How to Choose a Nursing Program
Today’s prospective nursing students have more education options to choose from than ever before. If you want to become a nurse but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. At Felician University, we’re well-versed in helping students considering our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program navigate their nursing journey.
There are many factors you’ll want to consider when planning how to choose a nursing program. We’ll show you what to look for and how to make the right decision for your nursing goals.
What Type of Nursing Program is Right for You?
Before thinking about how to choose a nursing program, you need to decide what type of degree you want to pursue. After all, you can become a registered nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, these degree options don’t produce the same career outcomes.
Nurses with a BSN tend to have more job opportunities and earn higher salaries than those with an ADN. Not to mention, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recognizes a BSN as the minimum education requirement for professional practice. Also, a BSN is a prerequisite for earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Traditional BSN Programs
Now that you know it’s best to enter the nursing profession with a BSN, you’ll need to choose between a traditional and accelerated BSN. Traditional BSN programs cater to high school graduates or those who have fewer than 60 college credits. These are four-year programs that consist of two years of general education followed by two years of nursing-specific curriculum.
Accelerated BSN Programs
While traditional BSN programs are four years long, accelerated BSN programs are one to two years long. They are designed for students with a non-nursing college education, such as a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits. The ABSN curriculum teaches the same nursing-specific content as the last two years of a traditional program, but in a more condensed timeframe.
The CCNE-accredited ABSN curriculum at Felician contains a combination of:
- Nursing coursework
- Skills and simulation labs
- Clinical rotations
With Felician’s ABSN program, you have two learning modalities from which to choose. We have the 16-month Hybrid ABSN program in Parsippany, NJ, and the 18-month On-Ground ABSN program in Rutherford, NJ. Hybrid ABSN students complete their fundamental coursework online, whereas on-ground ABSN students complete their coursework in the classroom.
What to Look for in a Nursing Program
As you start to research different BSN programs and think about how to choose a nursing program, you’ll want to assess their quality, cost, and requirements. In doing so, you’ll be able to narrow down some of your choices.
When choosing an accelerated nursing program, or any nursing program for that matter, it should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (AACN). An accredited nursing program provides a quality education that adheres to nationally established standards designed to safeguard the public.
Tuition and Fees
You also need to make sure you can afford a nursing education. Because no matter where you attend, nursing school is an investment that requires financial planning. You’ll find that the tuition and fees vary from program to program. When you find a nursing program within your budget, you need to identify ways to pay for nursing school. Aside from cash, federal direct loans, private loans, and scholarships are among the most common forms of payment. Not to mention, every university has a financial aid office that can assist you with the payment process.
Every nursing program has a different set of admissions requirements. Schools use everything from cumulative GPA to entrance exam scores to prerequisite grades to determine your eligibility. So, before you apply to a nursing school, make sure you meet its admissions requirements.
Nursing School Questions Worth Asking
Once you have a solid list of nursing school contenders, you’ll want to contact them and ask the questions below. In doing so, you’ll be able to narrow down your options even further.
What is your admissions process like?
Here’s why this question is important: Given that nurses are in high demand across the country, more people want to enter the profession. However, most nursing school admissions teams can’t keep up with the influx of applications. Thereby, countless applicants aren’t getting the support they need to submit the most competitive application possible. So, it’s important to try and gauge the level of admissions support you’ll receive when vetting potential nursing programs.
What are your NCLEX-RN® pass rates?
Here’s why this question is important: Every nursing school graduate must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to practice as a registered nurse. You can often judge the quality of a nursing program based on its first-time NCLEX pass rates.
Do you have a nursing school waitlist?
Here’s why this question is important: A significant number of nursing schools in this country don’t have enough faculty, space, and/or clinical placements to expand their class sizes. As a result, they must turn away or waitlist thousands of qualified applicants every year. So, if you’re looking to start nursing school as soon as possible, you’ll want to steer clear of programs that have waitlists.
What do you look for in prospective nursing students?
Here’s why this question is important: When it comes time to apply to a nursing school, you’ll probably have to submit a goal statement or personal essay on why you want to become a nurse. Knowing what a school looks for in a student can help you craft your message.
Advice for Accelerated Nursing School
If you’re interested in an ABSN program like ours at Felician, here are a few ways to set yourself apart in the application process and then how to succeed once you begin the program.
Getting into the ABSN Program
To apply to our ABSN program, you must meet the basic admissions requirements, such as having a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 60 credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA in all undergraduate coursework. Also, the sooner you submit your completed application, the better your chances of securing a spot in your preferred term.
In addition to your educational background, we want to see that you have a passion for the profession and a willingness to choose selflessness over self-preservation. We find the best nurses to be those who have a genuine interest in helping others.
Succeeding in Nursing School
Our ABSN program is highly rigorous in nature. From your first to your last day of class, you’ll experience a whirlwind of learning. However, it’s nothing you can’t handle if you’re passionate about becoming a nurse. It also helps to consider these nursing school success tips.
- Practice positive self-talk
- Stay organized
- Make friends with classmates
- Don’t sacrifice sleep
- Focus on understanding, not memorization
If your goal is to become a nurse, the short amount of time you spend in our ABSN program will be well worth it. Once you earn your BSN, you’ll be able to pursue employment in any number of healthcare settings and practice in one of nearly 100 specialty areas.
Ready to Choose Our Nursing Program?
If you have a non-nursing college education and want to accelerate into the nursing profession, Felician’s ABSN program in New Jersey can help make it happen. There’s no waitlist here, and our ABSN program is currently enrolling for spring, summer, and fall terms. Fill out our online form to get in touch with our admissions team today and begin your path to nursing school.