Need a reality check

  1. 0
    First and foremost, I've been lurking this community for a while and have to say that you guys are extremely helpful and wonderful. Thanks for existing.

    I was formerly an engineering major and decided to change schools and pursue a BSN in nursing. I plan on applying to the program in spring for admission in the fall, as I am finishing up my pre-reqs this semester and will have A&P II left for next semester. I've been working at my pre-reqs for nursing for the past two semesters and have been having trouble staying motivated, mainly because the advisement offered by my school sends out periodic e-mails reminding all the pre-nursing students that most of us won't be accepted to any nursing schools and we should all consider back-up majors. I hear nothing but ill words about nursing school from classmates, not only from those who have been rejected to programs around the area, but even from those who have no interest in nursing. There are remarks about it being "pathetically cut-throat," "unreal," "insanely difficult," etc. It is to the point that fellow nursing majors refuse to discuss nursing school with each other or even form study groups in fear of "helping the competition," in my experience.

    Last week, I finally decided to go above my advisor and speak to a nursing advisor at my school. She evaluated my academic standing and informed me that my program GPA is a 3.72, and it is considered extremely low, as is my TEAS score of 90. She informed me that my hundreds of hours of volunteer work at the hospital (PACU, pharmacy, and ER combined) will carry no weight in my nursing application, and that all of the emphasis is placed on program GPA--my 3.9 overall GPA won't even be looked at. Some of the courses I've taken for my previous major, such as calculus, have replaced lower-level courses required for nursing, such as math modeling. I received a B+ in calculus, whereas I would have earned an A+ in math modeling. I asked if nursing school would take the fact that calculus is wildly more difficult and beyond what is expected into account, and she said no, all that matters is GPA, not what courses were taken.

    To put the icing on the cake, she sincerely advised that I pay to retake courses simply to raise an A to an A+.

    I feel completely hopeless at this point. I attend a state university, it isn't a prestigious private school, an accelerated/honors program, or anything of that nature. The stress regarding all of this is so over-the-top that my physician has informed me that I've developed self-induced costochondritis as a result.

    Is this normal for all nursing schools? Is anyone else going through this? If so, how do you all possibly stay motivated? Thanks in advance.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I don't know if it's "normal", but at my school they required all pre-reqs and co-reqs to be completed before even applying for the course. There were 10 of these, and I completed 9 of them with a 4.0...apparently I just squeaked in with that. I think the number of classes completed AND the GPA were the main considerations for entry.

    We have 10,000 students in the school, 1500 of which are in health-related studies, and 400 of those apply to the nursing program every semester. There are 60 admitted to the program out of all of that, so if it's similar I am not surprised you are having issues such as you are.

    My advice would be to find which courses would be considered pre-reqs and take them...or again if you have to get the grade up. It costs more, but if you have taken them before imagine how easy it will be the 2nd time. Or you can apply elsewhere...there are 5 schools in my area, and some are easier to get into than the one I am in (which is considered the best) so it may be like that for you as well.
  5. 0
    How far are you in getting your bachelors degree in engineering? From my own experience getting into an accelerated nursing program is much easier than the traditional route due to the vast amount of students competing. Although once you are accepted the difficulty reverses.
  6. 0
    Same at my community college and all of the RN/BSN programs around me are pretty much the same way. I ended up giving up on going straight for my RN. I knew that I wanted to be a nurse and I'd do whatever it takes to make it happen. I ended up going the LPN route. Now I'm working towards getting into an LPN to RN bridge program.

    If you want something bad enough you will find away to make it happen. You never know, you might have it takes if you look inside yourself to retake whatever classes needed and get yourself into that RN program. No matter what, you can do anything you set your mind to. Don't let anyone else tell you different.
  7. 1
    That school sounds full of it. I say apply with the scores you have now. Wow. That school is tough.
    gummi bear likes this.
  8. 2
    Change schools. Find one that better suits your needs. I see a lot of nursing student transcripts from a wide variety of schools -- and almost none of them have 4.0's in their freshman and sophomore years.

    You don't need a 4.0 to get into nursing school. Find another school.
    carakristin1 and Saysfaa like this.
  9. 2
    Your school sounds horrible. Not horrible as in bad nursing program, but horrible as in they are way too high on their horse. Finish your pre reqs there but apply to multiple nursing programs. I mean every program that is feasible and in your region. I live in an area where we don't have a whole lot of BSN programs. I know people who attend 4 year schools and when they apply for the upper division nursing courses (very competitive), they apply to the 4 or 5 decent schools in the state. Your GPA is really good, TEAs score is excellent, and volunteer work makes you a standout. Many schools would readily accept you.
    carakristin1 and Saysfaa like this.
  10. 1
    With a 3.9 gpa in Engineering, you have a vastly different scale than the people who find nursing school "insanely difficult".

    The drama is fairly normal. It is more than who is in the field and who mostly set up the parameters and mechanisms of the politics and culture of the field, although it is that too. Partly, it is that there is just more room for feelings or differences of opinion when you can't proof a solution.

