Hi I posted this to someone else, but this might be helpful to you in someways:
I'm 20 years old and have been going to University for 3 years now. I was quite lost in what I wanted to do, but finally decided about a year ago that I wanted to go into nursing. I couldnt decide AND or BSN, but now ive decided. I'm currently living in the Twin cities, so I think I can help you out a bit or at least give you some (okay a lot) advice/opinions about MN nursing schools. (if u arent from MN or this area, it still might be somewhat helpful)
1)Just FYI, the applicant pool for the U of M has tripled in one year, and thus they have gotten much more exclusive on admitting people. So for me, I decided to go to a different school where I think I have a good chance of getting into. I'm having to relocate, but for me its an option. I know the calibre of people applying to the U programs, and a lot of them have close to 4.0s.
2) U of MN- Minneapolis is INSANELY hard to get into. I just had several friends apply. I dont want to discourage you, but I want to enlighten you. Nursing school in general is hard to get into, that is a given, but because Minnesota has such a highly-regarded health care system, the schools up here are extremely competitive. You should go to the school website (www.umn.edu
) and check out the College of Nursing stats to get an idea of what will be required of you (GPA wise, what they rank you with, etc). I went to the U of M of a full year (took some nursing prereqs there), and I went to Boston University for 3 semesters. The classes I took were extremely difficult, but they don't take into consideration the "status" of the school. So, if you are applying to the U, i dont think you should take prereqs there because they are DIFFICULT to say the least. Take them at a Community college and get As if u can. You wont regret even taking a light load becuase you need those good grades to get into nursing school. I would advise you to go wherever you think you will get the best grades. Also, make sure you know how much work you can handle. Don't just take all your pre-reqs jammed in a full load. You wont get the best grades, and I promise you you will definitely regret it. It doesnt pay to take them just to get your pre-reqs done. Good grades are essential, I cannot stress it enough. Most schools just look at GPAs (no matter where u went).
2) If by now you are having doubts about the U, go to this website. It lists all the schools that offer bachelors degrees in nursing. http://healthcare.monster.com/schools/nursing/
Research your schools well! Look at all the schools you are considering going to, and look at what they will take into consideration when you apply for nursing schools. Some of them require you to be a CNA, some of them want you CPR certified, etc. Some have interviews, some have entrance tests, some have essays worth a ton, some only look at your GPA for the "pre-nursing" classes, some accept you based on your total collegiate GPA from all schools you ever went to (a bummer if your frosh year you took a little "vacation" from studying). Look into this and decide which one you think you will get into. Don't just decide on the U of M simply because its convenient, or because of the name.
3) Talk to their nursing department even if you aren't sure you want to go there. Hearing someone's tone of voice when they tell you about admissions can give you a pretty good idea of how hard it is to get into. I had some lady talk to me like i'd never get in. Tell them the truth about your situation (don't sugar-coat it, and even set up a meeting if u can with the nursing advisor. I set up a meeting with a nursing admission counselor to the school im planning on going to, and I was there for over 3 hours!!!! I encourage you to talk in advance with the nursing admissions advisor to your school before you register for your prenursing classes. You dont want to waste your time! I've taken a lot of classes that are prereqs to some schools, and will actually not even count at all to my bachelors. This is why im suggesting that you talk to them early on.
4) Check out all of the schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota (if you can relocate). All of these states as you may or may not know have "reciprocity", where u get instate tuition, regardless if u are from their state. You just have to be a resident of one of them. All you do is fill out a form online, it takes a minute, then they contact your school and tell you that you are eligible for instate tuition.
