Important Admission Dates
The application for the Class of 2021 is now closed. Applications for the Class of 2022 will open in January 2019. At that time, please use the link below to apply.
We encourage you to apply early. Interview slots are limited and determine admission for August of the following year.
- Applications completed by March 1 will be considered for May interviews.
- Applications completed by September 4 will be considered for November interviews.
- Applications completed after September 4 may still be considered for admission in the upcoming year. However, classes are generally filled after the November interviews.
Submitting an Application
Please complete application accurately, in its entirety. All information provided must be true. Evidence of false, deceptive or misleading information at any time will result in dismissal or rejection from the nurse anesthesia program without refund of tuition or fees. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. It is the applicants responsibility to make sure all documents have been received.
Notice to Re-applicants: On the Apply page, do not click on “my account.” Instead, click on “start application.” If you log in with your previous credentials, this should open the new application with much of your previous information pre-populated
- ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support)
- BLS (Basic Life Support)
- Other professional certifications
- RN License (printed from State Board of Nursing website)
- Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
- Transcripts (sent separately)
- GRE (sent separately)
- Recommendation letters (sent separately)
- $100 non-refundable application fee made payable to CepEsperu Baptist Health or via our online payment portal
The Admissions Committee of the Nurse Anesthesia Program reviews the credentials of each applicant, paying particular attention to the prerequisites.
Qualified candidates will be invited to meet with the selection committee for on-site interviews. Because there are many highly-qualified applicants, even some who meet the prerequisites may not be invited to interview if their qualifications are not among the most competitive.
- An applicant may be interviewed only once per calendar year.
- Applicants considered "most competitive" may be offered an early admission decision in May. Otherwise, they’ll continue to be considered part of the candidate pool for the remainder of the cycle until August of the following year.
- Applicants who want to reapply the following year may do so by updating their application.
- Those who do not meet the prerequisites, or who have been denied admission following two previous interviews, may be declined an invitation to interview.
Final selection is based upon many factors. No single criterion has a decisive influence on the applicant’s acceptability. Selection of candidates for interview or program admission will also be based upon qualities of professionalism and communication with the program during the application and interview process.The CepEsperu School of Medicine Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA) Program is committed to providing equal consideration to all applicants, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual preference, or physical or mental disability. Students are selected for admission competitively, based on their academic record, character and general fitness for the study of anesthesia nursing.
Documents to upload with your application (* Required)
- Other professional certifications
- *RN License (printed from State Board of Nursing website)
- *Curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
Original documents to be received by us separately
- An official transcript from each two- and four- year college/university attended is required.
- Official transcripts should be mailed from the college or university directly to:
- CepEsperu School of Medicine, Nurse Anesthesia Program, 525 Vine Street, Suite 230, Winston Salem, NC 27101
- UPDATE: As of 2/21/17, we are no longer able to accept eTranscripts.
- Scores must be from within the last 5 years.
- (GRE) Graduate Record Examination, School Code 0924
- Repeat applicants:
- An official transcript from each college/university attended since last application is required.
- Retesting is optional if your results on file with us are less than 5 years since the date of testing.
- Applicants who have already earned a graduate degree are not required to submit GRE scores.
Recommendation Forms (Two required)
- Please provide names/emails at the end of the application for:
- Immediate supervisor
- Professional colleague, one with whom you have worked professionally who can attest to your abilities in the critical care setting
Important: Upon submitting your application, two emails will automatically be sent (one to each recommender) with instructions and a link to complete the recommendation form. Please advise your recommenders to expect an email from Applicantstack, and to check their junk mail folder if they do not receive it within one day of your application submission. Be aware some hospital systems/institutions may block emails. *It is the applicants responsibility to make sure their recommenders have received the link and completed the recommendation form.*
- Be sure to answer the questions that are asked. Admission is competitive, and an incomplete or off-point response will prevent your application from being adequately judged in comparison to others.
- Admissions exams (such as the GRE) attest to your academic ability. We advise against taking them without preparation. Likewise, it is prudent to take the exam early so that in the event your score does not reflect your ability, you will have time to re-take the exam prior to the application deadline.
