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Getting On : Education


from Andres - Tuesday, December 04, 2007
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needing some advice on how to comunicate with colleges to see if I can get in Classes for next year, cause when it comes to what questions to ask.. Well, I'm stumped.

Anyone got any advice about going to school. I'm getting out of the military next year and I wanted to get a degree in Medicine. As a nurse at first, and once I've made enough money and have some college under my belt go for MD. PA or something a bit more manly.. :)

For now tho I'd prefer to get my RN I just don't know if you'd be able to get that without any prior college. If so I'll settle for LPN to begin with but I'd prefer not having to change Diapers.. :(

I haven't had time to get a degree while in the Military. To much time deployed and in the field. But at least I have about 35k from the GI bill and free tuition if I go to school in TX. So Money shouldn't be a big problem.

The other question is if I should get an apartment or just stay on Campus.

I don't want to look like an idiot writing to the school and asking questions that no-one else (that has been in HS etc) ever asks. I'll be contacting them soon.

So, any advice any one?

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from enigma
Saturday, December 08, 2007 - 15:53

Hi Andres,

I saw my brother Danielís response below and I wanted to give you some tips I hope will help you. I remember what it was like to try to begin college without knowing what steps to take, and I would have appreciated any help. Now for some disclaimers: while I was at university in California I worked in the student affairs/admissions office of the School of Nursing; however, I am not sure that my advice will be applicable to other states. And I could never give you a comprehensive breakdown of all the options available. Also, keep in mind, the nursing licensing process varies from state to state. Please forgive the typos as I donít have time to proofread this. Lastly, please note that my calculations for the time involved are based on taking classes full-time.

First things first: You should probably decide soon if you want to be an MD or a nurse. They require separate educational tracks and a lot of the preparation is different. If you get a Bachelorís in Nursing you might be able to enter Medical school, but you would probably have to take some additional required course and explain why you want to change fields. Whatever you do, do not write on your statement of purpose application that you want to become a nurse in preparation to become a doctor. Even if that is what you want to do. Nursing application committees want to accept people who will use their education to pursue nursing as a career, not as training for another career.

There are several routes you can take if you want to become a Registered Nurse (RN). One thing to note about an RN certification is that it is not connected to a certain degree. One can be an RN and only have an Associates Degree (AA), or one could be an RN and have a Bachelorís, or Masters, etc.

If you want to be a nurse, in my opinion, you should at least shoot for completing an Associates Degree, so you can become an RN. An LVN (licensed vocational nurse) is really at the bottom of the chain. And there are quite a few drawbacks, besides the work. In many cases LVN courses do not transfer to other colleges. So, if you were to decide to continue your education you might not get any credit for courses taken, especially if transferring to a good nursing program.

Not attending high school should not be a problem. It makes it more difficult, thanks to our stupid cult member parents, but not impossible. I am not sure about other states, but in California one does not need to go to high school to enter community college. Several of my siblings and friends have graduated from good universities by first beginning at community college, performing well, and then transferring.

Before beginning you should probably first decide if you want to get an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelorís of Science in Nursing (BSN). If you are not sure, you can still begin, but it will save you time by allowing you to focus on the course requirements for specific nursing programs you want to enter, instead of taking unnecessary courses.

Associates in Nursing (ADN) vrs. Bachelorís in Nursing (BSN):

ADN (takes around five years from beginning to end, if done full-time): An associates program is usually an 18 month to two-year program, which, upon completion, one can be licensed as an RN. These programs are usually administered at community colleges (two-year colleges). While it is usually a two-year program, there are prerequisite courses that one must have to enter. To get any Associateís degree (at least in California) one has to complete General Education requirements (GEís) which take anywhere from two-years plus (depending on if you attend full-time or not). This is considered the equivalent of the first two years in a regular four-year university. Everyone has to take courses in areas such as history, English, math, science, etc. For those of us who did not go to high school this process usually takes a little longer. I started at the lowest math level (shout out to my dad and mom) which added at least a semester to my time at community college. In order to be accepted to an ADN nursing program you would probably first have to start at a community college and take the GEís plus whatever prerequisites the ADN program wants. They usually want extra science courses such as anatomy, chemistry, biology, physiology etc. This could take an additional year. This is where the research comes in that will save you time. If you narrow your choices to a handful of ADN nursing programs that you want to attend, you can usually go onto their website and find out which courses they require as prerequisites. This takes time as often they will just tell you what kind of course they want you to take (eg: Human Anatomy), and you have to find out if they accept the equivalent course at your community college. If it is unclear, it is best to email them and ask them if a certain course will satisfy a prereq, as you donít want surprises when it comes time to apply to transfer. Prereqs vary from program to program and you want to choose to apply to programs that have prereqs that are similar to each other, so as to minimize courses that are only the prereq for one school.

