I am from the Ventura County area (about an hour north of LA) and there are no longer any schools in this county that have waiting lists. We have one BSN program with a points system and is pretty competitive (450 applicants for 33-44 spots once a year depending on funding) and two community colleges that have changed from wait lists to points based systems. For the points based systems here, they take the highest scores each semester and if you don't get accepted within two years, you need to reapply. When they had wait lists, it took as long as 2.5 years to get accepted. I would recommend applying to wait list programs as soon as you meet the pre-requisites as a back up plan and then applying to more competitive programs to see if you can get in sooner. I think the key to starting sooner is to do the best you can in the core sciences (Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology), even if it means taking them in different semesters.
All the community colleges have also switched to points based so make sure you maintain a high GPA and get a good score on your TEAS, Plus volunteer or get a CNA license and work. There are more opportunities for points at CC in SD : for example : you get 5 pts for knowing a foreign language and also they award points for being low income and other hardships. At the csu/uc level its strictly GPA, TEAS and work/volunteer. Its very competative often if you cannot raise you GPA you will need to work as a CNA or other related job for a year to earn the max points in the work category to make up for other shortcomings.
I can confidently say that most community colleges in Los Angeles are not on a point system. They still use a lottery and do not factor in work experience or rank people based on points. If you meet their minimum requirements, you get thrown into a lottery. This is true for most of the schools within the LA Community College District.
Some schools (like LA County's School of Nursing or Rio Hondo) do use points exclusively and give you points for work experience. Others, (like GCC, PCC, LACC) use the chancellor's formula and then you get thrown into a lottery.
At some schools you get points for scoring over a certain score on the TEAS. Others just want you to pass the test based on their minimum score.
I'm not passing along this info to say that you should strive for the minimum. Of course let's shoot for straight A's since you will learn the material and be better prepared. I just wanted to point out that lottery selection is still going on in L.A.
I think at Moorpark College you would get a small amount of points for being in the armed forces and a few more for having work experience. It wouldn't surprise me if other programs have something similar.
Ventura college uses the point system now. You can get up to 100 points. If I turn everything in for the nursing program application, I calculated that i can have 81 points max. Is this a good chance of getting in right away? Compare to others, what's the usual or average points earned?