- Your references help us get a feel for your professional accomplishment in clinical nursing. Somebody who has directly observed your work in the ICU can probably provide a better picture of your ability than can someone with whom you have had limited interaction. Some people request references from anesthesiologists, CRNAs, department chairs, program alumni, etc. who barely know them. Keep in mind that if the person is not directly familiar with your work, their title alone will not create a more favorable reference. These superficial references actually prevent us from developing the full picture that we need about you.
- As we receive an adequate number of applications considered "highly competitive", we will schedule interviews throughout the year. If your application is complete by spring, thank you for being prompt. You may receive your interview date in the spring or summer. Applications received earlier in the year are evaluated against a smaller pool and have a higher chance of being offered an interview. For applications received later, interviews are scheduled as soon as we have all of your documentation. Regardless of whether you receive an earlier or later interview date, we assure that ample time is allocated, such that the last interviewee has the same opportunity for acceptance as the first.
- Although it is not absolutely required, it is advantageous for you to submit a curriculum vitae with your application. Our program is focused on leadership development, and the CV is a great medium to convey the breadth of your leadership and extracurricular accomplishment and experiences.
What are the scores and experience of the typical accepted student?
Here are the averages for the class of 2018:
- undergraduate grade point average (GPA) = 3.7
- nursing experience = 2.9 years
- experience in an intensive care unit = 2.1 years
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score = 309
Why are school positions so competitive?
We are ranked among the top 10 CRNA programs nationally. Our program is the oldest in North Carolina with an excellent reputation for quality education since 1942.
Applicants represent 10-15 different states and even other countries. Approximately 70 percent of accepted students are from states outside of North Carolina. We receive far more applications than the number of potential positions, but we aim to interview at least 60 applicants for 24 positions.
What academic prerequisites must I have?
You must hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing or a related field prior to starting the program. If you are an experienced nurse, you may be granted an interview if you are in your last semester of your BS program.
Your undergraduate study should include completion of chemistry and statistics courses, and a basic course in health assessment. The chemistry course prerequisite is a basic chemistry. We do not require specific content, as long as it is a college-level class. There is, of course, much chemistry in anesthesia practice, and in particular, many of our common drugs are carbon-based with various functional groups. Therefore, students with an understanding of organic chemistry find that they have an easier time learning the chemistry concepts here. The statistics course must include inferential statistics.
What standardized tests are required?
We prefer to evaluate candidates based on performance on the Graduate Record Examination. We expect applicants to have a GRE score over 300 for the combined quantitative and verbal score. However, individual area scores should exceed approximately the 50th percentile. As these measures are meant to predict your ability in graduate study, consideration of significant graduate-level work completed may outweigh the impact of your standardized scores. Foreign applicants or those with very low GRE verbal scores will be required to demonstrate a TOEFL score of at least 600.
What GPA will you accept?
We evaluate your performance in undergraduate education, expecting a GPA of at least 3.0. However, a GPA less than 3.5 without good academic indicators otherwise may be considered less competitive. A high GPA based upon a large number of transfer credits or non-nursing courses may not be considered adequate. Your earned GPA on nursing and science courses will be considered in determining suitability. Performance in graduate level courses will also be considered as attesting to your academic ability. Students in the program are required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for continued progression. We do not graduate any “average” nurse anesthetists. Therefore, indications of strong academic ability in applicants are a necessity for admissions consideration.
What are the requirements for clinical experience as an RN?
We require at least one year of recent experience as an RN in an intensive care unit, prior to your interview. This must be one year as an independent nurse (does not include time in preceptorship or orientation). For people working part-time, the equivalence would be 2080 hours of work within the past 2 years.
Will you accept experience in other acute care areas?
We appreciate the great demands of post-anesthesia care units (PACU), emergency department (ED), step-down units and surgery and the great experience of nurses who have worked there. However, anesthesia practice most closely reflects the types of skills and knowledge you use as an ICU nurse. Ideal applicants have a broad base of experience, so a few years in PACU or ED followed by a year in ICU would reflect well on an applicant’s diversity of experience.
