If you're looking through these pre-nursing threads on AllNurses for advice on which classes to take, and what to expect, I think I have some really good advice for you. I've learned all of this FIRST-HAND. The counselors at the schools don't always have the correct or inside information.
I've been a student at American River College, Sacramento City College, and CSU Sacramento for over 12 semesters. MY Suggestions to New Pre-Nursing Students: Research the different degrees available for nursing. How far do you want to take your career? What are the average incomes in your area for the degree you are looking at? Will it be enough?Hindsight being twenty-twenty, here's what I would suggest for most pre-nursing students who have families, kids, jobs, etc â€“ Go for the ADN. Most universities have collaborative efforts with the community colleges in the area to transition ADN students into a BSN program. There are also private and online colleges that allow you to take BSN courses after a year into your ADN program, but they tend to be quite costly. Community college ADN programs are much more affordable than a BSN program at a university. The Nursing Associations across the US are requesting that all ADN educated RNs are to get their BSN by 2020, so keep going after you get your ADN!
For those pre-nursing students who know they can get the 4.0 GPA and can dedicate your life to studying, volunteer hours, and a foreign language: go for the BSN. You can either take your prerequisite courses at a community college to save some money on tuition or you can start off your freshman year at a university. The advice I'm giving is for those students who want to transfer to a CSU after completing prerequisites at a community college in the Los Rios Colleges District.
Here are the courses you will have to take if you are looking to do an ADN program and transfer to a BSN program, starting with Algebra and testing at English Writing 300 level (in the order I would suggest and based on Los Rios Colleges course numbers):
Semester One (18 units):
â˜ MATH 100 - Elementary Algebra (5 units)
â˜ ENGWR 300 â€“ College Composition or ENGWR 480 Honors College Composition (3 units) *NOTE: If you score high enough on your placement assessments, you can qualify for Honors courses. Honors classes look great on your university transcripts and you get to join special Honors Society clubs that have opportunities for scholarships. Just make sure you can handle them and get an A. An â€˜A' in the class is more important than the Honors notation on your transcript.
â˜ HIST 310 or 311 â€“ History of the United States or HIST 484 - History of the United States - Honors (3 units) pre-1865 is 310 and post-1865 is 311. I took Professor Pearson for HIST 311 at ARC and loved him. HIST 484: History of the United States - Honors is taught by Professor Rudy Pearsonâ€¦ I highly recommend it.
â˜ SPEECH 301 â€“ Public Speaking or SPEECH 331 - Group Discussion (3 units) I took COMM331 (SPEECH 331) at Sac City with Professor Jeppeson. If you can trust your fellow classmates. group mates to pull their weight I suggest the group discussion class. If you only want to be responsible for your own grade, stick to SPEECH 301.
â˜ SPAN 401 â€“ Elementary Spanish (4 units) or
RUSS 401 â€“ Elementary Russian (4 units) or
JAPAN 401 â€“ Elementary Japanese (4 units) or
MAND 401 â€“ Elementary Mandarin (4 units) or
CANT 401 â€“ Elementary Cantonese (4 units)
*I know, you're saying â€˜foreign language isn't a requirement!' Butâ€¦ let me assure you, if you are bilingual it will help you throughout your career and give you extra points on some nursing applications if it's an approved language (not French, German, Italian, etc has to be a language that has a sizable population in major US metropolitan areas). Trust me on this one. I took Spanish and I use it quite a bit.
Semester Two (17 units):
â˜ CHEM 309 - Integrated General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry (5 units) *this course satisfies the chemistry prerequisite for Anatomy & Physiology as well as the organic chemistry requirement for most CSU's. I took CHEM 305 and CHEM 306 separately. CHEM 309 is the two classes combined. They just didn't offer CHEM 309 at the time I took Chemistry.
â˜ MATH 120 â€“ Intermediate Algebra (5 units) *There are online versions of this class available, but I highly suggest taking an in-class course. I took an online MATH 120 class and got one of my only 3 B's. ** A Note about STAT 105 â€“ Statway, Part 1: I know you can start this course if you are ready to start MATH 100 (Beginning Algebra), but I don't know if it satisfies the CHEM 305 or 309 prerequisites. Also, I don't know if this course satisfies CSU/ UC transfer agreements. Check with a counselor before taking this course. Keep in mind that STATWAY is 2 semesters long, so even if it does satisfy the requirements, it will delay your enrollment in CHEM 305 or 309.
