Questions Regarding Excelsior.....

  1. Good morning! I am an LPN looking to get my associate's degree as an RN. A few questions.... 1. What is the difference between associate in arts and associate in science? 2. My catalog about the school should be arriving shortly. How long does the enrollment process take before you can start? 3. How long does it typically take to complete the LPN/RN program? (I work full-time.) 4. I live in Pennsylvania. Do you have to take the clinical in Albany? Thanks in advance to all who answer my post. Julie
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    I think you are going to like Excelsior--everything at your own pace. Imagine "going to school" in your PJ's! Taking your tests when you are ready to! Being able to miss a week to do whatever, and not get so much as a dirty look! I was scared to take my first exam (shell shock from traditional nursing school mixed with "what if I fail? That's $155!"--puhleeze!), so I diddled around from August to December. Then I started working on the first exam, found a study buddy (from a post I placed on EC's bulletin board), and took the plunge. That was the end of January, and I finished my last exam the end of April.

    So I'm finishing up at Excelsior--I don't have my LVN (wish I had gone that route, but oh, well), but my study buddy does. The only difference between us is that she didn't have to take one of the exams because having her LVN counted for that one. (Saved her $155 and some time....)

    There are actually no clinicals. You can't get into Excelsior unless you already have your clinicals and skills training done, because you can't do that online. You have your LVN, I had "more than 50%" of my clinicals done, and that counts.

    At the end, you will take a biggie clinical exam called the CPNE--"Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination." It lasts 2-1/2 days, but it is nothing more than what you are doing now! You know about not violating the sterile field, doubling checking patient ID before giving meds, how to calculate drop rates for IV's, etc. You'll do fine.

    I got anxious and bought a study guide set. I don't regret it one bit, because I really needed the security of a set of somebody else's notes (with tapes of a guy reading them, no less!) to trust myself to take that first exam. And I did use them for review.

    But EC provides study guides (you can even download them for free off their site) that includes a detailed outline--if you use that and fill in the detail as you read/study, you'll have it all, and for free! EC gives you a book list, and page and chapter assignments for reading. If you read what they say (and pay attention), you will have everything you need, not just to pass, but to know your stuff!

    Also there are some pretty good Yahoo groups that have notes that other students have taken and posted for the various exams (there are 7, but you will do 6). I used those heavily. The other thing I did that I enthusiastically share with others is, I googled every disease, every drug, every symptom that I didn't already know inside and out. I learned so much! I also cut and pasted off those google articles and made my own note files.

    And I got all A's.

    This is so much more than you asked for--I'm sorry to go on and on. I'm just so enthused about my own experience, I'm worse than a happy bride wanting everybody else to be in love too.

    Good luck, keep in touch!
  4. by   DeLynn
    I'm just beginning Excelsior. My application took about 6 weeks for a reply, but once I received my approval I called for two course contents and I received them right away. You don't have to be enrolled to take some of the tests, you can sign up to take a test after your approved.
    You don't have to go to Albany for your clinical test, they have sites all over the country, In fact I can take my test right where I work!
    The difference between degrees depends on how many free electives you use.
    Hope this helps
  5. by   Spazzy Nurse
    Congrats on moving on up, Julie!! I'll probably repeat what some of the other people said, but oh well.

    1) The difference between the two is confusing and had to be explained to me about 17 times and I still don't know if I understand it. I think it has to do with your generals being science based. If a certain number of your gen. eds. are science based, you'll have an AAS degree.

    2) I don't remember about the enrollment process since it was eons ago that I did all of that. But like Delynn said, you can start taking a couple of the NC exams before you're even enrolled. In fact, it's smart to do that, since once you're enrolled the clock starts ticking, and for every 365 days that you are enrolled, you have to pay a re-enrollment fee. So take what you can (those couple of NC exams and your gen eds) before enrolled, if possible.

    3) I've seen people whip through it in 6 months, taking a test a month and then onto their CPNE, and I've seen people take years. Kind of depends on the person and what else they have going on in their lives. I got pregnant exactly one month after starting the program. Between nausea then having a new creature that smelled like baby powder invade my home, working FT, and periods of lack of motivation, the entire thing from start to NCLEX took me 3 years. My biggest piece of advice is once you get going, don't stop for long. It's very hard to come back from long study breaks. Take a little time off here and there because you'll need it, but get to know yourself and know how much time is too much to take off.

    4) Yep yep, you can do your CPNE (clinical exam) at any of the sites in the country. Throughout your studies, make good use of the message boards (this one, Yahoo, etc.) and keep your eyes open for what people had to say about the different CPNE sites. Even e-mail people who have tested and see what they have to say about their site. That's what I did, and that's how I decided on what site to go to.

    Best of luck to you!!!!
  6. by   barbiedee
    Congrats on your career move. Its the first step in a long, worthwhile journey! When you enroll at Excelsior you will receive an Academic Advisor. He/she will determine whether you better fit the Associates of Arts, or of Science, depending on your current academic credits. You don't have to decide...they will advise you. And there is no difference in the outcome...you'll still receive your Associates degree in Nursing. The only difference is in the electives, not the nursing courses.

    You can take all of your electives and Nursing Concepts 1 and 2 before you have to enroll at Excelsior. You can register with Excelsior and apply for the nursing program any time, before you actually enroll. (and only pay a small registration fee, as opposed to the $725 or so enrollment fee.)

    I bought my study guides through DLSI, and they are quite good, however, you can buy these same guides by DLSI, Chancellors, etc, off of ebay or other websites for much less than their original cost. (Mine were about $325 for each study guide. OUCH. Especially when you have to convert that to canadian dollars!)

    The Academic advisors are really helpful, in fact, I have found all of Excelsior staff very helpful. I have done three electives so far, and am just about finished NC1...so I still have a LONG way to go, too!

    Good luck....
  7. by   barbiedee
    Oops, one more thign...you can print all of the Excelsior Course study guides off of their website...or you can request them by mail. But printing them off the internet is much faster!
  8. by   julie1014
    I just wanted to take the time to thank each one of you for replying to my post regarding excelsior. It's greatly appreciated! I called excelsior 10 days ago for their catalog, but still haven't received it. So, I've been spending some time on their website, doing research. So, I can take nursing concepts without being enrolled? I'll have to look that up. That would be a great way to "get my feet wet!" Thanks again! Julie
  9. by   barbiedee
    From what I understand (and have done) you can take the nursing concepts 1 and 2 exams without being enrolled at Excelsior. I wrote three of my electives, and have paid to write the NC 1 and 2 exams before I paid the enrollment fee. However, I had registered, and applied to the nursing school and was accepted. There is a small fee for this. (It was $60) If you write NC 1 and 2 before registering, you may save money, because as SpazzyNurse said, you have to pay a fee every year, (not a BIG fee, but more money, none the less) so having 2 courses under your belt before you even enroll is a good head start. You do have to register and pay the $825 enrollment fee before you can take the NC3 exam.
    As I am currently doing this program, I have researched this a lot...especially as I am from Canada. (That alone is an expensive proposition....additional fees, etc!)
  10. by   Spazzy Nurse
    The only people I wouldn't advise to take NC 1 & 2 before enrolling are people who don't have an LPN/LVN or EMT-P degree, since those 2 seem to be the only degrees guaranteed to be admitted into the program. It'd be such a waste to take 2 exams and then not be admitted. They do a credit review before accepting people into the program, and I know they've become more strict on the rules of admission. For a while there they were letting everyone and their brother into the program. Now it seems as though some CMAs are accepted, some aren't. All depends on their previous schooling and experience I guess.

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