Second Career: How do I begin?

  1. Hi folks,

    Here's the quick and dirty on my situation:
    --I already have a B.A. in French and Int'l Business and an M.A. in Educ. Policy, both from UMD-CP;
    --I am 28;
    --I am a grants administrator;
    --I have been dreaming of switching to nursing for several years;
    --I really am not sure how to get started;
    --I already have a significant amt of student loan debt.

    Given this laundry list, does anyone have good tips for programs that I could pursue in the MD/DC area?

    Currently I'm looking at UMB's BSN program -- after what looks to be two years of fulfilling prereqs, which I would do at Montgomery College (?) to save money. JHU's accelerated BSN program looks great, but there is no way I could swing that kind of additional debt.

    If you have any ideas or advice, I would LOVE to hear from you - please reply!!

    --L
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   SiennaGreen
    Been there- without the M.A. However, the CC for pre req's is a good start. JHU is awesome, but I absolutely could not do 60k in debt either. There was no Fed Aid grants for us second degree students, and merit scholarships were based on ALL previous coursework GPA. Unless you had a 3.8-4.0 in previous degrees-don't expect any scholarship money from them. U of MD has a cost effective program, but quite difficult to get into. Check out their pre requistes coursework on the web site. They base their admissions and scholarship (not much vavailable, but also 8k a year for in state) pre req GPA only instead of previous degrees. Do not rule out your local CC RN program. Most of the CC programs actually have higher NCLEX first time pass rates than their University counterparts. Plus, the costs are significantly lower. Not much status, so if you get stuck on the status associated with JHU, well...

    I recently had an opportunity to sit down with the admissions coordinator at JHU. Very lovely woman. After discussing everything with her, and looking desperately for any way I could afford too do this route (I want to use this degree to do non profit/missions/aid work...no money for repaying loans in that) I decided to go the local CC route for my RN, move on thru an RN to BSN either at U of MD or with JHU while working at JHH. The hospital will reimburse up to 15k a year while you work for them if you attend JHU-SON. I can also take my RN, and move anywhere around the country and still pursue that RN to BSN, no problem and likely the hospital I work in will pick that up. Besides, I just really like the staff and students at my CC.

    There are multiple factors to fiugure into the picture. I had to work around child care, avoiding student loan debt, husbands career plans, and my future goals. Take your time in sorting all this out.

    Feel free to PM me if you want to ask any questions. I may have been there already!

    good luck!
  4. by   Ladypie
    I am hoping to get into a CC RN program this spring. I also have a BA degree but cannot do a daytime program because I have a family and need to be available in the daytime to do carpools and activities for the kids. My first option would be an accelerated BSN, but I would not choose JHU because I think it is just too costly. You are a little younger than me, though, so if you want to go into higher level nursing, maybe a degree from JHU would be worth it and you could recoup that investment. As a side note, my friend has a masters in nursing and makes just under 100K doing IT nursing consulting. She hated floor nursing. She went straight through school, so she never had to work much as a BSN.

    For me, I plan to get the associates RN and then after I get a year or so experience, do PSU's online RN to BSN program. No GPA requirements at all, and you arrange clinicals in your local area. It appears to have a good reputation, although I haven't spoken to anyone who has gone through it.

    I hope you get some good advice.
  5. by   bflogrl
    Do you have all the prereqs that you need? YOu could at least get a start by getting those out of the way.
  6. by   vjhappy
    Hi! I'm in my 1st semester at UMB's BSN program and my advice would be to keep your options open. Decide what's best you, based on your current financial/family obligations and your career goals in nursing. With any BSN program, you will have to take more pre-req courses that the ADN programs at CCs.

    Without a doubt, any RN program you apply for will be competitive to get into. I just took all the courses needed at community college, applied to 3 RN programs, UMB, Coppin, & CCBC evening/weekend program, and got into all of them. I decided on UMB because I'm interested in a graduate degree, but it was a very difficult decision to make. Just work hard to get excellent grades in you pre-reqs, obtain great recommendations from at least 2 instructors, & apply to several programs (especially your dream school). See what offers you get, then make your decision.
  7. by   silverwatch
    Weird - I am the same age, and was the exact same double major at UMD.. We probably know each other!

