Welcome to the world of nursing! If you are just starting your nursing journey, the first step is picking a quality nursing program. Thousands of students begin their first nursing classes every year. Those who make it to the finish line join the workforce of over 3 million registered nurses across all 50 states. Others have gone back to school to get an advanced degree to further their careers.
Have you ever considered attending a nursing program in the state of Indiana? If so, take a look at what the state has to offer its prospective nursing students.
- Overall Score: 73
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.10%
- Annual tuition: In-state $9,992, Out-of-state $28,794
- Graduation Rate: 73%
Purdue is a public university which boasts a near 100% employment rate for their BSN graduates. The Purdue Nursing Student Council organizes an annual Nursing Career Fair, which attracts both local and national healthcare employers.
If you are concerned about campus safety, know that this school was voted one of the top 10 safest college campuses in America.
Purdue-West Lafayette was also given a five-star LGBTQ+ campus rating according to Campus Pride Index.
Those seeking a Master’s degree at Purdue have several specialty options to choose from: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
#3 Valparaiso University (tie)
- Overall score: 59
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.2%
- Annual Tuition: $43,400
- Graduation Rate: 69%
Valparaiso describes their students as “workplace ready” because their nursing program curriculum emphasizes that healthcare is adaptive, collaborative, and visionary. Some nursing schools offer community service or “service learning” opportunities as part of their program.
Valparaiso offers these experiences abroad. Participating students visit health care facilities in Costa Rica, China, and Italy, just to name a few.
There is an active Student Nurses Association. This is a place that allows students to discuss health issues that really matter. They learn how to advocate for programs they believe will help improve patient care.
#3 Ball State University (tie)
- Overall score: 59
- NCLEX Pass Rate: 93.4%
- Annual tuition: In-state $8,284, Out-of-state: $25,518
- Graduation Rate: 59%
If you desire a school that will help you nurture your connections with students and other nursing professionals, Ball State University might be a great fit. The school offers a “Nursing Living-Learning Community” where you can be matched with fellow students in order to strengthen academic support and professional relationships. Ball State also hosts the Beta Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.
Nursing students at Ball State enjoy a state of the art clinical simulation lab with high-fidelity adult and pediatric manikins.
Ball State has a very active Alumni Association that helps promote learning even after graduation. They offer scholarships to its members which can be used to further education.
- RN to BSN (online)
- MSN (online)
- Post Master’s Certificate
- Overall score: 58
- NCLEX pass rate: 95%
- Annual tuition: In-state $7,169.84, Out-of-state $20,277.04
- Graduation Rate: 39%
Indiana University Southeast is a regional campus of Indiana University founded in 1941. Described as an inclusive and student-centered campus, this school offers four different nursing programs. For RNs seeking to obtain their BSN, the school has the option for either an in-person program or an online program to suit the needs of the learner.
The School of Nursing mission statement is “to create a community of learning which supports excellence in education, utilizing evidence based practice to promote the health of the people we serve.”
IU Southeast offers lots of networking possibilities. There are social media opportunities and connections to local and national nursing organizations. There is also a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau and a Student Nurses Association.
- RN to BSN (in-person)
- RN to BSN (online)
- Overall score: 55
- NCLEX pass rate: 89.1%
- Annual tuition: In-state $7,267.60, Out-of-state $10,901.20
- Graduation Rate: 40.00%
Purdue University Northwest focuses on up-to-date evidence-based curriculum in order to provide their students with the best education possible. This prepares them for approaching patients with a holistic mindset.
The Purdue University Northwest College of Nursing earned the special distinction of NLN Center of Nursing Excellence in 2014 and 2018. This four year designation is bestowed to schools that “demonstrate sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, and in student learning and professional development.”
