Considering LPN school, TCN, EC, ISU read first!

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    to start this off allnurses.com has been very beneficial for me trying to figure out how to complete my transition from lpn to rn. i am ever so grateful to have come across this site where nurses can gain knowledge and support from other nurses or soon to be's! i have been researching for days and wanted to compile all the info into a current thread with links, from reading threads and posts from this site and others. this is my !
    why i want you to read this before signing up is to help anyone possible save time, money and regret. reading a post like this would have saved thousands of $ for me, and hours too!

    i signed up with tcn 3 years ago and have yet to take an exam. i struggle with my learning type. find out yours before signing up for any online courses, the following link will do this for you.
    http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=questionnaire
    not that you can't do them with a certain learning style but you may need more resources to study. for me sitting and reading is not me. i have to listen and interact using my hands.

    as for starting lpn school (vocational type), if you think you may ever want to continue your education afterwards or to get pre-requisites done prior to lpn you can get them completed with clep's or ece's with a small amount of money invested as opposed the loans you may acquire later. ** make sure the school you want to go to accepts these, a lot of them do** you can go to the clep website, it has lots of info too http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html to find out who does accept these or ask the school. be cautious asking the school, i have read that one had said they did not when in fact they did, but the counselor was getting commission for signing people up with classes. if you are going to a vocational school like i did, the courses you take there are not credited. this means you will have to retake all of them for rn transition. if you can take these prior to vocational school you should not have to take those courses there- check with the school first. my thought, get these courses done before lpn school starts and if you want to later go back then you already have the credit. as for study material on clep's keep reading.
    ohhh the acronyms... they give me a headache! i'll give a guide to them at the bottom.

    lpn to rn or bsn like i said i have purchased tcn modules which are only study guides for clep's, dantes, or ece. academic support not as "supportive" as i think they should be, and everything is on their terms. i found more support on my own through forums. allnurses and instantcert are free and have very motivating supportive people, just like you. http://www.degreeforum.net/ there are so many study materials out there for free or a little $. some people only use instantcert flashcards to study and pass. got to following website and click the flashcard subjects. http://www.instantcert.com/college.php4 keep in mind that they are not a nurses site but in all fields taking some of the same pre-req's. it takes some research to find out what pre-req's are required @ your school of choice. you can also get free study materials from your local library or on your states virtual library site, some also have free pre clep test exams. also you can get lectures on you tube (free) and sent to mobile devices (cost under $10-like iphone, ipod, etc.). check out ebay or amazon for modules and test prep too! ec and isu accept the clep's and more than likely isu accepts the ece's, keep in mind ece are excelsior exams. you find this info at ec's website cause you have to register there free first to test but you do not have to be enrolled, also check out the credit by exam tab for a lot of helpful info. see exam other options. http://www.excelsior.edu/ecapps/exams/creditbyexam.jsf for ec you have to enroll to take faac and cpne. i know that isu and tcn are partnered up so if you are thinking that route contact isu and don't let them force you to buy tcn. btw... isu is now accredited in california according to the ca bon website (08/2011), which brings a point to look at. make sure the school you choose is accredited by your states bon! as far as not getting hired b/c you got your schooling at ec or isu, most places do not look at your school or check references for that matter, they only check if you have a current valid license without any restrictions or disciplines on the bon website and if you are breathing! if they do have a problem with it i wouldn't want to work for them anyway.
    dl is not the "easy way out" you have to work even harder, learn everything on your own and be more disciplined. also you have to consider the cpne, not a breeze so i have read. as far as tcn being a scam, well they do send you a module if you call them; they will only send 1 every 30 days. they sell very expensive study guides. and do not let them finance your exams fees, like i did. big mistake and not motivating like i thought it would be. so it is legit.
    i plan on going through ec, isu would have been nice but the clinicals seem complicated (getting your own preceptor). i first am completing my exams then going from there, already paid for tcn so i am using it. i joined instantcert and already have retained more info in a much shorter time (3hrs)than traditional reading. i also used a promo code: 34463 and saved even more (14.95 1st mth then 19.95/mth) but to me well worth the extra cash cause time is money:d! this might not be for everyone and there are free flashcards out there http://www.studystack.com/ but those are not as interactive as i needed. please understand that i am not employed by or advertising for any company nor is that my intent. i am a lpn that works ltc and hope to help out any person considering distance learning or nursing. if it was not for all the people caring enough to post on these forums, i would still be stuck in the mud, so thank you all contributors! i am still on my journey so i have not yet mastered the dl road but i feel i have a real handle on things and haven't felt so positive about this in my life. i appreciate any feedback, more suggestions, free learning websites, cheap websites or if i have inspired you! i will keep you posted on my accomplishments too!

