Question about School "prestige"

  1. Hi!

    I wonder if anyone could offer me an opinion about something...This probably sounds like a stupid question, but I was wondering if it matters what school you get your BSN or MSN from. The people I've talked to (none in nursing) says it doesn't matter, but I get the feeling from them that they kind of look down on nursing in general, so while it would matter to them where you got your MD, for nursing why bother caring?

    I know that the most important thing is a good education and getting that RN!! But I wonder if having a degree from a well-known, respected school would give me an edge in the job market. And especially with an MSN, for instance doing private practice as an NP, how much difference would it make to go to a lesser known school?

    What do you think??

    Thanx!

    Vicky
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   llg
    There are a few times when it matters, but in many cases, it doesn't. Personally, I have always chosen to go to well-respected schools to be on the safe side.

    One thing you have to ask yourself is, "Why does one school have a better reputation than another?" In my community, we have 2 schools with a passing rate for the NCLEX exam (RN license exam) around 50%. That is abysmal Half of their graduates can't pass the exam to get their license! In a case like that, they DESERVE a poor reputation and I would stay away from such a school.

    In most cases, however, it is not so clear cut and objective. The differences between schools may be less obvious -- particularly to those who are not experts in such things. It's harder to say that there is a good reason for paying more money or tolerating more inconvenience to go to the more prestigeous school.

    For most circumstances ... as long as a school has a GOOD repututation, it won't hurt you to go there, even if there are schools with a slightly better reputation. However, if a school has a bad reputation, it might hurt you -- particular if that bad reputation is deserved. You don't have to go to the BEST school, necessarily -- but it does pay to go to a GOOD one.

    Does that make sense?

    llg
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    My school was FAR from "prestigious" but DID boast a 99% first-time pass rates for NCLEX-RN boards since the inception of its nursing school program. I have had no problem securing the position of my choice since graduation and passing boards. My priority was getting educated and passing boards first time. I have done fine since.
  5. by   elizabells
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    My school was FAR from "prestigious" but DID boast a 99% first-time pass rates for NCLEX-RN boards since the inception of its nursing school program. I have had no problem securing the position of my choice since graduation and passing boards. My priority was getting educated and passing boards first time. I have done fine since.
    Not a nurse yet, but in law I've been told by many a partner that they'd prefer to hire someone who went to a "pretty good" school rather than, say, Harvard, because there's less of the "Well, I went to Haaaaarvard" thing.

    Not saying Ivy Leaguers are like this! I'm going to Columbia, just repeating what employers have told me! No one get mad!
  6. by   Spacklehead
    I've thought about this, also, while deciding where to go for my MSN. As far as getting into a grad. program, I think it might give you a slightly better advantage if you went to a school with a well-respected "nursing program" - not necessarily a well-respected "school." I'm sure there are some well-known, prestigous schools out there with less than great nursing programs, and vice-versa. What influenced my decision on where to go for my MSN were the class size, the passing rate on the certification exam, how long the program has been around, its accredidation, the cost, and if the faculty are actually practicing currently as NP's or are more dedicated to research. For my personal reasons, I preferred the school whose faculty are currently practicing as NP's.

    As far as job placement, I don't think what school one went to matters much at all as compared to how much experience one has related to the position. Hope this makes sense!
  7. by   Speculating
    They don't care where you received your degree as long as you have one. The only time it would make difference is 1) they aren't an accredited college or 2) you got it off the internet.
  8. by   bruinlaura
    after telling them i'm going to columbia, i've had several nurses tell me that it doesn't matter where you get your degree as long as the school is accredited. i know that that is probably true if you are stopping at asn or bsn. i have no idea about the msn but i think that if you are planning on going into private practice an msn from a prestigious research university couldn't hurt. same probably goes for anyone planning on going into education.

    btw, i personally have wanted to go to columbia since i visited the campus when i was 17 yrs old (they rejected me when i applied out of high school) so i pretty much don't care if it doesn't matter. if you really want to go somewhere then you might as well go for it.
  9. by   lady_jezebel
    Quote from VictoriaBrooke
    Hi!

    I wonder if anyone could offer me an opinion about something...This probably sounds like a stupid question, but I was wondering if it matters what school you get your BSN or MSN from. The people I've talked to (none in nursing) says it doesn't matter, but I get the feeling from them that they kind of look down on nursing in general, so while it would matter to them where you got your MD, for nursing why bother caring?

