I just graduated from the Iowa CON in December and can help you out with your questions.
As far as admissions go, it's competitive with no wait lists. Last time I talked to an adviser (2008), the CON at Iowa was taking about 25-40% of the applicants into the program, with an average gpa of about 3.5. The good thing though is that they don't care where you take your pre-reqs, they transfer in the same as a course from Iowa. So if you don't have them done, try a community college.
The classes are pretty tough, I assume just as tough as any other BSN program. I don't have any experience here as all of my undergraduate work for nursing was done at Iowa. They recently changed their program from a 3+1 to a 2+2 program. Meaning that now you take 2 years worth of nursing course work and 2 years of regular undergrad course work. This is all on the CON's website at Iowa.
Finally, the instructors are fantastic. I'm an older dude and got the exact same attention as the rest of the students. I met with a lot of my instructors outside of class just to shoot the breeze about nursing, and got to know some of them fairly well.
Finally, Iowa has something like 3 or 4 of their grad progams in the top ten of US News and World Report rankings (I'm guessing here, but their listed in a popular publication). I'm not sure how the undergrad program fares, but the CON gets some really good people in to teach and as clinical instructors.
Anyway, if you decide to apply let us know how it goes for you!