Like most degrees, there are many options when choosing a nursing program. This is a good thing; each of us have different needs when it comes to school, and so it is good to have choices. In order for you to make the right choice, it’s important to take some time to think things through and figure out what is important to you in your degree program. Finding the right program is typically not all about finding the best school, the most prestigious school, or the cheapest school. In the end, you want to find the program that fits your needs, and one that will get you to where you want to go in your career. Here are some ideas that might help you organize your thoughts.
Are you interested in going to school near home, or would you rather attend an out-of-state school? If you are interested in working in a particular medical facility after graduation, consider looking at schools that are near that facility. You may have opportunity to work at that facility as part of clinicals and internships.
Do the schools you are looking at have a proven track record of getting graduates out of the classroom and into nursing jobs?
Level of Education:
Are you getting a BSN, or do you plan on continuing to a graduate degree? If you are even considering graduate level education, then it’s important to make sure that the nursing program you are looking into will get you what you need to be accepted into a graduate program.
If you know that you want to be a particular kind of nurse; say an Intensive Care, Prenatal, or Rehabilitation nurse, then you will need to research your potential nursing program for two things:
1) Is your particular specialization offered by the school? If so is it reputable?
2) Are there facilities nearby that will work with the school so that you can get the required clinical time using the skills needed for your specialization?
Remember that once you graduate, you’ll be putting the name of the school from which you have graduated on your resume. It’s important to be sure that your prospective school has a good reputation for producing high quality candidates.
Cost is an important consideration. You, of course will want to get the best and most relevant education you possibly can at the lowest cost. However, actual cost can be difficult to discern. Don’t shy away from schools which might have higher tuition costs, particularly private schools. Private schools often have access to scholarship and grand sources that public schools do not. It is entirely possible that a school with a higher tuition cost, might actually cost less than other schools after financial aid is considered.
Visit the school:
If a school is on your short list, and you are seriously considering attending, then a visit to the school is a must. Visiting a school helps you answer the more subjective questions about the school. You’ll get an idea of the culture and the atmosphere of the school – what it would really be like to attend. You’ll likely get to sit in on a class and talk to some students. Visiting a school is one of the most important steps to take before making a final decision.