I understand why you have deferred. My husband's family is from Bay Area and we lived in CA for 6 years, somethings are really different here in East coast. I choose to go to Leesburg campus because we live in Northern VA, husband is in the military.
I believe they do their best to prepare us for NCLEX and this is why we do well. Also most of my classmates graduated from well-known universities and by now we all have been through one undergrad. So, we are more seasoned and efficient learners. Study groups form quickly and you become friends with your lab/clinical groups. People are willing to help each other. I am an older student with kids and family responsibilities but I was in a study group and we shared and compared notes before the exam especially. Some stay after the classes to study with their groups almost every day.I am an extrovert, so it easy for me to be friendly with people.
In terms of deciding on which school to go, I also had to decide between SU and GWU, eventhough GWU is more well known university it was much more expensive. I found SU more reasonable also I was able to get some scholarships and grants.
My take on that at the end we all have to take NCLEX and as long as we pass it that is what matters most. Going to a private school has its advantages in terms of attention from the instructors and also 1-1 lab time. It is also up to you how much you want to put into your education. There are tons of NCLEX and other types of study material out there. For some classes, you have to do more of the learning outside of the classroom. For example Pharm was one of them. There is no way you can learn all that drugs in the 4 hours of class time. Self- motivation and self- study became very crucial when I started to think about the big picture, meaning passing NCLEX and becoming a competent nurse. WE start our first real clinicals in this semester. First semester we had Psychiatric clinical which was not too demanding. So it is going to be more challenging in terms of the knowledge application and also practicing our skills. What I have been hearing about clinicals though to be eager to do everything and practice IV and catheter insertion etc. So, again it is up to me how much I learn and practice.
In terms of the campus location, we are in a big office building with 10 or so classes, computer lab and two labs for assessment and skills classes. Some people choose to live close because they are single. People like me commute form different parts of VA and Maryland. YOu will definitely ned a car to get around. Public transportation is not really good at this part of VA. Northern VA is a little bit better.
I think that is all for now. WE are starting this Monday. Back to grind
Good luck on making your decision.