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How can I make application attractive for ABSN?

Specializes in Primary care.

Hi, I am finishing up my BS degree in Biology. I have 3.8 GPA on prereqs and 3.5 GPA on my overall classes. There are three ABSN programs in where I live. But they are extremely competitive. I am looking at volunteering options. I shadowed an OR nurse for a short time. She can't really commit a regular schedule for me to shadow her.I applied for volunteer position at the local hospital but they said they don't have openings.

My question is what kind of volunteering jobs I should pursue and where else I should look? I would like to hear from people who had succcessful admission to ABSN programs. I asked this very same question to the admission people they say I should make all the areas (GPA, experience,etc.) stronger. I feel like sometimes this things are just the draw of the luck.

Would you recommend becoming an EMT first? I know a lot of people who are trying to get into medical school choose this path. Your advice in this matter is much appreciated. Thanks.

TheSquire, DNP, EMT-B, APN, NP

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing.

I was admitted to a grad-entry program, which is similar to your situation in that it is a second-degree program. My undergrad major was in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a GPA of 3.6. At the time I was only a First Responder, but I had a semester's worth of hospital volunteering on med-surg floors as well. I didn't get around to my EMT-B 'til I was actually in the program.

Getting your EMT-B is at least something, and gives you valuable assessment and critical-thinking skills that CNAs just aren't taught. That said, part of what they want you to get is hospital experience, so getting a job as a ED Tech (or any patient care tech position, if possible) once you have your EMT-B might be a way in (though you should keep trying to do the volunteer bit in the meanwhile).

While you do that to get your 'in' for clinical experience you should also make sure you have all the prereqs you need. While I'm sure you exceed most of them with your Biology degree, some places have weird requirements like Nutrition or Human Development which you may need to get out of the way if you have not already done so. If you can, take these at your local community college where you can sit in class and wreck the curve for all the tests. Doing so will bump up your GPA further (though not by much, since you'll have the credit inertia of a full undergraduate degree). If you need to pad out your credit hours further, picking up a Medical Terminology classes is always useful, and since you're a bio major I know you can handle brute-force memorization.

Also, if you're unmarried/have no family/can otherwise relocate easily, consider applying farther afield. There are many metropolitan areas with multiple ABSN and Graduate-Entry options that you should consider, many of which would consider your application highly competitive already.

Just wanted to post a quick message to boost your confidence and perharps give you a little piece of mind. I am currently finishing up an accelerated BSN program in Ohio. I received my first degree in 2002 in Business Management and then went into the Army for 4 years (ROTC). When I got out I was considering PA school but lacked the 1 year of patient experience that was required by many of the area PA programs. So I looked into the accelerated BSN programs in my area.

I volunteered at the local VA hospital for a couple months and that was the only thing close to health care experience I had on my resume. Many of my fellow classmates were also business major that had little to no health care experience.

I also used my first trip through college to party rather than study and graduated with a 2.9 GPA. The school I am attending only requires a 2.75 GPA. I have since grown out of my younger ways and have done quite well in school up to this point and will be graduating in August.

Depending on what school you are applying to I do not believe that your lack of health care experience will be a huge deterrent. I think the grades that you received in your prevous degree and the reasons that you would like to become a nurse are more important. I am sure my interview is what locked down my spot in the accelerated nursing program. Hope this helps a little bit, good luck!!


Specializes in Primary care.

TheSquire and jojofries2 ,

Thanks for the replies.I appreciate your inputs encouraging words. Great advices in both posts. I am married with three children, military wife. We live in Northern VA area so, my choices are limited to three programs. I am taking summer classes at the moment but I set aside one day a week to volunteer in some hospital.

My question to jojofries 2, what kind of volunteer job you had at the VA hospital?Was it a direct patient care type of volunteering?

I have completed all the prereqs for these programs with the exception of statistics which I am taking this fall.

I truly appreciate the advice from both of you. I have critical 6 months front of me and I need to make most of it. Thanks again.

Hi TheSquire, I am debating between direct-entry masters program and an accelerated BSN program (I will be a 2nd degree student as well). Just wondering how your program turned out, do you think you were any more/less limited by the MSN with no experience as opposed to BSN? Ideally I would want a BSN/MSN program because I have heard warnings about graduating without a BSN due to job requirements in the future.

TheSquire, DNP, EMT-B, APN, NP

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing.

I didn't do a direct-entry masters, in that I did not get an APN after I graduated. My coursework included almost all the classroom courses for an APN. Once the school I went to figures out its accreditation issues for implementing the DNP, I'll be going back to finish up the certification. As such, I didn't have any limitations due to having an MS without a BSN, since I had to find a job as an entry-level new-grad RN, just like any other new grad RN.


Specializes in NICU.

I agree with what others have said and have just one thing to add. My school looked for evidence that a student could get by in an accelerated environment. Think of ways that you could spin that. Did you work and go to school at the same time? Take an extra class one semester? Have an especially difficult load? Things like that. It worked for me...


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