    As for which things matter on the application - that is not standard. There are many schools where your overall gpa (and/or what classes make up that gpa) would matter and where experience does carry weight. Usually, though, there is very little flexibility around what is looked at - they will be just as inflexible about that different criteria they look at.

    That advisor works for the school - it is in her best interest for more people to take more classes. Even if she isn't thinking of the situation that way, there is virtually no incentive for her to not encourage people to take more classes. Her job is safer if she has a set of "objective" criteria like gpa to back up which students are accepted and the computer program doesn't have a brain, it only has a place to check off "math". It looks good on paper, that is more important than working well in real life when you work for the government.

    And most people don't push back very hard - they assume the advisor knows, there aren't a lot of choices, and most of them aren't feeling what they pay for school anyway as they are paying with either other people's money (scholarships) or with promises to feel it later (loans).

    And, yes, I am going through a version of the not fitting the standard model either, it doesn't even fit any of the typical nonstandard models. Mostly, I look at it as getting expectations in line with reality. Reality is it is unfair and highly irritating but as long as I expect it to be then I (usually) can deal with it well enough to figure out the best way around/through the obstical and how to stack the deck in my favor as much as I can (like being very picky about what prof I take, what time of day the class meets, working ahead in classes, using the resource centers if the school has them, planning to go to the prof's office hours). After that, it is a matter of deciding if it is worth doing.

    I would not automatically retake classes. I might do it but I'd sort through the implications and alternative first. For example, if the low score on the TEASE would keep me out anyway, there is no point in raising gpa. Ask yourself... Are you allowed to retake the TEAS? Do the scores average or do they replace the old one? Do you expect to do well on it if you retake it (like if you were sick or overconfident or rushed or surprised the first time)?

    Can you figure out how to shake the bad taste about this school or to set that aside enough to do well in the class anyway? Can you take a class seriously if you are bored? There is no point in retaking a class to get another A instead of an A+.

    Can you replace your calc grade by taking math modeling? That would probably cost you only some money, not much of your time or energy and would have a bigger effect than replacing an A with an A+.

    I sympathize and wish there were better answers.
    hudabelle likes this.
  11. 0
    Hey at least your school accepted calculus! One I applied to said that my calculus class did not prove that I knew algebra and I HAD to take college algebra over! My overall gpa was 3.7 going into nursing school but my science gpa was a 3.9 and I had been a science major going into nursing school. When I went for my rn-bsn program my gpa was 3.7. If you are not heart set on this program id look into other programs that will let you into their programs.
  12. 0
    Quote from tenjuna
    I don't know if it's "normal", but at my school they required all pre-reqs and co-reqs to be completed before even applying for the course. There were 10 of these, and I completed 9 of them with a 4.0...apparently I just squeaked in with that. I think the number of classes completed AND the GPA were the main considerations for entry.

    We have 10,000 students in the school, 1500 of which are in health-related studies, and 400 of those apply to the nursing program every semester. There are 60 admitted to the program out of all of that, so if it's similar I am not surprised you are having issues such as you are.

    My advice would be to find which courses would be considered pre-reqs and take them...or again if you have to get the grade up. It costs more, but if you have taken them before imagine how easy it will be the 2nd time. Or you can apply elsewhere...there are 5 schools in my area, and some are easier to get into than the one I am in (which is considered the best) so it may be like that for you as well.

    Thanks for the response! It is a similar situation at my university. Around 270 students apply to the program each semester, but only 70-80 are accepted. I suppose the most feasible option at this point would be to apply to several schools in my state, even though living away from the city I'm in at this point wouldn't be the most ideal thing to do.



    Quote from sashaalicia1
    How far are you in getting your bachelors degree in engineering? From my own experience getting into an accelerated nursing program is much easier than the traditional route due to the vast amount of students competing. Although once you are accepted the difficulty reverses.
    I didn't get very far in engineering at all. I ended up leaving my school for numerous reasons, but one of them was because I couldn't see myself finishing engineering and living my life doing it for the rest of my life. I never considered that accelerated might be easier, thanks for the thought! It makes sense, I'll have to look into that.



    Quote from Glenna, LPN
    Same at my community college and all of the RN/BSN programs around me are pretty much the same way. I ended up giving up on going straight for my RN. I knew that I wanted to be a nurse and I'd do whatever it takes to make it happen. I ended up going the LPN route. Now I'm working towards getting into an LPN to RN bridge program.

    If you want something bad enough you will find away to make it happen. You never know, you might have it takes if you look inside yourself to retake whatever classes needed and get yourself into that RN program. No matter what, you can do anything you set your mind to. Don't let anyone else tell you different.
    That is insane that community college would be so cut-throat with their program. I considered taking the LPN -> RN -> BSN bridge program, but it seems like it'd take an incredibly long time. How is that working for you? Thanks for the inspiring words, you speak the truth!




    Quote from pookyp
    That school sounds full of it. I say apply with the scores you have now. Wow. That school is tough.
    Thank you! It seems absolutely insane to me.



    Quote from llg
    Change schools. Find one that better suits your needs. I see a lot of nursing student transcripts from a wide variety of schools -- and almost none of them have 4.0's in their freshman and sophomore years.

