Jump to content

Popular ADN vs More Expensive BSN


Hi everyone, I would like some input from you.

Where I live there are two nursing programs to choose from, an ADN or BSN.

ADN Pros:

2 year degree

Work in the field sooner


Allegedly the hospitals prefer nurses out of this program because their instructors are more active in the field.

ADN Cons:

Lottery waiting list is up to 2 years

My remaining prerequisites are hard to get into

BSN Pros:

I plan on pursuing my BSN and beyond anyway (goal is NP)

Program is easier to get into, no waiting list, just application process.

My remaining prerequesites are easier to get into

BSN Cons:

4 times the cost

Delay getting into the field (+1 year)

Reputation is the professors are more "book smart", resulting in less hands-on nurses.

I'm currently lined up for the ADN program, however I'm very frustrated because I only have 4 prerequisites left but they're big ones, and even though I was on the third day for early registration, due to a counselor oversight I couldn't register till day 4 and by then the classes were all waitlisted. I still need A&P 1 & 2, Chemistry and Microbiology. Due to this delay, I cannot even apply for 18 months now, and that's IF I can get in two of the classes in the Spring semester. I'm taking extra classes right now to keep building credits and move up the early registration list.

I'm almost considering paying more to go to the local university for the BSN, which may be a 3 year program, I may get into it a year or two sooner, and ultimately will it matter where my degree is from if I can prove myself a great nurse?

windsurfer8, BSN, RN

Specializes in Prior military RN/current ICU RN.. Has 14 years experience.

First off you need to ensure the hospitals in your area hire ADN nurses. There are places that are cutting back on ADN nurses and requiring BSN. Second you need to decide on your plan. If you plan to get your NP then you may as well knock out the BSN. I went straight for BSN and grad school is wide open. If you plan on bedside nursing for life then you may as well go ADN. If you want to go into management or something else it does make a big difference if you have BSN. Your talk about book smart less prepared nursing is pointless and not true. What a hiring hospital wants to know is if you have an active nursing license, show up for work, are CAREFUL, and are willing to work nights and weekends.

I agree with the above poster.

I just graduated with a BSN and I've heard overwhelmingly that the BSN is the better route. My preceptor this past summer (for an externship that was only offered to BSN students..) was an ADN and the hospital was forcing her to go back for her BSN because it had just gained magnet status. She was extremely stressed with work and classes. Magnet hospitals require somewhere around 85% of their nurses to have baccalaureates. I don't know this first hand, because I only have been around BSN students, but I've heard it is harder in general to get a job as an ADN (at least in acute care settings.) Again, I don't know that first hand... But I can say that a huge deal of my class has received offers in AMAZING hospitals on AMAZING units.

Also, if you want your NP, wouldn't it make absolute sense to just go straight through your BSN? I want to be an NP too, but I'm nervous that life will get in the way and I won't go back to school... If I only had my ADN and wanted to be an NP, I'd be doubly nervous because that creates TWO schooling hurdles.

Good luck with your pursuit!!!

Go for whatever will get you to where you want faster! Spend the money, get your feet wet with a little student loan debt. Don't be scared because the pay offs are so much better in the long run. Now I'm not saying rack up a huge amount of debt, but simply not to be scared by having to accept some of it.

I know how the waitlisting is, and priority registration. I was suppose to be given first day priority registration, however the program that offers it didn't process my papers until late and now I'm stuck registering 9 days late! I'm watching the class I want fill up quickly, and I just want to throw my laptop with frustration.

If you decide to stick with the CC, just start loading up on your non-science pre-reqs, and more than likely your will earn a better registration position over time. I worked hard and knocked out most of mine, and now I am left with my science(s) and have been able to register. That would not have been possible 1.5 years ago.

Good luck!


Specializes in Cardiac Stepdown, PCU.

On a small side note, since no one else mentioned it... Have you considered taking your last few pre-req's online? Or at a different campus and transferring them?

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

Because the clearly established trend is "BSN Preferred" I would certainly suggest you give great consideration to that route. The fact that you're still 18 months out from entering any program means you have time to get your stuff lined up and ready to go. As others have stated, you could consider taking the coursework you need at another college, provided there's one close enough to you.

Something else to greatly consider is that if you do an ADN program, you'll have to take at least another year of classwork to complete your BSN. This is partly due to having to take some additional nursing courses but also some additional upper division GE coursework.

Had BSN been available when I started school, I'd have seriously given it a go because for me, it would have been one extra semester of school (at most) versus an ADN program because I have a Bachelors Degree already. Unfortunately for me, a 2nd Bachelors of any sort was not available to me because of either University Policy (Closed to 2nd Bachelors) or way too expensive (>$90k). So, the ADN program was the path available to me and I certainly do NOT feel that I received an inferior education. I will soon be looking to earn my BSN because I do know that will open some career doors for me in the future. That would have been an educational goal anyway for me.

The reason I say this is because I really want you to evaluate your options and paths to reaching your goal of becoming an RN. Since you don't have a degree yet in anything (as far as I know) you have the option of ADN or BSN in front of you. Some ADN programs do have an articulation agreement with a nearby University to funnel their ADN grads into BSN completion programs.

As others have stated, take a serious look around locally and see what the local hospitals desire for applicants. A lot can change in the span of about 4 years. That's the minimum time it'll apparently take you to complete your prerequisites and get through an RN program. There easily could end up being a hiring craze again where employers will want you to work for them... as long as you have your RN license... or it could be incredibly difficult to get hired anywhere at that time.

Whatever path you take, do your best to put yourself in the best possible position to get a job after you graduate.

Something else to consider to that end is that you might want to get CNA certified and see if you can work in that capacity while you're going to school (assuming that you're not working) as that will provide you some first-hand knowledge of what goes on, gets you exposed to doing very basic nursing tasks and provides a bit of a gut-check as to whether you even want to be in healthcare. It also provides you the ability to see "internal" job postings before "external" candidates see them and it gets you known to people... which can be a good thing.

If the application periods are staggered between the two schools, apply at every one offered.

Wait until you have an offer before turning one down.


Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

If your ultimate goal is NP then consider a direct entry program. Also consider if local NP programs offer ADN-MSN or if you will have to bridge to BSN prior to applying to NP school.

On a small side note, since no one else mentioned it... Have you considered taking your last few pre-req's online? Or at a different campus and transferring them?

I have! I checked with the ADN program's adviser and she said they only accept the sciences with lab, and lab done in person... then it takes up to 12 weeks to transfer the credits, so I'd miss the application period (twice a year).

Thanks everyone for your input, it is GREATLY appreciated. I'm actually leaning more towards the BSN program now. Ultimately, I would be taking their ADN to BSN program after the ADN anyway and if the ADN program takes longer to get into, the amount of income I'd miss could turn it into a wash.

Sounds great! One thing I have done is complete pre-req requirements not only for an ADN at a community college, but also pre-reqs to apply for a BSN at a state college. This has afforded me the opportunity to pay less money for my under grad requirements.

Good luck!