About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Monday, February 4, 2008

The Application Process

I have spent all day reading nurse blogs. I have so much anticipation for September that I'm trying to find other things to occupy myself for the next 7 months. I figured I would outline how the application process went for me - I figure I have a pretty good grasp on that, since it's been three different times, lol

Pick your school

I don't have a lot of insight for you on this one. Some provinces are smart, like BC, where you have only one admissions portal for all the different schools. Alberta is not. Most students looking to get into a difficult program simply apply to all of them - but that can be expensive. The universities both charged me $100 to apply, and all the other colleges were in the $50 range. I ended up applying to both universities and three different colleges. There are a lot more places to go in this province, but I ran out of application money. University transfers also don't appeal to me, as I'd prefer to stay in one spot for the full 4 years. In general, smaller class sizes and getting bedside experience as soon as possible were what influenced my picks. Practical experience is what appealed to me most, and I'm really happy that I got an early acceptance there. I probably won't bother finishing my applications to the other schools, since that will cost me approximately $100 in transcripts alone. This, dear reader, is the fatal flaw in having every school for itself. One student puts out 5 applications, 4 of which are never completed. I really hope the CNA's position regarding coordination of nationwide nursing school applications eventually comes into reality.

The application process

First step: apply early. By early, I mean that if your school opens applications 11 months before the program begins, have your application completed and submitted by 10. It can play an important role in determining whether you get accepted or not.

Not all schools run the same admissions strategy - some admit students as soon as they reach the minimum competitive average set for the year (this year, 80%). If there's a tie for a seat, priority goes to the student who applied earlier. In effect, this means that if there's me with an 83% average, and a brainiac with a 98% average who applied later than I did, and we are both being considered for the same spot in the program, preference goes to me because I applied first. Too bad, brainiac. I like this model because it makes the program more accessible. Academics aren't everything.

The other model is how most universities operate - based solely on GPA. So, if you put my score against the 98% score, regardless of when we applied, the higher score gets in.

Get your marks in, the sooner the better. The sooner you become admissible (in the first scenario, anyway) the better your chances of securing a seat.

Depending on your high school marks, you may be eligible for early conditional acceptance. Generally, they are looking to see how your marks are trending. If you get great marks in your junior-level courses or on half-completed senior-levels, you might be considered for early acceptance. Apply while you are still in high school, if you can. It all hinges on your continued performance though, so don't slack off just because you might be in.

Sit and wait

Ahh, the waiting game. Most post-secondary institutions have a web portal where you can track the status of your application. I checked mine obsessively for 2 months. I then somehow forgot about it until, I shit you not, a prophetic dream prompted me to sign in after Christmas. That's when I found out I was accepted.

The letters

I've never gotten as much mail as I do as a student applicant. I get forms, documents, updates, and spam from all the different schools I applied to. I'll focus on the one I got accepted into. I first got an application package about a week or two after I applied. It had a lot of information about the application process and what to expect. I've read it about 5,000 times so far. I'm pretty sure I can quote it verbatim. Probably you won't read it as many times as I have, but definitely become familiar with it, as I found the information was not perfectly organized and found some "due dates" I otherwise wouldn't have known about.

My next letter was one notifying me that I was ineligible for Early Conditional Acceptance. That was no surprise to me as I was still in the process of upgrading my marks at the time. Even still, it was a bummer to see it all spelled out like that. Again.

My final grades for my first semester of upgrading were posted in mid-December. My acceptance letter came just after New Years, indicating the terms of my conditional acceptance. It goes like this (edited for repetition):

Dear undergrad RN:

Congratulations! You have been early conditionally accepted to the first year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. Providing the requirements listed here are met by August 1, 2008, you will be attending classes at our campus.

  • Submit an official high school transcript.
  • An acceptable Immunization Record is to be submitted directly to the Nursing Program.
  • A completed Health Record that must be completed by a physician.
  • Current Health Care Provider Level C CPR certification and first aid; must be Heart and Stroke Foundation approved.
  • Submit a current security clearance.

Your acceptance will become final once all conditions are cleared. If the requirements above are not met by the specified dates, your conditional acceptance may be withdrawn. You will not receive a final acceptance letter, but you can track the status of your application by going to our website. To hold your space in the program, you must forward a $200 deposit to us no later than 21 days from the date of this letter.


Someone Important

That $200 was no joke, as the letter was dated December 22 and I didn't receive it until January 11th.

The other stuff

As you saw outlined in my letter, I have a pile of things to accomplish in the next few months. I made an appointment with the regional health authority, where I am going to get my immunizations looked after, for March 11th. The pamphlet says I can be no earlier than 6 months before the start of the program, so I have to wait until after March 1st. I thought I had patience, but... sigh.

I need to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hep B, and varicella. I also need to get a TB/Mantoux skin test done, whatever that is. Good thing I don't mind needles, but if I did, I expect I'd have to get over that in a hurry or reconsider my intended occupation!

I also had to go back to my hometown last week to get my doctor to fill in this bogus "fitness" test form. The form basically asks the doc whether they believe I am physically and mentally stable enough to participate in the program. I was in the office for 3 minutes and she hadn't seen me for years. Maybe the school wants to make sure I'm not wheelchair bound or on meds for multiple psychoses. I don't see what other purpose that form might have served.


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Thanks for your thoughts :)