Direct Route to BSN or ADN then RN-BSN

Students Pre-Nursing


If you were in my position, where you had a clean slate of education- NO pre-reqs or any college courses (just graduated from high school) and you had to decide whether to do a direct route to BSN which would be (four years + time to get pre -reqs) or chose to do ADN (two years + pre-reqs) then do RN-BSN route which could vary with time (~14 months +) what would you do? My original plan was to complete my ADN (find a job at a hospital) and have them pay for me to complete my bridge path to my BSN, but it seems with the job market that option really isn't available in AZ. So any people if you could please reply, what path would you choose to do & reasoning?


86 Posts

I battled with this same decision. I left high school and started my prereqs in 2006. If you stick to taking at least 9-12 hours it's not long of a stretch to get them completed. I finished my prereqs in the spring of this year and i pray to be finished with my 4 semesters of nursing school by next fall/winter. I chose to do a 4 year program just because I figured many people decide to go back and i knew i would want to also and to save on time I went for it. I hear its not a much if any difference b/w nurses with ADN and BSN as far as pay so that shouldn't be a factor. Besides i like the idea of once i'm done and i've gotten a few years experience, i can head straight to working on a Master's degree!! Hope this helps


14,633 Posts

There are so many variables to this question that there's no one "right" answer for any individual.

Cost is certainly a factor -- generally, ADN programs are significantly less expensive than BSN programs.

Quality and reputation of a particular program or another is another consideration -- if an ADN program has a particularly good reputation and NCLEX pass rate, and the BSN program in your area doesn't, you might be better off going to the ADN program. You will have lots of options for completing a BSN degree, fairly easily and inexpensively, later on. If the BSN program you would attend has a significantly bettter reputation, you might be better off spending the extra money and time to go to that program instead.

Which program can you get into? Which program can you get into sooner?

The BSN would be four years plus pre-reqs? Are you sure? I've been in nursing education for a long time, and all the BSN programs I've been aware of have included pre-reqs in the four year curriculum. (That's not to say it's not possible -- there are so many possibilities in nursing, no one can keep track of all of them. As soon as you think you've seen it all, someone, somewhere, comes up with something new!)

I would encourage you to get all the information you can from all the programs you're interested in (including talking to current students in the program(s)!) and look carefully at all the pros and cons before making a decision. Best wishes!

Specializes in ICU.

Check out what programs are available in your area and see which one works best for your situation. The BSN program I am applying for actually allows you to exit the program w/ your ADN after the 6th semester or (so I've been told) still have the option to stay in the program for the last two semesters for the BSN. I really like this option. Even though I want to stay in till the end for the BSN, I like knowing that I have the ADN option in the event that my family needs me to graduate early and start working (ex: husband looses job, becomes injured and can't work, ect.) Perhaps you have a school in your area that does the same...


400 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I'd go for the BSN because if you have the time to commit to college now you might as well get it all out of the way. Assuming you are not married or have children now is the PERFECT time to go to school. Take it from someone married with 2 kids! At some point you may want to go for your master's degree and if you are alread done with your BS you'll be that much closer. Try for the BS but have the ADN as a backup if you don't get in at a BS program. GL!


266 Posts

If I were in your shoes, I'd do the BSN off the bat. You're young, unmarried, no children and no former career, so to me it makes sense to go for the BSN right away if that is your goal in the long run anyway. I chose the ADN route only because I have a prior Bachelor's degree and I really want to get back into the workforce ASAP. I have two small children and a traveling husband and I need flexibility. I will do a bridge if necessary for me to continue on to my ultimate goal of CRNA (some schools will accept a Bachelor of Science--doesn't necessarily have to be BSN). I hope this helps!

Oh, and I agree with Elkpark....the BSN would probably not be four years PLUS pre-reqs. The four years would include the pre-reqs. :)


159 Posts

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post and I think I will head on the BSN route since it seems the most plausible. I have a question for you tfleuter, what state do you live in?! That program seems interesting. I would love to try out a BSN program that enabled you to quit when you wanted (well technically not quit , but decide if you wanted to walk away with your ADN rather than staying for BSN if you got burnt out or had any other family issues,etc.) That seems really interesting.

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