Where To Go aka My Head Is Spinning!

  1. Hi All,

    I am a single woman, 39 with no children. After much deliberation I decided this summer to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. I know that's not so unique!

    Okay more of my situation. Due to financial hardships I will be forced to sell my home here in Texas. I lost my old office job two years ago and have struggled to save it but It's been virtually impossible. I accumulated a lot of debt and even got behind on bills. Realistically the only way I can pursue my dream is to get out from under this house and use whatever proceeds I get to help me survive while I'm in Nursing School. So the house is about to go on the market.

    Now my dilemma. I will have to relocate either locally or even out-of-state. I have some prerequisite courses to complete, but the number varies from program to program and state by state. And also each program differs--some have a first come, first served waiting list, and others like my local CC accept you based on highest GPA of the prerequisite courses. Out of 400 who applied, only 120 got in and the cut-off was like 3.56. At this particular program all I need to finish before I am eligble is my first semester of A&P and College Algebra (because it is has been over 5 years since I completed it). The application deadline is February for the Fall 2004 program and I could complete the other support courses in the Spring. The other prerequiste courses I completed in college 15 years ago and I don't have to repeat them. My GPA for those courses is 3.0, meaning an A in A&P and Algebra may not get me in. And I'm horrible at Math! I had to take pre-college algebra before taking Algebra and barely got a C 15 years ago. So if I stay and end up with say a 3.0 or 3.25 I may never get in. I could repeat Psychology and try to up that to an A, but who knows? My overall GPA for all of my previous college work was about 2.75 so I am an average student. Mostly B's, a few A's in classes that really interested me, and struggling for C's in Math, Foreign Language courses, etc. I think I will do well once I get into the program, but I am a bit intimidated about not getting in if I can't achieve a 3.5 or better on my prerequisite courses.

    Option B. Nursing school aside I would really like to leave Texas. I've been here all my life and love the state, but I am really emotional about selling my home and moving to an apartment a few miles away. I know that sounds silly, but it's true! Now I've contacted local community colleges in all the cities I'm considering moving to, and all have long waiting lists to get in. Plus the prerequsites are different. It would take one more semester before I became eligible. My goal is to enter an ADN program in the Fall of 2004, and because of my financial situation and age I'm not sure I am in a position to wait much longer than that. Certainly not 3 or 4 more years.

    Option C is trying to ge into an LPN program. I have not investigated this as much and don't know about waiting lists. I do know prerequisites are similar.

    Option D is to relocate anywhere in the US where I can be guaranteed admittance once the prerequisites are met. I can't afford a private university which is why I am looking at CCs. Are waiting lists/GPA cut-offs generally the same everywhere or are their programs with immediate admittance once your prerequisites are complete?

    I am so torn! I could stay here and gamble that my GPA will be highe than 3/4 of the Fall 2004 applicants. I can move and get on a waiting list. This is something I really want to do, but because of my age and limited resources I can't wait indefinitely to get in. My financial hardships arose after losing an office job I held for 10 years and my inability to find anything paying similarly due to our bad economy. It only took two years for me to lose basically everything I had, so I know that any money I get from the sell of my home won't last long. I'm depending on Financial Aid, part-time work, and this to enable me to survive for 2-3 years of school. I know I can do it, but I just need to make a wise decision with my move so I can enter a program ASAP.

    So knowing this, would you stay put and try to out academic the academics, or just get on a list and hope for the best.

    My head is spinning!
    Last edit by echo*echo on Jul 11, '03
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Cynthiann
    With your situation, if I were you, I would just try for a LPN program. Sounds like you need to work asap. Have you checked into any of the LPN programs in your area? A LPN program that is near me has a waiting list but it's only for a few months. Once you become an LPN it may be a little easier for you to get into a program.

    Don't totally rule out your local university (private and public) if you have little to no income you may be able to get a nice financial aid package and there are so many scholarships out there.

    The best thing to do is to get information from all the schools in your area and talk to them in the financial aid office and see what you can get. That way you can make a better decision on what's the best way for you.

    Good Luck!
  4. by   Tarian
    Well Echo maybe it will be helpful to hear another person's story in a similar situation. I'm going back to school for nursing after working 7 years at an IT-based service-bureau. Like you, I was overwhelmed initially by the decisions involved: go for LPN? RN? BSN? Accelerated program? Community college, public university, private college? Also, like you, I am very eager to move from my current state (Iowa) so the prospects of finding a program out of state added to my confusion.

    What I found was that all the universities I inquired with had waiting lists. Plus, if I were to go out of state the tuition was a LOT higher.

    At the local communitiy colleges, the cost was very very minimal... therefore there is a long waiting list at all of these programs. When I looked at out-of-state community colleges, the tuitions turned out to be blatantly against out-of-state enrollment. The cost of out-of-state community college is often higher than at a private school!

