Arizona ABSNs


Looking into several of these programs across the country, specifically in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina, but would really prefer Arizona. I have tried looking back in these posts to see others experiences of applying and after getting in. I'm interested specifically in being a CRNA, so have any of you toggled between applying to either ABSN vs Masters Entry Programs? I am assuming the Masters programs are much more competitive and am weighing cost vs. time since working isn't really recommended for either. It looks like financial aid/scholarships are more available to the masters programs than the ABSNs. So here is the obligatory "here are my stats, now make me feel better about being utterly and completely nervous about getting into any program" post:

Pre-Req GPA is 4.0, but overall GPA from undergrad B.S. degree in Biology/Psychology at Loyola Chicago is 3.2. I have worked as a scrub tech for 10 years, put in time in an international medical mission volunteer group and have a VERY small amount of local hospital ER volunteering experience. My last GRE was over 5 years ago, so I will suspect I'll be retaking. I hope to apply ASAP to several schools across the country as I know these programs are uber competitive. My main concern is that several of my pre-reqs were completed at a community college before/after Loyola and was wondering if that is looked down on during the admissions process. The last semester of my senior year (2009) involved me taking a break from school when my dad passed away sort of abruptly a few weeks before finals resulting in three F's. I took a year off and re-took the classes a year later with B's. Although my overall GPA Is not so bad, I feel these two will definitely count against me and am dreading writing an addendum or explanation about this in my application.

Is there anyone out there who has had similar breaks in time they went to school or overall GPA's slightly over 3.0 that were still accepted into these types of programs? Anyone with pre-req classes done at a community college (does it really matter)? I feel that my work experience, references and volunteering will help but then again I always hear that GPA is weighted more than anything. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.


510 Posts

Hi there -

I think you have a very reasonable chance of getting accepted to the programs you're describing, if you have good references and strong essays. They will like your work experience, and you can easily add a couple of matter-of-fact sentences to your essays about the circumstances surrounding your last semester. You may very well have to re-take the GRE, but that's not the end of the world.

Personally I think there are advantages to getting the BSN first. I was accepted to both direct entry and ABSN programs, and I eventually chose an ABSN program in North Carolina. You'll be required to work for a period as an ICU RN before they'll even let you apply for CRNA programs anyway (you can go direct entry and get a non-NP master's degree, or complete certain NP specialties, but as far as I know CRNA programs and Neonatal NP programs do not allow direct entry...nor should they....holy cow, that's a lot of responsibility for someone who's never been a nurse before!).

Furthermore, you may be surprised at your reaction to the actual work. Like you I worked in a hospital for years in a non-nursing role, side by side with nurses every day, and I thought I understood their perspective....but I was missing HUGE parts of the nursing experience, and didn't really understand until I started being a nurse myself. It seemed like EVERYONE in my program wanted to be an CRNA initially, and of course the money is appealing, but in the actual work situation some people were surprised to really love L&D, or pulmonary, or whatever.

Taking your prereqs at a community college will not be a problem. Most people do, even those attending the fancy-schmancy brand name nursing programs.

In my experience the most brutally competitive programs are the better-known state schools - because they're relatively economical and very high in quality. UNC-chapel hill is an example here locally. Don't get sucked into obsessing about big names; no employer gives a rat's butt about where you get your BSN. In my fancy level-I trauma center workplace, many of the best RN's in the department have ADNs; some of them did quick bridge programs for a BSN and then were easily accepted to grad school.

No way to find out, except applying! Get your stuff together and do it, and then figure things out when you get responses. There are many ways to start a nursing career, and you'll figure out which path works for you. Good luck.