    I, too, am dreaming about going into nursing and looking into all of my options... I look forward to other's responses!
  8. by   imp0526
    wow - my name is lindsay

    who are you?
    Last edit by sirI on Oct 19, '07 : Reason: please do not post your full name and contact information
  9. by   HappyDay
    I am a career switcher myself and am also 28. I have a BS degree and I worked for MoCo schools for 5 years before going back to school. I compeleted my pre reqs at HCC, MC, FCC in addition to several in my undergrad degree. It is a big decesion to figgure out what you want. I started out as a second degree BSN for one semester before I decided that 20K per semester was just ridiculous. Keep in mind that you can go from RN to MSN with some programs. My decesion was to get my RN from the community college, then once I was working (and the hospital is paying) go part time and get my MSN. From a financial standpoint, this is the way to go.

    Look at the schools near where you are unless you are able to relocate. Then go to the MBON webiste and look at NCLEX pass rates for nursing programs. Decide which program you think is best for you. Start small with the pre reqs while you are still working. If you pick an evening weekend program, you can work throughout. If you are in the Rockville area, check out the Universities at Shady Grove. You will get the same degree but will be closer to home.
  10. by   imp0526
    hey there,

    thanks so much for the advice!! - would love to hear from you to talk more. for some reason i can't PM you right now.

    thanks again,
    Linz
    Last edit by donsterRN on Oct 23, '07 : Reason: removed personal email
  11. by   goldenstarkist
    Hello,

    I just got into the 2nd degree nursing program at Towson University for this coming Spring 2008. I am 23 and recently graduated with a B.A. in Health Admin & Public Policy. Towson's tuition is around 10k for two years. I actually think if I live on my own in an apartment that I would be spending more on living than the tuition. It is a 2 year program and I heard the first year class size is about 70 students. Hope this helps
  12. by   NursePru
    Wow you sound like me. Second career, student loan debt etc. I'm 29 now and I'll be getting ready to turn 31 when I graduate Nursing school.

    I just started taking prereqs at the closest Community College. When I got close enough I applied to UMD, got in, and decided to stick with the Community College because there NCLEX pass rate was excellent, I lived minutes away, and don't have to pay for parking. Plus, my whole Nursing school education is going to cost me what a year at UMD would (and we all know what Hopkins costs).

    I don't have children yet so I probably could've gone for the BSN off the bat, but with the loan debt I already have and they fact that I need to work at least part-time to afford living expenses made me reconsider where to go.

    I plan I going for my BSN and possibly my MSN right after I finish, but I'm going to let whatever hospital I work for pick up the bill for that.

    It might be the long way around, but it is also the cheaper way around and I have no doubt that I'm getting a quality education where I am.

    Just go for it though! You have a lot of great programs to choose from in Maryland. I definitely think it's a good idea to at least do your prereq's at the CC...and if you plan on UMD you have to do that anyway.

    Good luck!!
  13. by   honeydippeaches
    Quote from goldenstarkist
    Hello,

    I just got into the 2nd degree nursing program at Towson University for this coming Spring 2008. I am 23 and recently graduated with a B.A. in Health Admin & Public Policy. Towson's tuition is around 10k for two years. I actually think if I live on my own in an apartment that I would be spending more on living than the tuition. It is a 2 year program and I heard the first year class size is about 70 students. Hope this helps
    If you don't mind me asking, what was your GPA?? I'm applying to Towson for Spring 2010. I have a 3.27 GPA and am super nervous because the lady said that thats usually the GPA they put on the waitlist. However, she also said that Spring admissions are typically less competitive. what do you think?
  14. by   goldenstarkist
    Hi,

    I know exactly how you feel in this position. I got in with a cumulative GPA of 3.15. I also submitted two letters of recommendation and wrote an essay. At the time, they did not require these supplements but I did them anyways to increase my chances of getting in. I know a few people whose GPA was higher than mine who got waitlisted and then got in. I think you should still apply to Towson and other schools as well. Lemme know if you have any other questions. Good luck =)

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