Stressed out and discouraged... post BA, pre-nursing student woes

  1. 0
    Hello everyone

    I have been a long time lurker on allnurses and I was just hoping for some advice. I got my undergraduate degree (in English...) in 2010 and spent some time working mostly pretty miserable temp desk jobs. I have always thought that nursing would be a good choice for me, but followed my passion for writing in college (started down that path in relatively better times economically). Anyway I have since returned to school and I am taking my pre-reqs for ABSN programs at the local community college. I don't have parents supporting me financially or anything and rent and my loans from my first degree are taking a big toll.

    I will be done with my pre-reqs as of August and I am starting to look at applications. The trouble is, my GPA from my first degree is 3.1, which is not impressive I know. I did work throughout undergrad to pay for tuition and finished a semester early when I realized I didn't know exactly what my direction was. I am doing really well in my prereqs and I have a 4.0 so far. I have been looking for volunteer positions, but it is surprisingly difficult so I am also getting my CNA certification. My end goal is to become either a family nurse practitioner or a certified nurse midwife. I am even considering applying to direct entry master's programs to go directly for an advanced practice degree. I am just so worried that my undergraduate GPA will hold me back. I am terrified of digging myself farther and farther into debt to pursue this dream.

    Any advice? There's really no turning back now I guess, but if you have some words of wisdom I would love to hear them.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    As a fellow BA in English, I racked up $30k for my first degree (bad money management!).

    My plan is to spend as little as possible on my nursing education... Instead of going for a second bachelor's right away, I'm going to get my ADN at a community college. Then, I'll only have to spend another year paying university tuition for my BSN... If I chose to go into a CRNA program (my dream job) I'd be able to work as an RN which, theoretically, should offset the cost at least somewhat.

    As for my loans, I have them in deferment at the moment because I'm enrolled in 6 units. So yeah, they're still racking up interest but it's not as bad (to me) as taking out more loans for three more years at a university right now.

    Good luck!
    lindsayinabox likes this.
  5. 1
    I too love writing! I considered journalism as a major in college (of course my parent's remarks of "what can you do with journalism? Be a starving writer?) swayed me away and I ended up with an equally if not more useless degree in sociology-TA DA! Anyway, I have had a passion for health and medicine since I was a kid, but in college I just didn't want med school bad enough and I didn't realize the opportunities in nursing at the time and on top of life happening, I sort of lost focus of what I wanted. Now, 6 years after graduating college, having gone through a lay-off, switching to a financial career out of necessity to pay my bills, I know I need to be in health care, go for nursing and the end goal will be a DNP. I have a crazy amount of private student loans from my undergrad as well. Its tough, I get it. However, you have a 3.1 GPA and that's just enough to get you to meet the minimum GPA requirement for a lot of programs and it may not be as competitive as a 3.8, but that's where your transparency and writing skills can help you too. You're doing amazing in your pre-reqs, so that helps! I've read how people with GPAs below 3.0 have gotten into ABSN programs, so don't give up hope...you never know unless you try.

    My undergrad GPA sucked. I had a family crises that sort of clouded things and I messed up. I applied to 4 programs this last year (ABSN/Entry MSN) and got rejected by all. That was so hard because I have always been (with the exception of college) an honors student, conscientious, etc. I have a 4.0 in my pre-reqs as well, tons of healthcare experience, but I just wasn't competitive enough. So, I felt the sting of rejection and reality (lets face it, who doesn't know someone applying or going into nursing right now?) I've sucked it up and applied to ADN programs just accepting that I have a different path to get me to my goal and maybe it will take me longer. I wish I could go back and get a stronger GPA in my undergrad, but I can't let pride or any of that pointless crap derail me. Just move forward. Keep trying. Stay determined. Like you said, "There's not turning back now"....you sound like a smart person and you've accomplished a lot, so don't give up or let the evil claws of discouragement drag you down. There are a lot of options and paths to get you where you want to go.

    P.S. Debt sucks, but that whole system needs revamping anyway. Its stupid that student loans, the very thing that was supposed to help you achieve a degree to be successful and earn a sustaining income is cornering you from achieving your goals. Honestly, getting a technical degree like nursing is worth it though. You'll see.
    lindsayinabox likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you! Haha oh my English major... I probably shouldn't have been allowed to make that decision at 18 years old... The community college where I'm taking classes now has an ADN program, but it just feels strange going back for an associates when my ultimate goal is a masters? But that does sound really smart to spend as little as possible. I am very lucky to not have any other major life costs right now- mortgage, kids, etc. So I'll hope for the best and volunteer as much as possible. Good luck to you as well!
  7. 0
    @klkoniec Thank you so much for the encouragement! Whichever path ends up working I'm going to keep going for nursing. I really think it is the perfect fit for me. I also wish I could go back and "fix" my undergrad years... I think I just didn't have any direction back then.
  8. 0
    Hi ~

    I think you're very smart looking at ABSN and Entry level MSN (ELMSN) programs. Reason being, many hospitals have been and will continue to post jobs that say "Bachelor's RN degree strongly preferred". I worked in several hospitals for 16 years (in Finance as Sr. Analyst) and I'm entering a ABSN program next month. Personally, if you can swing it I'd go the BSN or ELMSN route from the get go. Also, though you may wish your 3.1 GPA was higher, don't fret, get good grades on your prereq's now and I'm sure it will bump up and look impressive. Many fine colleges review the "entire applicant package" meaning grades, TEAS score, healthcare volunteer experience, fabulous application essays, letters of recommendation and if you volunteer at a hospital or clinic obtain one from them too as it's very impressive, any other pertinent outside/volunteer/curriculum activities. Don't underestimate volunteering; even once a week or every other week at a hospital or clinic and obtaining a letter of recommendation will be impressive to Admissions.

    I wish you the best of luck in continuing to prepare. I think it's fabulous!
  9. 0
    Quote from lindsayinabox
    Thank you! Haha oh my English major... I probably shouldn't have been allowed to make that decision at 18 years old... The community college where I'm taking classes now has an ADN program, but it just feels strange going back for an associates when my ultimate goal is a masters? But that does sound really smart to spend as little as possible. I am very lucky to not have any other major life costs right now- mortgage, kids, etc. So I'll hope for the best and volunteer as much as possible. Good luck to you as well!
    Haha I always joke and say I'm going for my associate degree to pay for my overpriced bachelor's but an ABSN is definitely a good investment! I think any path to your goals is smart
  10. 0
    It really varies where you are. Im in a middle of nowhere (matter of speech) hospital in Pennsylvania where many of the nurses have ADNs. Some hold RNs, but the nurse doesnt discriminate. If your in NYC or california you need at least a BSN to really be a strong candidate (there are pools of people with BSN and ADNs without jobs from what it seems like). But near me, the four programs are all ADN and then RN-MSN pograms

    I got my first Bachelors in healthcare administration. I had a 2.8 gpa before pre-reqs, 3.2 after and decided I would do the ADN route and take the BSN courses while doing my ADN, so in short ill be getting my ADN and BSN in 20 months. I avoided the BSN because somehow the ABSN cost about $8k more than 2 years of ADN + BSN. Also because most of the schools said if you didnt pass a class, you would have to wait a full year before retaking it, which concerned me. Now I know i'm a good student, but nursing school isn't like normal college, its not memorizing or writing papers, its look at 4 answers to a question that make sense and picking the most correct answer which can be tough. But thats just an option to consider.

    Another route to consider which allows you to work and do the masters, they offer ADN-MSN programs, where once you have your RN/ADN, you start the program and complete your BSN in 7-10 months, and then masters in a field in about 2 years.


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