Riverside is one of the last hardcore hospital diploma schools. With prerequisites, total time to graduation is probably 3 to 3 1/2 years. There is a 2-year day program consisting of three 13-week semesters a year, and a considerably less time-crunched evening/weekend option that takes 3 years to complete.
The question of why anyone would prefer Riverside to a BSN program depends on the student. Some had grandmas and moms at Riverside. Some believe quality clinicals are the key to the best education. Mostly, Riverside has the reputation that when a student graduates, they're ready to work.
When the Carnegie Foundation decided to update its 100-year-old study on how the professions form their practitioners, they chose Riverside as the lone exemplar of RN diploma programs. Patricia Benner came out to oversee that study.
The Riverside system is extensive enough that all clinicals take place in Riverside facilities (except for the community-run CSB for outpatient mental health clinicals), so this is one school that never has its faculty scratching around to come up with clinical sites.
The school recently moved out of its wing at RRMC (which originally included dorm rooms) to its own spacious complex (good labs and classrooms with good projectors).
This year, a Riverside graduate left the school $1.2 million, which will be used for scholarships.
Early application is important. Admissions are on a rolling basis, but you may get rolled over to a later class if you don't apply early enough. A computer admission test is administered on site, and an in-depth personal interview is conducted.