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Connecticut Community Colleges

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I wanted to help manage the expectations of anyone attempting to go into nursing through the Connecticut community college (cc) system. First off, all community colleges have excellent nursing programs. What I am writing to tell you is that it is absolutely imperative you understand how long it is going to take, and it will be time well-spent. I am also going to explain why going to one of the other, private schools is not such a great idea. Anyone wanting to become a nurse can do so through the cc system, but you need time. Also, this post is largely for those who either have not had biology and chemistry in the past 5 years, who had it in the past 5 years but their grade was not good, or those that feel they need a refresher in those 2 courses. If anyone reading this post is really good in biology and chemistry, they might also be able to save a year by placement testing. All things to consider.

For those with no college credits, you are going to have to complete a number of "core curriculum" classes. This means you will likely be spending 2 years, if your are full-time, or 3+ years, if you are part-time, completing core classes. This is where the tricky part comes in: the 4 pre-requisites to the nursing program are biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology (A&P) 1 and A&P 2. These are the core classes you really need to pay attention to, and you need to devote a lot of time to each class, unless you are really good in each one of these subjects.

That being said, if you have roughly 2 years core curriculum and then you have those 4 nursing pre-requisites, which need to be taken in sequential order, then you likely are looking at having 4 years of education to complete prior to being able to apply to the nursing program. The way this happens is after you finish most of the core, you then have to take biology one semester, chemistry the next, A&P 1 during the next semester and then in the 4th semester you will take A&P 2. After all core and these 4 classes are complete, you can then apply to the nursing program. The nursing program, however, takes 2 years also.

The reason this degree goes from 2 years to 6 years is because the bio, chem and A&P 1 and 2 two-year stretch. Each one of these classes should also be taken **ALONE** each semester. They require hours and hours of outside-of-the-classroom work, and that cannot be avoided. Some people may be able to knock out biology and chemistry during the 2-year core-curriculum stretch, so for them, this degree will take 5 years to complete.

The other issue to keep in mind is if you are not so good in the sciences, I promise you taking the extra year to complete this degree is going to help you keep your GPA in the 3.7+ range, all but required if you even want to be considered for the program. This can be done, and for a fraction of the cost of Goodwin and the other privates, and the cc program is very comprehensive, but you just have to clear the decks and get ready to do this.

Don't rush it either. If you complete this degree in 5 years, or in 6 years, it really does not matter. It will cost you roughly $30,000 to do this, and if you go private or Goodwin, you are looking at roughly $60,000+. Also don't believe the hype! All these schools run these ads on TV about how you can finish in 1.5 years. That is usually a total lie. They say that to trick you in, but seriously does anyone want a nurse that was in school 1.5 years handling their life?! Furthermore, that is just what they say, but they just want you to sign on the dotted line, pay their humongous tuition, then they jerking you around, dragging out your graduation date with nonsense, all b/c it is very lucrative for them to keep you there as long as possible, getting more and more tuition dollars from you.

I wanted to write this b/c several people are unaware of how long it takes to become a nurse through the Connecticut cc program. They do not tell anyone this either, so I hope this helps somebody. This is not designed to put anyone off, but rather to help you understand the time commitment and how the program is structured. Finally the some of the pre-requisites for the classes you have to take are going to have different "pre-requisites" themselves, and this varies from school to school. I also don't even want to get started on how fast the biology, chem, and A&P 1 and 2 classes fill up, and how you have to make sure you need to register IMMEDIATELY on the first day registration opens to get those classes. Also, every paper you send into the cc's, keep a copy AND be prepared to have to send that paper in again. These last 3 are topics for another post!

Best of luck and being a nurse is a terribly rewarding career, so don't let a few years difference slow you down or change your mind. Every minute you spend becoming a nurse is the best thing you will ever do for yourself and for the thousands of patients whom you will help in the fullness of time. Just breathe, take it easy, and understand it is a process, and it is going to take time, but the CT cc's graduate competent professionals, so take your time, do it right, and succeed :)

One more thing: the semester BEFORE you take biology, chemistry, A&P 1 and 2, use the free online classes through Khan Academy to give yourself a refresher before taking the class for credit. Be prepared!

So I thought I would add an additional comment, so as to better clarify what each year and semester will look like, as follows:

Year 1- September to May -- core curriculum

Year 2 - September to May---core curriculum

The following courses--biology, chemistry, A&P1 and A&P 2---are all very difficult classes and you should definitely take them by themselves, one at a time, taking 2 years to complete these because I promise you, these are the nursing program GPA builders, and these are also the "classes of exclusion" designed to sideline those who are not taking this seriously. Take your time, and isolate each one of these so as to have the greatest success possible.

Year 3- September to December ---Biology 105 (if you did not complete this course during core, as it is hard, and requires a lot of time)

Year 3- January to May -- Chemistry 111 (if you did not complete this course during core, as it is hard, and requires a lot of time)

Year 4- September to December -- A&P 1 (*definitely take this course by itself if you can--a lot of work, a lot of information and you absolutely need a very good grade in this class to even be considered for the nursing program)

Year 4-- January to May --- A&P 2 (*again, try to take this by itself, and work very hard to get the best grade you possibly can)

Year 5 - September to May ---ideally year 1 in the nursing program

Year 6 - September to May--ideally year 2 in the nursing program

I think Elizabeths post is incredibly informative and so accurate, I am at scsu now and wish I had known this info going in. The four year pre nursing schools like mine are very difficult because of the many variables such as registration, high gpa, and for me the 8 pre reqs out if 11 I need just to apply. For a select few these programs are four years. But for many of my friends and I its 5 to six even when taking two sciences a semester. If you know you are a 4.0 student go for the pre-nursing option but if not which is not a bad thing go to community college first or gey directly admitted to a nursing program

Thank you, Jordan! Best of luck in your career!

One more thing to all the CC college people: if money is not an issue, and you want to get your BSN, the Connecticut state universities are likely your absolute best bet. Even if you go part-time, it will take you roughly 6 years, and the most important thing is you will come out with a BSN. That is definitely something to keep in mind.

6 years at ECSU, for example, will likely cost about $80,000.

6 years at NVCC, for example, will likely cost about $30,000 PLUS the cost of doing an RN to BSN afterwards ($10,000) = $40,000

***note: if you work in a hospital, most have some sort of tuition reimbursement to pay for an RN to BSN program. Also, $10,000 is a just an approximate number I came up with, based on a bunch of different schools.

Those are the numbers, it all depends on if you want a Bachelor's or an Associates. Also, as Jordan mentioned, starting at one of the community colleges is a great way to begin, and then transfer to a 4-year institution later.

Don't forget about the Bridgeport Hospital Nursing Program (excellent), St. Vincent's and Quinnipiac. The community colleges cost the least, but 5 years to get an Associates degree in Nursing is a long time. If you are going to spend 6 years getting a degree, at the very least it should be a Bachelor's.