Second-degree programs - don't think I'll ever get inRegister Today!
This is a discussion on Second-degree programs - don't think I'll ever get in in Pre-Nursing Student, part of Nursing Student ... I have a BA in Psychology and had plans to persue a PhD in cognitive psych, but having my second...by cakeums Jun 21, '12I have a BA in Psychology and had plans to persue a PhD in cognitive psych, but having my second child totally put those plans off and over time I've wanted more and more to become a nurse. I have been taking prereqs for 2 years now and I don't think I will ever get into a program. I was an outstanding student growing up, graduated from high school with a 4.0, several AP and many honors classes, had a 1340 on my SAT (back when it was still a 1600 total), etc. I did very poorly when I started college and made mistakes at not one, but two schools.
I left school, reentered a couple of years later, and then proceeded to get a 3.7 during my last 4 semesters - all while getting married, going through a complicated pregnancy (with months of bed rest), having a baby, and finishing my degree during her first year. My husband was also recalled by the Marine Corps at that point and I spent the last two months of undergrad as a single parent to 1 year old. It was tough and I felt like I really earned that degree!
Well, none of this matters now because my overall GPA was only a 3.18. When I saw nursing schools saying that they would accept a minimum of 2.5, 2.7, 3.0 - depending on the program - and either Cs or Bs as the minimum for prereqs, I figured I would definitely get in somewhere. The more and more I read, the more I realize that nursing school admissions is the new med school admissions. People are applying with 3.8s or better in their first degrees and their prereqs, have either job or volunteer experience in the medical field, and aren't getting in!!!
I put all of my efforts trying to get into one accelerated BSN program that I was rejected from, and only really planned my prereqs around that program. I took the prereqs at that school (a state university with a major medical center) and am now discovering that even their courses, some of the most rigorous offered, are not going to satisfy prereqs in many programs because they don't offer lab for physiology. I took the micro course recommended for their program (an upper level bio course, at that) and that doesn't have a lab either...but a different micro course that is only offered in the spring does have a lab. That would put me off another year, leaving me ineligible for 2013 programs.
I am just so freaking tired of feeling like I've been kicked down over and over again. There is nothing I can do to change what I did my first few semesters of college. Even my prereqs aren't fantastic! Nobody wants a C in anatomy or a B- in micro, even when they claim to take a grade of C in prereqs. I am almost 29 years old, a mother of two, $80K in student loan debt, and I work as a waitress. My original degree is absolutely worthless in the job market. I cannot keep putting more and more money into things like a second micro course, or paying the local tech school $18K for an LPN for the sole purpose of applying to bridge programs. Community colleges are even more competitive than ABSN programs, it seems. I can't afford to apply to multiple programs at a time when applications are anywhere from $50-100 apiece!
I really don't know what to do. I feel like I need a dose of reality...I wish someone who knew better than me would come out and say, "You don't have the credentials to be a competitive applicant." My family and friends are constantly shocked by how difficult it is to get into nursing school in the face of a supposed shortage. I have friends who are nurses who did it 10-20 years ago and say that *anybody* could become a nurse back then. I have always been "one of the brightest" and everybody I know seems surprised that I have virtually no chance at getting into a program.
Is there anybody out there who feels this way? I saw a couple of other similar posts, but then the posters later came back to say that they got into a program after all. Great for them, but holy cow, does it scare me.
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- Jun 21, '12 by BostonFNPNon-traditional programs such as ABSN programs are competitive, but they also look for life experience and it sounds like you have had some. Play to your strengths and keep trying until you get it, if this is really what you want to do.
- Jun 21, '12 by justkeepswimmingnemoPlease don't give up. If you believe it you will see it~Wayne Dwyer
- Jun 21, '12 by IndyElmerThere are definitely people who get into ABSN programs with lower GPAs, so I don't think your early university struggles are as much of an issue as you might think. I think my undergrad GPA was only a 3.3 but I did a lot better in all of my pre-reqs that I took more recently (3.8 to 4.0 for those classes). The program that I applied to looked more at my recent work than my first bachelor's GPA.
