MCC or ASU?

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    First off: Hello All! I am SO happy to have found this forum – it has been an invaluable resource and I’ve spent countless hours reading here! Thank you everyone who has contributed their wealth of knowledge here, it is greatly appreciated!

    I am an NAU graduate with a totally unrelated degree to Nursing. I graduated right at the turn of the economy fallout, and wasn’t able to get into the career I had studied for. I had to fall back into what I was trying to get out of at the time, which was (and is) IT Helpdesk / Tech Support / PC Support, after not finding work related to my field of study for over a year after graduation.

    Immediately after graduation, during my job-hunting, freelance work here-and-there and scraping up anything I could get to survive, I had plenty of time on my hands. Some of my time was wasted in depression and defeat, but the surplus of free time ended up being a great opportunity in the end. I learned a lot about who I was, and began to learn more about the field of Nursing. I learned through discussion with friends, relatives, and acquaintances that I really wanted to pursue this career, as it fit my lifestyle and life goals.

    I wasn’t really sure which route to go, ASU’s BSN or MCC’s program. I decided that rather than to continue to sit around and try to figure it out, I’d start working on it, regardless, which was a turning point in my life, after my bubble of “great job and great pay after degree” was burst.

    I went with MCC, since it was the cheaper of the two options, offered (roughly) the same graduation date, (Or so I thought at the time) the same certification, and due to the fact that I have no options for financial aid now that I have a bachelor’s degree, and I already was broke and had debt from a previous degree. This decision also was before I had any knowledge of pay differences, difficulty in finding work with AND vs. BSN, etc. – I just figured an RN is an RN, and that is that. Maricopa CC had a year-and-a-half wait, and ASU was going to take roughly 3-4 years to complete, and Maricopa CC was significantly less expensive than ASU. So either way, after 3-4 years I would have an RN certification and begin my career. Also, at that time I decided I could always go the RN-BSN route if I decided to further my education in the future, and I would have the funds to do it, as well, since I would already be working.

    Unfortunately, as life moved on, my time-frame wasn’t entirely accurate, and I’m now approaching my 2-year-mark after deciding to take the leap, and have all my MCC pre- and co-requisites done. I am just now getting my application packet together to be processed by this application period. (Hopefully, it’s getting down to the wire and still waiting for fingerprint ID… :-\) I’m hearing now that there is a 2-year waiting period, which means I will graduate, at the soonest, in 4 years.

    I’m applying to MCC anyway, but I am strongly reconsidering my original decision. I am wondering if my graduation date would be the same if I were to transfer these credits to ASU and go with the BSN. Keep in mind that I’ve already got a BFA from NAU, so a lot of the requirements would already be met for ASU. I know now, after having a couple more years of knowledge, experience, and education, that the BSN would be a stronger foundation and would provide me more opportunity for career options. However, to further the complication, I’m the sole financial provider for my partner and child, and if I were not able to work, it would be a detrimental hit to our family. Yet another reason the MCC option is more appealing, as GCC offers a “night-and-weekends” RN program. I could keep my existing job, which, while monotonous and emotionally draining, is a fairly well-paying job.

    Throughout this process I’ve found that there isn’t a lot of clear-cut information on either program, especially in regards to the wait lists, the program requirements, expected graduation dates, etc. I can’t get specific information online, (it seems to change every semester) and I get mixed reports from advisors, never really receiving any solid facts. I am currently working on a contract with my company and am temporarily located in Australia, so talking to anyone with any familiarity or “inside knowledge” is very difficult, due to the time/day difference.

    I’m nearing what should be the halfway point of my career, but am still a few years from even starting a new one… It’s very discouraging and emotionally-challenging at times. I’m keeping my head up and keeping my determination; I try to remind myself continually that hard work will pay off, and difficult circumstances builds character!

    Sorry for the lengthy post – I know everyone has their unique circumstances and each is affected and affects how they are pursuing their dream. I think it’s important to disclose mine if I want fair, rounded advice. If you’ve lasted this long, I appreciate it very much! I would appreciate any advice and/or input anyone has regarding my decision of waiting it out with MCC for an undetermined amount of time, or taking what I’ve already got and pressing forward with ASU and their BSN program.

    Cliff notes:
    1.) Graduated with BFA but couldn’t get job
    2.) Now working in undesired field with family to support financially
    3.) Has credits from previous degree & pre- / co-req’s for MCC program
    4.) Just applying for MCC which has 2-year wait list
    5.) Should I apply for ASU instead, and get bachelor degree, instead of MCC associate degree?
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

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    Well, my advice to you is why do either? Look in to your alma mater's accelerated program. I applied there for this year's entrance. It requires a bachelor's degree, and the program can be completed in 1 year (12 months). In addition, you would have most if not all the prereqs done so you could enter right away.

    Sadly, you didn't post this soon enough, as the application deadline was January 15. But definitely look in to the program for next year if you are still debating the options---you get a BSN in that program as well, however it is in Flagstaff but my understanding is classes are only 1-2 days a week and clinicals are all over. So it is still feasible to live in Phoenix, which is what I intend to do (if I am accepted).