    Ah, yes, the private schools. I found that the local private schools were more expensive, but feature smaller classes and also --very important-- no waiting lists! I was able to quickly and easily enroll in school starting this fall, and because I am currently unemployed I qualify for grant money as well as some subsidized government loans. To avoid too much debt I've decided to go for a two-year ASN instead of the BSN.

    I've decided to ignore my yearnings to move on to a new state, to avoid the extra expenses and stress that such a move would cause. Nursing is such a wonderfully booming field that I've decided to wait on the move and have my moving expenses covered by my first employer as soon as I graduate and pass boards.

    Since you are single and have money from your house sale in hand, you should be able to get through a program with little debt. Even with some debt, though, at least you can be secure in knowing you'll have such a high likelihood of getting a job just out of college. Also, if you are single and interested in traveling, I'd consider working as a travel nurse for a year or two-- a great way to check out areas you might be interested in moving to, while at the same time earning more money that an average nurse position will pay.

    Good luck to you!
  5. by   echo*echo
    Hi Cynthiann,

    Thanks for your reply.

    My plan was to work full-time while finishing my prequisites, but I do not anticipate making much money during this period. I know I won't be able to work full-time once I enter the nursing program. The benefits of an LPN program are obvious--I will get to work sooner. But then I will be facing the LPN to RN program, and maybe the RN to BSN program. I understand much of the later can be done online, but obviously the LPN to RN program cannot. I guess I fear yet another waiting list!

    I'm not entering nursing for the money, but at my age, with no savings or retirement, I do need to be in a position where I can support myself and plan for the future. I feel I can better do that as an RN than an LPN. Short-term becoming an LPN would be less of a strain financially, but only if I could do the LPN to RN program within a year or so. I would be interested in hearing from others who took this route. How long did it take, were you able to do it while working, etc.
  6. by   echo*echo
    Hi Tarian,

    Good for you!

    I will check into some local Private Schools to see if they have anything to offer. I simply didn't consider it because of the costs even though I should qualify for FA. I also checked into a local State University figuring with my previous credits a BSN would not take much longer. More waiting lists and also based on previous GPA.

    As for out-of-state Community Colleges? Yes the tuition is outrageous for non-residents, but after one year as a state resident I would be paying in state tuition. Basically I would have to finish 15 hours paying out-of-state rates but my ADN would be in state. Meaning if I do move it has to be in August.

    Travel Nurse? Yes I definitely want to do that whether I stay or go. I figure I may do a year or so at a local hospital to gain valuable experience and then off I go! I have not traveled much and that offers me a chance to see some of this great country and get paid. If between now and then some guy seeps me off my feet I may reconsider. But who am I fooling!!! I've waited 39 years for a guy to sweep me off my feet and so far all they have handed me is a broom!

    Anyway...thanks for the info! I will check even more programs. I will dance, sing or stand on my head to get in ASAP!
  7. by   dosamigos76
    I am so sorry for the situation you're in, but it must mean something wonderful is bound to happen-right? Our Community College in New Mexico does not count classes that are not prerequisites for the Nursing Program...so that could bring your GPA up. Please feel free to e-mail me at dosamigos1@cox.net if you're interested. You'd still be close to Texas here.....we have students drive from Texas to our school.......
    Good luck in whatever decision you make. I have no doubt you'll make the best decision for you and your future.
    Cheryl
  8. by   suzy253
    Hiya. I am 50 years old and got accepted into a diploma program. No pre-req's required except for HS or college chemistry. All of the other courses that you would ordinarily take for as pre-reqs are built into the curriculum. This nursing school is associated with a hospital so we are starting clinicals after 6 weeks. Very heavy clinically-oriented but I find that this is good, for me anyway, because I'm a hands-on learner. It is a 3-year program and we had to take an entrance exam. Also I am taking a summer course in math to brush up on my skills for the drug dosage and calculations course in the fall. I figure this would only help me in the end. This is what I call a school 'of the old type'. Classes are small and there is a lot of one-on-one with your instructor. At the end of 3 years you are eligible for the NCLEX and this school has an impressive pass-rate. Mind you, you don't graduate with an associates or bachelor's degree but you can always go for that later on. This works for me...especially at my non-traditional age status. I'm really looking forward to starting...August 19th!!!
    Cheers & good luck to you.
    Last edit by suzy253 on Jul 12, '03
  9. by   Bonga
    My sister is in kind of the same boat that you are in. Her GPA is probably not high enough to compete at the Community colleges, she needs to work to support herself and two children, and she still has a few prereq's to finish. We live in Texas also. She looked around and found out that Hermann Memmorial Hospital has training programs - LVN, Radiology, Phlebotomy. So.. she has decided to apply to the Phlebotomy program (its 3 mo. long) which will give her a skill to work while she completes their 1 year long LVN program. She still intends to go back to get her ADN or BSN down the road. But at least this will get her going.

    Maybe this is an option that might work for you too. If you are interested - go to Hermann Memmorial Hospitals web page and click on "careers" .

    Good Luck

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