BSN (takes around 5-5 1/2 years from beginning to end, if done full-time): In my opinion, getting a BSN is not much harder than getting an ADN, and it takes about the same amount of time. Preparation for entrance into a BSN program is about the same as for an ADN program but you would finish with a more advanced degree and you would be in a much better position to continue your education (whether you decide to continue in nursing or to become a doctor). To prepare for entrance to a BSN program you would start at community college and take the same GEís (@ two years), and you would take about a year of prerequisites for BSN nursing programs, probably many of the same courses that you would need for entrance into an ADN program. Once you apply and transfer, you would transfer into the beginning of the 3rd year of the program (you would be a junior). During the first two years of a four-year BSN nursing program, most students are taking their GEís, but you will have already completed them. Therefore, you should be able to finish the BSN program in the remaining two-years. So, if you do all your studies on a full-time basis and apply and transfer without breaks in between, you could have a BSN in five years. Plus, since you have funding, you have a leg up on a lot of people. I had to work full-time during my first few years at community college and took classes at night. But once I transferred into a four-year university, it was impossible to work full-time so I got a job on campus and cut it down to about 12-15 hours per week.

-I would try to find the best community college in your area (one that offers a wide variety of courses so that you have access to the prereqs you need) and show up and ask them what you need to do to enroll in classes. I had to take a test for math and English, but this was just so they could see what class level you need to start at. If you want, you can tell them that you did not go to high school, but it should not matter. In California, you can walk off the street and begin at community college. But if you want to be able to transfer into a good university, you have to do well, as these are the only grades the school that you would transfer to would see.

-Regardless of whether you decide to go for an ADN or a BSN, you should probably take advantage of your funding to work as little as possible while you are in community college so you can focus on your grades. I did well, but took a lot of work and studying to absorb concepts which were totally foreign (thanks again, dad and mom). Most nursing programs get lots of applicants so you want to stand out (this would also be a good time to tell them about your background and why you want to become a nurse). You can often begin community college courses at the beginning of any semester/quarter, but at four-year colleges, and often even for ADN nursing programs, you can only enter in the fall semester/quarter, so you want to plan to have all your courses completed in the spring quarter/semester before you plan to transfer.

-Housing: at community college it doesnít really matter as many donít even offer on-campus housing. Plus, even though it is a college it is not really a college atmosphere. i.e. there are all ages of students and many take their class and go to work or go home to families. But if you transfer to a four-year university it is a different story. There are pros and cons to both on-campus and off-campus housing. I lived off campus for several reasons: it was cheaper (I split rent with my brother), we had a large place with a kitchen (which is a must for me), and I had peace when I wanted to study (I was not stuck with a random roommate). But I feel I missed out on much of the college atmosphere because I was removed from all the activities that go on at a university. If I had to do it again, I would probably live on campus, or at least very close.

I would definitely recommend you pursue a nursing degree. I believe it would be a satisfying career, and the money is good. I have thought about being a nurse but I am squeamish and could never be around blood or disease. As a side note, there are some benefits to being a male pursuing a career as a nurse. As the majority of those enrolled in a nursing program are female, admission committees are always looking to accept qualifies male applicants. Plus, you would be studying around lots of women.

I hope I did not overload you with information. Let me know if you have any questions. You can email me through my profile if you would like.

(reply to this comment)
from Albatross
Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 10:26

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Hey Andres, my name is Daniel. I'd be happy to help you with advice on schooling. I went through community college, transfered to a public 4-year college, and now am going to be starting graduate school. My brothers did the same and are now on their way to grad school. One of them used to work at admissions at the UCLA school of Nursing. My sister is also going to nursing school. So we've spent years figuring this out. The good news is it can be done. The GI bill funds will help you a lot. I think Nursing is a good field to go into...please feel free to contact be directly at

best of luck!
(reply to this comment)
From clark
Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 12:09



I have always admired the huge effort you have made to get yourelsf and your siblings through school. Very noble of you.(reply to this comment

From Andres
Wednesday, December 05, 2007, 10:30

Thanks Daniel, I'll make sure I get around to talking to you more about it.. Apreciate it...(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Monday, December 10, 2007, 18:11

Hey brother is much better versed in the magic of getting in to nursing school. I defer to his expertise. Hope it helps. Best of luck with you continued education. It will be worth it.(reply to this comment

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