Joliet Junior College or BSN program?

  1. Hello, I am hoping someone can give me some advice. I want to attend the nursing program at JJC. I am registered to begin taking pre-req's at JJC this summer. I met with a counselor at JJC today and feel like I did not get the direction I need. A little about me: I have a certificate in surgical technology from Triton College, 1992. Have not worked in the OR for about 10 yrs and have been a stay at home mom for the past 5 1/2 yrs. I got divorced last August and am hoping to get into nursing school so that I can become an RN and be able to provide for myself and my children.

    I am currently registered for Eng 101 (summer), Fall: Math 094, Nutrition, Sociology, Speech. The counselor told me the only course from my CST that would count is my Psych, so I will still need Psych 215 when it is available. She told me I should contact the director of the science dept to ask if I can skip BIO 151 and take BIO 250 once I complete my math course. I was hoping that my prior education would give me something toward these, but I am pretty much starting fresh.

    I have been reading a lot of messages on this board about how difficult it is to get accepted into the JJC nursing program and that has me very concerned. I really only have 3 yrs, maybe 4, that I can attend school full-time so I'm concerned that once I complete my pre-req's, I may not be accepted into the JJC nursing program. I am not sure how long it would take to get in. The counselor told me it takes 3 1/2 yrs to complete it there. So I am wondering if a better approach would be to attend a BSN program where it will take 4 yrs, but I will definitely be a nurse after 4 yrs. I would prefer to go thru an ADN program and then continue on to a BSN later. I need to have some control over how long this process will take. I'm afraid I will spend the time getting my pre-req's out of the way only to find that I can't get accepted to the JJC nursing program for a few years. Is that possible?

    I appreciate any input. I am overwhelmed and can't seem to get a straight, helpful answer from the JJC counselor. I have no idea how I will do any of this. It's hard enough in itself just being a mom to twins or returning to school at 40 yrs old. I have no idea how I can do both. I really want to use the next 2-3 yrs to get an education that will allow me a career and not just a "job". I don't want to start all of this only to find out that I won't be able to complete it within 3 yrs.

    Blue Cat
  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   ChicagoICU_RN
    I currently go to JJC and some of your concerns are mine...

    My solution: Apply to both JJC and BSN offering Universities...make you decision when you get the letter...if you get the JJC one first go for it(the good thing about JJC is that it offers the nursing program 2x per year)...and if you get the BSN acceptance letter first go for that...I wish you all the good luck!

    I will be applying in August !
  4. by   Blue Cat
    Seems like August will be here quickly! Congrats on being ready to apply. So, you have taken all your pre-req's, right? They all have to be completed before I can even apply, right? I'm just trying to figure out when I'll even be able to consider applying. I was hoping next Feb, but now it looks like next August which seems so far away.

    Is the nursing program, once you're accepted, 2 yrs total? Ideally, I can complete all my pre-req's over the next year.

    Blue Cat
  5. by   kimbly9
    Blue Cat,

    I can at least tell you a little about my situation. I have a BA in Biology, so most of my pre-reqs were complete. I applied to the BSN program at Lewis and was accepted there. I decided against Lewis mainly because I didn't want to assume that type of debt in this stage of my life. I also was concerned about going to school for the next 4 years. (I am a single mom, so I didn't want my life to be turned upside down for any longer than it has to be.) Most of the credits that I had from college would have to be repeated because they had some rules about how old some of the classes could be. (I have been out of college almost 10 years.)

    I applied to the nursing progrqam at JJC this past Feb. and the only classes I hadn't completed were Psych 215 (which I am in now) and Soc 290. I had what I would call a VERY average GPA but I tested well on the TEAS. I was accepted on my 1st try. I heard a story about someone who applied while being enrolled in 1 or 2 of the science courses and the Psych 215 with a very high GPA (3.7 or something). The person also did well on the TEAS, but was not accepted. I would imagine that they would want most of the pre-reqs (especially the science courses) out of the way. I am sure the more, the better. I have heard that the average GPA for this class was a 3.4 or 3.5. I am pretty sure I was below that, but that's why it's called an average. My suggestion would be to do as well as you can in the pre-reqs over the next year. Try to prepare yourself for taking the TEAS (when that time comes). When I started the process, I told myself I would give JJC two rounds of applications (Feb & Aug) before I looked somewhere else. As pp said, it's nice that they take apps twice a year!!

