Sorry for the clickbait headline (sorta, haha), but there are some key avoidable mistakes that I see people making over and over again that I want to MAKE SURE you don’t make. So let's jump right into it.
The first mistake that people make is not starting early enough. Go back and listen to the podcast episode about your application timeline if you haven't already. You will quickly understand that there is a lot to do in the year leading up to you submitting your CRNA school application. There are so many nuances to programs you might not be aware of. There is a lot of prep work involved that goes into crafting your resume and personal essay. Plus, all the resume builders that you need to do (like volunteering and leadership activities) are going to take time.
The most challenging thing that I am seeing with people when they are applying to CRNA school is that they are coming to me a month or two before their application deadline and just starting on their resume, or just starting on their personal essay, and missing some key things on their application that they could really benefit from. So this is one of the big things that I push with my Application Accelerator students is that we start early on planning. We give you the tools to save you time so you’re not stuck spending weeks on your resume. You can get it done in an afternoon.
Trust me, I know you don't have a lot of time. You are working 36 plus hours a week, you're exhausted on your days off, you're trying to recover, you don't have a lot of bandwidth to be studying for your GRE. Everything is going to take longer than you anticipate.
All right so the second mistake that I see people make is not looking at the big picture. people seem to be really focused on the type of ICU that they're in and the types of critical care experience that they're getting. Now don't get me wrong, you absolutely need to be taking care of high acuity patients. Most of your patients should be ventilated on multiple vasoactive drips with invasive devices. But don't get too hung up on the difference between a high acuity MICU and a high acuity CVICU. if they're both high acuity you're good to go. Stop agonizing over the fact that you're maybe not getting open hearts, or that you don't have LVAD experience. It's not just all about that. Yes, if you are taking care of very sick patients who have a lot of invasive devices, that is going to make you look even better. But if you are missing some other key pieces of your application your CVICU experience is not going to make up for that.
So what are these big picture things that I'm talking about? Well yes it is the high acuity experience to start but then it's more than that. So it's going to be your leadership experience. Do you have charge nurse experience, do you precept nurses, and are you involved in unit committees?
Is it clear that you are an overachiever? It's not enough for you to just be a charge nurse; there needs to be more than that. Also, are you focused on giving back to the community? Do you volunteer? Is it clear that you have a side of you that is passionate about serving others. Another thing - are you involved in your professional organizations? That means being an AACN member, and an ANA member. And if you are an ER nurse, that's being a part of the Emergency Nurses Association. It's really important for you to show that you are active in your professional organizations because as a CRNA being involved in the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology is an extremely big deal, and we value applicants who are involved in their own professional organizations.
The third mistake that you are making is you are underestimating the power (read “importance”) of your resume and personal essay. Now, I encourage all of my Accelerator students to work on their resume really early. I'm talking six months in advance. And why is that? It's because this is going to be a way for you to sit down and look thematically at your resume and see what you are missing. Do you only have one thing under leadership? Do you only have one certification? Get it out all on paper. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just need to get it down.
Also you are going to need your resume handy because you're going to want to send that to program directors to ask them how you can improve. Or if you attend an AANA event you are going to want to have that ready. You might not give it to anybody, but if they ask for it you absolutely should have it available. Furthermore, if we work together (or if you work with any admissions specialist) it's going to give me a really clear picture of what are the things that you need to do to be more competitive. If you don't have your resume done, or at least have a comprehensive list of what you're going to put on there, we're going to be wasting a lot of time with me asking you questions like, “What organizations are you a part of? What is your science GPA? What is your last 60 credit GPA? Tell me about what type of volunteer experience you have?” and we're going to be wasting a lot of time.
If you want to make the process really easy for yourself we have a [3- pack] Resume Template Bundle that lives in the shop and if you are one of our Accelerator Students you have free access to this by the way!
So overall those are the three mistakes that you are making when applying to CRNA school:
So in summary, if you want to explore more about our signature program, Application Accelerator, we have the modules now available in the shop- yay! And while we won't be opening the doors for the group portion until later in 2023, you can definitely get access to the tools and the program in the meantime (and get on the waitlist here!).
In 30 seconds, you'll have a tailored plan, 3 free downloads, and resources hand-selected for you.
The One Thing That Will Change Your Entire Application Journey
Making the Most out of Your Year in the ICU
What Should You Really Care About When Choosing a CRNA School?
Your Secret Weapon When Applying to CRNA School