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ADN or ABSN?

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by FtN4U FtN4U (New) New Educator Nurse Student

Hello, 

I have been considering nursing school for some time now and I've completed the core pre-requisites that most programs ask for. I've done quite a bit of research and looked at ABSN programs and I realize that I am qualified enough to be accepted, but not qualified enough to stand out and get chosen. Programs in my area have point systems in which it makes sense that they pick those with the highest accumulated points. Their points system decreases the probability that I get selected as I find myself accruing an average point total in most cases. Given this scenario, what is your advice on applying to an ADN program as opposed to an ABSN program? How can I improve my competitiveness? 

Some statistics: 

Cumulative GPA - 3.25 (STEM degree)

Science GPA - 3.81

Non-Science GPA - 3.47

TEAS - 85% (brought down by a low English score, planning on a retake)

 

I was in a somewhat similar situation a few years ago except my TEAS score and non-science GPA were slightly higher. I applied to ADN and ABSN programs as well. I was working as a health educator at the time and thought that'd be sufficient for "patient care". I did not get into the ABSN program; the feedback was that they were also looking for students with experience as EMTs, CNAs, or other such background. I did, however, get into all the ADN programs, all of which were on a point system. 

I think that if you want to be competitive, you should try to amp up your resume with direct patient care experience, such as volunteering at a hospital. This was just my experience, though. 🙂 And remember, even if you do ADN, you can always do an RN-BSN program. Just be aware that most hospitals now require a BSN, or at least a BSN in progress. It may take a little longer, but you will get there. Good luck!

Central Line, MSN, NP

Specializes in Critical Care/Emergency/Trauma. Has 4 years experience.

I think you have good shot at getting in. Sell yourself a bit better. Your science GPA is stellar. If you can retake the TEAS and get an interview that should be your focal point.

With that science GPA you could always take the mcat and do the md route. 

Best of luck 

 

Hi there,

Have you considered transferring into a BSN program as a junior? I have a previous bachelors degree and just interviewed for a state school BSN program, where I'd be able to complete my BSN in 4 semesters. I'll pay about half what an ABSN program costs, spend the same amount of time as I would for my ADN, and still come out with my BSN at the end. Just a thought! I was in your boat a few months ago trying to decide between an ABSN and an ADN, before I realized I could enter as a transfer student.

With that being said, I'd say that for ABSN programs the most important thing is experience (number of clinical hours), and for ADN programs the most important thing is GPA. One of my friends who got into a super competitive ABSN program had 4,000 hours of clinical experience and a 3.1 GPA. So they really like experience hours. 

If I were you, I'd focus on getting experience as a CNA or the like. You could work in a nursing home or hospital for 6 months and rack up 1,000 hours (basically what I did), then just go for it. It's a ton of work, but it will be worth it! I'd also recommend buying a TEAS study book if you haven't already, I've heard that they help a ton. 

Best of luck! 🙂

On 11/4/2020 at 12:37 PM, la.enfermera said:

I was in a somewhat similar situation a few years ago except my TEAS score and non-science GPA were slightly higher. I applied to ADN and ABSN programs as well. I was working as a health educator at the time and thought that'd be sufficient for "patient care". I did not get into the ABSN program; the feedback was that they were also looking for students with experience as EMTs, CNAs, or other such background. I did, however, get into all the ADN programs, all of which were on a point system. 

I think that if you want to be competitive, you should try to amp up your resume with direct patient care experience, such as volunteering at a hospital. This was just my experience, though. 🙂 And remember, even if you do ADN, you can always do an RN-BSN program. Just be aware that most hospitals now require a BSN, or at least a BSN in progress. It may take a little longer, but you will get there. Good luck!

I agree that a student with experience as an EMT or CNA has the advantage in many cases as programs like to see a student with field experience as opposed to none. Becoming an EMT/CNA could definitely help me gain that experience that I don't have. Volunteering at a hospital in the current COVID climate seems unlikely. Thank you for your response and genuine advice! 

2 hours ago, Central Line said:

I think you have good shot at getting in. Sell yourself a bit better. Your science GPA is stellar. If you can retake the TEAS and get an interview that should be your focal point.

With that science GPA you could always take the mcat and do the md route. 

