Frequently Asked Questions About the Pre-licensure BSN Program at Ferris

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1 Frequently Asked Questions About the Pre-licensure BSN Program at Ferris Questions About Admission to the Program Q: What kind of tracks or programs do you offer for students who want to become a registered nurse? A: We have two distinct tracks in the pre-licensure program: The Traditional track is designed for traditional students who are seeking their first academic degree. These students complete a 6 semester professional sequence in 2 calendar years or 24 months. The Accelerated 2 nd Degree track is designed for non-traditional students who have a bachelor s degree in another field. This professional sequence is doublepaced for 3 semesters and is completed in 12 months. Q: Are students accepted directly into the nursing program, or are there prerequisites to take first? A: All students (for both tracks) are initially admitted as pre-nursing students when they apply to the University. After completion of the qualifying (pre-requisite) courses, students can then apply to the professional sequence of the program. Professional sequence, also known as the clinical sequence refers to the set of required courses in the nursing major. These are the courses with the NURS prefix. Q: How do you qualify for admission to the professional sequence? A: There are designated courses with minimum grades and an overall GPA of 2.7 required to be considered qualified for admission to the professional nursing sequence. Please refer to the link Admission to Clinical Programs on the CAHS website. Please note that the qualification criteria are different for each track of the nursing program. Extensive information is provided here, including qualification criteria and application forms for all CAHS programs, including nursing: Q: How many students are accepted into the nursing program each year? A: We accept 32 students for the Fall (August start) and Spring (January start) semesters for the traditional track for a total of 64 per year. We accept 24 students into the accelerated 2 nd degree track for the Summer (May start) semester. Q: If I have a Bachelor s degree in another field, am I only allowed to apply to the Accelerated 2 nd degree track? A: No, you can apply for either the traditional or second degree track of the program. This is a good question because the pace and intensity of the Accelerated 2 nd degree track is not a good fit for all students even if they have another degree.

2 Q: How do you determine which students to admit to the program? Is it a competitive admission process? A: All students must meet the same standard for admission in terms of qualification for the program. Students are then admitted to the program in the order that they qualify for the program. Since students qualify by semester there are multiple students with the same qualifying semester. This means that applicants who qualified in the earliest semester are admitted first. If there are still seats remaining, students qualified in the next semester are admitted. If there are too many students who qualified in the same semester for the number of available seats, the student s priority date is used to rank order students who qualified in that semester. The priority date is the date that a student selected nursing as their major at Ferris State University. This may have occurred at the time of admission to the University or at the time a student makes a program change into nursing. Q: Is there any consideration for students with a higher GPA? A: No. As long as students meet the minimum qualification criteria, there is no distinction between a 4.0 and a 2.7 cumulative GPA in terms of ranking for admission. However, you must have the required GPA at the time of application. Q: Is there any mechanism for consideration for early admission? A: Yes, we extend an opportunity for early admission to students in the traditional track who are students in good standing in the FSU Honors program and to students who are recipients of a ROTC scholarship, which is time limited. For each traditional cohort (Fall & Spring), 25% of the seats are designated for students in these two programs. In order to be admitted, these students must still meet the qualification criteria. Q: Once I am qualified, when can I apply for the nursing program? A: All students who are qualified or will be qualified by the end of the semester of application, can apply to the professional sequence for the next admission semesters. Application cycles are outlined here: Fall and Spring Admissions (traditional track): Apply between April 15 & April 30 Summer Admission (2 nd degree): Apply between January 15 & 30 Q: Is there a wait list for the nursing program? A: We do not retain a wait list because qualified students are required to apply for admission during specifically identified application cycles as noted above. Once a cohort (group for a designated start date) is filled, those students who were qualified but were not accepted are invited to apply during the next application cycle. Typically 2-3 students apply for every seat available each cycle, but this can vary every year. Q: How long do students typically wait to enter the program? A: The average wait to enter the program once qualified, is about 1-2 years. Once again, this can vary for each individual student and by the number of qualified students at any point in time. Q: How will I be notified regarding my admission status?