Also, I had a friend/classmate during pre-reqs who was working toward her first bachelor's degree and was really struggling with her pre-reqs. She had to drop anatomy the first time she took it and I think she ended up with a B when she took it the second time. She had to drop physiology too. In the end, she opted to switch schools. There were other schools in the areas that were slightly less rigorous and with significantly more supportive staff that are still good schools that will lead to an RN after her name. She'll be starting a year later than she originally planned, but she got her acceptance letter for their nursing school just a couple weeks ago.
Something that I wish I had considered when I was applying for ABSN programs was applying to traditional BSN programs. Yes, it would take me 24 or 28 months instead of just 12, but there are some advantages to the slightly slower pace. It might be worth a look at some traditional programs in your area too because for some of them, a class like micro may be considered a co-requisite instead of a pre-requisite (not that it makes the frustration of potentially repeating micro any better). Also, your application to the traditional program at the same school may be viewed differently.
Whether you choose to apply to traditional programs or accelerated programs in the future, you have the opportunity to have an even stronger application if you get some experience that shows how serious you are about your decision. (I don't think it's necessary to seek out these opportunites to be competitive for a seat in the future, but it certainly can't hurt!) You can get some more hospital volunteer hours or possibly even get some training to find a job in healthcare (though even some of those entry level positions like CNA or PCT are, in some areas, harder to find than one might initially expect, so consider carefully before speneding too much money on training).
Have you already spoken to the advisor for your first choice program? If not, I think it's worth seeing if you can find out what would make you a more competitive applicant for their program(s). Just be careful to bring the right professional attitude to this fact finding mission so that you don't end up crying/tearing-up from frustration/fears when you're discussing the situation. (That tearing up when frustrated is something I might do in your situation, so I would have to practice being all-business while asking the questions.)
My entry into an ABSN program was delayed by a year. I am totally jealous of my friend that I had planned to start with. We both ended up choosing to move to different states instead of attending the school where we did our pre-reqs. She was able to start at the same time we had planned and because my new first choice school requires applications to be submitted more than a year in advance of the term in which you want to start, I was delayed by a year. As I was getting started, my friend was graduating. At the time I found out there was going to be a delay I was devastated. Unlike my younger classmates, I didn't have much time left in my 30s and it seemed like a major set-back. Now I perceive the delay more like a bump in the road instead of the huge roadblock it seemed at the time. Sure, I wish things had happened on my timeline (particularly since it was a little more expensive the way that things happened), but I'm still going to be an RN, and that's what matters.
Best of luck with your future applications!!
- Jun 21, '12 by musingmomIf an RN is still what you really want to do, keep going. It's just going to take longer. Retake any prereqs that you got a C in. Retake phys and micro with labs at a community college. Look for programs that will take the second higher grade. Second career BSNs may not be the right niche, look for traditional programs, ASN programs, or consider doing an LVN at a community college and looking for a bridge program. If you're employed as an LVN, or even CNA, often your employer will even help pay for the bridge program.
Find a volunteer program. In my area, experience with direct patient care counts almost as much as good grades.
My GPA from my first degree was 3.23. But my prereqs were strong and I had over 500 hours of volunteer time. It took me 3 years to finish my prereqs and get in and I have children, and a job too. I did it, you can too.
- Jun 21, '12 by CDEWannaBeYou may be smart but you haven't been practical in applying to nursing school. If you decide to continue to try to pursue this goal you need to:
* Realize you might not be able to afford to go to school right now. If you have $80,000 in student loans you're unlikely to be eligible for more federal financial aid since you have a bachelors and are trying to get another. Federal aid used to be easy to get and the government was more quick to forgive loans, not the case anymore. Your best (and maybe only) options are to save money and apply for private scholarships.
* Call the program(s) you're interested in and have your transcripts evaluated. They will be straight up in telling you if you have a chance and what you can do to improve your odds. You're competing against the other applicants to get in, not just trying to meet the minimum requirements. If you had taken a few minutes to call the accelerated nursing program you were applying to they likely would have told you what you needed to be accepted. They don't want you to waste your time or their time applying if you aren't a strong enough candidate.