    acronym's: ec= excelsior college; isu=indiana state university; tcn= the college network; dl= distance learning; ece= excelsior college exam; clep=college level examination program; bon= board of nursing
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

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    Dear Redge03, I want to thank you for taking the time to compile this info. I met last month with the TCN Rep, have not signed up yet. I live in Calif. I just graduated LVN Nov 2011(awaiting to take my NCLEX-PN). I have no gen eds. I had read about TCN in the past and did not want to go that route. I tried other local public and private schools and either the wait is ridiculous and/or the ADN is more expensive ($36K to $46K)than ISU/TCN, LVN to BSN program - put together ($30,250) can be finished in approx 3yr or up to 5yr. So TCN/ISU appears attractive. However, I really would like to have another route to get the GenEds out of the way but online, without the TCN dreaded contract, they make it feasible at $156/mo incl exam fees Phase I & II approx $13K then ISU Phase III approx $19K. I don't understand why ISU would push TCN for Gen Eds... Looking at the Program Outline for Ca Residents Only TCN includes 5 ECE exams, 2 DSST, the others not sure about, they state TCN Customizes the study guides. I do like the fact that TCNs A&P and Micro do not require Labs for ISU. As for my GenEds, ISU rep told me it would cost me $1800 per class vs $535.00 thru TCN for online. Bottom dollar, I need to work while I study, need to do this as economical and as short as time as possible...will you finish in 3yrs, did you have any gen eds already...would like to talk to an ISU LVN to BSN rep who would NOT be biased to TCN. Thanks again!
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    Redge03,

    I really want to thank you for all the helpful info and invaluable links :spin:
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    Quote from care2heal
    dear redge03, i want to thank you for taking the time to compile this info. i met last month with the tcn rep, have not signed up yet. i live in calif. i just graduated lvn nov 2011(awaiting to take my nclex-pn). i have no gen eds. i had read about tcn in the past and did not want to go that route. i tried other local public and private schools and either the wait is ridiculous and/or the adn is more expensive ($36k to $46k)than isu/tcn, lvn to bsn program - put together ($30,250) can be finished in approx 3yr or up to 5yr. so tcn/isu appears attractive. however, i really would like to have another route to get the geneds out of the way but online, without the tcn dreaded contract, they make it feasible at $156/mo incl exam fees phase i & ii approx $13k then isu phase iii approx $19k. i don't understand why isu would push tcn for gen eds... looking at the program outline for ca residents only tcn includes 5 ece exams, 2 dsst, the others not sure about, they state tcn customizes the study guides. i do like the fact that tcns a&p and micro do not require labs for isu. as for my geneds, isu rep told me it would cost me $1800 per class vs $535.00 thru tcn for online. bottom dollar, i need to work while i study, need to do this as economical and as short as time as possible...will you finish in 3yrs, did you have any gen eds already...would like to talk to an isu lvn to bsn rep who would not be biased to tcn. thanks again!

    i don't understand why isu would push tcn for gen eds...
    i can take a stab at answering this.
    1. those who need distant learning classes probably need (because they work and may not be able to take regular classes) online gen ed classes. tcn offers those classes--as does ivy tech (associated with isu, also). one can clep out of the gen ed classes, but you have to make sure that isu will accept the clep courses.
    2. unknown to many, tcn has its fingers in the isu program--especially in calif. millie the calif info person is also a liaision between isu/sanoma state and is employeed by tcn. the fees we pay to sanoma state pay for her salary--or this what i think as millie keeps track of our grades, etc. and fills out the info for the calif board when we are to take the nclex.
    3. the person who wrote the 4 challenge study guides at tcn also works at isu. it is possible isu or this author gets a portion of the royalties.
    4. tcn & isu fail to mention that once the fee for a challenge exam is paid, isu will provide the student with objectives and study guide as well as a list of books to read and obtain info from. they fail to provide this info and then the potential student buys the tcn challenge exam study guide(s) for $$'s and then get the info afterwards from the nursing dept at isu.
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    Will ISU release the objectives and study guide and list of books for the 4 challenge courses w/o going thru TCN....I do not want to go thru TCN after reading the awful things they have done: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/educa...e_network.html but I do want to go the ISU LVN to BSN program; according to ISU, they accept CLEP, DSST (Dante), ACE & ECE if that weren't true...ISU could not work with TCN, cz TCN's programs are complied by these! It would be ludicrous and hypocritical of ISU to say they accept College Math from TCN, but not my own CLEP, or ECE College Math, cz they are from the same source...TCN sells study guides for the same thing.

    to have a TCN rep be ISU/TCN liaison is biased (Nepotism); this is why we may be having such a hard time getting answers, freedom of choice is being hempered and muddied by this relationship....

