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Accelerated BSN or 4-year Program better for Grad School acceptance?

by FortunateFool FortunateFool (New) New


I have recently just finished all of my science pre-reqs and will be applying to programs this fall. I already have a bachelors degree, so I have the option of applying for a couple of accelerated BSN programs (Illinois State U. and Southern IL U. - Edwardsville; 12 month and 15 month respectively) or apply to transfer into a traditional 4 year program and finish out the nursing sequence there. The goal is to hopefullt go to grad school right after I graduate to study to become a nurse practitioner.

I suppose I was wondering if being in an accelerated BSN program would actually hurt my chances of being accepted into a top tier NP grad school. I currently have excellent grades, however I don't know if these grad schools would think that a 12 or 15 month program is a little too quick for them. Transfering into a a traditional program seems like it would allow enough time to build an impressive academic and volunteer resume, but I guess I don't know.

I am also aware that there are direct entry NP programs, however you have to state what specialty you want to do when you apply to those, and as someone who doesn't have a nursing background, I would want to do clinical rotations first and earn my BSN to see what I'm really interested in before applying for an MSN specialty.

Do you guys have any advice?


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 9 years experience.

I honestly don't see any substantive difference between a traditional or accelerated BSN program. You would be taking the same quality and number of nursing courses as a traditional BSN. A traditional BSN does not usually start nursing core until their junior year, which in essence is the same timeframe more or less as an accelerated, except that accelerated students have longer days and shorter semester breaks. Accelerated programs as you know were designed initially to address a perceived nursing shortage by attracting non-nursing college graduates to complete requirements and enter the workforce quicker, thereby avoiding duplicating general college requirements. From what I have read from program to program, traditional and accelerated BSN students get the same number of clinical hours too.

I would have to assume that in terms of applying to a graduate program, completing an accelerated program when you already have a bachelor's would be more impressive because your ability to successfully undergo such a compacted curriculum is already an early indicator of your ability to perform well as a graduate student. Additionally, the fact that you also have a prior degree is a plus in that it demonstrates that you have a bit more life experience and academic prowess than your younger counterparts. You also want to keep in mind that many NP programs value experience as an RN in the field before undertaking their program (at least 2 years is ideal) ... within that time you will also be able to identify which specialty is best for you. Your success as an RN and recommendations to that effect would speak more volumes to your potential success in the NP program and by that time the fact that your BSN was or was not accelerated is more likely, if at all, less important.

IMHO, graduating from an accelerated BSN at a top school is better than completing a traditional BSN at a mediocre school if you're looking to do graduate work. Based on my experience, where you go to school means a lot when pursuing graduate work irrespective of how well you did academically. I am personally pursuing the accelerated route, hoping to enter the best school I can, and much prefer to finish within the 12-15 month timeframe than drag out long semester breaks waiting to finish as a transfer BSN.

Good luck in whichever route you choose and best for you!

Excellent insight! I completed my B.A with a low gpa and don't I have much of a choice but an ADN. If I was you, I would go the BSN route.

Mike A. Fungin RN

Specializes in Trauma ICU, Peds ICU.

I think getting into an NP program is going to have less to do with whether it was accelerated or traditional, perhaps a little to do with which school it is, and mostly to do with your performance. The only things I'd consider were I in your shoes are that an accelerated program will be done faster, but a traditional program will usually give me more/better clinical hours (and with BSN programs being somewhat short on skills/clinical to begin with, I think that's important).

Kudos to you for planning to undertake the BSN and figure out what clinical arena you're best suited to before becoming an NP. Not a fan of the other route.

Good luck.


Specializes in GYN/GON/Med-Surg/Oncology/Tele.

You may want to check the requirements for the Grad programs you're planning on applying to. From my research, I've noticed that most MSN programs require you have at least a year of clinical experience. So you may not be able to start grad school right after graduating. Why not try an early entry or alternate entry MSN program instead of the ABSN or traditional BSN programs. Its for people with a previous bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing.

Here's a list of schools in your area that offer an Accelerated MSN program:

Depaul University

Rush University Medical Center

University of Illionis @ Chicago

West Surburban College of Nursing

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!!!

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