* Most colleges have articulation agreements with other local schools and they develop course equivalency tables that show which classes do and don't transfer and meet prereq requirements. Every school I've seen posts this on their website. You probably didn't do your research since you took science classes without the lab the accelerate program requires. Make sure you have written proof that the classes you are taking are eligible.
* Consider getting a CNA. It's relatively quick and you may make similar money to waitressing, while getting valuable experience. Some employers will help pay for you to continue on to get an RN. If you're a good employee they may offer you an RN job once you pass the NCLEX.
Don't pursue nursing unless it's a job that you REALLY want. Nursing schools are quick to use Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers showing there is a nursing shortage, but they're just trying to keep their enrollments. There's no reason you can't be a qualified applicant and a good nurse someday. But it's not going to happen unless you do your research and be realistic.
- Jun 21, '12 by StephalumpIt sounds like you have some serious decisions to make. $80,000 is a lot of money to owe the government and ABSN programs are incredibly expensive. You are most definitely not guaranteed a job after graduation, so I'm not sure piling on debt is a great idea.
Where are you considering going for an LPN program that costs 18 thousand dollars? That's insane and over double what my ADN costs.
My suggestion would be to go the LPN-BSN route or ADN-BSN route. You're going to have to pay for it out of pocket, but there are scholarships out there that can help. If you get a job somewhere with tuition reimbursement, that can also e'll significantly. What you want to look for is programs that ONLY take Into consideration your pre-req gpa, and focus on taking the right classes for that. With grade replacement, you can throw away the past and be in control of your grades from now on.
I think you just need to be realistic. You don't have the money or GPA to go the route you've been trying to go. You're not really going to be able to get your overall GPA up with the amount of credit hours you have, so it's time to do what you CAN do. I don't have a stellar GPA in my first degree, and ABSN programs around here are fiercely competitive, so I made sure I had a 4.0 on prereqs and went from there. I
- Jun 21, '12 by IndyElmerHoly Cow! I don't know how I missed that $80,000 in debt line when I read the original post earlier. I have to agree with Stephalump that a more affordable LPN-BSN or ADN-BSN route (where you either save up or pay as you go for the first degree) may be your best option unless you have the financial support of a spouse/family who are going to pay for the ABSN program (and living expenses). I can remember when the recommendation for maximum loan amount used to be two-times your anticipated starting salary, but that has since been decreased to only one-times your anticipated starting salary. $80,000 is already well past the starting salary of any new grad RN positions that I've ever heard about or seen.
- Jun 21, '12 by llgSorry ... mistake in post. Deleted by author.
- Jun 21, '12 by willowitaWow, my heart truly goes out to you! I can sense the utter desperation and frustration in your post. Take a deep breath and tackle it one thing at a time. When you step back and you look at this huge problem, it seems unsurmountable. But you can handle it in smaller chunks.
I agree with everything CDEWannabe and Steph wrote.
First, identify ABSN, BSN, AND ADN programs you can apply to. Forget about the missing labs for right now. Just find the schools that you can attend in your area.
Second, call them or go in person to schedule some time to meet with a nursing advisor. Have them review your transcripts and ask what you can do about this missing labs. Maybe there is a lab only portion you can take? Worst case scenario, you need to retake micro and physiology. Don't do it at a university. Just go to a community college where it will be more affordable. Many community colleges offer fee waivers for tuition for students that qualify. Try to get qualified so you don't have to pay for those classes again.
I know the cost of applications is a concern but figure out what you can afford. Maybe it's 2 or 3 schools? Go for 2 or 3 then. The ADN programs in my area do not charge an application fee. The one that did was only $5. So you might find that you can apply to many ADNs if they don't charge anything.
I get that you want an ABSN but it might just not be realistic. Forget about the academics for a moment. You have tons of student debt and it'll get worst with an ABSN. An ADN is more affordable, can be easier to get into because they have more relaxed admission policies, and you still get to walk away with a degree that lets you sit for the NCLEX. You can then apply for an RN to BSN bridge program.
So don't throw in the towel just yet. There are options out there. They might not be your plan A or even the shortest route. But you can still be a nurse!