ADN vs BSN help

by GANDA GANDA (New) New Student

I posted this in another section and I think it better fits under this section...

Hello. I’m a senior in high school and I’m having trouble deciding between getting an ASN (ADN) or a BSN first. I always thought that getting an ASN is better because I can work early and it cost less but after looking at the requirements, I realized that it was gonna take me 4 years to complete my associates which is so weird because I will be going to school full time. The associates for nursing are all by lottery meaning they put your name in a box and if they draw it then you’re in and if you don’t then good luck (basically not guaranteed you will be in). That’s why I need to take a whole lot of prerequisites because the community colleges have different requirements. With the BSN, the 4 yearprograms are either from schools that are 2 hours away from me or private schools (aka super expensive). The BSN programs near me are all 5 years.

 So that’s my problem, I don’t know what route to go in. All I want to do is to work early and have a degree without having so much loans. Any feedback would be amazing...

I have a bachelor's in biology and if I could go back in time and been given some guidance about how life really is in the real world, I would say: community college ADN and CLEP as much as you can. I didn't find out about CLEP until my senior year in college so I couldn't do much (all the "college success" meetings and mandatory academic counseling to enroll in classes each semester and not one time did any of them mention CLEP 🤑) but yeah, for the associates prereqs you can definitely test out of psychology, developmental psych, comp 1, intro chem, intro bio, college algebra, so you might only have to do anatomy 1 and 2 and Microbiology. $85 a clep test vs. $1000 a class, plus your time.

It sounds like you're young. I think you should get the BSN over with since that's slowly becoming the new requirement. I recommend the ASN programs for anybody who is older, with kids, or when money is a big determining factor. I think the ASN programs are great and hence why I graduated from one. but if you can get the BSN from the beginning, I would recommend doing that because then you will need to go back and complete an RN to BSN program to obtain your bachelor. This is what I would do if I were in your shoes. ^^

but about me:I am 25, just graduated from an ASN program in Fall 2019, and been working as an RN for about 9 months now while also completing my RN to BSN. I should be done with it by May of 2021 and have my bachelors. I did the ASN program because it was more affordable. In my area, they used a scoring system to rank applicants depending on how well you did on pre recs, but also how many of them you had completed before the program. the more you did, the higher your chances. Right now, my work is paying for part my BSN cost, and it is what worked for me. 


I say see your area and what the jobs are requiring. See if they say BSN preferred or BSN required. then look at your situation and what works for you. I recommend the BSN from the beginning if you can that way you can just get it out the way and not have to go back like me. 

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I think you are doing the appropriate homework to investigate this question and thinking along good lines.   Continue to do that and:

1.  If you can realistically complete the ADN in 2 years and you will be able to get a good job that you will like as a new graduate ADN, then I would go that route.  As you realize, it will be cheaper, get you into the workforce sooner, and save you a lot of money in the long run.

2.  However ... in some areas of the country, it can take 3-4 years to get an ADN because the good schools are so crowded that they have added extra requirements (making them almost as long and expensive as BSN programs).  Also, in some areas of the country, newly graduated ADN nurses are not eligible for some of the best jobs.   The best hospitals with the best new graduate orientation programs and popular specialty programs, etc. may limit their hiring to only nurses with BSNs.   If those factors are true in your region, then there is little to no benefit in doing the ADN first.  You might as well go for the BSN from the beginning.   You'll get your career off to a better start -- and in the long run, that may be more important to your long-term professional and financial life than the money saved up front.  Perhaps you can improve the financial aspect by working a little more during your first 2 years of college, applying for every type of financial aid, etc.

3.  Quality matters.  No matter what type of program you choose, make sure it is of good quality.   If the nursing student market is crowded with lots of people wanting to go to nursing school, there are probably some schools that are reducing their quality to take in more students so that they can make more money.   Be sure you are going to a school that is fully accredited, a high NCLEX pass rate, and a strong reputation with the best local employers.   Don't compromise on quality.