I hope that this post isn't misdirected; I'm hoping to get some advice about my prospects for nursing school; since my advisor is a DrPH and I go to a very small liberal arts college without a nursing program, I haven't been able to get much constructive criticism at school (though I've gotten a lot of support).
I am a non-traditional student--I'll be 25 when I graduate this Fall. I dropped out of high school for personal reasons, attended a massage therapy school, earned my massage license to pay my way through community college and had a 3.0 GPA when I finished my associate's in psychology. I transferred to my current program, Health Studies, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 from the past three semesters. I've completed all my prerequisites, plus such upper-level courses as Biometrics and Bioethics.
My real "edge" comes from my extracurricular experience:
-Worked as a personal attendant for a quadriplegic client for one year
-Founded a non-profit, 501(c)(3) community bicycle cooperative in 2006 that offered classes, bicycle repair and a safe space for at-risk youth in an under-served neighborhood--it's still going strong!
-Interned at a national monument in Arizona between community college and my current school; I worked with tribal members to develop an accurate, respectful cultural narrative about the site
-Completed a year-long internship at the only urban community health center in my city; implemented a research project on health literacy using the REALM test and a qualitative survey based on BRFSS to assess patient literacy levels; followed up with a qualitative analysis of patient-provider communication
-Currently a (non-credit) teaching assistant for the senior seminar on Health Literacy
-Assisting a doctoral student at the University of Arizona this summer with community-based participatory research on perceptions of VIA cervical cancer screening among Latina women and their providers
-Finishing my last undergraduate semester at an urban studies program in Chicago that includes an internship component and an opportunity to implement a research project (I hope to work with UChicago students to do a diabetes peer mentorship program for high school students in a Hispanic/Latin@ neighborhood)
-I've given two symposium presentations on community health, one as a reflection on the course I attended at UNM about traditional medicine in the Southwest, and one on my research on health literacy. I also spoke last week at the UIC midwest minority health conference--I was the only undergraduate that presented research at the conference!
I also rode my bicycle from Chicago to Los Angeles unsupported four years ago (my advisor seems to think I should include this in my letter of intent).
I am very interested in working as a nurse practitioner for rural, reservation communities along the US/Mexican border. My interest stems from my time in Arizona, and the research I'll be doing this summer is with a woman who founded a community health clinic there--one of the people who first encouraged me to pursue nursing. I often find that people want to do nursing, but don't know where they want to work. I hope that my strong and persistent interest in working with a specific population will help with my applications.
I know my GPA is mediocre for some of the better graduate-entry MSN programs. I want to be a family nurse practitioner, which I know is also highly competitive. I started to get super excited about nursing school and asked my advisor about applying to Hopkins (her alma mater), UW Seattle and UCSF--she doesn't think I'll get accepted to any of those. I would love to attend UIC but the application deadline has already passed for next year's program. University of Arizona has a good nursing program, and since I'll be in Tucson doing research this summer, it might demonstrate my familiarity with the community, but I've been told it's tough to get in if you're out-of-state.
Sorry this is so long--any advice would be appreciated!!!!