- RN to BSN (online)
- Accelerated BSN
- MSN (Nurse Educator, Nurse Executive, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist)
- Post-Master’s Certificate (Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist)
|School||Rank||In-state tuition||Out-of-state tuition||Accredited||NCLEX pass rate||Graduation rate||Programs offered|
|Purdue University-West Lafayette||1||$9,992||$28,794||Yes||96.10%||73%||BSN, MSN, DNP, Ph.D.|
|Valparaiso University||3||$43,400||$43,400||Yes||92.20%||69%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, DNP|
|Ball State University||3||$8,284||$25,518||Yes||93.40%||59%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN|
|Indiana University-Southeast||4||$7,169.84||$20,277.04||Yes||95.00%||39%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN|
|Purdue University-Northwest||5||$7,267.60||$10,901.20||Yes||89.10%||40%||BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, DNP|
Expert advice from nurses like you
How to choose the right nursing program
Nursing school is a tremendous challenge! It’s important to pick a program that speaks to your needs. Some of the most important factors to consider include location, tuition, NCLEX pass rates, available programs, and graduation rates.
Do you prefer attending classes in person or online? It’s important to keep in mind that you will be required to participate in clinical rotations. This is where learning takes place outside the traditional classroom setting. These take place in hospitals and other healthcare organizations. This is a must to consider when taking your commute into account.
Tuition is a huge factor when a choosing which school to go to. Are you an in-state or out-of-state student? Do you have scholarships or financial aid you will be able to take advantage of? Are you willing to take out student loans to pay for part of your tuition? These are all important questions to ask. You may also want to look at salaries and other benefits jobs are offering. This will help you come up with a repayment plan that works for you.
NCLEX pass rate
The NCLEX is the national licensure examination taken at the end of your nursing program in order to earn your nursing license. Programs with a high pass rate are more likely to adequately prepare you to take and pass the exam on the first try. There are many test-prep programs and study guides available to purchase out of pocket, but great schools integrate rigorous NCLEX practice exams throughout the curriculum.
Choose the school that has the right program to fit your needs. There are important considerations such as whether you want to commute to campus or attend online. Online programs are becoming more prevalent and are a great option for students needing more flexibility.
If you are looking to advance your career, does the school offer the specialty program you are looking for? Some schools offer multiple programs and degrees while others are more limited.
If you have any questions, you can always call the school and speak to someone in the nursing program.
Graduation rates on calculated on students finishing a degree program within 4-6 years. Nursing school can be extremely strenuous so look for a program that has tools in place to help you if you hit a snag. This can include tutoring, academic advisement, peer mentorship or other student support groups. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Keep in mind that nursing programs are eager to assist prospective applicants. If you see opportunities to communicate with academic counselors or program advisors prior to applying, dive in! Sometimes nursing schools offer “open-house” events, which can provide a more personalized peek into your academic future.
Be mindful of any application deadlines, as some programs only accept new applicants once or twice a year.
Good luck in your search for the perfect program – you’ve got this!
In order to determine the best nursing schools in a state, Incredible Health compared the top schools among five categories: graduation rate, tuition, NCLEX pass rate, accreditation, and the number of nursing programs offered. Each metric was scored on a 100-point scale with 100 representing the highest total for that category. Then we compiled the individual scores to get an overall score.
We used data from:
- University webpages
- Indiana Board of Nursing
- U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
- U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking
- “Ball State University School of Nursing.” bsu.edu. Accessed April 20, 2022.
- “Indiana University Kokomo School of Nursing.” iuk.edu. Accessed April 20, 2022.
- “Indiana University School of Nursing.” ius.edu/nursing/. Accessed April 20, 2022.
- “FAFSA.” studentaid.gov. Accessed April 22, 2022.
- “National League for Nursing.” www.nln.org. Accessed April 22, 2022.
- “Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics.” www.bls.gov. Accessed April 18, 2022.
- “Purdue University Northwest College of Nursing.” pnw.edu. Accessed April 20, 2022.
- “Purdue University Nursing.” admissions.purdue.edu. Accessed April 18, 2022.
- “Saint Mary’s Department of Nursing Science.” saintmarys.edu. Accessed April 20, 2022.
- “Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions.” valpo.edu. Accessed April 18, 2022
- Photo by Lady-Photo on iStock