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Please share your experience(s) with CSU San Marcos Generic BSN program.


Specializes in Acute Pulmonary, Intermediate Care. Has 2 years experience.


??? :up: :down: ???

I'm looking for feedback regarding California State University San Marcos, General BSN program.

  1. If you are a current student, or one of the new graduates from the first class, PLEASE share your thoughts on the program.
  2. If you are an RN who has worked with the student nurses during clinical's please share your thoughts on how well they are being prepared.

This program is only 3 years old, and has yet to have a graduating class actually sit for the NCLEX. I am having a difficult time making a decision regarding this program.

I have heard from many RN's that generally the ADN student nurses are better prepared (clinically); and more specifically, Palomar College's ADN student nurses... than the CSUSM BSN students. I know there are different variables that contribute to these assessments. What are your thoughts?

:nurse: RN student August 09

Edited by FireHorseNinja
spelling error

I am actually a student in the 2010 Accelerated BSN class at the Temecula satellite campus, but if you're anything like me, any bit of information helps.

As a new program, there are definitely wrinkles to be ironed out. Skills lab time and clinical sites have been a challenge to schedule due to the large amount of nursing students on campus. There will only be one Accelerated cohort started this year, and it will be on the Temecula campus, so perhaps that will alleviate some of the crunch. Most of my complaints would be regarding communication issues between the School of Nursing and Extended Learning, but as a generic student, you wouldn't have to worry about that.

My experiences with the staff have been very positive. They have been extremely supportive and seem to be student-centered. The director, Dr. Judy Papenhausen, is very respected in the field and extremely ambitious. CSUSM just recieved CCNE accreditation, and they have recieved the go-ahead to begin a Masters-Level program.

A classmate's mom presented the newness of the program as a benefit - NCLEX pass rates can make or break a school, so a new program is going to want their first few classes to pass as many as possible. I'm not sure about the Generic Cohort, but the first Accelerated class got extra NCLEX review when they weren't doing as well as hoped on practice tests.

Hope that helps a little!


Specializes in Public Health/Underserved Populations. Has 4 years experience.

I just graduated from the generic program at CSUSM as part of the first graduating class. There were some challenges as being part of the first class because some of the issues were worked out on our class. With that said I am also very proud of the school. I think that it provided an excellent education. If I were you I would go with the BSN over the ADN because I think that is the way the educational requirements are going to go. I think eventually all nurses will be required to have a BSN. It is true that you do get more hands on clinical experience at Palomar or one of the other ADN programs. But I think you learn much more about pathophysiology and leadership at at BSN program. When you start working you will get all the hands on experience you need or you can take advantage of an externship during your last two semesters. I did and it helped me immensely because you are working one on one with a nurse preceptor. It is also a BIG plus when you are trying to find a job.


Specializes in Acute Pulmonary, Intermediate Care. Has 2 years experience.

Thanks for your replys--

RainbowGirlNurse congrats on graduation!:yeah: I don't need to tell you that's a huge accomplishment :yeah:

Can you tell me a little more about the Externship... Is that paid, or volunteer. Do you become a temporary employee of the facility? Does this vary through each facility, and how did you go about getting an externship?

You mentioned having a preceptor. I've seen job postings for new grads that offer this type of program. Does the final year of the program actually build time into the schedule to allow for the students to work; most say not to work if at all possible. Thanks for the insight.

I'm finishing up my last rotation of a great volunteer internship and have gained great experience that i'm hoping will give me a jump start in the RN program. (hands on CNA/ED Tech experience) The best part is networking and work experience with RN's. Hoping to make a lasting impression on the Charges :) to help my future employment opportunities.

I hope you do well on the NCLEX... Oh ya, is it true that you had to take a pre exit exam through ATI testing before the university will release your records to sit for the NCLEX??


Specializes in Public Health/Underserved Populations. Has 4 years experience.

The externship is paid (usually about $18 an hour). You have to go find your own job but it is great experience. Most people worked at TriCity or PPH. You go onto their website and apply just like any other job but you are also required to be enrolled in a class simultaneously. The new grad programs usually offer a preceptor which is like a mentor nurse. You work with her exclusively while you are honing your skills. It is a challenge to find the time to include the externship into your program but I think it is well worth it. It is usually one 12 hour day a week. You are required to pass the ATI predictor test. For our class it was a nightmare because we did not really have the ATI built into the classroom work because of being the first cohort but according to the instructors it is now a requirement in each of the nursing classes that you will take.


Specializes in Psych.


thanks for your sharing. it helps me a lot.

i have just applied the absn spring 2010, is it hard to get in?

how was the program?

i check the ccne website, csusm is not there. it's kind of worrying.


The ABSN is easier to get into (for now) since it's so new - we also had a double cohort (100 spots instead of 50). We think that Extended Learning takes applicants first come, first serve, as opposed to the School of Nursing, which has a points system. In fact, many of our cohort were still taking one or two prerequisites during our first semester. This may change as the number of applicants grows. CSUSM is still listed under "new applicants" on the CCNE website, but the program was accredited. We got the announcement from the School of Nursing just last week.


I am applying for the Spring 2010 cohort, and I was wondering if you guys can share you statistics/scores! I am interested in finding out where I stand in terms of competitiveness in apply for the accelerated BSN program.Any advice would help too!

Congrats to those who have been accepted!


I am applying for the Spring 2010 cohort, and I was wondering if you guys can share you statistics/scores! I am interested in finding out where I stand in terms of competitiveness in apply for the accelerated BSN program.

