I am currently in the TAMHCS Accelerated Nursing program. This is a very honest and critical review. I just completed my 1st semester here with a 3.89, but it was a lot of hard work, self studying and tears. To be honest, I sometimes regret being in this program in particular because it has been so costly, disorganized and unprepared. When I started the program, they scared the class into buying a Dell business laptop that cost over $1,000. They said that by buying this laptop we were guaranteed to have our laptops fixed on the spot if we had any problems with taking our exams online, hardware and software problems, etc. Also, they stated that if we were to get a laptop outside of their recommendations that they were not going to help us fix it versus someone that has the school laptop. So, I rushed and bought this laptop. Within mid semester, I noticed I did not have to buy it because students that did not have the recommended laptop were having less problems than those who bought the Dell comps. They were also getting services done to their laptop. So, this so called "recommendation" was a scare to students to buy it, so that they can get some commission. Even though they swear they are not getting any commission for it, we still had to order it using a TAMHSC id number, so obviously they were getting something out of it.
Next, financial aid was a joke. You literally did not know whether you were going to get funding or not until maybe the day of class. For instance, my class that entered now in Jan 2010 we were already in our 2nd week of school and still no funding! I kid you not! Many people had to scramble for loans and assistance last minute because the estimated tuition cost that they had given us during our orientation conference in the beginning of December was underestimated by almost $3000! It just boggled my mind that if we have such a shortage of nurses, why don't nursing schools get funded more? Well, my tuition cost was paid through all loans, not one grant or scholarship. The loans that were processed through the school weren't even enough to pay my tuition cost. I was one that had to rush to get money. If you decide to be in the accelerated program, there is no room for part time jobs to make a little extra money. So many of us had to increase our loan amount ,which wasn't successful for most of us because you can't increase your loan amount to more than what the tuition cost. Many of my other friends in nursing school such as Prairie View, UT and others said that they received refund checks from their financial aid dept that helped them out throughout the whole year. Our refund checks were not enough to survive on for a semester. On top of that, books were so costly! Other nursing programs, they give you the books, it may be included in your fees and all but they were not much. For example, for Prairie View, the books were included in the fees and they totaled to be $180 or so because these books were passed down to classes. At TAMHSC, books for one semester cost me well over $500 and then I bought supplement study books that were over $150. These supplement books were not even included in the required booklist, I bought these books as soon as I noticed that my required books were not helping me. We suggested that the professors make the supplements that we had bought required or at least mention these books to the class, but they said that the required books are more appropriate to the subjects.
The professors and facility are really nice but they are lost in what they are trying to accomplish. Since this program is new, everything was last minute and poorly organized. Many of the professors do not know how to teach. Many of them prepared slides and read straight from the slides. I did not know I was paying for a professor to read slides for 4 hours straight? I could have easily gotten a lot more done staying at home and doing some self studying. To be honest, its not that I do not want to give credit to my professors, but everything I know is from my self studying. I know we are all adults and we should know how to study on our own, so why is that I am paying massive amounts for someone to read slides? All our tests at the beginning were taken on our laptops, which was ridiculous people were having technical problems left and right, choosing wrong answers by accidentally clicking somewhere else, ect. Again, with all the money put into this program, we should take our exams in the computer lab. We tried to suggest this to them, but they never listened until they decided on our last round of exams to make the test paper. Also, our tests were also curved because the questions were asked in such obscured ways, or they were multiple answers, etc. We were always quick to defend or discuss a question we though was unfair. Many times professors appreciated this and other times they were frustrated with it. Also, I am a very moderate person with moderate beliefs, but for some reason, this school seemed somewhat religious and conservative (sometimes in their teaching).
The overall grading process on the two main courses was unfair and in a way an attempt to fail people. So, there are 4 exams, 1 final, projectS (more than 1) and quizzes. The way we would think to grade overall is average it all out according to the percentage each had, right? WRONG! The way they did it was by averaging out the 4 exams and 1 final first. If your 4 exams and final did not average out to a 70, then they wouldn't add on the projects, quizzes because they said that if you didn't have a 70% on exams, you were not likely to pass the NCLEX exam. Way to get your spirits down...So the grading was done on two parts, first they averaged out all your exams and final, if that was a passing grade then they average in the rest of the projects and quizzes to come up with your actual grade. Next, they also DO NOT ROUND! My old roommate was in TAMHSC nursing program but transferred out because she got a 69.97 on her exam average only (her overall grade with everything included would have been a 82%) and it was D and she was kicked out of the program, no probation, no remediation program, nothing....and she wasn't even allowed to reapply to the TAMHSC ever, which was stated in her exit letter that I personally saw. In all of her other classes she got all A's and 1 B and in this one class where the professor just read the slides she got the D. She is now in Pennsylvania University Nursing program where she is doing way better pursuing a masters on a full ride scholarship from the the school. If the program had a remediation program for the first semester, they would have noticed her potential, but the remediation program is only offered for the 2nd semester. They are basically just trying to weed out people and they claim they "care" about the success of their students.
The HESI finals exams ( which resemble the NCLEX-RN) in each class are out of this world. There is absolutely no way to studying for these finals except to practice on seeing questions after questions and just answering them and reading the rationales. The professors give you a "blueprint" or an exam review sheet, but its still so vague and broad. And they claim they can't tell you whats on the exam because they haven't seen it, they have only seen previous ones and it changes all the time. I am a very organized person that likes to have everything planned on how to study for classes. My organization was thrown out the window! All I did for these finals was the the practice exams over and over again, remember key drugs (which was like over 150 drugs or more), and studied with classmates. There was a review HESI Book that WAS NOT helpful in preparation for the final, only the CD was help because it had 150 questions. On one of the finals, I got a 99.99%! And guess what? Still got a B in the class, because the exams were written so poorly that they brought me down to a low B.
I know some people rely on statistics on admissions or class size so here it goes. My class consisted of 33 students ( 10 students are going to the new Round Rock, TX location and the rest are in College Station, TX) In that class, there were only 2 African American Students, 2 male students, 1 Hispanic student and the rest Caucasians.
I know this may seem like I am bashing my program right now, but I wish someone had spoken the truth in these blogs or I wish I had the opportunity to talk to a current student. I would have definitely applied to another nursing program that was less costly, well funded with grant, organized and more professional in their teaching/exam techniques.
My best advice to those applying to nursing school is to make sure to find out the tuition cost (of all years to make sure there hasn't been any extreme changes), ask about how THEY will help you prepare for the finals in class, not how a CD or a Book will help you, because you are paying for the education that these professors are providing you with, not a CD or book. If that were the case, then tuition should be more affordable. Looking back at it, I would have definitely applied to another (affordable,organized) nursing program (such as UT, PV, ect). But I have invested so much time and money into this program I have no choice but to finish it. I hope whoever reads my review understands that these are things that I wished were mentioned to me before I applied, this would have really changed my decision.