Best of luck 

 

Thanks a lot for the advice! Funny that you mention MCAT/MD route because this HAS been on my mind the past couple of days. Perhaps it's the universe aligning with my thoughts (HaHa). I feel that my interest in the sciences has helped me do well in those courses as opposed to non-sciences. A retake of the TEAS is in play...I'd like to increase my score by at least 5%. Any advice on how to study for the TEAS, specifically the English portion? 

2 hours ago, westiecoast said:

Hi there,

Have you considered transferring into a BSN program as a junior? I have a previous bachelors degree and just interviewed for a state school BSN program, where I'd be able to complete my BSN in 4 semesters. I'll pay about half what an ABSN program costs, spend the same amount of time as I would for my ADN, and still come out with my BSN at the end. Just a thought! I was in your boat a few months ago trying to decide between an ABSN and an ADN, before I realized I could enter as a transfer student.

With that being said, I'd say that for ABSN programs the most important thing is experience (number of clinical hours), and for ADN programs the most important thing is GPA. One of my friends who got into a super competitive ABSN program had 4,000 hours of clinical experience and a 3.1 GPA. So they really like experience hours. 

If I were you, I'd focus on getting experience as a CNA or the like. You could work in a nursing home or hospital for 6 months and rack up 1,000 hours (basically what I did), then just go for it. It's a ton of work, but it will be worth it! I'd also recommend buying a TEAS study book if you haven't already, I've heard that they help a ton. 

Best of luck! 🙂

Thanks for sharing your experience. There seems to be a common theme about the past clinical hours and or field experience. It looks like this is something I really have to consider in order to be more competitive. I can ace an interview and be well-read but without the experience, I realize my chances are much less. Can you please tell me a bit more about transferring into a BSN program as a junior...how did you accomplish this? (you can DM me if you prefer)

2 hours ago, NurseFxd said:

Thanks for sharing your experience. There seems to be a common theme about the past clinical hours and or field experience. It looks like this is something I really have to consider in order to be more competitive. I can ace an interview and be well-read but without the experience, I realize my chances are much less. Can you please tell me a bit more about transferring into a BSN program as a junior...how did you accomplish this? (you can DM me if you prefer)

Sure! I can't send DM's yet because my account is too new. Here's what I know:

• Lots of schools will count a previous bachelor's degree as your first 2 years of college, no matter what the degree is in, so you go right into the nursing program and complete it in 4 semesters.

• Some schools that have an ABSN program would require you to apply for that, rather than entering a BSN program as a junior, so it just depends on the school.

•Where I live, undergrad BSN programs are very competitive (around 20% acceptance rate), and ABSN programs are even more competitive (~10% acceptance rate). 

• If I get in, my BSN will cost about $22,000 vs. the ABSN program I applied for, which is $46,000. (Fingers crossed LOL). 

• Because it's not accelerated, lots of people are able to work part time and/or during the Summer as a nurse tech. 

This is my rationale: I've already completed college, and just want to become a nurse and be done with school (for a while at least). I really can't afford an ABSN program, unless I take hella loans. And personally, the idea of spending 2 years completing an associate's, then having to pay more money and continue classes later on to get my BSN... that doesn't appeal to me at all. I know in the end, everyone's journey will look different and that's okay- this is just my opinion/ how I feel.

Let me know if you have any questions!

megmeg, CNA

Specializes in RCFE.

On 11/5/2020 at 4:21 PM, westiecoast said:

Sure! I can't send DM's yet because my account is too new. Here's what I know:

• Lots of schools will count a previous bachelor's degree as your first 2 years of college, no matter what the degree is in, so you go right into the nursing program and complete it in 4 semesters.

• Some schools that have an ABSN program would require you to apply for that, rather than entering a BSN program as a junior, so it just depends on the school.

•Where I live, undergrad BSN programs are very competitive (around 20% acceptance rate), and ABSN programs are even more competitive (~10% acceptance rate). 

• If I get in, my BSN will cost about $22,000 vs. the ABSN program I applied for, which is $46,000. (Fingers crossed LOL). 

• Because it's not accelerated, lots of people are able to work part time and/or during the Summer as a nurse tech. 