    I know that the most important thing is a good education and getting that RN!! But I wonder if having a degree from a well-known, respected school would give me an edge in the job market. And especially with an MSN, for instance doing private practice as an NP, how much difference would it make to go to a lesser known school?

    What do you think??

    Thanx!

    Vicky
    I went to a very good undergrad school for the BSN. It has definitely been an advantage for me with employment, and I feel confident that I will get accepted in any graduate nursing program I choose. If you're an NP working with MDs, the added prestige can give you a boost with the interview process & in your professional relationships.

    However, attending a non-prestigous program is not a barrier to anything you want in this field. It's simply a slight advantage when you are competing with other RNs for jobs or a place in school. There are other ways to do this -- charge nurse experience, precepting, doing presentations/inservices, critical care competency, obtaining certifications, publishing, etc... In fact, those things ultimately matter more than which school you attend.
    Last edit by lady_jezebel on Apr 15, '05
  10. by   lady_jezebel
    Quote from elizabells
    Not a nurse yet, but in law I've been told by many a partner that they'd prefer to hire someone who went to a "pretty good" school rather than, say, Harvard, because there's less of the "Well, I went to Haaaaarvard" thing.

    Not saying Ivy Leaguers are like this! I'm going to Columbia, just repeating what employers have told me! No one get mad!
    This doesn't really exist in nursing. I had one professor from Yale who was kindof an arrogant windbag, but I've never met a well-educated bedside nurse who puts on airs or any such garbage. I have met MDs like that, though!
  11. by   mercyteapot
    Quote from llg
    There are a few times when it matters, but in many cases, it doesn't. Personally, I have always chosen to go to well-respected schools to be on the safe side.

    One thing you have to ask yourself is, "Why does one school have a better reputation than another?" In my community, we have 2 schools with a passing rate for the NCLEX exam (RN license exam) around 50%. That is abysmal Half of their graduates can't pass the exam to get their license! In a case like that, they DESERVE a poor reputation and I would stay away from such a school.

    In most cases, however, it is not so clear cut and objective. The differences between schools may be less obvious -- particularly to those who are not experts in such things. It's harder to say that there is a good reason for paying more money or tolerating more inconvenience to go to the more prestigeous school.

    For most circumstances ... as long as a school has a GOOD repututation, it won't hurt you to go there, even if there are schools with a slightly better reputation. However, if a school has a bad reputation, it might hurt you -- particular if that bad reputation is deserved. You don't have to go to the BEST school, necessarily -- but it does pay to go to a GOOD one.

    Does that make sense?

    llg
    I totally agree. Most schools with bad reputation have them for a valid reason, and you'd do well to stay away from them. I am less convinced that going to a more "prestigious" school for a degree like nursing, will make any difference career-wise. So much of the judgment and decision making ability that goes along with being a good nurse can only come from being on the job that I don't think it makes a huge difference if you can get your degree from (for example) Penn State or University of Pennsylvania. Both have excellent NCLEX pass rates, and both have grads that have become great nurses over time. Penn State is much less expensive and, if you're willing to go to a branch campus for a couple of years, much easier to get in.
  12. by   Tweety
    I think it also depends on the nurse manager and recruiter and their philosphy. If they went to lesser known schools, they might not hold such degrees in high prestige.

    I also think that if you want to get into teaching or acedemia it might give you an edge to go to a more prestigious school.

    I went to an NLN approved community college, with a good local reputation but totally unknown here in Florida and it hasn't hurt me. I also choose a good NLN approved school that isn't very well known to get my RN to BSN.

    Choose the best school you can get into and can afford, that's NLN approved, that fits your needs and lifestyle. Good luck.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 16, '05
  13. by   Nemhain
    Personally, I wouldn't go into major debt just to go to a prestigious school. I would, however, stay away from a school with a bad reputation even if the tuition is dirt cheap. There are a ton of schools with 'good' reputations and it really isn't necessary to go through an IVY league nursing program (unless you goal is to be a professor at one).
  14. by   mercyteapot
    The irony is that some of the schools with really dreadful pass rates are also so expensive. Not only that, but they don't have the huge endowments that allow good schools to offer aid in such substantial amounts, so students are taking out huge loans and in a lot of cases not being able to pay them back if they can't pass the NCLEX. I'm thinking specifically of the kind of schools that are sometimes referred to as "career colleges" and run those annoying commercials with young people lamenting the thought that it might take 2 or 4 years of good education before they are actually prepared to work in the health field!

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