also has some steeper requirements. They require the HESI nursing exam, and you must score a minimum of 75% on all components to apply. This makes me nervous based on how I did with the ATI TEAS, because my science score was LOW. Still, I am studying hard and will be taking the HESI in January. I have a bit of an infatuation with New Mexico after my road trip in May. It truly is the Land of Enchantment!
5. Eastern Kentucky University | Richmond, KY
EKU is military friendly and understands the NECP requirements, however, I just decided to apply here a few days ago. Their application process is rigorous, involving a resume, essay, three letters of reference, and a high GPA. I didn’t want to deal with all that and all my end of semester projects, but then I realized that the applicant pool for this program is also smaller. They have an accelerated program that I believe I have a great shot getting into if I can gather the proper materials in time. Plus, Kentucky is beautiful and also close to home. This will take a little extra work, but I believe it will be worth it.
I submitted my “Intent to Apply” email this week. The rest of the application is due in March 2018. If I do get accepted to the program, I will find out in May 2018 and PCS around July to whichever school I was accepted to. If I don’t get into a nursing school, all is lost for this year’s application.
I can handle the blow of not getting into the NECP my first time, but I cannot handle not getting into nursing school. However, I will absolutely apply to nursing school and the NECP again next year if not accepted.
I also plan on reenlisting for another four years if I am not accepted within the next two. I want to give myself several chances to commission, as I will have many opportunities to try for the NECP in the upcoming years.
In just a few days, my final semester of prerequisites will be complete and I can spend the rest of the year studying for those two vital nursing exams. Then, while focusing on applying to the NECP, I will also begin studying for Staff Sergeant. If I don’t get into the NECP, I definitely want to make the next rank. I will be sewing on Senior Airman in late January, making the cut-off for Staff Sergeant eligibility by the hairs of my chin.
That is the gist of what’s going on so far. While school is ending, there is little time for me to relax. Things just keep moving forward, and I am very excited to see where 2018 takes me. For better or worse, I am staying optimistic.
Anything exciting going on with you?