Extended Learning oversees CSUSM's ABSN, so any statistics from the School of Nursing do not apply. As I mentioned previously, my classmates and I are pretty sure it's first come, first serve (as long as you have your "nursing core" prerequisites done.) In fact, quite a few of my classmates were finishing a "core" class our first semester. A few classmates applied after deadline, and there was a spot open, so they got in. From strictly anecdoctal evidence, I think everyone who applied got in. We heard reports of 300-400 applicants, but that doesn't really fit with the reality of the last-minute admissions.

Now, we were the second cohort of ABSN students, and a double cohort at that. In the future, they will be admitting 50 students at a time, and applications will probably go up as word spreads about the program, and it becomes more established, with accreditation, NCLEX pass rates, et cetera. Due to the state of transition, there really is no way to tell how "competative" a candidate a person is. As it stands now, Extended Learning has full discretion over admission, with prerequisites being the only input from the School of Nursing.

My advice would be to do the best you can, so that you'll be prepared. Understand that the program will be intense - you cannot hold a job and students with families are extra stressed. Plan now to have a support system in place. Nursing students (and nurses) tend to be type-A personalities, so the atmosphere tends to be thick with anxiety. As a second degree student, you will recieve minimal financial aid - you will want to have a plan in place to support yourself. (I live at home and have taken out private loans).

I understand the anxiety - but there will be plenty of that later, so try to relax while you can!


I read your post and wanted to give you some of my experiences for the generic BSN program. I am part of the cohort 1 graduating class and there were definitely some kinks that had to be worked out. One thing I can say is that the faculty and staff rooted for us the entire way. They sincerely listened to our requests and tried to make changes based upon our input, where they were able. The open door policy was such a huge improvement from other programs/staff interactions I have had.

Also, the facilities are remarkable. Simulation labs truly are state-of-the-art and I have not seen any other clinical lab like it! One huge positive is the backing of the community, especially organizations such as Palomar Pomerado Health as they funded a large portion of the program. The CEO and CNO of PPH spoke at our pinning ceremony and beamed with pride! It was a wonderful moment!

The one negative that needs to be dealth with is the availability of clinical sites. As so many students are vying for clinical positions, we had a few students who went without clinical placement for many weeks. Eventually it was remedied, but I think that as the program continues, these kinks will eventually be irioned out.

ATI is another components you need to be aware of. If you get into the program, study for the predictor exam from the beginning. The predictor exam is great because it gives you a good idea of how well you'll do on the NCLEX-RN exam. Lastly, extern as this will be the best way for a future employer to get to know you.

Other than that I really enjoyed my experiences and learned a lot. I had great clinical instructors and have been offered a fantastic job at PPH.

Good Luck!


Specializes in Psych.

What is a predictor exam ?


Specializes in Acute Pulmonary, Intermediate Care. Has 2 years experience.

Yes, I've heard a little about this predictor exam. Is this taken at the end of the last semester? Also, Is it true that the university will not release your record to sit for the NCLEX unless you pass the predictor exam by a certain percentage?

Thank you for all your input. Your insight is very helpful.

A predictor exam is a standardized test that is supposed to be designed to "predict" whether or not the student will pass the NCLEX. Some programs require their students to pass their end of course exam before they can graduate. Most people say that predictor exams should not be relied upon solely for NCLEX readiness. There are many people who fail these tests yet go on to pass the NCLEX.

Hi Dawnikans,

Yes the ATI predictor exam is taken at the end of your final semester. Oh there were numerous rumors that flew with this exam. However, the ATI predictor exam is actually part of a curriculum class (pass/no pass). In essence, you must pass the exam with the benchmark in order to pass the class. However, I can tell you that the score is entire attainable and the staff and faculty understand that we are busy with several other classes.

All in all the ATI exam gave me a good idea of how the NCLEX-RN would be and how I would do. You can do it, I promise and to my knowledge, I believe all of us passed and our transcripts are on our way up!

I just finished my first 2 semesters in the generic BSN program (Cohort 4) and so far my experience has been positive. As for ATI, I heard it was a nightmare for Cohorts 1 & 2 but mainly because it was never really emphasized during their program. However that is not the case anymore. We've been taking ATI exams during each of our classes. ALso we are given the test codes so that we can go back and practice anytime. The material is given to us, so it's possible to study more of it on your own time.

The faculty so far has been great. So supportive and attentive to our needs. I've yet to have a bad experience, and none of my classmates have either. I've been reading all these horror stories about mean professors and whatnot, and can honestly say that you will NOT find that at CSUSM.

Congrats to those from Cohort 1 that just graduated....and good luck on the NCLEX. I'm sure you'll all do fine. To the Temecula ASBN people, Tell Professor Larson that Vuth says hi.

BTW- I don't remember my exact point totals, but I got into the program w/ a 92% on the TEAS, 3.7overall GPA, and a 3.9 Core GPA......no volunteer experience, no foreign language, no work experience.....so while it's not exactly EASY, it isn't impossible either.

Malefocker, BSN, RN

Specializes in Home Health Nurse.

Is the ABSN program only held at the Temecula campus and if it isn't is there anyway to switch to the main campus?


Specializes in Acute Pulmonary, Intermediate Care. Has 2 years experience.

It is at the Temecula campus and occasionally at the SON across the street from the main campus. I'm in the generic basic... cohort 5. I love it!

I dropped from an ADN program and I regret

I wanna re-entry

san marcos is close to my home

I wanna know what you do each semester and how teachers are

I wanna know how is the clinical

really appreciate

right now I am a lost dog I don't know what to do

I don't really like nursing clinicals but I like nursing theories and disease theories

May somebody give me some suggestions?

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