ISU Accelerated BSN

  1. Has anyone done the Accelerated BSN at Illinois State? I am considering it and wanted some input (I know the program is only a few year old). I haven't really gotten any help by contacting the school (frustrating!) I am also curious how people have paid for a 2nd degree program (as I know I won't be eligible for many financial aid sources due to already having a B.S. degree). Thanks!
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    About NotANative

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 6

    9 Comments

  3. by   rntobe7733
    I was actually accepted into this program, but decided against it for a number of reasons. After some discussion with my husband we decided that 2 young children + 1 year accelerated nursing program= not very fun!!) I did have the opportunity to look at the schedule and it essentially involves class all day, every day, with intense cramming in the evening. I experienced the same frustration that you did in getting information. This may be due to the timing. They make a lot of their admissions decisions in the spring, and it is difficult to get information. It is possible to get financial aid for a 2nd BSN, but unfortunately their are a lot of "perks" that the ABSN program at ISU does not have available for this particular program...namely any type of financial aid or access to their health center. I decided to go with a 2 year BSN program that does actually allow for financial aid and I'm enjoying the experience with all A's this semester. I thought that I had made a poor decision not to race through. However, with as intense as the nursing curriculum is, I was really getting anxious for a break, and do not think I'd have the stamina to do well and retain the material with such a rigorous program. There is a program through Bromenn that allows for 10K forgivable loans with a work commitment. I'm not sure if that is still the case, but it was still an option last fall. I sat in on a meeting, and they essentially suggested that many individuals looked to "rich aunts and uncles for financial support." One other deciding factor involving ISU's program is that many of the initial clinicals take place in LTC facilities. This is not necessarily a negative thing, but I do believe that hospital clinicals provide students with a much broader variety of conditions and situations. I still have a pile of paperwork from ISU's program that I can look through if you have any specific questions about the program. Best of luck in your endeavors, and let me know if I can help at all!
  4. by   NotANative
    I share some of the same concerns you had about the ABSN... it's super cramming for 12 months straight! I don't want to come out of the program not as well prepared/trained due to all the cramming and struggle more than a 1st year RN should. Interesting about the LTC clinicals, I have mixed feelings on that. I don't have any rich aunts or uncles to rely on, so boo. I know I am going to have to take out loans for the whole thing ($20-30k+), just scared of at what interest rate with the current economy. I just found out that Methodist College of Nursing in Peoria is starting a 2nd degree BSN program in 2010. I'm leaning more towards their program now. Classes 2 nights a week and clinicals on Sat & Sun. Designed so you can still work while going to school (nothing said about having a life though ). Plus the thought of driving an hour to Normal every day for a year sounds draining of over $5k in gas money. I could put all that gas money towards tuition at MCON, and then at least the student loan interest could be tax deductible (depending on what loans I scrape together!). And I might be more sane coming out without the huge commute. I could live with the in-laws and go to Trinity College in Rock Island, but I think I would miss being at "home." They have a ABSN that is 15 months long. MCON would be 18 months long. 3 months is not much of a difference.

    What I am most worried about is getting through all the science aspect of the nursing field. I love people, I love helping others, and I love that nursing can take me far professionally and emotionally. I'm like many other people out there right now... I have to change my life, and nursing is something I have been thinking about for many years, so now is the time for me to take the next step.

    Did you end up going to do a traditional BSN at IWU or ISU? (You mention 2 years for the BSN.)

    I'm already enrolled in some pre-reqs at ICC for the fall. So I'm starting! Just wish I had all the answers now while I have the time.
  5. by   rntobe7733
    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!
  6. by   NotANative
    Thank you so much for sharing your insight on why you chose the program that you did. It's good to hear about programs downstate. I'm one of those who is "retraining" for a different job due to the economy and agree that a BSN is more marketable when looking for a job (and for the same amount of time in school post-bachelor's degree #1). Plus the potential to move into a mangement or case manger position (although it could be harder down the road with more and more master's level nurses entering the market). I don't forsee going to get a master's, so the BSN will be it for me.

    If I have further questions, or you think of more information , chime in. Thanks again!
  7. by   vanasd
    Quote from rntobe7733
    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!
    Hi,

    I am looking into Methodist and St. Francis BSN programs in Peoria. Do you have any additional information about Methodist (the good, bad, and ugly if any)? Also do you know anyone that attends Methodist that I could speak to about the program? Could you also tell me about St. Francis program (good, bad, and ugly if any)?