3 A: All students are notified by letter within 4 weeks of the application cycle. Applicants are categorized as: Qualified & admitted to the next cohort Qualified, but not admitted due to no space; encouraged to apply again Not qualified, with specification as to what information is missing or what criteria is not fulfilled Q: If I qualify for the program, but am not admitted the first time I apply, will I be guaranteed admission for the next cohort? A: No, there is never a guarantee because there is no way to predict how many students will apply for any cycle. However, if you are willing to wait and reapply, you are essentially guaranteed an eventual admission. Remember that with each admission cycle you move closer to the top in terms of qualifying semester date, and applicants are not ranked by GPA or a Point system. Q: Once I have applied, will you just keep my application on file for the next cycle if I am not accepted? A: No, we require students to resubmit their application materials every cycle so that we can be certain you are still interested in the program. In addition, you may have additional information to include in a subsequent application. Therefore, if you wish to be considered for subsequent application cycles, you must submit a new application packet. For this reason, it is suggested that you always retain a copy of the materials submitted for application so that you have them to refer to if needed. The criminal background check report can be reused for one subsequent application cycle. Q: What am I supposed to do while I wait to enter the program? A: Keep in mind that there are enough non nursing courses required to fulfill the requirements of the bachelor s degree to fill two additional semesters if you qualify for the traditional track in two semesters. This means that you can spend an additional academic year completing the non nursing courses so that when you enter the nursing sequence, you can focus on just the nursing courses. This is actually the most ideal way to complete the program. Q: What if I complete all the non nursing courses and I am still not admitted to the professional sequence what do I do then? A: Although this is not an ideal scenario, it does happen with the high demand for the program. You have several options. Many students decide to pursue a minor or complete a certificate or take electives in a related area that could enhance their nursing degree. Examples of areas of study include Spanish, gerontology (study of the elderly), business or administration. Finally, there is no requirement for you to take courses if you have completed all the general education courses you need for the degree. You can leave the University for one or more semesters while you wait for entry to the program. Remember that you will need to still apply for admission to the nursing program if you want to be considered for a later cohort and you will also need to complete a reapplication to the University online when you do start classes again. Another consideration to keep in mind is that it is important to remember that the professional sequence for the traditional track is only two years in length, so if a

4 student spends 2 or 3 years waiting for entry, the entire degree is still 4-5 years in length, which is consistent with the length of most bachelor degrees. Q: If I take a year off and have to re-apply to the university, will I lose my priority date or previous standing for admission consideration? A: No, although the university requires you to re-apply online for re-admission and you will need to submit another application to the nursing program during the appropriate semester, we will still honor your original priority date for the nursing program. We do encourage you to keep in touch with the website in your absence incase there are any changes made to the requirements or the application process. Q: Do I need to do a new criminal background check each time I apply to the program? A: You may resubmit your original criminal background check if it has been completed within the last 18 months. If it is older than that you will need to submit a new criminal background report with your application. We understand that the Criminal background check is an added cost for your application cycle, but we are obliged to assure the public that we are screening prospective nursing students in this way. Please note that there is a designated vendor on the application form. If you have a Criminal Background check from a different source, you will need to submit a new report from the CAHS designated vendor. Admission Questions Specific to Transfer Students Q: I see that the nursing program requires an overall 2.7 GPA for admission. What if I have transfer credits how are those calculated in the admission decision? A: If you are transferring from just one institution, the GPA from that college or university is used. If you have attended more than one other institution and / or have some Ferris credits, we will average all of the GPA s. Q: Will you accept my transfer credits toward the prerequisites? A: If the courses you are transferring in meet the FSU equivalent they will be accepted if they meet the following criteria: B- or higher in the math and science courses You earn that B- in no more than two attempts in any required Science (Biology or Chemistry) course once you have declared Nursing as your preferred major Math and Science courses have been completed within 5 years from when you plan to apply to the program. Q: How can I determine whether or not my courses will transfer to Ferris? A: When you send your transcript as part of the application process, your courses will be evaluated as part of that process and the transcript evaluation will be available to you through MyFSU. If you want to see if a course will transfer to Ferris before taking it at another institution or you want to see how your courses might compare before you apply, you can go to the following site for Transfer Equivalencies:

