Desperately in Need of Guidance: Deciding Between VCU & University of South Florida

To provide a little background, I was recently offered admission to both the accelerated BSN (ABSN) program offered at VCU and the second degree BSN program at the University of South Florida. My dilemma stems from the fact that made the decision to plan as though I would be attending VCU, due to South Florida’s late deadline (I wasn’t sure if I would hear from USF in time and wasn’t sure whether I was going to be accepted).

The ABSN program at VCU is an 18-month program. Successful completion of the ABSN program leads to a BS in nursing and eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN examination for RN licensure. VCU’s ABSN program is very appealing, as the school also offers a psychiatric-mental health NP MSN program (I would apply to the MSN program following completion of the ABSN).

The second degree program at USF is a 12 month program (so a little shorter). Problem is, USF no longer offers a psych-mental health nursing MSN program. In addition, during the last semester of the program, clinical rotations consist of 13 hour shifts. The pros of USF in my mind are as follows: 1.) Highly selective (400 applicants, only 36 were accepted to the second degree program), 2.) USF nursing school has a decent rank among nursing schools (at least according to US News & World Report ranking of masters programs), 3.) Relatives in the area, 4.) Weather is almost always warm and nice.

The pros of VCU are as follows: 1.) VCU also offers a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner MSN program (which is my ultimate goal), 2.) VCU School of nursing has a better rank among nursing schools than USF (according to US News & World Report ranking of masters programs).
3.) Not really a pro, but a reason to stick to the original plan of attending VCU… I have already purchased plane tickets to travel to VCU to look for an apartment from April 8th-April 12th, which just so happens to overlap with USF’s mandatory orientation on April 10th.
Basically, this is an extremely difficult decision for me. I am worried that since USF appears to be the more selective program of the two, it may in fact be the ‘better’ program. I am not looking for others to make the decision for me, but am just seeking some guidance. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Is VCU… Virginia Commonwealth University?

What are the costs between the two programs

Do you like the urban campus? VCU School of Nursing is located in their “MCV campus” right in the heart of downtown Richmond. We had a chance to tour the Nursing building & it is very nice. The hospital, med school, dental, pham school etc are all across the street. If you live close by you can also walk to school ( even in the downtown area ) & can take either the VCU bus or the city bus.
If you have not met with your advisor maybe you can set up a meeting in April when you come & she may be able to have a current student show you around & tell you what their schedule is like. I think they told us they have classes 2 days a week (???) & clincials the other 2-3 days ( ??? ). We went to look at VCU a couple of times already. Their Accelerated Program is extrememly competitive to get in.

I don’t know anything about USF. I suppose USF has a deadline to place a deposit?
Good Luck

Most accelerated BSN programs are 18 months as is VCU’s. A 12 month program sounds very stressful to me. That is a lot of nursing to jam into 12 months along with the 13 hour day clinicals. There will be nursing care plans to write up before with revisions after each clinical along with other homework…a long evening after a clinical day.