Registered Nursing Admission Criteria

The Health Sciences Division offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree (LPN/Paramedic to RN) Program. This program is open to students who are pending licensure as a Practical Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurses or Paramedics who have completed the 14 hours of prerequisite curriculum with a grade of “C” or better in each course. The 13 hours of co-requisite curriculum must be completed with a grade of “C” or better before the beginning of the last semester. This is a 12 month program that admits twice a year, January and May; with classes held in the Spring, Summer and Fall; Summer, Fall and Spring, respectively. Class size is limited with 50 students accepted in the spring and summer semesters. Classes meet twice a week and clinical is on Saturday and Sunday every other weekend. Upon completion of this program, the individual may sit for licensure and take the National Licensure Exam for RN. This program has specific program entrance/application requirements.

RN Prerequisites: Students are required to complete the following general education requirements with a “C” or better prior to applying to the RN program. Entrance exam scores determine acceptance to the program.


General Education Requirements

Anatomy and Physiology I with lab

Anatomy and Physiology II with lab

Composition I

College Algebra OR

Quantitative Literacy OR

Pharmacology/Dosage Calculations (Taken during COTO PN Program)


RN Co-Requisites: Students are required to complete the following general education requirements with a “C” or better prior to the beginning of the final semester to the RN program.

General Education Requirements

Microbiology with lab

Composition II

General Psychology

Computer Applications OR

Fundamentals of Information Technology (Must be within the last 10 years)


Admission Process

Step 1: Entrance Exam

All potential applicants:

  • Must take the RN Kaplan Nursing Entrance Exam given at College of the Ouachitas (COTO). This exam will include Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary and General Knowledge, English Language Composite Score and Anatomy and Physiology. Students must score 70% in the overall composite score to be eligible for admission into the RN program. Critical-thinking will be used as the tie-breaker.
  • Pre-register at for the Entrance Exam (see below for test dates and times). You may only test two times per admission deadline. No rescheduling is allowed for testing. Need experience with computer calculator.
  • Must bring photo identification and contact Student Affairs for payment information.
  • Should allow 2 to 2 ½ hours to take exam.
  • Are encouraged to obtain and study Kaplan Nursing Entrance Exam Review. This study book is available at the COTO Library for use within the library or may be purchased at the COTO Bookstore.
  • If the student feels his/her entrance exam test score is high enough, they can use the same score for one year.

If Unofficial Transcripts are not included with the test scores students will not be considered for admission into the nursing program. If you are currently enrolled in prerequisites courses, you must provide an unofficial transcript to the nursing department with completed course after final grades are posted.

Classes that Start in January

Classes that Start in May

Entrance Exam:  Several dates available on COTO website.  Score must be in Health Science office by 2nd Friday in September.  Mandatory information meeting on the 3rd Friday in September, times will be provided when scores are turned in showing minimum 70% in overall composite score


Entrance Exam:  Several dates available on COTO website.  Score must be in Health Science office by 2nd Friday in February.  Mandatory information meeting on the 3rd Friday in February, times will be provided when scores are turned in showing minimum 70% in overall composite score.



A minimum overall score on the Entrance Exam is required to move onto Step 2

**The minimum overall score met does not guarantee placement**


Step 2: Attend Nursing Information Meeting at the Allied Health Building

All potential applicants:

  • Must attend a nursing information meeting; on the 3rd Friday of February for the RN May program or the 3rd Friday of September for the RN January program, times will be provided when scores are turned in to the nursing department.
  • To be considered for a slot in the program students have to bring/submit an unofficial transcript of all previous college attended no later than the information meeting (an official transcript will be required to the registrar office at a later date).
  • Must complete a student contact/information sheet; available when scores are submitted to the nursing department.
  • If previously enrolled in an RN program in another School of Nursing, must submit a letter of eligibility to return to Nursing School from the previously enrolled program.
  • Paramedics must also submit: proof of certification from the Arkansas Department of Health as an Arkansas paramedic and proof of registration with the National Registry of EMT’s as a paramedic, if selected into the nursing program.
  • Must provide proof of English language proficiency if not from an English-speaking country. Students should submit official documentation showing completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 500 (paper based), 173 (computer based), 61 overall (internet based) or better or proof of graduation from high school within the United States, GED, or post-secondary education within the United States with the admission application.  


Step 3: Complete College Admission Procedures AFTER Receiving Letter of Acceptance into the Nursing Program.

Students must complete all the College's required entrance/admission procedures as outlined in the catalog/website,, and submit to Student Affairs. (501-337-5000 EXT 1180) 


Step 4: Immunization Requirements

“Students are required to provide documentation of all required immunizations by the deadline or risk having to give up their slot.”

  • Current TB Skin Test
  • Current CPR Card; must be American Heart Association for Health Care Providers
  • Titer for Chicken Pox or Varicella (2 doses)
  • Flu Vaccination during flu season per CDC October till the end of March
  • Hepatitis B series of three
  • Tdap within the last ten years
  • Medical Insurance
  • MMR (2 doses)