    Thanks!!
  8. by   rntobe7733
    I really love St. Francis. It is incredibly challenging, but very good. While they are not hiring a ton of new nurses at either, St Francis seems to be bringing on a few more than Methodist, so I'm certainly thankful that I'm just across the road and that they have a forgivable loan program! In terms of certifications, I think that Methodist just got a certification that they were missing, so the credibility of both programs is kind of a wash. Being a catholic institution, I think that it is pretty neat that they incorporate some simple prayers before exams and such. I am not catholic, but I am a christian who feels that we certainly need the Lord on our side to help us through that challenges of nursing school It certainly puts me at ease, but can be a positive or negative depending on your beliefs/background. When I applied, I know that Methodist had a slightly lower, (maybe 2 tenths of a point) average GPA. To me this indicated that SF had more the "cream of the crop", but things certainly could have changed. I love the instructors, and the clinical opportunities are amazing! In Methodist's favor, their simulation labs are REALLY cool! SF has some really neat labs as well, but I remember being a little more impressed by some of the videotaping equipment over at Methodist. I don't currently correspond with anyone over at Methodist, so I wish that I could help you out a bit more. I will definitely make a plug for Saint Francis though!! Awesome instructors, great clinicals, just a wonderful program!! I felt that their program was really well put together when I talked with graduates before I applied, and still feel that way after attending. I wish you lots of luck in your decision, and if you have any specific questions about Saint Francis, I'd be glad to try and help you get them answered
  9. by   vanasd
    Thanks so much for your help. Could you tell me about St. Francis: the grading system on exams? How many test there usually are for each course? Are exams written by instructors or generated by a company like HESI or ATI for example? Are finals exams comprehensive? Do the instructors explain the material well, do you guys receive powerpoints that cover the material? Do the test cover what is actually talked about in class? Are there any instructors you should try to avoid? Are you able to pick your clinical instructors? Is clinicals pass or fail, and does anyone ever fail clinicals? What is the grading scale? IF you would like to tell me anything else, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
  10. by   rntobe7733
    GOOD questions The grading system is A:93%-100%, B:85%-93%, C:77%-85%, and below 77% is failing. The exams are written by the instructors, but they work very hard to design the questions to be a lot like the NCLEX where you have to apply the knowledge that you've gained. It depends on the class whether the final is comprehensive. I took 4 classes last semester, and all but 1 were comprehensive. The instructors make things very challenging, but not impossible. You get to pick a few choices of schedules, and then your advisor works to get you the one you want based on a random number that you are assigned for priority. Some instructors are more difficult than others, although the one that I struggled with is changing things up a bit, and I don't think is teaching the class any longer. Clinicals are pass/fail. I can't think of anyone that has failed clinicals. HOWEVER, you have to come prepared and do what your instructor expects, and definitely be on time. If you don't it would certainly be possible to fail! The tests can be relatively easy or relatively difficult depending on who you talk to. I always thought that the tests were really tough, but then I got my grade back and was usually very happy. However, there are some that study their heart out, and just don't get the hang of them. The tests do cover what is talked about in class, but the instructors like to occasionally throw in questions out of the reading to see if you've been keeping up. It can definitely be frustrating, but the key is to pay really close attention during class, and just absorb everything you can. It also helps me to have my book out during class to kind of follow along a bit. If their are big gaps in what is being covered between the class and the book, I just ask a question to get a feel for whether or not I really need to spend a lot of time on it. I would say that Patho can really be a lot of fun and is really not too difficult if you've got a strong background coming in, and you enjoy understanding the disease process. I would certainly say that Health Assessment is the most difficult. Do all of the readings, and ask lots of questions....pay close attention in lab Pharm can be difficult, but can be easy too depending on who you ask. Concepts really just depends on who your instructor is, for lecture and for lab. The trick is to just give clinicals your all, and be REALLY prepared going into it. Other than that, I can't think of anything else to tell you about it. REALLY tough, but REALLY awesome! If you're unsure about whether you really want to do nursing, you will probably despise every day. If you get really excited about every aspect of nursing and have a natural sense of wanting to always learn more about the profession, you will just LOVE every second of it!! Best of luck, and let me know if you think of any other questions
  11. by   vanasd
    Wow, thanks so much. What are some of the things you do to prepare for clinicals? Are the instructors big with on the spot calculations during clincals? Do you all have calculations test, and if so how many calculations, how many can you miss, how many times do they give you to pass? What do you do to prepare for test? Thanks so much, you have been a great help. Just wish I could find someone from Methodist also.

    Thanks

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