Every student’s journey to nursing school is different. Some head for nursing school right out of grade school, while some work years in a different field before choosing to start nursing school. Regardless of the path nursing students take, most share the experience of waiting to find out if they’ve been accepted and when they can expect to start. Often, the good news is: they are accepted. Yet, the bad news is: they have to sit on a waiting list. Depending on the size of the program and how many qualified students apply, prospective nursing students can sit on a wait list for anywhere from one semester to two years.
Three nursing students from Northeastern University’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program (who each had non-nursing bachelor degrees) have similar experiences and share their stories of how they avoided waiting to start nursing school.
Litsa’s Decision: To Wait or Not to Wait
For Litsa C., all signs pointed to Northeastern. Before starting nursing school, Litsa was working as a server at a restaurant in the south end of Boston. She had taken a year off after getting a non-nursing undergraduate degree and was in the process of applying to various nursing schools. That’s when Northeastern’s ABSN program caught her eye.
“I chose Northeastern because it has a great education program and reputation,” Litsa says. “And I was living in Boston.”
Litsa’s online coursework was enhanced by her hands-on skills labs at Northeastern’s ABSN site and clinical rotations at major teaching hospitals and community hospitals in Boston. In addition to the convenience of online classes, Litsa liked that Northeastern has three start dates a year (in January, May, and September), whereas many of the other schools she applied to did not.
“I did not like the hard start dates of the other schools,” Litsa says. “It made the application process so much longer.”
Litsa didn’t like playing the waiting game, especially since there was a chance that waiting still wouldn’t land her a spot in the coming semester. It could possibly take longer.
“I didn’t have to wait for Northeastern, but for [another school] I had to wait almost six months,”
Litsa says. “I hated it.”
Needless to say, Litsa chose to attend Northeastern because she wanted to become a nurse sooner. At Northeastern, students who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can earn an accelerated BSN in as few as 16 months. However, Litsa warns future students to be prepared for this rigorous, yet rewarding degree.
“Make sure it is what you want to do, so that the school work is meaningful and you are eager to learn,” Litsa says. “Sixteen months is a short time, so you want to make the best of the time you have.”
Melissa’s Pleasant Surprise
Melissa S., an ABSN student at Northeastern, was working in a surgical pathology lab and the New England Organ Bank when she realized she wanted to pursue nursing. She knew of the ABSN program’s good NCLEX pass rates, online classes, and clinical rotations, which is why she ultimately chose Northeastern’s ABSN program.
Though Melissa knew Northeastern’s three start dates could give her a chance to start nursing school sooner, that wasn’t a major deciding factor. In fact, Melissa was prepared to spend six months or so on a waiting list.
“I applied [to Northeastern] not expecting to get in,” Melissa says. “When I did get in, I realized it was now or never.”
Getting an earlier start at nursing school was a pleasant surprise for Melissa, and she was ready to take on the challenge. Her advice to students eager to start nursing school is to “have secure housing, flexible job hours and a savings account.”
Suzi’s Determination to Start ASAP
After getting her undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Suzi B., an ABSN student at Northeastern, found herself bartending. It was choosing the ABSN program at Northeastern that provided a new career path for Suzi.
“If I hadn’t started school, I’d still be working there,” Suzi says. “I knew it was time to start a path towards the medical field.”
Suzi didn’t need to be convinced of Northeastern’s quality education. She had attended Northeastern for her undergraduate degree and said she “knew it was a good school.” However, being able to skip the nursing school waiting list was most important to her.
“Start date was a huge incentive,” Suzi says. “It was a huge factor in determining to go to Northeastern over other area ABSN programs. It meant I could go now versus waiting.”
With three start dates in mind, Suzi applied to the ABSN program without thinking twice.
“I like to start things ASAP once I’ve made a decision to do it,” she says. “I applied end of March and started less than two months later.”
The ABSN program at Northeastern requires students to complete 67 credits of undergraduate courses, along with faculty-guided experience in the skills laboratory and hands-on learning at clinical placements. Fortunately, the workload and demands of an accelerated program did not deter Suzi; instead, it motivated her to start as soon as she could.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it,” Suzi says. “Realize that online is hard, but the finish line being in sight before you even start makes it much more doable.”
Are You a Qualified Student? You Can Start Sooner, Too.
According to Megan Kirsch, ABSN Site Director at Northeastern -Charlotte, the top three reasons students choose to start nursing school now instead of later are:
- They’re not fulfilled in their career
- They can’t find fulfillment in their degree field
- They have an outside motivating factor (such as a sick parent or child)
Megan also believes the financial benefits of a nursing career encourages students to start sooner. “Starting a program sooner means a student has the ability to successfully complete one sooner, take the boards sooner, and seek employment sooner,” she says.
Regardless of where a student is in the journey to nursing school, the faculty and staff at Northeastern’s ABSN program are eager to help all students take the next step towards their end goal.
“Each student is different,” Megan says. “What we emphasize is this that our Admissions Counselors work one-on-one with students to make recommendations on the soonest start term they are eligible for.”
If you are eager to start your own nursing school journey, contact an Admissions Counselor at Northeastern to find out the accelerated BSN program’s admissions requirements.