• Complete application for admission.

It is important to indicate whether you are applying for pre-nursing, practical nursing (PN), or the associate degree nursing (RN) program. Indicate the semester and year you plan to enter the nursing program. For example, pre-nursing fall 2019, practical nursing (PN) fall 2020, and associate degree nursing (RN) fall 2021.  The date of formal application will be factored in if two or more applicants tie for the same rank.  The application for admission must be submitted by August 10 to be considered for the program.

  • Complete all testing requirements.

ACT or ACCUPLACER test (SWCC moved from COMPASS to ACCUPLACER in December 2016.  Adequate COMPASS scores that aren't expired can be used until 2019.)  See "Entrance Requirements" links below for required scores for the year you plan to enter the program.  For the nursing program, ACT or ACCUPLACER test scores will be good for three years from the date the test is taken.

  • ACT Composite Score = 20 or above or
  • ACCUPLACER Writing = 86 or above
  • ACCUPLACER Reading = 80 or above
  • ACCUPLACER Arithmetic = 85 or above or
  • ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra = 43 or above

The three sections of the ACCUPLACER test may be taken individually or as a group. Preparing for this test is extremely important to all students, but especially for prospective students who have limited reading, writing, or math skills.  Scheduling the test when you are able to perform well is key, as the test impacts your ability to gain admission to the PN or RN program.  Each section of the test may be taken only three times during an academic year.

View sample ACCUPLACER questions 

If your scores are below the minimum required, you must follow our retest policy.  The ACCUPLACER test may be scheduled with Southwestern's Assessment Center at 641.782.1320.

An alternative option to the ACCUPLACER math requirement is to substitute a three credit higher level math course with a grade of B or above. The course must have been taken within the last three years. Acceptance Southwestern math courses include the following:

  • MAT 120 College Algebra
  • MAT 121 College Algebra (online)
  • MAT 127 College Algebra & Trigonometry

Your status in the program will be determined based on the following:

LPN Entrance Requirements - Effective December 2016

ADN Entrance Requirements - Effective December 2016

NOTE:  Completion of pre-nursing courses allows the student to accumulate points used to rank the student for admission into his/her PN or RN year. See pre-nursing option.

  • Official and final high school transcripts.
    Students not completing high school should send a transcript of their equivalency (GED or HSED) scores.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

PN and RN Nursing Program Requirement

Physician's physical examination report, TB skin test, and current immunizations as recommended by the student's physician to be completed in late June, July, or August prior to fall admission.

American Heart Association CPR for BLS Provider is required for all nursing students before entering clinical.  Only American Heart Association CPR for BLS Provider is accepted.  Only face-to-face classes are accepted.  Student must make their own arrangements to obtain certification.  The SWCC adult and continuing education department offers courses at intervals. 

Second Year Requirements

  1. All admissions procedures and requirements listed above.
  2. Minimum PN Exit HESI score of 800.
  3. Must have completed (C or above) the following classes:  ENG 105 Composition I, PSY 111 Introduction to Psychology, PSY 121 Developmental Psychology, SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology, and BIO 162 Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology or both BIO 168 Human Anatomy and Physiology I w/lab and BIO 173 Human Anatomy and Physiology II w/lab.
  4. Submit a copy of current Iowa Practical Nursing License. (New graduates must have current Iowa license prior to October 15, following graduation).
  5. Assessment of LPN educational preparation: 
    a.  Students currently enrolled in LPN program:  core nursing course grade at completion of the spring semester.
    b.  Licensed LPNs:  LPN diploma grade point average (GPA).

Re-Entry Requirements

To be considered for re-entry into nursing education, a student must meet current admission guidelines and additional re-entry requirements described in the current nursing student handbook.  Re-entry guidelines from the nursing student handbook are available upon request from the nursing chair and/or the admissions director.

 NOTE: To be considered for January re-entry in Southwestern’s LPN program, the student must be a returning SWCC LPN student.