1) From experience, what school's programs have you had success at?
I applied to U of maryland and U of Colorado HSC...I got into both.
2) How hard was the admission process at your school? What's the stats on the students admitted? (i.e. What was your GPAs, GRE scores, pre-req grades? How many students admitted versus applicants?)
U of Maryland: 500-600 applied. 80 Accepted.
UCHSC: 700-900 applied. 110 accepted. (i'm a bit fuzzy on these numbers, but it was somewhere around there.
U of Maryland admission process was really quick! I applied in Sept 2003, they told me I got in less than a month later. 2 letters of rec, resume and an essay. No GRE's for BSN program, No SAT for second degree peeps. My GPA was a 3.2 in my previous degree. Pre-Req GPA was 4.0. U of C HSC was similar, but it took them 5-6 months to get back to me whether not I got in.
3) What type of background did you have previously? Does having job experience in a health related field increase your chances of acceptance?
I had a lot of part time jobs. Summer camp, taught english abroad, volunteered in the hospital for a bit, tutored kids. I was sort of in your shoes. Just graduated with a social science degree but didn't really know what to do with my life. Thought nursing would be a good idea. Currently in my first semester for a BSN program.
4) Any suggestions or advice about things to do, such as volunteering, prior to applying that might help my chances? I graduated with a CUM 3.1 GPA, and although most schools require at least a 3.0, I heard that because of the competition, my GPA is nowhere near good enough.
I think you could definately get into a nursing program with your GPA. What sets you apart though would be your essay and your life experiences and recs. Just try and get involved in the community. Volunteer at hospital is good, tutor kids, homeless shelter...that stuff. Write in your essay about how these experiences had inspired you to help people and thus pursue nursing. I'd recommend and pay for a prof essay editor to critique yoru essay (I did, and hey! it worked! I got in, !). There are students who got into my program with a 2.4 GPA...so its not all grades they are looking for.
About entry into a masters for nursing, I wouldn't recommend it if you don't know much about the nursing profession or don't have good direction in wha tyou want. I considered some Master's program also and i'm glad I didn't go that way. "what?!? going back for a SECOND bachelors degree?!" Its an ego thing =P. But seriously... i'd recommend getting a 2rd BSN in an accelerated program (1-2 years)...work for a while as a nurse and see what areas of nursing appeals to you. Then go back and specialize (get a masters) in an area you KNOW you like. Just committing to a specialty BEFORE you even know what nursing is about huge leap into the unknown.
hope that helps! good luck! if you have any other questions, feel free to email me!