5) This is just a personal sidenote, and Im sorry if it offends anyone, but I'd really recommend getting your bachelors if you can, even if u have to go to a different state. The rest of your career depends on this education. I think it all will pan out in the end. ADN schools have long wait lists, or if they dont, they are just as tough to get into. I know they provide excellent schooling, but if you're looking to have a competitive edge on your resume, look seriously into BSN. A good friend of mine is in med school, his brother is a dr, and they have both informed me that there is a big difference between a nurse who has a bachelors, and one who has an ADN. There is a bias on dr.s behalf - viewing some as more competent than others. It sucks, but if u can avoid it, do. I know right now there isnt a big pay difference between ADN nurses and BSN nurses, but you will be limited in the future if you want to ever get a high managerial position, or if you want to be a nursing professor (gota have a bachelors to get a masters). Don't just think about the quick fix of becoming an RN the fastest way possible. Although I just want to say I know many great nurses with ADNs, and I personally think that they are just as capable. But with this big influx of people going to nursing school, eventually the job field is going to get more competitive and people are going to be weeded out based on the level of education. I even looked on monster.com postings for nursing jobs, and a lot of people say "prefered BSN". I know you said you want to get a bachelors, but in case you are thinking about possibly getting an associates degree, I just wanted to add this sidenote. You'll definitely have a huge leg-up on getting jobs. You'll pass up the applicants automatically who have similar experience to you, but who have only and ADN. I'm not assuming this, I know this because I have several friends who just graduated nursing school with BSNs and have already gotten jobs. All of them also got thousands of dollars sign-on bonuses. My friend paid for her wedding, and a new Jetta with that money. It pays off in one way of the other. Also, don't fall into the trap of "oh, my hospital will pay to send me back to school if I want to go from ADN to RN". It all depends on your employer, how long you work there, etc. In the end, if u think you'll want to get a bachelors, do it now. For example, one hospital I looked at provided up to 3000. That doesn't cover all of your tuition. Some might even require you to work at least part time, while you go (and they help pay) for your school. I couldn't handle that. Plus, you never know when you will want to get married, have kids, etc. Why put it off till tomorrow, if it can be done today?!
6) If you just decided to be a nurse just because you don't know anything else to do-work as a CNA. Seriously, its really important to get an idea if u will like nursing or not. Working as a CAN will let u know if you might like being a physical therapist better, or a dietitian, or something else in the healthcare field. I currently work as a nurse aid at a rehab facility, which is also a nursing home, and I am so glad that I'm doing it. I saw nursing students at a local community college who weren't CNAs, and they had NO IDEA how to approach a patient. As a CNA you really spend a great deal of time with a patient. You see how the flow goes in the facility and that healthcare is all about teamwork. You will also get an idea of how people will treat you as a healthcare worker. You may have the best of intentions, but sometimes, you will have people that will harass you, swear at you, even throw feces at you (older patients who really cant help it cuz they have dementia, Alzheimer's, a stroke, etc). You really get a great perspective on what kind of crap (literally) nurses have to deal with. I think being a CNA also preps you to have the communication skills required of a nurse.
I have a quick story about that one as well: My fellow pre-nursing friend at the U (to be fore-warned, EVERYONE claims to be pre-nursing there. And I literally mean everyone). Just recently she got into nursing school. But she also just got a job as a CNA...while it was at a nursing home, I think her experience can be related to any field of nursing. Well...she was sexually harassed, then later harassed because she was a minority. She dealt with a lot of difficult patients and is now questioning if nursing is for her. Just being the person she is, she couldn't handle the harsh reality that patients aren't always easy to deal with. You gota be prepared to deal with and care for the ornery, the not-so-polite, then the well extremely rude, the chauvinists, the over-protective caregivers, and all walks of life you will see. So really you can never know if you will like being a nurse if you don't get one-on-one time with patients. One easy way to do that is to be a nurse aid. It's not a glamorous job, but if you truly are going into nursing to make a difference in people's lives, and to be the helping hand we all want to be, you will look past the feces, the blood, the vomit, and the stench of urine that comes with taking care of people.
And don't forget that its all about heart, and the desire to really help people ...nurses don't always have to have energetic, type-A personalities. It's best to be patient, compassionate, understanding, and thoughtful. Your genuine love for helping people will shine through naturally no matter what type of person you are.
Feel free to contact me about anything.
Best of luck!