    You don't need a 4.0 to get into nursing school. Find another school.
    Thank you so much, this was so reassuring to read. I just feel trapped with the school I'm attending now because it's so convenient, but sucking it up and applying to other schools further away seems most feasible at this point. It's incredible that I feel guilty and inept for getting an A- in a microbiology course taught by a foreign professor that I could hardly understand.



    Quote from zoe92
    Your school sounds horrible. Not horrible as in bad nursing program, but horrible as in they are way too high on their horse. Finish your pre reqs there but apply to multiple nursing programs. I mean every program that is feasible and in your region. I live in an area where we don't have a whole lot of BSN programs. I know people who attend 4 year schools and when they apply for the upper division nursing courses (very competitive), they apply to the 4 or 5 decent schools in the state. Your GPA is really good, TEAs score is excellent, and volunteer work makes you a standout. Many schools would readily accept you.
    Thank you so much for this. It seems like applying to multiple schools is the most logical thing to do at this point, although my current university is the most convenient. My area isn't incredibly saturated with BSN programs, either, based on word-of-mouth and reputation, but that's something I'll have to research.



    Quote from Saysfaa
    With a 3.9 gpa in Engineering, you have a vastly different scale than the people who find nursing school "insanely difficult".

    The drama is fairly normal. It is more than who is in the field and who mostly set up the parameters and mechanisms of the politics and culture of the field, although it is that too. Partly, it is that there is just more room for feelings or differences of opinion when you can't proof a solution.

    As for which things matter on the application - that is not standard. There are many schools where your overall gpa (and/or what classes make up that gpa) would matter and where experience does carry weight. Usually, though, there is very little flexibility around what is looked at - they will be just as inflexible about that different criteria they look at.

    That advisor works for the school - it is in her best interest for more people to take more classes. Even if she isn't thinking of the situation that way, there is virtually no incentive for her to not encourage people to take more classes. Her job is safer if she has a set of "objective" criteria like gpa to back up which students are accepted and the computer program doesn't have a brain, it only has a place to check off "math". It looks good on paper, that is more important than working well in real life when you work for the government.

    And most people don't push back very hard - they assume the advisor knows, there aren't a lot of choices, and most of them aren't feeling what they pay for school anyway as they are paying with either other people's money (scholarships) or with promises to feel it later (loans).

    And, yes, I am going through a version of the not fitting the standard model either, it doesn't even fit any of the typical nonstandard models. Mostly, I look at it as getting expectations in line with reality. Reality is it is unfair and highly irritating but as long as I expect it to be then I (usually) can deal with it well enough to figure out the best way around/through the obstical and how to stack the deck in my favor as much as I can (like being very picky about what prof I take, what time of day the class meets, working ahead in classes, using the resource centers if the school has them, planning to go to the prof's office hours). After that, it is a matter of deciding if it is worth doing.

    I would not automatically retake classes. I might do it but I'd sort through the implications and alternative first. For example, if the low score on the TEASE would keep me out anyway, there is no point in raising gpa. Ask yourself... Are you allowed to retake the TEAS? Do the scores average or do they replace the old one? Do you expect to do well on it if you retake it (like if you were sick or overconfident or rushed or surprised the first time)?

    Can you figure out how to shake the bad taste about this school or to set that aside enough to do well in the class anyway? Can you take a class seriously if you are bored? There is no point in retaking a class to get another A instead of an A+.

    Can you replace your calc grade by taking math modeling? That would probably cost you only some money, not much of your time or energy and would have a bigger effect than replacing an A with an A+.

    I sympathize and wish there were better answers.
    What you wrote in regards to engineering rings so true. Engineering is an entirely different element from nursing. I have an incredibly hard time believing that every nurse I come into contact with had a 4.0 in college. You brought up a strong point about the politics of it all too. Between the rumors and the anxiety, I had never really considered it as a factor, but you are absolutely right. Thanks for that.

    Reality really is difficult. Most of the other pre-nursing students I've come into contact with are living on campus off of scholarships and groceries mom and dad buy them. It's so difficult being a student who commutes, works full time, and volunteers at the hospital and competing with others who only have the responsibility of being a student.

    No one can really seem to give me a straight answer about new grades replacing old ones, or replacing courses, unfortunately. I'm consistently being told that my grades follow me no matter where I go, so I'm assuming a new grade would simply be added to my GPA in addition to the old one. I don't necessarily struggle with my courses, it's just a matter of not knowing what to expect and trying to manage time. My lowest grade is a B+, but, still, I'm made to feel inadequate.

    Thank you for your response. You mentioned being outside the "conventional" model as well. I hope everything works out for you.



    Quote from bubblejet50
    Hey at least your school accepted calculus! One I applied to said that my calculus class did not prove that I knew algebra and I HAD to take college algebra over! My overall gpa was 3.7 going into nursing school but my science gpa was a 3.9 and I had been a science major going into nursing school. When I went for my rn-bsn program my gpa was 3.7. If you are not heart set on this program id look into other programs that will let you into their programs.
    Taking calculus doesn't prove knowing algebra? Oh goodness, that is absolutely ridiculous. Thanks for the response, though. My heart is set on nursing, but it looks like considering other options is my best bet at this point.


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