Top 10 Nursing Schools in California That Don’t Require TEAS Test


The TEAS is a common hurdle for aspiring nurses in California. While many nursing schools rely on the TEAS score as part of their admissions criteria, knowing that it’s not the only route to becoming a registered nurse (RN) in this vibrant healthcare state is essential.

This guide is designed to help you navigate the exciting world of nursing schools in California that don’t require TEAS. We understand that standardized tests can present challenges for some students, and we want to empower you to find the program that best suits your strengths and academic background.

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Holistic Admissions Explained

Many California nursing schools have embraced a holistic admissions approach beyond a single TEAS test score. This method provides a more comprehensive picture of your potential for success as a nurse. Holistic admissions take into account a variety of factors, including:

  • GPA: Your academic performance in prerequisite coursework demonstrates your ability to handle the rigors of a nursing program.
  • Prerequisite Coursework: Completing the required science and general education courses is essential for foundational knowledge in nursing.
  • Personal Statements: This is your chance to shine! Use your statement to showcase your motivations for pursuing nursing, relevant experiences (healthcare or otherwise), and personal qualities that align with the nursing profession.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Your involvement in volunteer work, healthcare settings, or leadership roles can demonstrate your commitment to service, teamwork, and time management – all crucial nursing qualities.

By considering these diverse aspects, holistic admissions programs aim to identify well-rounded candidates with the academic ability, personal drive, and qualities needed to thrive in nursing.

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Nursing Schools in California That Don't Require TEAS
Nursing Schools in California That Don’t Require TEAS

California Nursing Schools That Don’t Require TEAS Test

The good news is that several accredited California nursing schools offer TEAS-alternative admissions. Here are ten notable options to consider:

  1. University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco): This prestigious university offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that doesn’t require the TEAS exam. They utilize a holistic review process that considers GPA, prerequisite coursework, personal statements, and letters of recommendation.
  2. University of California, Irvine (Irvine): Like UCSF, UC Irvine’s BSN program forgoes the TEAS requirement. Their holistic review focuses on academic achievement, personal qualities, and dedication to nursing, as demonstrated through application materials.
  3. Dominican University of California (San Rafael): Dominican University’s BSN program welcomes applications without the TEAS. Their admissions process emphasizes a well-rounded applicant, evaluating factors such as GPA, prerequisite coursework, a writing sample, and a healthcare experience essay.
  4. California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton): CSU Fullerton’s BSN program stands out for not requiring TEAS or HESI exams. They consider high school and college transcripts, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a possible faculty interview. Important Note: CSU Fullerton currently only accepts applications from California residents.
  5. Samuel Merritt University (Oakland): This private university offers a two-year Transfer BSN program that recently eliminated the TEAS or HESI A2 requirement starting in Spring 2024. Ideal for students with a previous bachelor’s degree-seeking a career shift to nursing.
  6. San Bernardino Valley College (San Bernardino): This community college offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program that doesn’t require the TEAS. ADN graduates can then pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through a transfer program to a four-year institution.
  7. Holy Names University (Oakland): Holy Names University’s BSN program offers a holistic admissions process that does not require the TEAS. The admissions committee considers GPA, prerequisite coursework, a writing sample, and an interview to assess a candidate’s fit for the program.
  8. National University (Multiple Locations): This private university system offers a BSN program at various California campuses. While the TEAS is not mandatory, they may recommend it for some students based on their academic background. It’s best to check with the specific campus you’re interested in for details.
  9. California State University, Los Angeles (Los Angeles): CSU Los Angeles’ BSN program utilizes a holistic review process and does not require the TEAS. They consider GPA, prerequisite coursework, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and participation in healthcare-related experiences.
  10. Mount Saint Mary’s University (Los Angeles): Mount Saint Mary’s offers a traditional BSN program and an RN-to-BSN program without a TEAS requirement. Their admissions process is holistic, focusing on GPA, prerequisite coursework, a writing sample, and a personal interview.

Remember: While these schools don’t require the TEAS, each has specific application requirements. It’s crucial to visit the program webpage (linked above for each school) for detailed information on prerequisites, application deadlines, and any additional testing they might require.

How To Stand Out in a TEAS-Free Application

So you’ve identified California nursing programs that don’t require the TEAS? Fantastic! Now it’s time to craft a compelling application that highlights your strengths and sets you apart from other aspiring nurses. Here are some key strategies to remember:

  • Shine in Your Prerequisite Courses: Since the TEAS isn’t part of the equation, your prerequisite science and nursing-related coursework performance takes center stage. Focus on achieving strong grades in these classes. This demonstrates your ability to grasp foundational knowledge critical for nursing success.

  • Craft a Powerful Personal Statement: This is your chance to tell your unique story! Go beyond listing accomplishments. Use the personal statement to showcase your passion for nursing, relevant experiences (healthcare volunteering, shadowing programs), and personal qualities that align with the profession. Be clear, concise, and enthusiastic – make the admissions committee see why YOU belong in their nursing program.

  • Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation: Letters from professors who know your academic capabilities and work ethic can significantly bolster your application. Additionally, consider requesting a letter from a healthcare professional you’ve shadowed or volunteered with. Their firsthand account of your skills and potential can be invaluable.

You can demonstrate your readiness for a nursing career by excelling in these areas, even without a TEAS score. Remember, a solid academic foundation, a compelling personal narrative, and endorsements from respected professionals can create a winning application in TEAS-alternative programs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about TEAS-Alternative Admissions in California

Considering a TEAS-alternative nursing program in California? Here are some answers to common questions:

1. Are there any downsides to programs without the TEAS?

TEAS-alternative programs offer a great path but have a few considerations:

  • Competition: These programs might attract more applicants, making admissions more competitive. Ensure your application shines (see “Standing Out in a TEAS-Free Application”).
  • Program Requirements: Each program has prerequisites and expectations. Research thoroughly to ensure you meet them before applying.

2. What if a program recommends but doesn’t require the TEAS?

If a program recommends the TEAS, consider taking it, especially if your GPA or prerequisite coursework needs a boost. A good score strengthens your application and demonstrates your readiness for academic challenges.

3. Are there financial aid options for nursing programs?

Absolutely! Grants, scholarships, and loans are available for qualified students. Research federal and state programs and aid offered directly by the schools you’re interested in.

4. How can I prepare for a TEAS-alternative program?

  • Strengthen your science foundation: If possible, take additional science courses (anatomy and physiology). Brush up on math for dosage calculations, a crucial nursing skill.
  • Gain relevant experience: Volunteer at hospitals, clinics, or senior care facilities. Shadow nurses to observe their work environment and daily tasks.
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills: Effective communication is essential for nurses to collaborate with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.

5. Where can I find more information about TEAS-alternative programs?

This article is a great start! Additionally, you can contact the nursing program advisors at the schools you’re interested in. They can provide detailed information about their admissions requirements, curriculum, and financial aid options.


Choosing a nursing program in California that doesn’t require the TEAS test can open many doors for aspiring nurses. These programs often utilize holistic admissions processes, focusing on various aspects of a candidate’s background, thus making nursing education more accessible to a broader range of students.

By excelling in prerequisite courses, crafting compelling personal statements, and obtaining solid letters of recommendation, you can create a standout application that showcases your readiness and enthusiasm for a nursing career.

Considering these TEAS-free options, thoroughly research each program’s requirements and deadlines to ensure a smooth application process. Your journey to becoming a registered nurse in California is attainable—embrace these opportunities and take the following steps toward your future in healthcare.

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