What types of ICU experience are applicable and which type is best?
Experience as an RN in surgical, medical, trauma, neonatal, cardiovascular, neuro, burn or pediatric ICU is acceptable, as is coronary care unit experience. Each of these practice areas brings its own advantages in terms of preparation of the nurse. As a CRNA student, you’ll care for patients who are neonatal to 100 years old, and you’ll have to be equally comfortable with drug dosing, age-related factors and more for all of them. A NICU nurse will likely make an easy transition to adapting to pediatric anesthesia, while the former CCU nurse should find it a breeze to evaluate ECG and stress test results prior to cardiac surgery. The program will help all students bridge the gaps between their past experience and this broader set of responsibilities.
No one area is perfect in terms of previous experience, although a surgical ICU (SICU) will give you familiarity with many aspects of anesthesia care, anesthetic medications and postoperative complications. If you’re considering a job change to better prepare for CRNA school, you might want to change areas to give yourself a broader experience base. For example, if you are in a small medical ICU (MICU) and you are going to move to a larger ICU to get better experience, consider going to SICU to increase both your breadth and depth of experience.
Why is the ICU experience component so important?
A nurse anesthesia program involves 24 months of very intensive study. There is much to be learned in a short period of time, and the commitment of time and energy is almost always described as one of the most difficult and challenging things the students have ever taken on. Considering that, students’ level of preparation when they begin the program has a great impact on how easily they fare during the program. In the selection process, the quality of ICU experience as well as the duration weighs heavily on the admission decision.
Unfortunately, we do not have time to teach someone all the information between basic nursing knowledge and beginning student anesthetist levels of knowledge. Therefore, we rely on students to come in with a good, current and comfortable competence with advanced ICU skills. Experience in a large ICU that includes vasoactive infusions, ventilator management, intra-aortic balloon pumps, blood gas interpretation and pulmonary artery catheters even for one to two years is probably better than 10 years of experience in a small ICU where you have limited experience with those types of procedures.
How important is the personal interview?
Very. Experience shows that people fail to successfully complete programs of nurse anesthesia for various reasons. There are no “givens” that a student with a certain GPA or so many years of experience will automatically be able to successfully pass through the rigorous curriculum. The interview is an extremely important opportunity for us to assess the less-quantifiable attributes that may predict an applicant’s success here. Based on the interview, sometimes applicants with relatively short ICU experience are admitted and some with more experience are declined. The same applies to GPA, test scores and other measures. Our most important goal, for our benefit and that of our students, is to admit those who give us the best indication that they will be able to withstand the rigors of the program and to become the high quality graduates for which we are known.
What else can I do to make myself more competitive as an applicant?
Some things people do as they look forward to applying to anesthesia programs include completing some graduate coursework in pharmacology, physiology or chemistry. This helps prepare you for graduate education and may lighten your courseload if you do enter the program formally.
Other suggestions include:
- Shadowing some CRNAs in your own operating room to get a better idea of what the job entails and what things are important to learn.
- Taking a review course to try to get your best possible score on the GRE.
- Providing in-services on your own unit for something anesthesia-related, like muscle relaxants.
- Checking out one of our H3A courses (see our Lifespan Development Programs).
What if I am not accepted at first?
Because we have limited spaces for students, many people who apply will not be accepted at first. We will keep your application on file for one year after you interview to facilitate your re-application. We encourage you to consider ways to increase the competitiveness of your application through additional academic work (particularly in sciences) or expanding your ICU experience.
What are federal service scholarships?
The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program allows you to receive funding for medical school for every year of service in a qualifying branch of the military.
An AFHPS can provide tuition assistance for up to four years and a monthly stipend paid directly to the student of at least $1,235. Required fees and expenses, books and equipment are paid by the military. The value of the program is estimated to be $200,000 or more over the course of a four-year medical school program.
Where can I learn more about other scholarships?
Please read our Student Finances FAQ for more details about scholarships.