I woke up this morning feeling inspired. My first thought was that it had to do with the fact that as of yesterday afternoon I found myself deciding between admission offers from two accelerated BSN programs I really want to attend. But I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s more due to the fact that despite my excitement with the news, I sympathize greatly with others who did not get in to the same nursing programs that have offered me seats. It’s heartbreaking to read the dejected posts of allnurses.com members complete with crying emoticons. Likewise, I sympathize as well with those who have been waitlisted – extending an already onerous wait for a final nod. It’s easy for me to sympathize because I too was there once before. Within the past year, I experienced both a waitlist and a rejection – from the same school. So I would have to conclude that my inspiration this morning is directed to those of you that are in the same situation. I feel today it’s my job to come here and try to bring you out of your rut … at least a tad. If that much, I then will feel that I accomplished something good today.
There’s no doubt in my mind that ALL of us have worked hard to get where we are today. Preparing to go to nursing school is not for the lazy or the faint-hearted. If the stars were aligned perfectly, there would be room for everyone to attend. Reality bites in 2011, and as it goes we must compete with one another to show our chosen nursing schools that we have what it takes to succeed in their program. Some schools only look at GPAs and test scores, while others look beyond the raw data with essays, recommendation letters or interviews. No matter what criteria a school uses, it behooves the candidate to place their best foot forward in everything they do. Nursing schools don’t have time to individually meet the hundreds of candidates that submit applications in droves every year. So paper and digital files must ultimately be our formal face to the admission committees.
I am also from the school of thought that believes that what’s meant to be for each of us will happen, and at the right time. Yes, I get nervous waiting for schools to let me know and I may have momentary freak-outs when I open that mailbox only to find store circulars and credit card bills. But quick composure dictates that my sanity remain intact. There is no point in stressing out over things that we no longer have control over. Think about it – isn’t this what we will have to help a patient realize once we become nurses? Our job will be to care for patients, and reducing stress – making them feel better – will be one of them. At some point we have to realize that we have done all that we could for our cause and now things are in the hands of others … and ultimately, the hands of a higher power. We don’t decide the right time for things, it happens in due course.
So, my friends – what is my message here (assuming of course I did not bore you so far and you actually got to this paragraph in one piece )? If you have been waitlisted, embrace it for all its worth – hang in there, they did not say “no!” The message is that you ARE worthy of succeeding in their nursing program, but for some reason they need to make room for you as opposed to taking you in right away. If the waitlist is exhausted and you did not get in, read on. If you have been rejected from a nursing program that you so really wanted to attend, make an effort to sit down and find out what in your application could make you a more competitive candidate. Will it be refining your GPA (through my prereqs, it was for me)? Retaking an entrance exam? A better recommendation (which in my case was monumental)? A better essay (yes in my case too)? Health care experience through volunteering or being a CNA? Don’t be ashamed of personally visiting the school of your choice and speaking to an advisor to let them know that you want in, and find out what will make you a better candidate the next time around.
Last night, I suddenly remembered something that happened almost 2 years ago that I had almost forgotten – understandably so because I think it was a bit traumatizing. I met with an advisor of an accelerated nursing program one day, who looked at my bachelor’s degree transcript and on the basis of that alone, told me flat out that I had a very slim chance of getting into their program because the average GPA of their entering classes was around 3.75 and my 3.2 was barely meeting the mark. Granted, I had yet to take A&P, microbiology and nutrition which were the last remaining prereqs for this program. So that year, I basically dismissed the idea of ever applying there. Yesterday, that same program offered me a seat in this summer’s class. Oh … that other ABSN program: the one that waitlisted and then rejected me last year? I reapplied and they accepted me 2 weeks ago.
People talk about programs being “impossible” to get in. I never believe that, and neither should you. People ARE getting in, why can’t you be one of them too? The two ABSN programs that accepted me within the past two weeks have these notorious reputations as well, but I got in! You will never know unless you try ... giving it your all!
If you want to be a nurse, don’t ever give up! Your desire is the path, but it’s your job to pave the bricks along the way!