    I hope this helped a little. GOOD LUCK!!
  6. by   almamatters
    i am finishing my 2nd semester and can tell you this much. as far as what happens before you start the program (i.e. prereqs, applying, acceptance/rejection) it's nothing you're going to be able to pin down. i am very grateful to have been accepted but having said that, i am not sure what goes on in the admission decision process because as far as i can see when i look around the classroom, the admission standards must be very flexibly applied (despite how intimidating they make it sound) if you know what i mean.
    but once you are in the program it's very straightforward - 4 semesters, fall spring fall spring, period. no summer classes in between. first semester you'll take your core class plus halfway through start an online pharmacology class that goes through the first half of second semester. second semester you'll take your core class and a pediatrics class that runs half the semester (you want to try not to overlap with the rest of the pharm class). 3rd and 4th semesters you just take the core classes. each semester's core class consists of 3 components: theory (2 classes per week), clinical (hospital time, about 7 hrs. once per week), and clinical topics (1 class per week). the classes are registered for on a lottery system instead of through the usual college registration method so you show up one day, get a number, and it's first come first served as far as clinical locations but everyone's theory and topics classes are the same.
    admission requirements aside, it is in your best interests to take all your prereqs before you start the program because you will have plenty of work to do as it is, believe me. i am 44, single mom, work full time and in the night division. i have previous degrees and school has always been easy for me, but i am AT MY LIMIT. that's not to say that i don't squeeze in down time but it's always knowing i should be doing something for school instead. IMHO, this is not a difficult program or difficult content; it's the sheer volume of information to learn and retain on top of all the "busy work" of papers and quizzes, etc. that is daunting. i already have a bachelor's in another area, i have no interest at this point in my life in sitting through a bunch of liberal arts classes i don't need. i wanted to get in, get done, get out, get practicing. if time is of the essence this is the way to go, except you can't control when/if you get in but then that's true anywhere.
    long-winded way to say apply everywhere and see where you get in, get your prereqs as cheaply and quickly as you can and keep your fingers crossed. the waiting is the hardest part, no way around it. my sympathies. good luck!!!:spin:
  7. by   happyinillinois
    You can't even apply to the Nursing program until you've at least taken Bio 250. It will definately be cheaper to take your prereq's at JJC than at a University, so start by doing that. Compare what classes both programs require and take them at JJC to save $$$. When you graduate, I'm sure having all your OR experience will make you a desirable Scrub Nurse. Good Luck!
  8. by   kimbly9
    almamatters - My story sounds quite similar to yours. I am a single mom working full-time. I will be starting the evening program at JJC in the fall. I am wondering about what the schedule is like. I did read your previous post, but I am curious about how many hours of class each night & # of days spent on campus. I am trying to map out my childcare arrangements and I am wondering how many nights I would need someone, how long, etc. Most people describe it as being nearly impossible to have a job, manage your home, and succeed in school. I am reasonable in the fact that I know my life will be crazy for the next 2 years, but I don't want to have it all come crashing down either. Any wisdom/tips/information that you could share would be GREATLY appreciated!!
  9. by   Blue Cat
    I thought I had set my accnt to send any replies to my email, but apparently that was not working b/c I was not aware there were more replies to my post. almamatters, thank you for your very informative response. I attempted an online algebra class this summer and it was disastrous. Nothing like teaching yourself algebra for the first experience of going back to school . So I had to drop it and am starting all over again in two weeks - in a classroom. The teacher for the online course was so unhelpful and just referred everyone to a tutor. Most of the students dropped the class, so JJC made some quick, easy money on that course. I am still very anxious about starting. Honestly, I think I will do fine in the A&P courses and nursing courses. It's just all the pre-reqs that will be difficult. I hate algebra and just want to get it out of the way so I can move on.

    It is so inspiring to hear about other single moms that are working AND going to school.

