Nursing Schools That Don't Require TEAS Tests In California

Nursing Schools That Don’t Require TEAS Tests In California


Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by II Editor

The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is a commonly required entrance exam for many nursing programs across the United States. However, not all nursing schools consider it mandatory. In this article, we provide an overview of six highly reputable nursing schools that don’t require TEAS tests in California.

What is the TEAS Exam?

Before diving into specific nursing programs that don’t require the TEAS, let’s first explain what this test is for those unfamiliar. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is a multiple choice assessment published by Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) that evaluates basic skills in reading, math, science, and English and language usage. Nursing program hopefuls commonly take the TEAS early in the admissions process to demonstrate that they have the fundamental academic prowess needed for the nursing curriculum.
The 170-item exam takes around 209 minutes (3 hours 29 minutes) to complete and includes questions in the following content areas:

  • Reading (53 questions)
  • Mathematics (36 questions)
  • Science (53 questions)
  • English and Language Usage (28 questions)

A candidate’s scores in each section are combined into an overall adjusted individual total score that many nursing schools use as part of their admissions criteria. While passing scores can vary between programs, most schools look for adjusted individual scores in the range of 58-84%.

Why Some Schools Don’t Require the TEAS

With the prevalence of the TEAS as an admissions standard, the natural question arises – why do some schools opt not to use it? There are a few key reasons why certain California nursing programs have chosen to forego requiring TEAS scores:
Holistic Admissions Process – Some schools aim to take a more well-rounded view of applicants and don’t want test scores to be the sole factor impacting admissions decisions. Things like experience, recommendations, and essays still matter greatly.
Accessibility – Not requiring standardized testing helps promote accessibility and removes potential barriers for those intimidated by or challenged by testing conditions. This opens opportunities.
Alternative Pathways – Some 2-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs in California partner with vocational colleges that don’t have the same testing standards as traditional universities.

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Nursing Schools That Don’t Require TEAS Tests In California

Now, let’s explore some specific California nursing schools that do not require TEAS scores as part of their admissions evaluation process.

1. University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

UCSF is one of the world’s top-ranked public research universities and health sciences centres. Its School of Nursing is consistently ranked among the best in the nation.
UCSF does not require applicants to take standardized entrance exams like the TEAS. Instead, the admission criteria focus more on the student’s academic performance, work experience, and other qualifications.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at UCSF considers factors such as the overall and science GPA from previous college courses, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement outlining the applicant’s motivation to study nursing, and a demonstration of relevant work or volunteer experience. No minimum GPA or TEAS score is mandated.
According to UCSF School of Nursing officials, the TEAS is seen as only one measure of a student’s potential and does not comprehensively evaluate all the skills and attributes required for success in the profession. The holistic review process allows them to evaluate applicants from diverse backgrounds in a fair and balanced manner.

2. University of California, Irvine

The School of Nursing at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is another top-ranked program that does not require TEAS scores. Applicants to the BSN degree are evaluated based on their undergraduate GPA in prerequisite courses, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and work or volunteer experience in healthcare settings.
UCI takes a flexible approach as it recognizes that strengths, skills and commitments can manifest in different ways for different individuals. Officials believe factors like motivation, communication skills, critical thinking, and passion for nursing are better assessed through a review of the overall application package rather than reliance on a single standardized test score.
The school maintains that the careful screening of applications allows admission of students who demonstrate strong academic performance as well as personal qualities of leadership, commitment to community service, and motivation to care for patients from diverse backgrounds.

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3. Dominican University of California

Dominican University of California offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through its School of Health and Natural Sciences. The university takes a non-traditional route by not mandating the TEAS or any other entrance exams.
Instead of test scores, Dominican evaluates applicants based on their prior academic achievement, an essay, two letters of recommendation, and healthcare experience. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is preferred but not required.
Dominican believes the TEAS provides a narrow view of an applicant’s potential. By considering qualitative factors in addition to grades, the holistic review process allows them to welcome students from non-traditional pathways who may not test well but have other strengths highly relevant to the nursing profession.
The intimate classroom environment and emphasis on community engagement also make Dominican an inclusive option for students seeking a personalized education. This student-centred approach is another reason the university relies more on comprehensive application materials than standardized admissions exams.

4. San Bernardino Valley College

San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) is a public community college that offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) without requiring TEAS scores.
For admission to the nursing program, SBVC evaluates a student’s transcripts, prerequisites completed with grades of C or better, and a writing sample. Additional points are awarded for work or volunteer experience in healthcare.
As an open-access institution, SBVC aims to remove barriers that could limit opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Relying solely on testing could discriminate against those who need more holistic consideration of their background and potential.
By using a broad-based review, SBVC believes it can welcome students who would otherwise be excluded, expand the pool of future nurses, and better serve the diverse populations in its region. The college works to support student success through resources like tutoring, counseling and financial aid.

5. California State University, Fullerton

The California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) offers a TEAS-optional BSN program through its College of Health and Human Development. Applicants are evaluated based on prerequisite GPA, two professional recommendations, and a statement of purpose.
CSUF acknowledges that testing presents difficulties for some qualified candidates due to circumstances like language barriers, learning disabilities or test anxiety. A holistic review allows equitable consideration of all applicants regardless of their testing profiles.
By providing an alternative pathway, CSUF believes it can welcome more students from diverse backgrounds and expand access to the nursing profession. Its student-centred approach aims to recruit individuals who show academic strength and personal qualities like compassion, work ethic, and commitment to service – qualities not always captured through standardized tests alone.

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6. Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt University is a private university in Oakland known for its prestigious nursing programs. It considers applicants to the BSN, Masters and Doctorate programs without requiring TEAS scores.
Evaluated factors include prerequisites completed, overall GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a background essay responding to prompts about the applicant’s experiences, career goals and fit for the profession.
According to Samuel Merritt administrators, focusing too narrowly on standardized tests fails to consider nursing candidates’ multidimensional strengths. A holistic review process allows a fair assessment of candidates’ motivation, communication skills, leadership potential and commitment to patient-centred care. It also expands opportunities for students with varied educational experiences and backgrounds.
By offering a TEAS-optional path, Samuel Merritt aims to recruit individuals who demonstrate excellence through diverse achievements rather than test scores alone. Its student-centered philosophy of care aligns with an inclusive, equitable and multi-factorial approach to admissions decisions.


In summary, the top nursing schools highlighted in this article have opted not to require the TEAS test as part of their admission criteria. These highly reputed universities and colleges in California recognize that standardized test scores provide only a partial view of candidate qualifications.
By utilizing comprehensive, holistic reviews, they welcome more diverse applicants and consider students’ strengths demonstrated through multiple means – including community service, leadership, motivation, communication skills, compassion and relevant experiences. This equitable approach aims to recruit individuals who will excel not just academically but also as caring, skilled and committed nursing professionals.
Knowing about TEAS-optional institutions expands the range of quality programs that can be considered for prospective students. It demonstrates how top-tier nursing education values multidimensional excellence over any single metric. Students who may face difficulties with standardized testing still have opportunities to pursue prestigious nursing degrees and fulfil their dream of caring for patients through these schools’ inclusive and student-centred admissions process.

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