Look At Me! I Can Do A Two Year Degree in Four Years!

If you know me, and you’ve seen me get serious about planning something, you know I do my research first.

So when I started researching the whole idea of becoming a nurse-midwife, I knew I wanted to attack the program as intelligently as possible, making the most of my time and efforts. After a month of late LATE nights, I thought I had it figured out. Sure, I was still flexible, but my ideal plan was:

  1. Attend Anoka Ramsey, Cambridge, and earn the two year associates RN degree.
  2. Attend St Cloud State, U of M, Duluth, Superior – somewhere within driving distance – for my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  3. Attend the U of M for my master’s certificate in midwifery

I figured by starting small, after two years I could work part time making good money, while still going to school. At that point Nick could possibly take his position to part time, meaning I work on weekends, and during the week we do work/school trade-off with Ollie. (And potential other little ones…) Once I get to a certain point during the master’s, most of my work is tele-learning and clinicals, so a little more flexible. So really, I figured those two years between the RN and the BSN were going to be the hardest. Anyway, I had a plan – a fairly good plan, or so I thought.

I went to talk to an advisor today. I had heard “through the grapevine” that you needed to do all your generals before you could even apply to the nursing program. I thought my grapevine was on crack, because I looked over the program layout on the website and in the nursing handbook over and over and over again. It is laid out in 4 semesters, with the generals sprinkled throughout the plan.

So I start talking to her, and she says “Let me show you something”. She pulls out their nursing program entrance rubric. You earn points based on certain things. I’m sure at one point the goal was to make sure people who had applied more than once got in eventually, but boy have they screwed that system up.

First of all, at the Cambridge campus, the nursing program only begins in the spring each year. So one start. For this coming spring, 199 students applied for the nursing program. (196 met all prereqs. Woo hoo – 3 down!)

They accept 36. 36. No lie. I’m like “dude, don’t you think you should do something about that?” Coon Rapids has about the same number of applicants, but spring and fall starts, and they accept about 56 students each semester. At least they seem to be TRYING.

So, the averages for the applicants are as follows:

  • GPA of 3.46
  • ACT Score of 23
  • 24 of the 28 general credits completed
  • 100% completed Anatomy and Physiology I
  • 96% completed Anatomy and Physiology II

So why is this a problem, you ask? The way the program is set up, you need four semesters of nursing.

You do the math.

The advisor said that if I started now, I would graduate in 2012, assuming I got in the first time I applied.

Good grief. It takes me from January 2009 to December 2012 to earn a two year degree? What’s wrong with this picture?

In my case, she recommended just going straight to a 4 year program, or doing generals there if the program I were going to transfer to would allow (apparently some colleges demand you start the nursing program as a freshman.) and then transferring out.

Okay, so if I was going to go for a BSN degree now, where would I go? Probably St. Cloud State. (It will be weird to be there for something other than band camp or state music auditions.)

So I start doing all my research again. Their program is much more intelligent, and similar to how the Anoka Ramsey program has become, except you get a BACHELOR’S DEGREE instead.

So there are a few flaws. Cambridge requires Principles of Biology and Principles of Chemistry, but now Chem has become a prereq for Bio. (Seriously? The high schools better suck that up. I tried to tell them YEARS ago that it made more sense to take Chem first. Thank GOD Elk River let me take Chem my sophomore year… and then I didn’t take Bio…. hahahahahaha.) However, St. Cloud state has 2 Chem requirements, but they are far more specific than good ol‘ Principles of Chem. So Principles of Chem is a waste of my time, but I can’t take Principles of Bio without it, and I need Principles of Bio to get into Anatomy and Physiology. Stupid.

So I began to contemplate enrolling in TWO colleges. St. Cloud State offers the Chem classes ONLINE, with 3-4 lab days on Saturdays throughout the semester. Seems smart. It sucks, because I need to get them done so I can start A&P ASAP. Goal right now is to be a pre-nursing student at St Cloud State for the smallest time possible, and starting the nursing program itself spring of 2011. That will put me graduating summer of 2013. Wow, one extra semester between an associates and a bachelor’s. I’m now beginning to think that the nursing students at Anoka Ramsey are idiots, because they could make so much more money with just one more semester of classes.

Anyway, SCSU doesn’t offer Bio online, and Anoka Ramsey does. You just have to sign up for a regular lab, which isn’t such a big deal. But I can’t get into Bio until I’ve taken Chem, and SCSU doesn’t make me take basic chem, so I’m just going to have to talk to someone about that. I would think if I took the Chemistry for Health Sciences class at SCSU, someone would surely see my reasoning and let me enroll for Bio @ Anoka Ramsey.

Anyway, so now I have new things to figure out. That’s good, though. It gives me something to do with my time.

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