  10. by   almamatters
    kimbly9, i just saw your message and i'm not sure how to respond directly to you but if you want to talk about anything please let me know, i would be glad to help out any way i can. congratulations on starting the program in a matter of days, hope you enjoyed the summer. now buckle up!
  11. by   kimbly9
    almamatters, most of my questions from my previous post were answered at the orientation. Now, I am starting to really get nervous about how to manage it all. Any tips that you can give about studying or finding a routine would be greatly appreciated!! I know that it's going to be tough and I won't be the "hands-on mommy" that I am used to being. I know it must be possible because you are making it through, but people really discouraged me from trying to do all of this (i.e.-work, single motherhood, and school). It seemed like most of the girls I spoke to at orientation were not working or only working part-time. That just isn't an option. I guess I will find out how difficult it is soon enough!! I am planning to be on vacation al next week, so I can have some time to relax before everything goes into high gear!!
  12. by   almamatters
    nah, don't be nervous. after a short while you'll hit your stride and be great. i don't mean to slam the program but i do have to impress upon you that i, and others, have found it to be somewhat disorganized. so don't be surprised (but you probably still will be) when things get changed at the last minute or don't quite go as smoothly as you think they should. every semester the syllabus has had the wrong texts and reading assignments on it, or we have been told some required reading/video would be on angel and it isn't, or the answer keys to the exams are wrong and everyone is running around like henney penney after the exam to point it out so they can get their points back. it just makes me laugh now but not so much before when i was trying to stay on top of everything. keep your sense of humor, you'll need it. also, some of nursing is that gray area of discretion; what one expert might say is the right thing to do is different than another and this will be a theme on your exams so don't be hard on yourself if you don't get them all right no matter how hard you study because there will always be at least one or two questions you just might not agree on with the instructor (e.g. patient presents with xyz symptoms, which of these interventions would you do first...). if you get sammie for an instructor for anything, she's great and tests very fairly. as for managing your time, you'll figure it out. try to stay on top of the reading, but if you can't or get behind take copious notes because usually the tests are straight from the lectures. honestly, i can't stress that enough - take lots of notes and you should be ok on the tests even if you do nothing more, especially in clinical topics! you can record lectures if it helps (i don't but many do).
  13. by   Chich
    I was in sort of the same boat as you, I still had pre-reqs that needed to be completed & wasn't accepted into the ADN program at a community college yet but I wanted to take them there since it was cheaper than a university. But by the time I got accepted into the nursing program at the community college I also had the option of going to a university. so i'm going to the university this fall to get my BSN at the university rather than spending the same amount of time to get a ADN at the college, good luck!
  14. by   Workingonit2009
    I came into this post a little late, but I hope this helps . The JJC nursing program is constantly changing its acceptance practices (every year). So don’t be surprised when they change it on you. The guidance counselors are useless and point students in the wrong direction all the time. I have been attending JJC since Aug. 2007 and have heard and seen it all; at least I think. Counselors have even given misleading information about what classes students need to take; I know a few of them and they enrolled the same time I did. All because of misinformation these students are now a year behind me, in their ability to be able to apply to the nursing program. I only saw a guidance counselor once and that was enough for me to stay away from them.

    Look and pay attention to your catalog!!! AND DON”T let them overwhelm you with classes. Just a personal opinion but 5 classes in one term is too much for single parents that has been out of school for awhile, you will burn yourself out!!! I have been handling anywhere from 6 credits up to and no more than 11 per term. You can take 6 credit hours minim before you have to repay any student loans. (depending on what type they are and who they are with).

    The best thing to do is look at other Universities. Look at their transfer guide; it gives you the equivalent between the two colleges. Also check what their pre-reqs are, as you will find that Universities / Bachelors degree will require more pre-reqs (transfer classes); Phil 101, Soc 101, Math 128 possibly Chem 101 or 108, and etc. So take transfer classes in the summer, and don’t mix those with any JJC pre-reqs until you have completed all JJC classes. By knocking out both you are covering your Butt . If you are lucky enough to get accepted into the nursing program then fine, but at the same time at least if you decide to go after a Bachelors or need to transfer you will have already completed some of the course work.

    I personally used a sheet of paper divided it into 4 columns and 4 rows. Headed each one with the term (fall 09, Spr, Sum S. 1, Sum S.2) I was attending then marked each class that had a pre-req itself; ex. Chem 100 requires math 94, or Bio 250 requires Bio 151, Math 128 requires Math 095 & Math 098. So I planned each class out that had these requirements first, and then fit in the rest of your classes. Pay attention to the classes that they calculate for the program. You want to get good grades the first time around, you don’t want to have to go back and take something again. Plus that doesn’t fly with some colleges. Take the CNA class the summer before you apply to the program. It will lighten your course load as it takes place of the nurs 140 class.

    I am also a working single parent and don’t have time to waste, so I planned everything to the nine. So I took all my pre-reqs required by JJC and I have also completed some transfer classes as well. I just applied to the program for the first time, now it’s a wait game. I will give JJC two times if I’m not accepted on the second round I will transfer out to a university. I know that if it comes down to it that I will have completed a good majority of transfer classes required at the university, so I won’t have but a few more for the Bachelor’s degrees beside all the nursing classes.

    Once you get accepted into the nursing program it will take you 2 years. So the amount of time you are at JJC will depend on how long it takes you to complete your pre-reqs. Check the nursing department for the admissions which of course changed the week we made applications. After your first year in the program you can apply to sit for your NCLEX Exam to become an LPN.

    I hope this helps.