â˜ PSYC 300 â€“ General Principles of Psychology or PSYC 480 â€“ Honors General Principles (3 units) * I took Professor Mark Stewart at ARC. He's another great professor and teaches the Honors version of this course (PSYC 480 â€“ Honors General Principles). Again, always take Honors classes if you can handle it and still get an A. I also highly suggest taking a WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) class to help with the research paper. Remember, only take Honors classes if you can get the A. An â€˜A' in the class is more important than the Honors notation on your transcript.
â˜ SPAN 402 â€“ Elementary Spanish (4 units) or
RUSS 402 â€“ Elementary Russian (4 units) or
JAPAN 402 â€“ Elementary Japanese (4 units) or
MAND 402 â€“ Elementary Mandarin (4 units) or
CANT 402 â€“ Elementary Cantonese (4 units)
*Yep. More foreign language. Depending on the schools requirement for â€˜fluency', it could be 2 more semesters. Consult your counselor to see what that school considers â€˜fluent' for Los Rios Colleges, it's the â€˜412' course.
****An important step to start when you have about a year left before you APPLY to a nursing school: Contact Sutter Hospital's Volunteer Program about signing up to be a volunteer. Having 100 hours of paid or volunteer time gives you extra points on your nursing application (at least it does at American River College and CSU Sacramento). It may take a while to get into the volunteer program and you must commit to 100 hours. They usually assign you up to 4 hours per week, so don't think you can cram in 100 hours in a couple months. Leave yourself at least 9 months to complete the volunteer hours. You need that certificate of completion when you turn in your nursing school applicationâ€¦ it cannot be â€˜in-progress'. Applications to nursing school are usually due in March for Fall semester and October for Spring semester. Check the nursing websites for exact application periods.***
Semester Three (15-16 units):
â˜ ENGWR 302 â€“ Advanced Composition and Critical Thinking (3 units) * I took Professor Amanda Corcoran at ARC. She's wonderful!
â˜ BIOL 440 â€“ General Microbiology (4 units) or BIOL 442 â€“ General Bacteriology (5 units) *Whaaat?! What about Anatomy and Physiology? Trust me. Microbiology/ Bacteriology before A&P helps with understanding how all the microscopic stuff works. NOTE: For a GPA bump when applying to a CSU, take BIOL 442 â€“ General Bacteriology! The extra unit bumps your GPA if you get an A. Just make sure that the BSN program you're applying to accepts it as a Microbiology course.
â˜ ANTH 310 â€“ Cultural Anthropology (3 units) or ANTH 481 â€“ Honors Cultural Anthropology (3 units) or SOC 300 â€“ Introductory Sociology (3 units) or SOC 480 - Introductory Sociology â€“ Honors * I took Cultural Anthropology with Professor Doonan at Sac City College. He's hilarious and makes the class fun. Remember, only take Honors classes if you can get the A. An â€˜A' in the class is more important than the Honors notation on your transcript.
â˜ SPAN 411 â€“ Intermediate Spanish (4 units) or
RUSS 411 â€“ Intermediate Russian (4 units) or
JAPAN 411 â€“ Intermediate Japanese (4 units) or
MAND 411 â€“ Intermediate Mandarin (4 units) or
CANT 411 â€“ Intermediate Cantonese (4 units)
*Try not to take breaks in your foreign language. You can forget things and lose your fluency.
â˜ A Qualifying Physical Education course (1 unit) I took Circuit Weight Training at ARC and loved it.
Semester Four (16 units):
â˜ NUTRI 300 â€“ Nutrition (3 units) * I took Professor Anthony Giusti's online class and there was quite a bit of homework! If I had to do it over again, I would take a face-to-face class. I got a B because I had a hard time keeping up with the online assignments.
