Quote from ChrisA
I just got my rejection letter from UCSF for the MEPN program. It was the only place I applied, because it's really the only place that's got a program that I'm interested in. I'll try again next year, but now I'm trying to figure out what I'll do over the next few months.
My wife and I are moving down to San Francisco in June. I think I'll attempt to land an entry-level job at the UCSF medical center, which will make me look better on paper as well as get me much-needed practical work experience in a health-care setting.
If you were one of the unlucky ones this year, what are you going to do instead?
Sorry you didn't get into UCSF. Don't feel bad. It's the #2 school in the nation behind the U. of Washington. Here's what you can do:
1) Talk to the admissions counselor - After the flurry of acceptances, the admissions counselor will talk to you in April or May to review your file. Possibly they could give you some pointers to increase your chances. (However, I do know that sometimes they will tell you: "Oh, your application was strong, but there were others that were stronger." That does not help!)
2) GPA - Did you do well in all your classes? If there were some C's or B's in a class that you feel you could get a A in, retake. This would be especially true for the pre-reqs (A&P, Microbiology, Nutrition).
3) GRE - Did you have at least 600 out of 800 for the V, Q and 5/6 on the essay? If you think it would help, you could also consider retaking the GRE.
4) Volunteer/paid health experiences - Some of the people who get accepted into a program like UCSF have been in the health care area for years. I know you cannot take back time, BUT you can increase the value of your experiences. UCSF and other top schools like experiences if you work with under-served populations, the homeless, HIV clinics, etc. If you speak another language, such as Spanish, it's great if you can use that in your interactions with patients. (They like as much contact with patients as possible.) Are you showing initiative/leadership in your volunteer/work setting? Are you part of a decision-making body to help effect change? One woman was part of the breast feeding board that helped shape policies with a hospital, she also worked in some other clinics.
5) Recommendations - If you reapply to UCSF, you can submit 1 new recommendation. Suppose you only turned in some academic and work recommendations the last time; perhaps this time you can turn in a recommendation that is strong in the health care field.
6) Essay - A lot can happen in a year. In your essay, you can say what you have learned in a year, why that makes you a stronger candidate and how determined you are to pursue this field. UCSF gets people who have applied more than once (some 2 or 3 times). I know one woman in particular who didn't get in last year, but did get accepted this year.
7) Spread your net - I would definitely apply to several schools next year. If you are moving to the Bay Area, establish residency as soon as possible. Some schools to consider in the Bay area (they offer Direct entry, BSN, and/or ADs):
a. UCSF (they do encourage return applicants)
b. Samuel Merritt (Oakland) - has accelerated 1 yr BSN and direct entry 3 year NP/CNS programs
c. USF (BSN, and master's entry (only for health systems leadership, not NP or CNS))
d. SFSU - they have a special program for an accelerated BSN (2.5 year) in San Mateo (20 minutes from SF) for people who already have a bachelor's degree. Otherwise, they are impacted for the regular BSN degree.
e. San Jose State U - trad BSN, they are starting an accelerated BSN (1 year) this year
f. Various community colleges - these are more impacted and people are picked by lotteries, but if you do get in, it's very inexpensive to get an ADN.
g. Hayward State - trad BSN
Then because you are a resident, you can also look at all the schools in S. Cal and the rest of the state
some of these it does not matter if you are a resident because they are private). Many of them have a combination distance learning program or the ability to do your preceptorship in a hospital or clinic in your area)
h. U. of San Diego - accelerated direct entry program (MEPN)(private u.)
i. CSULB - Cal State U - Long Beach - has 3 different BSN accelerated programs
j. Azusa University - accelerated direct entry
k. Western University (in Pomona) - accelerated direct entry
Would you consider going out of state? Sometimes, you can do an accelerated BSN in just over a year and come back to California to work as an RN to gain experience in the field before reapplying for a master's. Email me if you want to know more.
Bottom line: Don't give up! You can achieve your dream! You made it to the interview process, so you definitely had a leg up on the other 400 applicants who did not make it to that stage. Now, you just have to outshine 50% of the interviewees!
P.S. Yes, I did get accepted to an accelerated direct entry program and I'm starting in June 2005. Very exciting!