I'm actually over at St. Francis in Peoria. IWU turns into a three year program, regardless of a previous Bachelor's. ISU's 2 year is VERY VERY difficult to get into....I want to say that the average GPA is incredibly close to a 4.0, and includes all of your previous GenEds, not just pre-reqs, but I am not 100% certain. They accept a lot more people into their pre-nursing program, and end up turning away ISU pre-nursing students because they essentially have to interview halfway through their 4 year program to get into the actual nursing curriculum (before Jr. year). This pretty much left the options of the ABSN at ISU, community college Associates, or BSN's at Methodist or St. Francis. I took all of my pre-reqs at a community college. Great option....just my opinion, but it means a boost to my GPA and the courses are a TON cheaper
Already having a bachelor's, I really did not want to go for the associates. Don't get me wrong, I think that they are well prepared. However, in a market where most places are hiring very few to no new grads, I know that I will be very thankful to have the BSN label to market myself. Additionally, the ADN and the BSN both took 2 years. Easy decision apart from the money aspect. I had acceptances from St Francis, Methodist and ISU's accelerated program. At the time, Methodist did not have one of their certifications, (which they just recently received), so it is now a moot point. I asked about average entrance GPA's, and at the time St Francis was around 3.5, and Methodist about 3.3. Methodist was also a little pickier about which courses that they would take. Essentially, they would not accept one of the Econ courses that St Francis would. This meant an additional semester of waiting before I could start, so it left me with a pretty easy choice once I decided that I could not handle the accelerated program.
I really do think that as a second Bachelor's student, I have a much better work ethic. I had pretty mediocre grades the first time around, and it is almost as if I have something to prove in terms of grades. If you really love to work with people and have an innate sense of always wanting to know more you'll really do great. Nursing is incredibly interesting and light bulbs just continually come on throughout the curriculum. I just love to see the pieces fit together!! Methodist has an awesome lab and the instructors seemed really nice when I visited. I didn't realize that they were going to start an accelerated program... that is pretty awesome! I hadn't heard really anything about an accelerated program over at St. Francis, but haven't really been looking either
Sometimes it just comes down to timing. Depending on the financial situation, and how soon you can get your pre-reqs done, most schools have you applying about a year ahead of time. However, don't discount that you can pretty much apply whenever and there just may be an opening! That is how I lucked out....left my job in May to start pre-reqs, and started school the following January. I just felt like it was meant to be
I really didn't feel like the pre-req science classes were all that difficult. I ended up with A's in all of them without much effort. It was likely just the excitement that I was finally pursuing my dream!
There are so many options out there. It is just a matter of figuring out what is the best fit for you and what you have in mind in the future. I have found that nursing school is getting tougher to get into, simply because the economy is driving a lot of people to consider nursing as a great career choice compared to other areas. I would certainly advise the sooner that better
Granted, we are starting to see some additional programs popping up. I just hope that the local hospitals start to take new grads again. I called around recently and three of the 4 hospitals in the area currently have no openings for new grads. I was floored, but I still feel like I am making the right decision. Even if I cannot get a job at the hospital to start out with, I know that there will be an opening in LTC other in other areas, I just may have to be patient. Hopefully the economy will start to correct itself and we'll see some of these positions open back up again! There are so many questions, and never enough time to get the answers I suppose
Best of luck!! Let me know if there is anything else I can help you to look into
I'm enjoying my summer off and probably spending a bit too much time playing around on the computer...but it is VERY nice!