â˜ BIOL 430 â€“ Anatomy and Physiology I (5 units) * Finally!! The first semester A&P class is lots of memorization. Some of it will be review if you've taken Organic/Biochem and Microbiology. I took Professor Daniel Slutsky at ARC for 430. He's a great professor. He may be a little more difficult than some of the other professors, but you will know your A&P! Make sure to form study groups and use the HECK out of that Open Lab! Seriouslyâ€¦ go as often and as long as you can. Having hands on bones and models when you're memorizing means the difference between an A and a C in this class.
â˜ STAT 300 â€“ Introduction to Probability and Statistics (4 units)* This is a transfer requirement for CSU/ UC schools. Get it out of the way before you attempt the BSN program. I took Professor Matt Mitchell at ARC. He's a younger professor and is very easy to follow. He's more than willing to help you out when you get stuck and has decent office hours.
â˜ SPAN 412 â€“ Intermediate Spanish (4 units) or
RUSS 412 â€“ Intermediate Russian (4 units) or
JAPAN 412 â€“ Intermediate Japanese (4 units) or
MAND 412 â€“ Intermediate Mandarin (4 units) or
CANT 412 â€“ Intermediate Cantonese (4 units)
*Last semester of foreign language! Yay! Once this class is over, you'll be considered â€˜fluent' in that language and you earn extra points on your nursing school applications! See, I told you it would pay off.
***Start thinking about taking your TEAS test about now. Get an ATI Study Manual and some practice tests. You want to shoot for 91% or higher to have a good chance at getting in to a CSU Nursing School. ***
Semester Five (16 units):
â˜ BIOL 431 â€“ Anatomy and Physiology II (5 units) * The end is near!! The second semester A&P class is lots of physiology. The majority of what you will really need to have a good understanding of for nursing school is taught this semester. I took Professor Elizabeth Garfield at ARC during the summer for 431. She's a great professor. I did so well in her class that she asked me to be her tutor. Again, make sure to form study groups and use the HECK out of that Open Lab! Seriouslyâ€¦ go as often and as long as you can. Use the resources offered.
â˜ TA 306 â€“ Diversity in American Drama (1960 to Present) (3 units) or TA 318 â€“ Diversity in American Film (3 units) * I took all my humanities courses at Sac State in the Fall 2014 semester. I don't suggest doing this. There will be other courses you need to take once you transfer. I suggest either of these classes because they satisfy the Race and Ethnicity requirement for Sac State as well as a Humanities course.
â˜ POLS 301 â€“ Introduction to Government: United States (3 units) or POLS 481 â€“ Introduction to Government: United States - Honors (3 units) * I took POLS 481 with Professor Jeydel at ARC. It was an intense class, but very interesting. I had to drop it due to childcare issues, but it would have been fun to continue. I ended up taking my political science as a Junior at Sac State with all the Freshman. I don't advise that.
â˜ PSYC 370 - Human Development: A Life Span (3 units) * I took this class with Professor Nelson at ARC. She was a great professor. It's not a difficult class, but it's not necessarily an â€˜easy A' either.
â˜ Any C1 Arts Course (3 units) * I would take ARTH 300 â€“ Intro to Art or MUFHL 300 â€“ Introduction to Music. But just because that's what interests me. There are about 60 courses that are transferable to CSU. Check with the counselor to see which ones qualify.
At the end of these 5 semesters, you should have:
As close to a 4.0 GPA as possible. If the workload is too much, spread your classes out over more semesters. You need those A's!!
Enough credits to graduate with a Associates Degree (extra points on your ARC nursing school application!)
Enough credits to transfer to a CSU (like Sac State) and only have your 3 upper division courses to satisfy GE requirements
Proven to be bilingual for purposes of nursing school applications (extra points on your ARC and CSUS nursing school applications!) and satisfied foreign language requirements at CSUs.
Completed 100 hours of volunteer service (extra points on your ARC and CSUS nursing school applications!)
Have studied for and taken your TEAS test and gotten a good score (90%+)! (I had an 87% on my TEAS and still only made Alternate #19 at Sac State's nursing school.)
Now you should be applying to nursing schools!! If you don't get in at a BSN program, I would take the ADN acceptance if you get one. I was so worried about getting my BSN I almost didn't take the ADN seat. I'm SO glad I did. I start my first semester of nursing school at ARC in 9 days! It took me 12 (yes, twelve) semesters to get to this point. With my advice, you can get there in 5 semesters. I hope this helps someone! :)