Finals Week… A New Plan?

Well, well, well. Look what the finals dragged in.

I know it has been a long time (3 months actually) since my first and only blog post. I am writing this one now to help me process everything that I just realized in the last hour. And to also procrastinate studying for finals. This is a long, ranting post about being a student involved in a competitive program.

As a pre-nursing student, I am among the one of the most competitive majors in college. Nursing programs are impacted all across the state (literally, every CSU Nursing program is impacted). As a result, it is immensely difficult to earn an acceptance into a program. To rattle of a few numbers, there are anywhere¬†between 200-500 applicants for Chico’s Nursing Program per semester. Of those applicants, Chico admits 40 students. Four. Zero. That’s it.

I’ll spare you the headache of learning the point system of the nursing program, but to lay it out plainly, its like a test. There are a possibility of 100 points. Obviously, the more points you earn, the better your likelihood of acceptance. The cutoff for this semester (Spring 2016) was 89.5 points. If you’re not familiar with how the point system works, that’s REALLY difficult. Assuming I get an A in Microbiology and Organic Chemistry this semester (which is decided by my finals this week), and also assuming I can get a 90 or greater on the TEAS test, I will have 89 points.

Here’s my breakdown in the points system (assuming I can earn the two A’s and the 90):

  • Science Pre-Requisites: 40/40
  • General Education Pre-Requisites: 20/20
  • TEAS Score: 20/20
  • Science GPA: 2/3
  • Cumulative GPA: 2/3
  • Co-Requisites: 4/4
  • Volunteer Hours (60): 1/1

Completely disregarding the fact that earning those two A’s will be REALLY difficult (for Organic Chemistry I will need 104% on my final), 89 points doesn’t even reach the cutoff for this semester. This is not only disheartening, depressing, and crushing, but it’s downright infuriating.

Even earning the maximum amount of points for almost all of those categories isn’t good enough for the nursing program. Literally, the only way I could earn more points is by becoming fluent in¬†another language or by working in another health field (EMT, CNA, etc.). I’m not a veteran so that won’t earn me an extra point (yeah, being a veteran earns you one whole point) and I don’t have the time or money to wait around and get a certification to be an EMT or CNA or learn another language. College is too expensive.

I understand that the program is competitive and the high point range means there are lots of qualified prospective nurses, but it still shouldn’t be this difficult to get into the program. I have seen multiple friends and strangers who would make fantastic nurses change their majors because they didn’t get in. I know at least two people who had 4.0 GPAs and still didn’t get in. Like… Really?

I also understand that they want to keep class sizes small (which is great!), but couldn’t you find the money to maybe hire a couple more professors so you could let in more students? They are more than qualified and it would earn the school more money because more students = more tuitions being paid.

As a comparison, my boyfriend will be attending the Southern California University of Health Sciences next semester as a chiropractic student. This is a doctoral program. Not to bash him (he is really smart!), but my grades and GPA are better than his. Theoretically, I should be able to get into a non-doctoral program much easier than he gets into a doctoral program. BUT NOPE. He got in first try easy-peasy (congratulations to him by the way, yay!).

I am doing my darndest to get the maximum amount of points for the nursing program and build my resume up for when (yes, WHEN) I am a nurse. Ideally, I would graduate from California State University, Chico in Fall 2019 with:

  • A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • A Registered Nursing License (RN)
  • A Minor in Nutrition and Food Sciences (Minor in NFSC)
  • A General Education Pathway Minor in Health and Wellness

The only thing holding this plan back is the acceptance into the nursing program. My pathway minor will be completed this semester and the nutrition minor will be complete by next semester, which is when I will be applying for the nursing program.

 

Now, of course I have backup plans if I am not accepted. Each plan, of course, has both pros and cons to it.

I could go to a junior college or trade school to complete the nursing program there.

  • Pros:
    • Become a nurse faster than waiting for acceptance at a four-year
    • Could live at home (yay for saving money and being close to family)
    • Save money by attending a cheaper school than a four-year
    • Could work as an RN while attending the RN to BSN program
  • Cons:
    • Would need to complete a RN to BSN program afterwards (four-years accomplish these at the same time)
    • Would have to live at home (love my family, just really like my space and independence)
    • Kind of feels a bit like I’m failing
    • Most programs offer LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) programs, rather than RN programs
      • If this is the case and I completed a LVN program, I would need to complete a subsequent LVN to RN program, then the RN to BSN program

I could change my major.

  • Pros:
    • By changing my major to Nutrition and Food Sciences with the Option in Communications, I could finish my undergraduate degree in a year (which would be only 3 years in college total) and I would still have my pathway minor in health and wellness
    • Following this graduation, I could then attend a junior college or trade school for my RN license
    • Or, following this graduation I could shoot for a doctoral degree (I would be love to be an OBGYN, but that is a long and expensive and difficult process)
    • I could (theoretically, would need to look into this) study abroad during this time. I would LOVE to study abroad but it isn’t in the cards for a nursing student, but this way I could
  • Cons:
    • I don’t really need a nutrition degree
    • More money than attending the JC
    • Postpones becoming a nurse

Regardless of what happens, there isn’t much I can do now except my best, so I better get back to studying! Maybe I’ll make scones or brownies after dinner to help me feel better after this disheartening realization.

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