Thanks! I'd love to be a resource for you guys, as I know how STARVED I was for information when I was applying. I commuted from Northern Virginia almost an hour and a half to my job every day in another state just to get in state tuition, because I know VCU is where I wanted to be (and I wanted in state tuition).
So feel free to ask away, and I'll keep checking back here to provide information when I can, as I know how helpful it was for me.
So what I did to make myself a strong candidate? I have NO clue. I came from a degree that wasn't even science related in my undergrad, I do have my masters in another field though which again, not science or anything remotely hardcore oriented at all.... ha. But I did spend a lot of time (approx. 3 years) prior running volunteer rescue squad so that maybe helped? I applied with a 3.6 undergrad/3.9 grad degree, and actually panicked major the day after the deadline as my GRE scores were never sent. So they got added on my application late... but I did get in. I believe I found out the 1st/2nd week of February. And there is no point in calling to check up, because they will NOT give you any new information (as I learned....
) The admission process is pretty straight forward, application and then notification. A lot of the people that got accepted had "science" oriented degrees --- psychology, biology, etc. but not all of us (case in point). So I would say a strong essay would be important. Prereqs all have to be done obviously, and I got a fair amount of A's/B's in my prereqs, as I was working FT as I took some of them... so I wouldn't stress if you get a B or two.
Organization: The program is quite disorganized at the start of each semester, BUT by week 2 each semester it seems to settle in a bit so it's not too bad. I remember last summer, I felt like it was completely unorganized until month one or so, but looking back it wasn't too bad. But if you ask the questions, they do get answered if that makes sense. I know that a large part of the unorganization is the fact it's a large nursing school, and accelerated students are the only ones in the summer... makes for a confusing time I'd reckon. After your first summer, you get put in with juniors and follow their coursework, but by the second summer you pull ahead of them, as you're there again in the summer and they're not.
For last year, I believe there was about 80 ABSN students and 15 AMSN students. The AMSN students take the first year and a half with the ABSN students with the exception of some of their classes are different/graduate level from ours but are the same classes (just the higher level). We have clinicals together, major classes together, etc. There are 10 guys out of the 95 of us -- and they're all great. You are outnumbered obviously, but I love our group of guys in our accelerated program, because they were the most diverse and their reasons for going into nursing were all unique, plus their backgrounds! We have a farmer, an ex-football player, a Peace Corps member, etc. Every single one of them have this great wealth of knowledge and perspective -- I find them to be way more fearless than some of the women actually.
Any other questions feel free to ask. I love this place, the hospital is GREAT for clinicals -- and I'm so glad I made this choice. I feel like I get a lot being at a Level I trauma center, while in a big city since you get a giant diversity. The faculty is very knowledgeable, and there is always a lot going on. I would definitely recommend coming to a visit day -- I did, and learned a lot about the school. They actually had current students come and talk, which was also great as I learned a lot from them as well.