I graduated from ONU's ABSN program in Oak Brook, Illinois in the advertised 16 months, and I have what I think to be an honest and helpful review of the program for those who are wondering whether this program is meant for them.
Cost: This program costs over $55,000 not including scrubs, books, and gas money. I put 35,000 miles on my car in the 16 months that I attended this program.
Work load: The work load is INTENSE. I did school work and studied every single day of this program. I did NOT work at all during the program, but I am a single parent, and I still managed to graduate with honors.
Clinicals: They are many and they are far. I drove no less than an hour for every one of my clinicals. Clinical locations are very difficult to secure (for any school), so if you live far away (particularly away from the burbs), do not expect (as I did), that your clinicals will be nearer to you than the school. Most of the clinical shifts were 12 hours, and, depending on the clinical professor, you could expect to work 8-12 hours of that shift. Clinicals ARE scheduled on weekends and days before tests. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I had mandatory clinicals on Saturdays two out of four semesters. Some people had 7 straight weeks of mandatory Saturday AND Sunday 12-hour clinical shifts during their last semester of school.
The classroom: I hope you like your desk because that's your new classroom. Lectures are not taught on the Oak Brook campus. While some professors occasionally review material in class, the Oak Brook campus is intended for learning and practicing skills. Most classes required reading all of the assigned reading without any direction. Often, tests covered over 100 pages of textbook material. If you want to pass your tests, you HAVE TO READ THE TEXTBOOK. Some teachers offer Power Points, but they are outdated and not meant to replace the textbook. No PowerPoint ever helped me with a test. The book is what you have to study.
Grading policies: You must receive a 77% average on your tests to pass any class. You could have a 95% in the class, but if your test average is 77.99%, you will have to repeat the class, pay for the class again, and complete all the requirements for that class again. If you fail a class with a required clinical, you must also repeat the clinical experience. For some classes, this may mean repeating 90 hours of clinical work.
Teachers: Like any school, some are better than others. You do not have a choice in who your teacher is, as there is only one professor for each required course. Some teachers create tests that are nearly impossible to pass, and there is nothing that can be done about it.
WILL YOU GRADUATE IN 16 MONTHS? Statistically, there is a better chance that you will NOT graduate in 16 months. Of the 43 students I started the program with, only 20 graduated on time. Several failed out, dropped out, or had to repeat classes and will graduate eventually.
Why do people fail? EVERY SINGLE PERSON who worked full time either failed out of this program or had to cut back to a part time school schedule in order to keep up with coursework. Most who graduated on time did not work at all. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who had a crappy attitude failed out. If you have ever told a professor off, quit your job in the middle of a shift, screamed "IT'S NOT FAAAAIR" in your adult life, or been told you have problems with authority, this program is NOT FOR YOU. You will be pushed out one way or another.
Is this program for you? If you cannot answer yes to the following questions, I would not recommend this program.
Do you have a reliable car?
Can you secure the funds needed to pay for the entirety of this program?
Are you good at taking tests?
Are you good at working independently?
Are you good at learning by reading?
Do you work less than 20 hours a week?
Do you get along well with others?
Are you highly self-motivated?
If you have children, do you have a reliable person who can watch them any time you need to study?
If you can't say yes to all of those, I'd choose another college, and here's why:
Olivet is VERY expensive. The only way I could justify the cost was that I could start working 6 months earlier than I could have if I had gone to my local community college. Plus, I figured, I'd make more money off the bat having a BSN, and I wouldn't have to pay for an RN-to-BSN program (which are very reasonably priced, I believe). 6 months of RN work yields about 30,000, making this program seem much more reasonable. If it had taken me two years to finish, I could have done a different program and been in much less debt.