Nursing Schools That Don't Require TEAS Tests in California

Nursing Schools That Don’t Require TEAS Tests in California

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by NAMS Editor

The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) has become a standard admissions requirement for many nursing programs across the United States. However, some top nursing schools in California have opted to not use TEAS scores as part of their admissions criteria. This article provides an overview of six such institutions and their alternative admissions approaches.

UCSF School of Nursing

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing is ranked #1 in California and #3 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. As one of the premier nursing schools in the country with an emphasis on research, UCSF does not require applicants to take the TEAS.

Instead of solely focusing on standardized test scores, UCSF prioritizes a holistic review of applicants. They consider factors like undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement detailing an applicant’s motivation for and commitment to nursing. UCSF values applicants who demonstrate strong academic success, critical thinking abilities, leadership potential, and commitment to serving vulnerable populations.

By not requiring TEAS scores, UCSF aims to promote diversity in their student body and give fair consideration to all qualified applicants—not just those who excel on standardized tests. They recognize that test scores are not always the best indicator of who will succeed in their rigorous nursing program and future careers as nurse leaders and researchers.

UC Irvine School of Nursing

Like UCSF, the University of California Irvine (UC Irvine) School of Nursing is also a top 10 ranked program nationally. UC Irvine does not use TEAS scores in their pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) admissions process.

Instead, they evaluate applicants based on prerequisite GPA, overall UC transferable GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. UC Irvine values well-rounded applicants who demonstrate strong academics, leadership, commitment to community service, and the ability to overcome challenges.

They recognize that standardized test scores only provide a limited snapshot of an applicant. By not requiring TEAS, UC Irvine aims to promote a diverse and inclusive learning environment in their program. They are able to consider the full profile of each applicant rather than relying heavily on a single standardized test.

Dominican University of California

Dominican University of California is a private university located in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. Their accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program does not use TEAS scores in admissions decisions.

Rather than placing undue emphasis on standardized test scores, Dominican selects ABSN students based on their prerequisite GPA, overall college GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. They aim to admit those who demonstrate strong academics, motivation for nursing as a career, critical thinking skills, and interpersonal qualities like compassion.

By foregoing TEAS requirements, Dominican believes they can consider life experiences, community service, resilience, and other qualities that don’t necessarily show on a test but make someone well-suited for nursing. Their holistic review process promotes diversity and values qualities beyond standardized test-taking ability.

San Bernardino Valley College

San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) is a community college located in San Bernardino, California. Their Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program does not require TEAS scores for admission.

Instead of relying heavily on standardized tests, SBVC considers multiple factors in a comprehensive application review process. Applicants must complete specific prerequisite courses with a minimum grade and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above. They must also demonstrate work or volunteer experience in a healthcare setting through a resume.

By not mandating TEAS, SBVC aims to promote accessibility and opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds. They believe this holistic process provides a fairer evaluation of an applicant’s potential that standardized exams alone cannot capture. Their goal is to admit students who will succeed in the nursing program and profession regardless of standardized test performance.

California State University, Fullerton

At California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), the TEAS is optional rather than required for admission to their entry-level Master’s Nursing program. Applicants have the choice to submit TEAS scores or not.

CSUF evaluates applicants based primarily on their last 60 units/semesters of relevant coursework with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. They aim to admit well-rounded individuals who show strong academics, leadership qualities, commitment to community service, and motivation to pursue an advanced nursing career.

By making TEAS scores optional, CSUF believes they can have a comprehensive and realistic view of each applicant beyond just a test score. Those who feel TEAS doesn’t reflect their abilities still have an equal opportunity to be reviewed for admission. This approach values attributes that don’t necessarily show on standardized exams.

Samuel Merritt University

Samuel Merritt University is a private university located in Oakland, California with top 10 ranked nursing programs. Their entry-level Master’s in Nursing program does not use TEAS scores as an admissions requirement.

Rather than relying heavily on a single standardized exam, Samuel Merritt conducts a holistic application review including GPA from the last 60 units of coursework, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. They aim to admit those who show strong academics, leadership promise, relevant nursing experience, resilience, motivation for an advanced degree, and commitment to community service.

By not mandating TEAS, Samuel Merritt believes they create a fairer process for applicants to demonstrate their readiness for graduate nursing school through multiple factors beyond a one-time test score. Their comprehensive approach values qualities of character not always reflected on standardized exams.


As demonstrated by these six highly ranked California nursing programs, alternatives to solely relying on TEAS scores do exist. A holistic application review considering multiple factors like prerequisites, overall GPA, experience, recommendations, and personal statements can provide a more comprehensive view of each applicant. This approach aims to promote diversity, opportunity, and fairness for those who may not test well but have the skills and qualities to succeed in nursing. While TEAS continues to be a useful tool, these programs show that other admissions criteria alone can serve equally well in selecting qualified nursing students. Focusing too narrowly on a single standardized test risks overlooking promising candidates nursing programs aim to serve.

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