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Joined: Oct 24, '12;
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Not all specialties at Vanderbilt give you that option, so be sure you're looking at the right ones!
If you absolutely need flexibility in your specialty year, have you considered doing an Accelerated BSN program and then doing an online Masters degree? ABSNs are also usually geared towards people with non-nursing bachelor's degrees, and doing ABSN+Masters is often about the same time length as a direct-entry program (although Vanderbilt is particularly short). Is your need for flexibility more about location or time or something else?
Vanderbilt's program meets 3x a year: Vanderbilt University School of Nursing - PhD in Nursing Program - Overview
I'm doing NMW and my GRE scores are all above 95%. I don't have much medical experience (volunteering for a few months in a NICU) but I do have international volunteer experience and relevant work experience. I've heard that Vanderbilt places a high emphasis on GRE/GPA in admissions, but I didn't complete my applications with any other schools so I'm not sure how they are in comparison - but definitely your GPA alone shouldn't discourage you from applying!
I'm starting in August and my undergraduate GPA (without nursing prerequisites) was a 3.38 or so. There are many factors that go into acceptance, including essays, experience, and GRE scores. If you feel like your GPA is low, make sure to get stellar GRE scores to offset it, and if you still have prereqs to take, go for the 4.0 - it shows you can be expected to be able to handle graduate level work.
From their website:
If you're a local student, you are assigned preceptors/clinicals. If you are a distance student, you find your own, but they provide a list of approved preceptors as well.
They told me at the info session that they have never had a student not graduate because of not being able to find a preceptor.
Hey all - I withdrew my app to UIC after too many hiccups and an acceptance elsewhere, but I currently volunteer at their hospital in the NICU and live in Pilsen, the neighborhood just to the south of campus, so I'm happy to answer any questions about volunteering or my neighborhood as well! I'm still reading this thread out of habit And if anyone is looking to move to Chicago in August instead of December, I've got a great little apartment you will love - for CHEAP!
I looked at schools that offered direct entry programs (for people with non-nursing bachelor's) and based my choices on their start date (most start in May, I couldn't do that!) and number of prerequisites. I've ended up with Vanderbilt and I'm confident it's the right choice for me!
I actually got an e-mail as well as a letter, for NMW. I think because it was the Wednesday before the open house, they wanted to give us a chance to make arrangements if we hadn't already.
The most recent statistic I've see is a 94% acceptance rate. I do not know of any schools that are less selective than that. There are several threads about Walden on this site so you can read both positive and negative experiences before making your decision!
Honestly, if you've already got your Master's degree that shows that you can probably handle the GRE just fine, at least the English and Writing portions. A strong GRE can only help your application, so it might be worth it to take it anyway - and not eliminate the majority of programs who do ask for them.
UIC waives the GRE if your GPA is adequate.
From talking with some people in different programs I've run into, I think the BSN "requirement" really depends on your program and your specialty. UIC, for instance, encourages students to do their masters portion part-time so they can work as an RN and get experience while they study - but because they don't offer a BSN, it can be incredibly difficult to get that job (which is part of the reason I decided not to go with UIC as my first choice, even though people have told me that for CNMs it's the only specialty where this really isn't a problem). Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has you go full time through the whole process, so you really don't have a chance to work as an RN before becoming an NP - once you have your masters, I would think not having your BSN isn't going to hurt you. I've heard it can change by specialty as well - I think the acute specialties are more encouraged to get RN experience than the primary care specialties, before continuing on to the masters. It all depends on what you're looking for!
You might look into University of Cincinnati; they start student 3x per year so I would assume their acceptance rates might be higher due to more opportunities.
It's hard for me to tell, since I haven't been to a traditional nursing school! Vanderbilt lets you transition directly from the MSN to the DNP... and I'm not sure you're going to find anywhere that has no online component to their program, because these programs are mostly designed for non-nurses so we need to get some nursing experience before we get our Masters. I know with Vanderbilt, it is a "modified block" format, where you will complete some work online and be in Nashville 1 weekend per month for in-person classes; other program are online specifically to allow you to begin working as a nurse while you complete your masters.
I didn't look at very many schools, because I essentially chose based on timeline (I couldn't start this summer like most programs do) and number of prerequisites needed; Vanderbilt happens to be the perfect fit for be based on location and their emphasis on innovative teaching techniques and their requirement that all faculty (in NMW at least) be actively practicing practitioners. It's in the part of the country I want to end up practicing in, and I'm not going to pretend that having a "real" football school will be a bonus!
You might want to post in this forum: Post Graduate Nursing Student: MSN/DNP/DNSc/PhD. That's where most of the applicants seem to congregate, and there are threads for a multitude of different programs - I know I didn't find this side of the forums until well after I applied to my schools.
What specialty are you looking to do? That can change how courses are delivered. I'll be starting at Vanderbilt in the fall for Nurse-Midwifery; my specialty courses will be primarily in person, but I believe some other specialties have more online options.
For starters, would you rather live in New Haven or Nashville? Seems like an obvious choice to me...
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