Alternate Status???

Students General Students


Hi All,

Please pass the kleenex. I came so close to realizing my 20 year dream of becoming a Nurse and got a "very thin letter" from my school today. It said "We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected as an "ALTERNATE" for the Fall 2004 Nursing Program". Supposedly, if one of the 40 that got in decide not to attend the program - I'm one of those in the running for the slot. After all the waiting it sure would have been nice of them to let us know exactly where on the "alternate list" we are. I mean if we're way down on the list the chances of getting in are slim to none...

Out of almost 500 applicants, I was one of the approx. 120 that qualified to take the Entrance Exam and one of the 60 that scored high enough to be considered for the Program. They only have 40 slots for the year - so obviously 40 people had more points than me and I'm somewhere among the 20 that are "on hold".

I was told early on that I'd probably be given bonus points for having attended Naval Hospital Corps School and spending 6 years in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. It was a very intensive 6 month course - our housing was "literally" attached to the school and all we did for those 6 months was go to class during the day and study at night (no family allowed and there were no breaks). I finished the Program with straight A's and Graduated with Honors and Distinction. Besides all of this - during my 6 years in the Navy I attended numerous medical training classes. A Hospital Corpsman is the Navy's version of an LPN and beyond. I gave the school I applied to my transcripts and Honors Diploma from School, all of the certificates I received, etc. They ended up giving me credit for Program related courses I took at a College in Boston before I joined the Navy (English, Psych, etc.) - but did not give me "1 single point" for Hospital Corps School or all of my medical training. They give bonus points for people who complete a short CNA course, but the background I have gets nothing - it absolutely STINKS and I'm totally disgusted with this whole process.

They don't have a sliding scale or let "alternates" have first chance at school next year. If a slot doesn't open up in a few weeks, they told me I can reapply next February and start the entire application process all over again - retake the entrance exam, physical, cpr cert, etc. etc. I'm 42 years old, as bad as I want this, there are so many steps to their application process, really not sure I can handle all that waiting around again...

Have any of you been on an "alternate list" and actually gotten into school that way? Should I still hold out some hope for getting in this year? Months ago someone on the boards suggested I look into Excelsior College - they accept Hospital Corpsman and it's definitely something I'll be looking into instead of sitting on my thumbs for another year - good grief, I'm not getting any younger here.. :uhoh3:

My 72 year old Assistant showed up at work today complaining that her left hand was numb, I saw how pale she was and all the signs - immediately knew she was having a mini-stroke and got her off to the ER where after 9 hours and a zillion tests, they confirmed my "non-nurse" diagnosis and admitted her. I know my stuff and hope eventually I'll get to actually get a chance to be an RN and not just dream about it.. GRRRR Thanks for listening. SusanNC


1,078 Posts

Specializes in Trauma ICU, MICU/SICU.

Hi Susan,

I'm sorry you didn't get in. Sounds like you were robbed.

IT is a shame that civilian institutions don't know what to do with military training.

Don't give up hope yet. Ask them where you are on the waiting list.

Have you considered an online ADN program like Excelsior College?

Good luck!


353 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, Step-down,Tele,Hospice.

Please dont give up hope. As I have posted before, I was number 12 on the alternate list and lo and behold they called me several days before the term started and asked me if I was still interested. (Duh).

I"ll keep my fingers crossed the same will happen to you. :p

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

Susan, sending you hugs. I know how much you want this. There are other ways into nursing. How about an LPN program? LPN's are given priority into the RN program at most schools. The online option you mentioned might also prove ok. Just be sure you can get clinical sites. Or you can just hang in there and keep on knocking on that RN program door.

Specializes in Gynecology/Oncology.

Sorry to hear about your disappointment. I've been to many info. sessions at schools, and they said to make sure your school has your correct telephone numbers for home, work, cell, everything. They said at orientation sometimes a few people just won't show up, then they whip out the alternate list. They also mentioned that at times they've gone way down the alternate list because they couldn't reach people at the numbers given, and at the last minute they want someone right then! So yes, I would say you do still stand a chance, but also consider other options, such as waiting for the next class, applying at other schools, trying for LPN first, etc. I'm still waiting on a letter (already got rejected once), but in the meantime I'm trying to get in any other way I can. Good luck.

Energizer Bunny

1,973 Posts

Susan, I am sorry that you are on the alternate list, but take heart and have hope. Many people decide before the first semester starts to not follow through. You always have a chance!!! Are there any other colleges nearby for you to try at?

I sure hope your assistant is doing well!!!!


1,907 Posts

Specializes in OB, lactation.

Sorry to hear! That really stinks that your experience doesn't count, particularly when they are counting a CNA class. Are there any other programs in your area? I think my BSN program counted all kinds of things - grades, experience, short essay answers, etc. etc. - it wasn't just black and white.

A bunch of people DID get accepted from our wait list last year. Our program got some last minute funding and was able to accept a lot more people.

Best wishes and I hope it works out for you.


1,483 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Dept, M/S.

I'm so sorry, Susan. I know how incredibly frustrating all of it is. It just stinks that they make you re-apply also. Great way for THEM to gather a little more money, though. :angryfire

I think maybe the Excelsior program would be a great fit. You have medical experience, and maybe they would consider more closely your time in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.

Is there any way of calling the school to find out the chances (maybe from their past experience) of getting in, or finding out where you are on the list? I know one school I didn't get into (at first) said it, but after I called they told me I was #2 on the wait list. Then they increased the # of spots in the program, and I was in (though I decided not to attend there). I'd call and ask - it can't hurt, and the worst they can say is they won't tell you.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide. Chin up! You will get there eventually! People like you and me just have to find an alternate route sometimes. :)

RN 2005

237 Posts


Just wanted to share with you that a girl from my class was on the waiting list as well for Fall 2003. She received a call the night before our orientation offering her a spot...There is always a chance so try to think positive!!

SCmomof3, RN

407 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Nothing new to add but wanted to offer a {{{hug}}}


35 Posts


What program did you apply to in North Carolina? I am in NC as well and I am looking at UNC, Duke and ECU's accelerated programs.

You may want to try one of these programs or consider other schools outside of NC if that is an option for you. It is a shame that so many good people are not getting the opportunity to become nurses when there is such a shortage. I know there are a lot of causes (lack of faculty, lack of clinical space, lack of overall funds, etc.), but someone needs to do something.

Don't give up. You have come too far to turn around now.



233 Posts

and trust me, it was hard for me. everyone around me was telling me how great it was to be an alternate due to the competitive nature of these programs and it was so defeating for me, as i too had worked hard to get my ducks in a row to get in.

i just came back from vacation, 2 weeks in the mountains and it helped me gain some perspective. i am continuing with my game plan, just as if i had gotten in. i will be prepared and ready to go, in case i get a call. i am not giving up yet and neither should you. we can do it, susan!


By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X