This page guides you through the various admission pathways, prerequisites, and special requirements for the nursing program at Rockford University.

Exploring the Different Admissions Paths

Early Action

The Early Action option is specifically for high school seniors looking to secure their place in the nursing program before starting college. This option is your chance to get ahead if you are still in high school and know that nursing is the career path for you!

  • Eligibility: High school seniors
  • Application Period: During senior year of high school, apply by April 1st.
  • Requirements:
    • Acceptance to Rockford University.
    • Application to the nursing program before senior year ends.
    • ACT score of at least 22 or SAT score of at least 1100.
    • Interview with the nursing department chair.
    • High school transcripts showing a 3.25 GPA in biology, chemistry, English, and math.

Students will be notified of admission decision by April 1st of their senior year. Actual enrollment is contingent on receipt of an official high school transcript by July 1st of the year of enrollment, verifying that all admission criteria have been met. Students must successfully meet the nursing prerequisite course and GPA requirements described in the Standard Admission section below before starting the nursing program courses. Accepted Early Action students do not need to take the TEAS entrance exam.

Standard Admission

 Admission to Rockford University does not guarantee admission to the nursing program. In order to be successful as a Rockford University nursing student, the Nursing Department has established minimum entrance requirements prior to enrolling in courses with the intent of pursuing a major in nursing.

Eligibility: Current Rockford University students and transfer students.

  • Priority Application Deadlines: February 1 for fall semester, October 1st for spring 2025 semester (will change to September 1 for Spring 2026 admission). (Note: Students who apply after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.)
  • Requirements
    • If not a current RU student, complete an application to Rockford University and be accepted for admission.
    • Meet the prerequisite and GPA requirements (see the Understanding the Required Prerequisites section below).
    • Apply to the nursing program by one of the priority application deadlines.
    • Take the ATI TEAS nurse entrance exam and pass with a score of proficient or higher within six months of completing the nursing program application. Sub-scores for reading, math, science, and English language usage must be a score of proficient or higher.
  • Admission
    • Admissions decisions will be emailed to applicants within two weeks of the application deadline.
    • Applicants who are accepted will be sent information regarding orientation meetings and other program requirements.

Transfer Admission

Transfer students will follow the steps for standard admission. After applying to Rockford University, please submit transcripts from prior institutions for evaluation. Transfer students will be evaluated by the prerequisite course criteria, GPA requirement, and TEAS exam score described in the understanding prerequisite requirements section below. Transfer course grades will count toward overall GPA for program admission.

Understanding the Required Prerequisites 

The science prerequisite courses, general education prerequisite courses, and GPA requirements listed below are required for nursing program admission. The nursing faculty reserves the right to consider the merit of individual cases, based on student petition. If a student is currently in progress with prerequisite courses during the semester when the student applies to the nursing program, the nursing department may consider that student’s application for provisional admission. Provisional admission indicates that a student is offered nursing program admission if the requirements in progress (prerequisite courses or TEAS exam) are completed satisfactorily prior to starting the nursing program.

Students who have been denied admission to the nursing program due to missing prerequisite requirements may submit an application requesting admission to the nursing program, if admission criteria are met, during the next application period. Automatic admission to the program for the next academic year is not guaranteed. Each student case will be considered individually and is handled on a space-available basis.

Prerequisite Course Requirements

Students must achieve a minimum of a “C” 2.0 grade in the prerequisite courses below. Although a “C” 2.0 is the minimum requirement, the overall natural science prerequisite GPA must be at least 2.5 and overall GPA must be at least 2.75.

  • Natural Sciences (no time limit):
    • Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 209)
    • Microbiology (BIOL 230)
    • Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 104 or 105)
  • General Education Courses:
    • RHET 101 (Intro Rhetoric/English 1)
    • RHET 102 (Intermediate Rhetoric/English 2)
    • PSYC 100 (Introduction to Psychology)
    • HDEV 215 (Human Development/Lifespan Development)
    • MATH 223 or 224 (Statistics)
  • Students must also demonstrate math competency by achieving one of the following:
    • ACT (or SAT equivalent of 520) math score of 20 or higher
    • Successful completion of college algebra (equivalent to MATH 120)
    • Math placement exam score of 3 or higher
    • TEAS math score of proficient or higher on overall score and subcategory scores.

