Navigating the Associate Degree Nursing Program Admission Point System: Eight FAQs

by Janice Watts
Nursing Department Chair and Associate Professor
Goodwin College

Someone, help me — I don’t understand!”

This frequent reaction from students beginning the application process for Goodwin College’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program inspired me to write this article. I hope this information increases their understanding of the evolution of the point system and why each component has value and meaning.

Let’s start with some frequently asked questions:

“Why is a point system necessary?”

A requirement of educational programs that prepare nursing students to take the registered nurse licensing exam is that at least 80% of the program’s graduates pass this exam on their first attempt. If they do not, and the program’s pass rate falls below 80%, the State Board of Examiners for Nursing (SBEN) can put the program on probation and potentially close the program. As a result, nursing programs must be very careful in selecting students for admission whom they believe will have the best chance at passing the coursework and licensing exam.

“Why don’t you get points for being a LPN or a nursing assistant?”

Prior healthcare experience may positively affect a student’s performance in the program, but not always. As Goodwin College is not involved in a student’s prior healthcare training, we cannot attest to the curriculum’s rigor.

“Do I get points for coursework not taken at Goodwin?”

When calculating the points for prior educational experience, any college-level, credit-bearing courses taken at another school and passed with a “C” or better are included into your overall Previous College Education score.

 “Should I take courses that I do not need in order to maximize the points in the ‘Courses Taken at Goodwin’ area?”

This answer is a bit more complicated. I would advise this only if you have already applied to the program and were short 1-2 points of the admitting score for that cohort. I would encourage you to speak with your academic advisor first. If you elect to take courses, take those that could be applied to your BSN degree after you complete the Associate Degree program.

“Why does the admitting score change from semester to semester?

The cut-off score cannot be determined until the entire applicant file pool has been reviewed. We start with the highest score and work our way down numerically until 64 students have been accepted. As a result, sometimes we cannot accept all of the students with a particular score. In that case, we look at the students who receive 7 points for courses taken at Goodwin and then assess that group by highest GPA.

Does my prior college GPA get factored in for points in this section of the score sheet?”

It does not; points for GPA are based on 12 or more credits at Goodwin College only.

“Can I practice taking the pre-entrance TEAS exam as many times as I want?”

No, you may only sign up to take the TEAS exam after you submit your application. As you may only apply 6 times, you may only attempt the TEAS 6 times.

“How does a student prepare for the TEAS?”

There are many products on the ATI website ( that can assist you in preparing for the exam. Reviewing your A&P texts is very helpful as well.

I hope you find this information helpful. The TEAS exam score is usually a major factor in determining who is accepted. This exam predicts early success in the nursing program as well as a student’s potential to pass the licensing exam following the conclusion of the program.

If I may be of any additional assistance, please feel free to contact me directly at 860-727-6919, email me at, or stop by my office in Room 509 at Goodwin’s main academic building at One Riverside Drive, East Hartford, Connecticut. The best of luck as you travel this journey to make your dream of becoming a professional registered nurse come true.

To learn more about the Nursing programs at Goodwin College, visit

Janice Watts is a seasoned registered nurse with decades of experience. She received her RN from Hartford Hospital School of Nursing and both her BSN and MSN from the University of Hartford. Jan began her career in Nursing in the field of geriatrics where her responsibilities spanned from staff nurse to Vice President of Patient Care in a large geriatric continuum. In 2004, she transitioned into the higher education arena when she joined Goodwin College as the fundamentals instructor. She went on to become Department Chair of the Nursing program and has had the honor of graduating thousands of nursing students. She can be reached at or phone.