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which route to go

Which is the sure way of getting into a program right out of high school. It is so crazy competitive and the wait list are so long. Is it hard to get into a direct entry program for prenursing such as csu fullerton? Private colleges are to expensive. I am starting to get discouraged so any tips will be appreciated. I have average sat/act scores but will graduate valedictorian, ranked 6th in my class, ap bio ap stats and econ. Looking for any csu as we do not receive financial aid so uc is out. Thanks.

Definitely don't limit your options. I would look at all available programs in your area, including community colleges. Also, if you are able to locate to a different part of CA to pursue nursing, I would look in those areas too. I'm not sure how competitive the CA nursing programs are, as I'm located nowhere near there. However, see what the programs consider for your admission, whether it's a certain GPA, SAT/ACT scores, experience in the medical field, etc. I do believe the AP Stats and Bio may prove useful when being exempt from certain classes, should you choose to do so, when completing the prerequisites for nursing. Try to also speak with some nursing advisers at the potential programs, as they can probably give you better insight as to how you compare versus other applicants.

thanks for the post. I was not sure how to use this thing and actually am researching for my daughter. She will be senior and has received A grades in chem and bio which some colleges only require a b grade so she is a little ahead there. I just am afraid that she will do hr pre req and ge and not get in and be stuck waiting to get into a program. She wants to move away so that is an option. Most programs in Cali are impacted sadly. She looked into getting her CNA as it helps her get in the program but all the classes are during the day. I just not sure how this whole thing works as its so foreign to me. If I am going to support though financially I need to know the odds etc.

Do you get your cna while in the program I thought I read that somewhere.

the programs are impacted at nearly every csu in calif

I have heard that some parts of CA, I think SoCal, are getting a lot of new grads without employment these days (this is by word of mouth) but like I said, I'm not from CA. I would have her research some of the colleges in Northern Cali, as it might be less condensed with applicants and competitiveness. I did not do a CNA program, but I have heard that it gives you a small glimpse of the nurse responsibilities (with a smaller scope of practice, of course). Sorry if some of this is jumbled, I have fireworks going off in the background which is making it really difficult to focus. There are some CNA courses available in the summer (at least in my area), so you could have her look into that. But I would definitely say to look into various programs, and make sure that, if she takes her prerequisites at a different college than the one she'll be applying to for the actual program, MAKE SURE those credits transfer.


Specializes in Nasty sammiches and Dilaudid.

Yeah--new grad unemployment in some parts of CA is anywhere between 40%-50%, even if you have a BSN and all the alphabet-soup certs...

wow thats crazy and not the picture that a lot of schools are painting. Well thanks for the info. SHe will figure it out. My son was easy and a crim major. :) Starting his 3rd year and just received a full ride for his last two years. Very blessed since my daughter will be starting college in one short year.


Specializes in Cardiac Stepdown, PCU.

I'm not sure there is anyway to go straight into a nursing program RIGHT out of High School. Most nursing programs require certain pre-rq classes to be completed before you can apply.

First thing she needs to do is find a college or what colleges she wants to go to. Nursing Programs generally have different admission processes from the colleges themselves. The only thing will really benefit her for a nursing program, is her AP science classes since they would be transferable for college credits and would give her a leg up in that some of her pre-req's would be complete. Her SAT/ACT scores, being Valedictorian (wonderful for her! congrats!!) and 6th in her class is what will be used to get her into a College, not necessarily into a Nursing Program depending on that programs admissions process. Some program admissions do interviews and want references, and essays to which then those would help her shine... but other than that entry is based on GPA and an entrance exam. She will have to take an entrance exam. There might be programs that waive the entrance exam for certain ACT/SAT scores. I don't know.

So basically, the first step she needs to do it review colleges with nursing programs. Rural community colleges (since she wants to move away) with a nursing program would be a great start. Pick a place, and look for all applicable programs in that area. See what you need to do and apply for them all. RN should be the program she applies to. BSN-RN would be great and depending on where she ultimately wants to work that might be the best to pursue... but an ADN-RN may be easier to get into and there are plenty of RN to BSN programs.

Keep in mind tho, that moving away, means out of state tuition. Which might not make it any cheaper than a local college, you just have the benefit of actually not ending up on a waiting list.


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

One applies for nursing school separately from a university. Your daughter might actually be better off going to a community college to save money and then transfer to a BSN program through a CSU when the time comes. "Native" students (students who already attend the university) no longer have any preference over anyone else, in most schools (at least in CA). She CANNOT get into a CA nursing program right out of high school, period.

My CSU was honest about the job market. It's really tough. We were required to get our CNA certification before the program began, so there wasn't any advantage to having this beforehand, necessarily, but you can tell who's worked with patients before and who hasn't. Most of us who have been in healthcare before do better in the beginning than those who haven't, at least in clinicals. It takes time for people to work beyond the whole "touching people I don't know very intimately" thing, and if you're still getting over that, it's hard to learn everything else.