    I really appreciate your input...will try to get some info from ISU, wish me luck
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    will isu release the objectives and study guide and list of books for the 4 challenge courses w/o going thru tcn....
    yes, pay for the exam first and they should forward the objectives and study guides for that specific exam. you must first contact the nursing dept get the authorization. the dept with authorize the payment office for you to pay for the exam. while you are talking to the nursing dept confirm that they will send you the objectives and study guide after you pay for the exam. sometimes you need to remind them because it appears they want the students to buy the expensive tcn study guides. however, if they are requiring a challenge exam they must provide the objectives and what to study as well as what books they suggest--probably the book(s) that the students buy for the class. i also liked the lippincott straight a"s in [pick the topic] use as another study guide as well as the nclex lpn comprehensive study guide, adn the books they recommend.

    i would not try to take the 4 challenge exams at isu until you have all the nursing prerequisites complete.
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    This is why I didn't want to go through ISU:

    1. It would still take me about 3 years to complete a BSN even though I currently hold a bachelors in another field.

    2. I have an issue with being forced to pay for TCN study guides.

    3. I have an issue with challenging exams when I already took those during my LVN program. Why should we have to test out? Give us credit for our previous nursing courses.
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    this is why i didn't want to go through isu:
    to each its own. that is why we have so many programs. isu is designed for those students who cannot attend regular nursing school. many states do not accept dl programs. isu is an accredited program and accepted in more states -- especially the most difficult state california -- where many dl programs are not accepted.

    1. it would still take me about 3 years to complete a bsn even though i currently hold a bachelors in another field.

    having a bachelors degree in another subject only cuts down on the gen ed classes. it does not decrease the requirements for your bachelors in nursing.

    2. i have an issue with being forced to pay for tcn study guides.
    i don't know how you were forced to pay tcn. tcn only sells study guides. isu has repeatedly stated that you do not need to use the tcn study guides to pass the challenge exams. like all colleges and universities who have challenge exams, isu will provide objectives and what to study as well as make suggestions about what books to obtain and study from. however, fail a challenge exam and you are forced to pay for the tcn study guide for that course. rationale is: tcn will make sure the student passes to the point of providing a tutor--allegedly.

    3. i have an issue with challenging exams when i already took those during my lvn program. why should we have to test out? give us credit for our previous nursing courses.

    many colleges and universities require lvn/lpns to retake classes. ventura community college in ventura has a lvn program--if there is room in the regular program. their program is full time and 9 months (3 semester). the lvn starts out in the 2nd semester and takes what is required. many colleges and universities do not trust the education lvns receive from their former school. because their pass rate is based on how many students pass and because they did not educate those lvns, many will require lvns to retake classes. now, el camino community college in redondo beach has a full time lvn to adn aspect--if there is room, one goes into the last 2 semesters of the adn degree after the previous semester the lvn took the lvn to adn nursing readiness course. only difference is this student skips 2 semesters--but with the lvn to adn nursing readiness course, it is actually 3 semesters.remember these programs are full time--not dl and not part time as isu is.

    many colleges and universities will not grant credit for nursing classes not taken at their facility. the nice thing with being an lvn/lpn is the student enters as an advanced nursing student.

    while isu may not satisfy your needs, it does for those students who need an accredited, part time, state authorized distant learning lvn/lpn to bsn program.

    congratulations on finding a program that adheres to your needs and going forward with your degree.
    Last edit by LadyinScrubs on Dec 8, '11
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    When I first inquired about ISU they sent me straight to TCN, and that was about 2 1/2 years ago. So they did force TCN on me which was a big turn off. It may have changed since then but they did push TCN on me and others that I know.

    I already know that completing the program in 3 years only cuts down my my general education and doesn't decrease the nursing courses.

    Most colleges that I've looked at start from the 2nd year of nursing which is where LVN-ADN comes into place. So therefore it can be completed in less than one year vs 3 years for a BSN. Since I already hold a bachelors degree it's not feasible for me.

    ISU is a reputable program and it's a good fit for some but not for all. ISU isn't accepted in all states unfortunately but I was surprised it wasn't accepted by more states than I thought.

    Had CA not put a limit on how many clinical components can be completed in one semester then I would have taken that into consideration and probably would have followed through. What's nice is that it's an accredited program and it does meet the needs of those who are limited.
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    This post was an absolute life saver. I have a question I hope someone can help. The following link is what we need to get to ISU...does anyone know how I can find out exactly which CLEP, DSST, ECE these required "classes" translate to?? Indiana State University DegreeLink Program: Nursing (LPN/LVN to BS): Courses


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