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Should I go for my associates first?

by mar_mer_pt mar_mer_pt (New) New

So i have recently applied to the BSN program at Marymount in VA. My mom had this friend who told her how she regrets not getting her bachelor's first, because she felt like she wasted time getting her associates first. Anyway, other people (cna's/nurses) have told me to go for my bachelor's. The thing is, my family isn't the richest, matter of fact the only reason I'm even considering going to Marymount University is because of the the scholarships I have (MU is like 20,000 a year). I've also read that if you get your associates, you can get your bachelor's in two years afterwards, and if you're lucky, whatever hospital you're working in can even pay for you to advance in your studies. If that's the case, should I just go to a cheap technical school to get my associates? I would go to the my community college, but I'm one course shy of getting accepted, which totally sucks. Yea, I've done a lot of research. So should I go for my bachelor's? FYI i'm poor (not literally) but the university is pretty expensive or is it going to be worth it? I'm a CNA and i don't make crazy money, and my mom doesnt have a job right now. I am so confused and scared because this is something I do want to do, but everything is just extremely expensive even with scholarships and grants. I just want to know if it's better to do 4 years now, or get my associates. I'm about to turn 20 and I feel so miserable because I feel like a total let down! I've been stuck at my local community college for the past 2 years since I graduated high school. This was all very confusing for my family and I because I'm the first person to go to college in my family and the counselors at my CC are useless. So please someone help me on what to do, what is the best option for me? Thank you and I'm sorry this is so long!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

As someone who started as a LPN and then got my associates degree I'm a fan of community colleges not only for their inexpensive price tag but also for the more clinically focused education that in my experience I have seen when comparing ADN vs. BSN new grads. I needed to work while in school so being able to make good money and have the flexibility of nursing schedules as I continued with my education was invaluable. I only wish I was as mature as you sound when I was 20!! Good luck with whatever you decide.

Ultimately, only you will be able to decide which route makes the most sense for you, but want to mention a couple of things to consider. One of the advantages to getting your Associate's degree first is that you can complete it quickly and get to making those RN dollars, and then continue furthering your education once in a better earning job. However, many employers now require a Bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement for employment. I would suggest checking out job postings at employers in your area that you would prefer to work for and see if they require a BSN. Be aware though, that even if they don't require a BSN for employment, they may still prefer that employees have their BSN and will favor applicants that do. If you are willing to work at a rehab or nursing home, you will probably have more job opportunities with an ASN.

You may also find yourself in a position to have to borrow some money in the form of student loans, but don't despair - federal loans usually have reasonable interest rates and you don't have to start paying them back until you leave school. For most people, that means you start paying the loans back once you are working in your new field and earning decent wages. You should definitely speak to a financial aid advisor/counselor at the school you would like to attend to discuss your payment options and find out what the process is to apply for assistance.

Good luck to you!