She can look at private universities, and if she goes this route, make sure to do some research. Look at graduation rates, NCLEX pass rates, and find out about the reputation of the university in the nursing community (which is very small, and everyone knows everyone). Avoid schools like Everest or other tech schools, as they have HORRIBLE pass rates and graduation rates, and are insanely expensive with little reward (Everest is in a lot of hot water over this right now, actually).

Few UCs offer prelicensure (bachelor's) programs, but most of the CSUs do. Again, look at community colleges for prerequisite courses and general ed, and then at the CSUs for the bachelor's programs. Make sure to look at each school's nursing page, as prerequisites vary some by school (some are the same everywhere- chemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology). She would be wise, when the time comes, to apply to more than one school because of how impacted programs are. It seems to have gotten better since I applied (2011 and 2012), but it's still tough. It's best to do a program where she wants to work when she graduates, and for her to make contacts while she's in school, because this is how most nursing jobs are obtained in CA right now. Also, rural communities are easier, job-wise, than are the major metropolitan areas.

To give you a sense of what the job market is like right now for new grads, I have worked in healthcare for several years, and had a wider scope of practice in the military than I do as a nurse. I've applied to several hundred jobs (had an offer where I did my clinicals, but it fell through), and so far, I only have one that's VERY part time and pays crap for CA (about half the average starting wage in my area). I am working at my old retail job as well. I'm looking at a residency program through a university (one I didn't attend), as this is generally a good way to get a job as a new grad, but there are no guarantees. I would also be commuting an hour+ each way 2-3 days per week (or more) to be in the hospital or class setting for a semester, and I would be paying $700 for the semester to do this, without a guaranteed job. (I live in the San Francisco area, just FYI)

Many of my classmates that are younger and single without kids are applying out of state for jobs.

Thank you both for your input. I should have clarified direct entry as I saw that on csu fullertons page. They have a program specifically for freshman that the pre req and gen ed are done the first year. If you keep up the gpa etc then your classified nursing student and continue on the last three years. San Diego State has a similar program for freshman and you are classified a nursing student after pre req have been taken and gpa is passed. Both are a set plan of ge classes, pre req and then nursing classes begin year two.

Most college she has looked at want the pre req chem, bio micr bio taken before even applying for the BSN program. It is confusing and there are so many routes to go. I say get your degree in something else then do the Masters in nursing. That is an option at most colleges in our state. The problem is locally here in fresno, Cali both csu and jc are impacted and have a lottery. Some getting in after five years. To me that is such a waste of time. What would you do in the mean time? Just take random classes?

Ugh this is so stressful. She will not go out of state so we are good there. Dorms are expensive and required and we get no financial aid as we make to much according to the guidelines. I love this blog and we have learned so much on it. I guess she needs a back up plan, as she meets the eligibility index calculation for both schools she wants to attend, but they are both competitive and getting in is slim. Again, here locally there is a wait list so I cant see getting your pre req and gen ed done then not getting in for years. We may not have a choice. Any comments are welcome. One things I did notice is that the asn to the bsn seems quite popular, getting the ge and pre req then applying everywhere you can. Any thoughts on that. Also, and lastly, the curriculum looks so hard!!! WOW can you have any activities in college in your a nursing student. It seems not. Thanks for the valuable insight.

Personally, if I REALLY wanted to pursue nursing and CA schools were as difficult to get in as you are implying, then I would relocate. Then again, I would have to be 100% certain that it is what I wanted to pursue. Also, I have a good support system in place, work while attend school, and have a back up plan. But that is my personal opinion. I would think it would be just as costly to pursue a different degree and then attend school again for nursing in a bridge program, depending on where you obtain your degree, as well as having to wait that long. I consider it an investment that will pay off. Once again, my personal opinion. Good luck to your daughter in whatever route she chooses to pursue!

In addition, I do believe the CA job market for nurses is extremely competitive, leaving many new grads without jobs. You should check the job market in your area, as this should also be a factor in considering post-graduate plans.

thanks again. I think she is thinking adn at a community college.....however ours has a three to five year wait list :( She may attend santa barbara city college, affordable, and two years she can have her liscense provided all goes as planned. She can work while obtaining her bsn as a nurse somewhere. If she stays home she may never get in and be stuck. There are two direct entry programs san diego state, almost impossible to get in and csu fullerton. With any luck san diego will come through. Santa barbara city will be doable. It will be an expense either way but also an investment and once in a life time opportunity at least at this age. I tried to talk her into changing majors, but no.....SHe will try and take a few pre reqs here her senior year and be ahead of the game. Thanks any reply is appreciated. Any regrets? any advice?


Specializes in hospice.

What about going inland or north to more rural areas that may be less impacted? I know the situation in Arizona is nowhere near as bad as California, but I've known at least two people who got into nursing school 2-3 years before they otherwise would have just by getting out of Maricopa County (Phoenix metro). They are 2 year CC associates degree RN programs, but after finishing one of those she could bridge to BSN, possibly even while working. I knew yet another person, a new RN grad who could not get a job in Maricopa County, who landed her first RN job by applying in rural areas with smaller hospitals. So that could be another advantage to getting out of the crowded coastal areas.

Edited by duskyjewel


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