Public Colleges vs. Private Universities for Nursing School


I live in California, and i'm actually way too young to be even thinking about college (lol)... I'm currently a high school Sophomore. But I am very interested in becoming a nurse, and i'm wondering which route is the best road to take for my Nursing education. I am stuck between Public (CSU) campuses and Private universities.

Weighing out the pros and cons of each situation, I know that going to a community college first then transferring to a CSU is most definitely the cheapest financially. However, because of the economy, and school budget cuts, it's getting more competitive to get into the nursing schools, more expensive (doesn't beat private tuition, though), and it gets tough to register into the classes you want. Then there's issues like graduating on time, class sizes, etc.

With private universities, the biggest con is the expensive tuition. But through scholarships, grants, financial aid and such, the sticker price becomes more affordable. The pros to me is that you are guaranteed to graduate in four years, small class sizes, not as much competition, and once accepted in the program, you get into all your classes without much difficulty.

I'm still stuck on which route to take, because they both seem great options, but which would be better in terms of my chances of getting in and completing the program (on time), and which would be more likely to get me a job soon after graduation? Thanks!


132 Posts

Specializes in Current: ER Past: Cardiac Tele. Has 3 years experience.

If you know you want to go to nursing is there a way you can work on your pre-requisite classes while you're in HS? Like dual-enroll at a community college (in Fl it's free for HS students)? Also, then you could apply early on. I also know some hospitals will pay your tuition to go into nursing school, so look around for that.

Be careful about some of those private colleges because if later on you want to further your degree in nursing you may not be able to because the credits won't transfer!

Specializes in Near Future: ED, Future Future: ACNP!.

I go to a private university in Cali and it is very competitive. It is also fully accredited, so anything will transfer. You can't automatically think that they are easier to get into. Maybe a little easier because there are 200 instead of 300 applicants for the program, but they still only take the same 50 people, and their high standards are still the same.

I've heard one of our CSU schools has stopped taking transfer students into their nursing program because it is so impacted. You must be a student of their university and do your lower division classes there before you can be accepted.


14 Posts

I was actually planning on doing my community college classes (the GE part) while in High school so that when I did graduate, I would only have a year left of completing GE and I could apply early into schools like SF State, or Cal State East Bay. Then the option of private colleges came up, and now i'm wondering what's a better deal. And now that I hear there was never a nursing shortage in Cali and that there are so many people saturating the Nursing field, AND that it's hard for NG's to find a job, it makes me wonder if I should even become a Nurse at all? Ugh, I hate deciding my future! :sniff:

Specializes in Near Future: ED, Future Future: ACNP!.

You still have time and GE's are not specific to nursing. It is possible that in the next few years things will be quite different :o

There is no need to make up your mind now! That's the beauty of it!

You could wind up like me...I have a bachelor's and master's in something completely different that I never used because my parents forced me to go to a university and not a CC (and didn't pay for it). Now I'm going back to school again at 34 for another bachelor's and master's...MORE STUDENT LOANS!


14 Posts

Haha, I guess that is true... It's just that I want to be able to prepare for the future as best as I can, I don't want to end up like a lot of my relatives. Jobless, broke, in debt, the list goes on...

I would also consider anything in the medical field other than Nursing, as long as it has good pay & benefits & jobs are plentiful. Hopefully things do change, but I seriously doubt it...

Good luck w| going back to school though! :)

Specializes in Near Future: ED, Future Future: ACNP!.


Well, get your GE's out of the way and take your science prereqs. You can do that anywhere (CC or University or private school). You can declare or change your major multiple times :)

Good luck with what you choose! Also, volunteering at a hospital will help you decide if you want to be a nurse...

Specializes in Float Pool, acute care, management/leadership. Has 11 years experience.

I think most people will say that it doesn't really matter where you go as a nurse, because three years down the road...people will look at your experience as a nurse rather than what school you went to. Employers will most likely look to see if you're license is free and clear. I will say that it's good to look at CCNE-accredited schools at the BSN level or NLNAC-accredited schools at the ADN level. That way, you know the level of instruction is supposedly good.

I recently got accepted into a public university and a private university for nursing school. I almost chose the private university because i felt like the curriculum was a better fit for me since they focused on social justice/community themes, while the public university focused more on research. However, being that this is my second degree, I knew I wouldn't get much aid from the private school.

I have heard that some private schools are pretty generous with financial aid awards, and it actually offsets the difference between private vs. public. My friend was able to get so much financial aid, that it would have probably cost her just about the same if she had gone to the public university. Of course, this is all variable. My advice is to get in where you can because it's so competitive these days and then worry about funds. Education is the best investment you can make.