This is my rationale: I've already completed college, and just want to become a nurse and be done with school (for a while at least). I really can't afford an ABSN program, unless I take hella loans. And personally, the idea of spending 2 years completing an associate's, then having to pay more money and continue classes later on to get my BSN... that doesn't appeal to me at all. I know in the end, everyone's journey will look different and that's okay- this is just my opinion/ how I feel.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wait... I'm so glad I stumbled on this thread! I'm in a situation I'm calling limbo. I've been a CNA for 3 years, with past voluntary experience of 4 years in an RCFE. I was a pre-nursing student, but due to really low science pre-reqs it pretty much dashed getting into a nursing school in the near future (I've already used up my "retake" course). HOWEVER, my counselor came up with the idea of getting my BA in CHAD since I qualify to transfer next fall (applying this semester). You said that ABSN programs are even more competitive... so I was wondering if I even have a chance? Also, I haven't taken the TEAS. 

On 11/9/2020 at 2:21 AM, megmeg said:

Wait... I'm so glad I stumbled on this thread! I'm in a situation I'm calling limbo. I've been a CNA for 3 years, with past voluntary experience of 4 years in an RCFE. I was a pre-nursing student, but due to really low science pre-reqs it pretty much dashed getting into a nursing school in the near future (I've already used up my "retake" course). HOWEVER, my counselor came up with the idea of getting my BA in CHAD since I qualify to transfer next fall (applying this semester). You said that ABSN programs are even more competitive... so I was wondering if I even have a chance? Also, I haven't taken the TEAS. 

I think it depends on a couple things. If your pre-req or cum GPA is below a 3.0, that might stand in the way for ABSN programs because they have a minimum GPA requirement. It also depends on where you did your pre-reqs. If you did them at a community college and got low grades, ABSN programs might see that differently than if you did them at a university where they curve the average to a 2.6, if that makes sense. I'd say if you can write a killer personal statement, on top of your 3 years of experience, you have a really good shot at an ABSN program post-graduation. You might have to move somewhere else for it, but if you have that flexibility I think you'd be a stand-out applicant at many schools with your experience. Research what schools have a "holistic" approach because that will be in your favor.

Good luck with this! Let me know if you have any more questions!

megmeg, CNA

Specializes in RCFE.

1 hour ago, westiecoast said:

I think it depends on a couple things. If your pre-req or cum GPA is below a 3.0, that might stand in the way for ABSN programs because they have a minimum GPA requirement. It also depends on where you did your pre-reqs. If you did them at a community college and got low grades, ABSN programs might see that differently than if you did them at a university where they curve the average to a 2.6, if that makes sense. I'd say if you can write a killer personal statement, on top of your 3 years of experience, you have a really good shot at an ABSN program post-graduation. You might have to move somewhere else for it, but if you have that flexibility I think you'd be a stand-out applicant at many schools with your experience. Research what schools have a "holistic" approach because that will be in your favor.

Good luck with this! Let me know if you have any more questions!

My cum GPA is 3.5, but my science prereqs are a 2.3 taken at a CC (I was always 2% away from a B). I also found out that with a CHAD degree, I could work in a healthcare setting. From now to til post-grad, I'll be getting an A.S in Science and Mathematics, A.A for transfer CHAD, and hopefully a B.A in CHAD. Not the path I envisioned for nursing, but I think it's crazy that it's a major that aligns with the specific nursing I'm interested in, Pediatrics. And yes, at this point I'm flexible and would be grateful to get into a program anywhere! Thank you so much for this info. You have no idea how much it's going to help me!

On 11/10/2020 at 9:55 AM, megmeg said:

My cum GPA is 3.5, but my science prereqs are a 2.3 taken at a CC (I was always 2% away from a B). I also found out that with a CHAD degree, I could work in a healthcare setting. From now to til post-grad, I'll be getting an A.S in Science and Mathematics, A.A for transfer CHAD, and hopefully a B.A in CHAD. Not the path I envisioned for nursing, but I think it's crazy that it's a major that aligns with the specific nursing I'm interested in, Pediatrics. And yes, at this point I'm flexible and would be grateful to get into a program anywhere! Thank you so much for this info. You have no idea how much it's going to help me!

I think that's awesome! And working with kids in healthcare will hopefully make it easier for you to get a job in peds right out of graduation when you become a nurse. Glad I could help 🙂