Nursing Hopeful (Looking for guidance) - Pennsylvania

Hey everyone,

First of all, I just want to preface this by saying thank you in advance if you’re reading this post! I just want to gauge everyone and get some insight on what I should do regarding my situation. I’m a recent college graduate and I have a BS in Biology (Pre-Med track). I graduated with a lower GPA than anticipated with a 3.31 cGPA (3.20 Science) and I’m considering making the jump into nursing! Throughout my college and high school career, I was involved in various clubs and fraternities and did countless blood drives and philanthropic events for charities.

I’m currently taking some time to do some research into programs in my state (Pennsylvania), and I’m worried about my GPA. Since graduating, I’ve been working as an EMT (BLS) to earn money for tuition/living expenses and also getting some experience in the meantime.

My question is, is do you think that I will struggle getting into a BSN program, and also what could I do currently to increase my odds/chances of getting in?

Schools I’m looking into:

  1. Indiana University of Pennsylvania (my Alma Mater)
  2. Lock Haven
  3. Edinboro
  4. Misericordia (ABSN)
  5. La Roche (entry level MSN)

Again, thank you SO MUCH for looking at my post. I look forward to talking to everyone!

Have you considered the two Penn State programs? I think that you might be accepted anywhere except maybe U Penn into a BA/BS to BSN program. Here’s a list of (purportedly) all the BA/BS to BSN programs within Pennsylvania.

https://www.nursingprocess.org/accelerated-nursing-programs/pennsylvania/

I would definitely consider cost. Even the Penn State programs are I think something like 37K for the 60 credits over 4 semesters accelerated program. I cannot imagine that any of the private programs would be cheaper, but if I were you, I’d find out how much all of them would cost you, and take that into account.

No one worries after your first job where your degree came from, in nursing, and it’s very possible to go on for an APRN if you so desire, or nurse anesthetist, after working for a couple of years.

I do like the idea of going straight to the MSN in 20 months at LaRoche, but what is your career goal? Do you see yourself doing straight clinical nursing for your career? APRN? Doing ICU nursing and then nurse anesthesia? Teaching nursing eventually? Working in the pharmaceutical industry? Insurance industry? There are just so many options open to nurses nowadays. Your career goals should shape which program you go for.

I’m really not sure that your GPA would be considered bad by BA/BS to BSN programs. Penn, maybe, but the rest? I wasn’t under the impression that BA/BS to BSN programs required that high a GPA for admission. A 3.3 GPA with a 3.2 in science is not that bad. Have you called the admissions offices of the schools you’re interested in, to discuss your chances? I think you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you’re a likely admit at all the schools except U Penn.

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I think you are competitive for all of the schools you listed. Misericordia specifically states a minimum requirement of 2.75 GPA for their ABSN program. Many other schools list 3.0 as a minimum. I agree with @parentologist that if cost is an issue you might want to focus primarily on your instate public universities, particularly if your family can’t help financially and you would have to take out loans. I did notice that Holy Family’s ABSN tuition is $36,000, no more than Penn State. As you may know, funding is limited for second bachelor’s degree programs. Graduate loans may be possible for La Roche’s MSN.

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Let me preface this by saying thank you so much for the reply, and thank you for opening up my eyes even more about this profession! I’ve been giving it a lot of thought as to what scope of practice I would like to ultimately obtain, and I’ve really liked the idea of becoming an APRN or CRNP. Orthopedics is something I have a big interest in, so ultimately if I could work towards CRNP in Ortho then that would be a dream. Since I am an EMT, I love the idea of being a nurse in an ED as well. Money is my biggest obstacle at this point, so I’m currently gauging my options as to what I should do going forward. I worry about my GPA only because it’s lower 3’s, but if you have no concerns about that, then I won’t either (lol). I’ve been working my tail off trying to acquire some money for living expenses/impending tuition costs so I haven’t had much time calling around to see what my best options are.

My question is, is where do you think I should start? In your experience, are certain school focused around specific scopes of practice? Like I said previously, the schools I have listed are my personal choices and that’s only due to proximity to where I live now. That Penn State Altoona program will most definitely be getting added to my list of calls, so I thank you again for the resources you’ve shared to me. Thank you again for your help, it means the world to me!

Thanks so much for your reply and your time! My only personal concerns are money and GPA like I said before. I already asked @parentologist, but more insight is better than none! I’ve been working my tail off acquiring some income for impending living expenses and tuition so I haven’t had much time being able to talk to programs, but albeit that, where do you think I ought to start in this whole process? The schools I have listed are only due to proximity to where I live now. Do you think there are programs I may be overlooking that I should look at as well? Thank you in advance, it means so much!

I don’t know specifics about these programs, other than what I read on their websites. I think you should first go to the individual colleges’ websites and take a look at their ABSN programs. Then check into tuition costs. Even the lowest-price schools will be costly, but some (primarily the instate publics) will be more reasonable than others. A lot of schools with established BSN programs have been adding ABSN programs in recent years. In addition to the ones listed in the link @parentologist gave you, Immaculata, Widener, Moravian, Cedar Crest, Carlow, and Bloomsburg (and probably others) now have ABSN programs. And there are many in other states.

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Have you looked into York College (PA)?

York College has a very good nursing program, but I don’t think they have an ABSN program.

DeSales has an accelerated BSN program that might save money in the long run

Thank you so much for the advise! I’ve been looking into some ABSN programs and considering my options. I’ve been also looking at the Entry-Level MSN at La Roche University, which has peaked my interest. It’s a newer program (the first ever class in the program graduates this year -was ACEN accredited two years ago).

I have a follow-up question for you if that’s okay regarding that La Roche program. Since it is a newly-accredited program and it’s an entry level, what do you think my job prospects would be (or do you think I would have trouble finding a job, rather)? Thank you again in advance, I appreciate your insight so much!

I actually haven’t yet, do you know anything about that program personally?

I’ll definitely have to look into that program! Do you know anything specific about the DeSales program?

I don’t think being a newly accredited program would be a problem, since La Roche has had other nursing programs for years. I’m not sure about job prospects. Would hospitals be more or less likely to hire a new nursing graduate with a masters (which they might need to pay more) rather than a bachelors degree? This would be a good question to ask La Roche. Try to find out how the graduates of their first class are doing with their job searches, and what types of jobs they are getting.

It is a 15 month accelerated BSN program if you already have a BA or BS. I have a friend who is starting it and she researched a bunch of places - this has a great NCLEX pass rate and is one of the quickest accelerated programs for someone who wants to become a nurse.
https://www.desales.edu/academics/academic-programs/detail/accelerated-bsn

You bring up an excellent point with that question! It’s something I’ll have to try and dig into. I talked to a representative from the program and from what they have been told to me, there is near instantaneous job placement for the program. They also told me on the phone that I may be given a “conditional acceptance” into the program, pending a second Physiology course that I need to take and pass. It just seems like a too-good-to-be-true-type of stiuation, but I can be somewhat skeptical at times. Do you have any thoughts or reservations about this situation?

I don’t think a conditional acceptance would be a problem. You would probably need a second physiology course as a prerequisite to any of the ABSN programs, too. The main disadvantages I can see to a master’s degree program are cost (especially when compared to an ABSN program at one of the PASSHE schools - IUP, Edinboro, Bloomsburg) - and an extra year of school prior to earning an income as a nurse. Most ABSN programs are 3 semesters rather than the 5 semesters required for the master’s degree program at La Roche.