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The selection of applicants is based on each individual's potential to successfully complete the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing's curriculum. 

Each applicant is considered in relation to past personal and educational experiences.

The School is committed to the provision of equal opportunity. The School's facilities are accessible to the handicapped.


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Admission Procedure

All applicants to the School of Nursing, including candidates beyond high school, apply for admission through the School's admissions office using the Application for Admissions form developed by the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing in affiliation with Clarion University of Pennsylvania. See Concurrent College Courses below to obtain an application form.

Inquiries regarding applications and admission policies should be directed to:

Admissions Office
West Penn Hospital
School of Nursing
4900 Friendship Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Toll-free: 1.877.33NURSE
Email: sonadmissions@wpahs.org

Applications from high school students should be sent during the second semester of the junior year or the first semester of the senior year.

Applications are processed after all requirements for application and the $50 non-refundable application fee have been received.

In order to be considered for the incoming class, all required information (application, official transcripts, and references) must be submitted by March 1 of the year of desired admission.  All applications received after that date will be held for consideration as space permits and must be completed by April 30 of the desired year of admission.

An applicant who meets all established admission criteria and the deadline may be interviewed.

Acceptance into the School of Nursing is based on academic, personal and health requirements, as well as availability of class openings.

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Academic Requirements

Academic requirements include graduation from an approved high school, including successful completion of the following:

Course Units
English 4
(one course must be chemistry; both courses must include a laboratory)
Social Studies 3
(one course must be algebra)

(preferably academic courses)


  • A grade of "C" or better is required in chemistry and algebra.
  • Applicants should preferably rank in the top two-fifths of their high school graduating class with a preferred cumulative GPA of 2.5.
  • A General Equivalency Diploma (GED) may be used to meet high school requirements. An algebra course and a chemistry (with laboratory) course must be completed with a "C" or higher grade if not completed before leaving high school.

Scores from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) must be sent to the School of Nursing. The School of Nursing CEEB Code Number is 2983.

The School prefers minimum SAT scores (excluding writing) of:

Total Score* Critical Reading (Verbal, excluding writing) Math
920 430 400

Applicants who do not have SAT scores or have SAT scores that are over 5 years old should validate academic ability by completing courses in a school of higher education. The School prefers that the applicant has completed 12 credit hours of post-secondary education with at least one science course with a laboratory component and achieve a QPA of 2.5 or higher.

Applicants who completed a high school GED 5 years or longer before applying to the School must demonstrate successful completion of college courses. Completion of science courses is preferred.

Clarion University requires an SAT/ACT score for applicants who graduated less than 3 years ago and have not attended a college.  For applicants who have attended college, Clarion University requires a cumulative QPA of 2.0 or higher.

Official transcripts of courses taken at all schools after high school must be sent to the School of Nursing. All documents submitted to the School become School property and are not returnable.

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Personal Requirements

Personal requirements are as follows:


  • Must be citizens of the United States or have Permanent Resident status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if the native country/region has English as a second language. Applicants who attended four years of high school in the United States are not required to take the TOEFL. Applicants who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in science (BS or MS) in the United States with a cumulative GPA/QPA of 2.5 or higher will be exempt from taking the exam.  (Applicants with a BA or MA will be required to take the TOEFL.)  The TOEFL iBT required minimum total score is 84 with a minimum speaking score of 26.
  • Must send a minimum of two (2) references from individuals other than relatives to the School of Nursing, preferably from a recent school and/or employment experience. 

    Click to download Reference Form

  • May be required to attend a personal interview with a School representative after all admission information has been received.

Accepted applicants:

  • Must apply for Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 33) and Pennsylvania State Criminal History Report (Act 34)
  • Must obtain Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check clearance.  Note:  It takes 4 to 6 weeks to get the results of the FBI background check.  The School of Nursing participates in an Internet/Web-based service whereby the student can pay the fee for the FBI background check by credit card and make his/her appointment for the fingerprinting process on-line. Clearance is required prior to admission
  • Must obtain professional liability insurance coverage
  • Must show validation of current personal healthcare insurance
  • Must show current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, including adult, child, infant, and automatic external defibrillator (AED)
  • Must know that any involvement in a criminal act may prohibit licensure in Pennsylvania as determined by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing


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Health Requirements

Nursing students perform client care activities that require cognitive, sensory, affective and psychomotor abilities. Therefore, the following health examinations are required prior to enrollment:

  • Complete physical examination
  • Hepatitis B titre (immunization required for negative titre)
  • Varicella titre (vaccination required for negative titre)
  • Rubella titre (vaccination required for negative titre)
  • Rubeola titre (vaccination required for negative titre)
  • Mumps titre (vaccination required for negative titre)
  • Mantoux (PPD) tuberculin test
  • Chest X-ray, only if Mantoux tuberculin test is positive
  • Meningococcal vaccination (or documentation of recent receipt) for those living in the dormitory
  • Additional diagnostic studies as indicated

On each accepted applicant, a urine screening test for illegal drugs will be performed as arranged by the School. A $30 fee is charged for this testing. Any follow-up testing expense for a positive result will be charged to the applicant. Continuation in the program is contingent upon results of the follow-up testing.

After enrollment, students who have a negative hepatitis B titre may receive the hepatitis B vaccine series "at cost" through the hospital's Employee Health Services department.