GPA and Credit Hour Requirements

To be eligible for nursing program admission, students must meet the following criteria for grade point average (GPA) and credit hours:

  • Minimum science course GPA: 2.5  (Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Inorganic Chemistry)
  • Minimum overall GPA: 2.75
  • Credit Hours: 60+ credit hours completed


The ATI TEAS exam must be completed within 6 months of the nursing application deadline that the student is applying for. To meet admission criteria, students must obtain a score of proficient or higher on the overall score as well as on the reading, math, science, and English language usage subcategories. Applicants taking the TEAS will be allowed to retake the exam during the same admission process, however, there must be 45 days between tests. The TEAS can be taken twice in the same admission process. After two unsuccessful attempts the student will need to take the TEAS again the following semester. The maximum is three attempts.

If an applicant has taken two ATI TEAS exams within the last six months, only the exam score with the highest Adjusted Individual Test Score will be used in the admission process. No super scoring (combining or averaging scores from multiple exam attempts) will be allowed.

Review all course requirements for the nursing program in the academic catalog.

The full nursing department admission policy (updated spring 2024) may be found here: RUDON Admissions Policy

Program Requirements

Once admitted into the program, students must meet several requirements to start the program and attend lab and clinical experiences. Please see the current Nursing Student Handbook for a detailed description of the requirements.

Background and Drug Screening Information

All students entering the nursing program are required to undergo a criminal background check and random urine drug/alcohol screen.

  • Purpose
    • 2004 Manual for Hospitals published by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of hospitals and Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the major accreditation body for hospitals, requires that all staff members, student, faculty and volunteers meet standards relating to criminal background checks and freedom from drugs.
  • Policy Overview
    • Students are responsible for costs associated with the criminal background check and drug screen. Students must further agree that all results are available to the nursing program and the clinical sites associated with the program. The program is responsible for ensuring that students comply with individual hospital policy regarding disclosure of results. Should a clinical agency refuse to place a student based on the outcome of the background check and/or drug/alcohol screen, the program has no responsibility for arranging an alternative clinical placement. This may result in the student being unable to complete program objectives and, therefore inability to complete the nursing program.
  • Criminal Background Check
    • Upon acceptance into the nursing program, students must clear a criminal background check. Failure to complete this process will result in dismissal from the program. If the background check indicates criminal behavior, the student’s admission to the nursing program may be rescinded.
  • Urine Drug/Alcohol Screening
    • The nursing program maintains a no tolerance policy regarding substance abuse. All students must clear a random urine drug/alcohol test. Failure to undergo this test, a positive drug/alcohol screen, or a tampered with urine sample will result in dismissal from the program. If the drug/alcohol screen comes back positive and a valid prescription exists, which is verified and the student is under the current treatment of a licensed medical professional, the test result will be deemed negative.

Health and Clinical Requirements

To be completed by January 1 (Spring entrance) or August 1 (Fall entrance):

  • Health Examination: All students must undergo a health examination.
  • Immunizations Required:
    • Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (within the last 10 years).
    • Annual flu vaccination.
  • CPR (Must be American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare Professionals): Must be renewed biennially.
  • Hepatitis B Immunization: Requires a three-injection series with a reactive titer (30-60 days after series completion). The full series and titer take a minimum of six (6) months.
  • TB Testing: An initial 2-step Mantoux TB skin test is mandatory. Yearly single TB skin test re-tests are required after the initial 2-step Mantoux. Positive TB skin test reactors must complete an annual questionnaire at Lang Health Center. The program also accepts initial and yearly quantiferon gold TB blood tests.
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Immunity:
    • Laboratory evidence of immunity is required.
    • If titer is negative, two vaccines are required.
    • Option to have a titer drawn after one injection, and if not high enough, an additional injection is required.
  • Health Insurance: All students must carry current health insurance.

Additional Notes and Requirements

  • Students must purchase uniforms and equipment. More information will be given about this after admission.
  • Health and clinical requirements must remain current throughout the nursing program.
  • Transportation: Students must arrange their own transportation to clinical experiences. Most clinical experiences are in the Rockford area.
  • Results of drug screening and background checks may be shared confidentially with clinical agency partners according to the program affiliation agreements.
  • If a student refuses to attend a clinical placement, the program is not responsible for alternative placements.
  • There are essential capabilities necessary for admission and progression at Rockford University in the complex discipline of nursing. To enter or progress in the nursing curriculum, the candidate must be able to perform all of the essential capabilities (with or without accommodations). See the current Nursing Student Handbook for Essential Capabilities of Nursing Majors.
  • The nursing faculty reserves the right to consider the merit of individual cases in the admissions process.