    As for ASU vs MCC, my advice is go for both. Don't let deadlines and what-if's stop you from pursuing either. Go after both and whichever works out will be the right choice in the end.
    KristeyK likes this.
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    Thanks for the advice!

    I will look into the accelerated program; that sounds like a MUCH better solution to what I'm starting to see as a "never-ending college career." I think you're referring to NAU, but not sure... So I'll just Google it.

    I guess you're right about ASU vs MCC too... Never thought about the fact that I can apply to both and go from there. (Not sure why?!) Right now just hanging out until June when I get back into the States.
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    apply to both. that's what i did, and ended up in the gcc weekend program (got a scholarship through a single parents program that let me bypass the wait list). or, if your last school offers it, do the accelerated course.

    also, new grads, either bsn or adn, make very comparable pay. the biggest difference i've heard is 25cents/hour. of course with a bsn you can move further up the chain and make more- and if you you do go an adn route, your bsn can be done all online through asu in 12 months following your RN licensure. that's my plan and i'm going to end up saving about $10,000 doing it this way.
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    Thanks fromthesea! I really think the main reason I wanted to go (and still am leaning toward going) the MCC route was for $$ reasons.

    a.) Tuition is cheaper and I will have to pay this on my own, out of pocket - Student loans aren't available to people w/ bachelor's degrees

    b.) I can work at the same time as going to school. Being able to stay out of even more debt is very appealing. Being able to put food on the table and a roof over my family's head is also very appealing.

    c.) RN-BSN allows me to lock in pricing (At ASU anyway) right now, and I can work at the same time as pursuing it as well.

    Seems like a no-brainer, but I don't want to be going to school forever either... So that's why I always second-guess my decision.

    Also, you mentioned bypassing the wait list... This is exactly what I'm talking about in my post above: When I talk to advisors or pull information from the school websites, I NEVER offers this sort of information. I didn't know there was ANY way to bypass the wait list. This is the sort of invaluable information that I think advisors should be passing on, and it should be made readily available on the website, but I always seem to get it second-hand, from students who were made aware of it through some other channel of communication.

    Why is there so much mystery to these programs, the ability to bypass the wait list (but how?), tricks to getting into certain schools, I could go on and on and on...

    But thank you for your input, either way!
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    Who told you loans weren't available to people with prior BS's? Grants aren't available, loans are.

    There is no difference between a new grad adn & a new grad bsn; they're both new nurses who need to be trained. Apply to both, but stay away from private schools.
    foxybrown78 and fromtheseaRN like this.
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    I have only received loan info back from Scottsdale Community College, when I first applied for financial aid. (The advisor told me not to expect much, if anything, since i already had a degree.) I applied anyway, and wasn't eligible for any loans, from the finaid dept. (I'm guessing they only check for government loans?)

    I have learned quickly to run screaming from private schools - thanks for the tip!

    I have applied to MCC's nursing program but will have to take a couple more classes to apply for ASU. I won't be able to do that until, at the soonest, Fall 2011, when I'm back in the States. But I think I'll probably do it anyway, since it would be that much less work if I do the RN-BSN route after graduating from MCC, assuming I get in there.

    Thank you for the advice!
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    you kind of have to dig around to see the ways of getting around the wait list. i only knew the single mom's scholarship because the nursing advisor at phoenix college emailed me about it after i turned in my application. i believe there's a program for banner employees but you have to attend the boswell campus, and if nothing has changed, there's also a group for john c lincoln employees at scottsdale community college. phoenix college has a cohort for bilingual (spanish/english) nurses. any of this can no longer be true, it was just the case when i was applying. haven't really paid attention since i got in.
    your best bet for figuring out the options are to dig around on the maricopa nursing website, or to contact the nursing advisor of whatever campus you applied at.
    also, like cursed said, it sounds like the financial aid office only looked for grants, etc for you. there's no reason you can't get federal loans, they don't check for federal loans, you have to apply through fafsa.ed.gov for those (your campus financial aid office will be able to give you your school code, which you will need for the application)
    i also signed my tuition-locking contract with ASU a year ago when i was in block 1, i just have to finish my bachelor within... 3 or 5 years of finishing my adn, i don't recall which, and i pay today's tuition rate. it's a pretty great deal considering they're raising the tuition by up to 20% each year (or so the rep said).
    good luck to you!
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    You will not be eligible for lonas until you are actually ENROLLED in the degree seeking program. Pre-reqs don't cut it, you have to cover those on your own usually. But yes, loans are available to 2nd degree seekers once your schol has you listed as being enrolled in a degree program. I did NAU's accelerated program and got loans when I needed them. But, it could also be that you've already met the cap of undergrad loans...the government caps what they'll give now because of what happened in the 90' with people taking out endless amounts of loans. So, do your research, and talk to a financial aid officer who knows what they're talking about :-) Good luck!
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    UofA also has a new direct entry Masters nursing program that is 15 months. That might be a great option too...especially if your undergrad loan offering is capped out, because then you would be awarded loans based on your graduate status.


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