Need suggestions on improving my chances

  1. Does anyone have any ideas on what I could do to improve my odds of getting into CRNA school? Here's my profile:

    I am a BSN nurse in a high volume surgical ICU at a major teaching hospital - I have worked here for the last 1.5 yrs, and I am in the process of applying to CRNA school for admission in the summer/fall of 2004. My experience also includes 3yrs of med-surg as an LPN,and I currently work part-time as an agency nurse.

    My overall GPA is about 3.1, nursing courses GPA 3.2, undergrad science courses GPA about a B minus. I recently took the new format GRE and got 1100 (out of 1600 I think) on the analytical section, and 4/6 on the writing section.

    I am currently considering two things: retaking the GRE, expecting to improve my scores, and/or retaking my undergrad org. chem. which I got a C in, hoping to at least bring it up to a B+.

    Any suggestions and comments are welcome and would be highly appreciated.

    By the way, this is my first post - what a great site for nurses, judging from the levels and variety of discussions!!

    raf2
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Athlein
    A few things come to mind:
    1. CCRN - a certification that speaks for itself.
    2. Teaching role - ACLS/PALS instructor.
    3. Leadership role - charge nurse, preceptor, committee head
    4. Jobshadowing - research what this profession is all about (surfing on gaswork.com and checking out salaries does NOT count); spend time with a CRNA at the head of the patient; understand the day-to-day professional role of the CRNA. Believe me, you will be asked about it - in some form or another.
    5. References - take time to cultivate a relationship with a CRNA or MDA who can speak positively about your attributes. You would be surprised by how many students submit marginal references. This tidbit comes directly from an admissions counselor. Choose wisely.
    6. GRE - an important aspect of your application that you can directly impact! Buy a study book, take the Kaplan class, etc. Commit to booty time (i.e your booty is in that chair, and you are focused in study). Prepare to excel. Nail it the first time so that you do not have to explain your underperformance on the initial exam. Remember that the cut-off scores schools require are just that - minimal. Averages of admitted students are often hundreds of points higher than the minimum at competitive programs.
    7. Grades - follow the lead of pre-med/pre-vet students who underperformed in a key class. Take a higher level class, not a repeat, and make an A. Why repeat a course if you only expect to increase your grade by a letter?
  4. by   sweetdreams
    I agree with what Athlein said above. In addition, call the directors of the programs you are applying to, set up a meeting and visit the campus. This visit works to your benefit in a couple of ways. First, its a chance to meet at least one of the people on the admission committee as well as visit with some of the current students who know better than anyone what it takes to get into the program. Second, you will be able to get a feel for the program and see if it would be a good fitl for you.
    I'm starting at Newman later this month. I chose it because of the impression the director made on me and the overall feel of the campus. I visited two other programs, one which had a definite Marine Corps feel to it. May be what some folks are looking for...not my cup of tea. My point is if I had gone by internet sites and application packets I would not have had this information.

    A word of advise on filling out the packet. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Ask questions of the program director on how you can improve yourself and follow the advise. Call to make sure your application arrived. Call to see what else you can do. Don't become a nuisance, but remain in contact often enough that when your application is reviewed you are a name with a face, not just a piece of paper.

    During your visit to the campus be aware you are having your first interview even though its not recognised as such; dress and act accordingly.

    You might consider reviewing Cinical Anesthesiology by Morgan and Mikhail to help bring to mind some questions to ask. By all means as mentioned above get next to a CRNA and shadow them all you can, both to give you an idea of what the job entails as well as what they feel are the most important issues in anesthesia today, ie Anesthesia assistants, third party reimbursement, etc.

    Dave
    Last edit by sweetdreams on Aug 5, '03
  5. by   SCHMEGGA
    Originally posted by sweetdreams
    ...A word of advise on filling out the packet. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Ask questions of the program director on how you can improve yourself and follow the advise. Call to make sure your application arrived. Call to see what else you can do. Don't become a nuisance, but remain in contact often enough that when your application is reviewed you are a name with a face, not just a piece of paper....Dave
    This is some of the best advice that you can get.
  6. by   raf2
    Thanks eveyone! Your advise is invaluable. I have in fact visited and "interviewed" with program directors at two of the programs I plan to apply to - these visits were very informative and encouraging in terms of the interaction w/ the people I met.

    Also, Athlein, your point on taking a higher level chemistry course is well recieved; I considered that option briefly but now that you have mentioned it I think I am going to do just that. I am currently studying for the CCRN exam, I registered to take it in two months.

    I know a few friends/co-workers who are MD anesthesiologists, one of whom I shadowed once and have continued to talk to extensively. However, just a week ago I met a seasoned CRNA at my institution who is willing to let me shadow her ; she happens to be on the board of admissions at one of the institutions I'm plannig to apply to - I will certainly take your advise to cultivate a resourceful relationship with her and get as much advise from her as possible.

    Again, thanks a million for the input. To anyone else viewing this posting, your comment and advise is highly solicited and will be very helpful!
    Last edit by raf2 on Aug 6, '03

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