Wesminsterites and Inquirees,
ICUDROPOUT--I was nearly a classmate of yours for '08--I got in, but I was already accepted to University of Cincinnati back around Thanksgiving (ironically today I told Westminster of my plans to attend UC today by phone). I second the notion of setting up shop in Sugarhouse--esp. if you are from out of state and perhaps do not belong to the predominant demographic for this part of the world--it is kinda eclectic and more culturally diverse than other parts of Salt Lake--easy commute to campus and easy access to main roads to clinical sites in UT (I have resided there for 2+ yrs--it has been great). We accept travelers at St. Mark's Hospital where I work--it has been a good ICU to work in--if you want more info, PM me. A former co-worker of mine from St. Mark's will be afirst-year classmate of yours--nice guy.
I have alot of respect for you first and second year Westminster students paving the way for the others--I am friends with 2 guys in the first class (both from ID) and one in the second (really good buddy of mine who is originally from an Eastern European country).
For the Inquirees--consider EVERYTHING into your decisions regarding your CRNA school applications--even the applications are a serious investment of your time and $, let alone the actual program you choose. There is a great website called www.city-data.com
that will give you a great deal of info about crime rates, weather, and tons of demographic info for most any city or small town in the USA. www.salary.com
has a cost-of-living wizard you can use to compare cost-of-living for places you already live in or know about to ones with CRNA schools. Every year US News & World Report ranks Grad Schools (Law, Medicine, and even CRNA programs--you have to take the rankings with a bit of a grain of salt to a degree as they are somewhat reflective of a popularity contest with the magazine--but on the other hand, they matter to a degree too and have a place when determining what is worth you time. Westminster's program is not even on the list, not even at the bottom--it has a long way to go compared to a long list of other schools with proven track records. You can avoid alot of extra costs, headaches, and inconveniences by attending a well-established program with all the clinical sites in close proximity. On the flipside, they are accredited and I have heard alot of the instruction is decent and that some of the clinical sites are great (a long way from SLC, but pretty good). If you have alot of family ties in SLC, a burning desire to live in SLC, you don't want to apply elsewhere, or Westminster is the only place you get in, then go for it. There are zero grad-school scholarships
for CRNA students--some schools have them--they do not. Not dissing you folks in the program--I am sure you all have good reasons for being there; if UC had not worked out for me, chances are I'd be @ Westminster Fall '08. Also remember that Westminster has one of the latest application deadlines for schools that start in the Fall--you can apply there as a back-up plan and avoid matriculation fees until late March (alot want your money in late Fall right after you interview/get accepted--several months before Westminster even interviews).
UC is consistently ranked #10-11 by US News. They have scholarships. It is a state school--you can get in-state tuition rates after 12 months. The director is the current president of the AANA. They are the 4th oldest program in th US. They charge no up-front matriculation fees. The peds clinical site has the busiest peds surgical service in the country--several programs lack a good peds site. It was an easy choice for me along with the fact that I am originally from Ohio. Bottom line: there are alot of well-established programs to choose from--choose wisely.
Yes, Utah is the least friendly CRNA state in the USA! There are alot of MD's who are willing to work for less to be near their cultural center and/or they want to be close to the outdoor opportunities here (esp snow!). The largely Mormon populous here (to their credit) places a high value on education--but consequently there are more MD's, MBA's, DPM's, DMD's, CPA's, JD's etc. per capita than most places--this also drives down the market value of and job availability for nearly every professional degree you can imagine. As for clinicals in SLC, forget it--the U. of Utah has an MDA residency, and an MDA sits on the board of directors for the largest private hospital in town. Westminster has a contract with the local VA Hospital that they cannot use b/c the U. of Utah threatened to pull all of their MDA residents out of the VA if they allowed Westminster to have a clinical site there for CRNA's. That level of supression, discrimination, and outright bullying is not going to be leaving town any time soon. So you Utah ladies and gents really need to consider warming up to the idea of living and working in other states A) want a job to begin with or B)if you want your fair market value when you graduate (minus some of the rural opportunities another poster mentioned, but they are not plentiful by any means).
Good luck to all and hopefully a few of you find this response useful.