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Preadmission Testing

After paying the application fee, the applicant will be scheduled to take the ATI Test for Essential Academic Skills (ATI-TEAS), version 5.0 (TEAS V) :

  • ATI's TEAS V will be offered at least once a month, or more frequently if needed, starting in November before the next admitted class begins.
  • The applicant will pay the current test fee ($45 in 2013, subject to change).
  • All applicants will be required to take the exam; there will be no exemptions for LPN status, college degrees, etc.
  • Applicants who have already taken the test can submit their previous results to meet this requirement.  These results must be officially submitted, either from another school or by the applicant requesting ATI to send the score to the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.  The test fee will be waived for those who have already taken the exam.
  • The preferred Adjusted Individual Total Score is 65% or above.
  • In an attempt to improve his/her score, an applicant can retake the test one time at least 30 days or more after the first test (check the testing schedule). To retake the test, the applicant must register for the test and pay another test fee.

See Pre-entrance Examination and Testing ID Number for details about registering with ATI and taking the ATI-TEAS at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.

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  • Enrollment is contingent upon successfully meeting academic (high school and post-secondary), personal, and health requirements.
  • To confirm enrollment, a $95 non-refundable fee by check or money order must be sent to the School of Nursing.
  • A Pre-registration Program is held each July to assist with the enrollment process.


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Concurrent College Courses

In addition to completing the application process for West Penn Hospital School of Nursing, admission to Clarion University of Pennsylvania is required for students taking concurrent college courses.

A joint Application for Admissions to West Penn Hospital School of Nursing and Clarion University of Pennsylvania must be submitted to West Penn Hospital School of Nursing.  

Completed Reference Forms are also required.

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Opportunity for a Concurrent Award by Clarion University

It is possible to graduate with a Diploma in Nursing from West Penn Hospital School of Nursing (WPH SON) and an Associate of Science Degree in Allied Health from Clarion University.

The following must occur for this opportunity to be realized:

  • Graduate with a Diploma in Nursing from WPH SON.
  • Successfully complete a total of 30 college credit hours from Clarion University.

If you are interested or want further information and/or clarification, please contact Clarion University, Pittsburgh site, at 412.578.5239.

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Transfer Credit/ Advanced Standing

Transfer credit or advanced standing may be requested for college course credits, transfer from another professional nursing student program, or by licensed practical nurses (LPNs).


Applicants for College Course Credit

Applicants may request transfer credit/advanced standing for one or more required college courses from an accredited educational institution. Applicants will be notified of courses eligible for transfer.

All science courses, including the Pharmacology and Nutrition courses, must have been completed within 5 years. The Ethics course must have been completed within the past 10 years.  English, Logic, Psychology, and Sociology courses have no time limitations.

Applicants must achieve a grade of "C" or above in each college course for which transfer credit/advanced standing is requested.

To receive transfer credit/advanced standing, all physical and biological science courses must have a laboratory component. If Microbiology or Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) I or II have had to be repeated more than once, no transfer credit/ advanced standing will be granted and the course must be taken with the curriculum plan.  A&P I and A&P II must have been taken at the same school.

Applicants must authorize each college and university where courses were taken to send official transcripts to the School of Nursing. Course descriptions, outlines, and syllabi may also be required, if requested by the School of Nursing, in order to validate a comparable scope of course content.  These documents form the basis for the decision regarding transfer credit/ advanced standing. Applicants may be enrolled provisionally in the program, pending receipt of the official transcript.

Subject knowledge of selected college courses in the School of Nursing's curriculum can also be validated if subject knowledge is tested by selected standardized tests. These tests include:

  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) College Composition (English), General Psychology, and/ or Introduction to Sociology with achievement of a minimum score of 50.
  • Advanced Placement Examinations for High School English Composition and/or General Psychology with achievement of a minimum score of 3.


Professional Nursing Student Transfer Applicants

Applications for transfer will only be accepted from applicants who have attended schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN; formerly NLNAC). Transfer will be considered only after application to the School is submitted with the required fee.

Applicants may be admitted with transfer/advanced standing if there are available class openings. They must also meet the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing's academic, personal, and health requirements.

Applicants must authorize the school of professional nursing to send course descriptions (including clinical objectives and competencies) and an official transcript that includes clinical grades to the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing. Nursing courses must be taken preferably within the last 2 years.

Applicants must have achieved an equivalent theory grade of "C" or above and a "satisfactory" clinical grade in each nursing course for which transfer credit/advanced standing is requested.  Nursing course outline(s) must be provided and will be evaluated individually.  Nursing courses must contain comparable theory content and clinical experiences. Placement depends upon how transfer credits / advanced standing correlate with the School of Nursing curriculum plan.

The last five (5) terms must be completed satisfactorily at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing to qualify for a diploma.

An orientation to the School of Nursing is required.


Licensed Practical Nursing School Applicants

LPN applicants must submit an application with the required fee. Applicants must authorize the school of practical nursing to send an official transcript that includes clinical grades and must provide evidence of LPN licensure to the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing. They must also meet the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing's academic, personal, and health requirements.

Individuals who have graduated from an approved practical nursing program within the past one (1) calendar year and who have successfully passed the NCLEX-PN may apply to challenge Foundations for Nursing I.

A graduate from an approved practical nursing program who has successfully completed the NCLEX-PN and has recent work experience in an acute or extended care facility in a patient caregiver role other than as an LPN may apply to challenge the Foundations for Nursing I course.

A graduate from an approved practical nursing program who has recent work experience as a licensed practical nurse may apply to challenge Foundations for Nursing I and II. To successfully challenge Foundations for Nursing I or II, a decision score of 65% or higher must be achieved on the NLN Accelerated Challenge Exam (NACE I) PN to RN (Foundations).

In addition, 8 hours of supervised clinical experience is given to evaluate clinical proficiency according to objectives and competencies for each challenged course (Foundations for Nursing I and II).  A fee of $200 is assessed for each course challenged.

An orientation to the School of Nursing is required.

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