5 Click on either Michigan or Other institutions. Then Click on the institution from the list provided. The Prefixes for that institution s courses will appear on the right side, while the entire list of institutions remains on the left side. Click on the appropriate prefix and scroll down to see how those courses might transfer to Ferris. Q: If I have other questions about admission to the Nursing Program, who should I contact? A: The College of Allied Sciences has a Pre-Professional Advisor for all programs, including Nursing. Her name is Linda Kuk and you can her at or call her at Questions About The Nursing Program Q: Is this program only offered on the Big Rapids Campus? A: All of the lecture and laboratory courses are offered on the Big Rapids Campus, but the clinical courses are scheduled in a variety of health care settings. Q: Where are the clinical sites for the traditional track and how do students get there? A: Students in the traditional track of the program are placed in clinical sites in the greater Big Rapids area for the first two semesters. In the remaining semesters students are typically placed in sites that are usually within a 60 mile radius of Big Rapids, but will vary by course. Settings include: Mecosta County Medical Center, Spectrum Health in Reed City, Greenville or Grand Rapids, Public Health, Home Care and a variety of other community settings. Students are responsible for their own transportation to the clinical sites. Q: Where are the clinical sites for the accelerated track and how do students get there? A: Students in the 2 nd degree track are placed in one of three hospitals for the majority of their clinical experience for the full 12 months. There are some specialty pullout experiences, but most will occur in one primary site to reduce the need to spend time orienting to a new site or instructor. The hospitals used for student placements in this track are: Mercy Hospital in Cadillac, Gerber Memorial Hospital in Freemont and Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Students are responsible for their own transportation to the clinical sites. Q: I have a bachelor s degree in another field, but wonder if the accelerated 2 nd degree track is the best choice for me. What factors should I consider in making this decision? A: This is a great question. The 2 nd degree track is actually a very demanding commitment of your time and energy. Students who elect this track need to be able to devote their full time attention to their studies. The double paced format results in academic credits per semester and approximately actual contact hours for just classroom, laboratory, clinical and online learning activities. In addition, students

6 need to be able to dedicate approximately 30+ hours per week to additional study to prepare for classroom discussions, exams and assignments. Students who have completed the program report that they dedicate approximately hours per week to the demands of the program. This means that you are not able to have an outside job or be a regular care giver for other members of your family. If you are the primary breadwinner, you will need to think about how you can not only finance your educational expenses, but how you will support yourself and your family. If you are a parent with primary care responsibilities, you need to think about who will provide childcare during the hours each week that you are attending class, clinical or engaged in study. Missing clinical experiences can negatively impact your grade, so you need to have contingency plans in place for child care. Students report that evenings and weekends are needed to complete the required work. While this seems daunting, if you are able to make this accommodation with the full support of friends and family, the reward is that you have entry to a new career in just 12 months. If you do not have these resources available to you, this is probably not a good choice for you. Q: How much does the program cost in addition to tuition? A: Please refer to the cost sheet available on the School of Nursing website: There are special costs for the nursing program that include the cost of uniforms, standardized tests, personal digital assistant (PDA) for required software, lab supplies, and other specialized equipment. Q: Are there scholarships available to help with the cost of the degree? A: Yes there are a variety of nursing scholarships available, but many of them are limited to amounts of $500 or less, although some are for higher amounts. There is some information about scholarships available at a link from the School of Nursing website: Nursing scholarships are offered by a variety of organizations and usually require the same kind of application, so students can apply for multiple scholarships with the same essay and if desired. It is important to note that the Michigan Nursing Scholarship which was enacted by legislation in 2002 has been discontinued due to State budget shortfalls. This is important to note because many nursing students assume that with the publicized nursing shortage, the availability of scholarships is widespread. At this time that is not the case. Q: If I have another bachelor s degree and used financial aid for that degree, am I eligible for more financial aid for this degree? A: That depends on how much financial aid you accepted for your first degree. There are limits on the amount of loans or other aid for the attainment of a bachelor s degree. If you expended all of your loan or other financial aid limit with your first degree, you will not be eligible for additional financial aid and will need to make other arrangements such as taking out a personal loan. If you did not exhaust the limit for a bachelor s degree, you may be eligible for the remainder of the previously established undergraduate loan limit. This is an important detail to consider and we recommend that you consult with the financial aid office to see what your particular situation is in regard to financial aid.

7 Q: I understand that nursing students must pass a criminal background check to enter the program. What if I have a record does that mean I can t ever be a nurse? A: It depends on the severity of your offense and in some cases how long ago it occurred. You will be required to complete a criminal background check as part of the application process for the nursing program. If an offense is reported, the School of Nursing will refer to the current guidelines the State of Michigan has provided to use as a way to determine if a student can be placed in a clinical setting. If the clinical setting will not allow a student to be placed, then the student cannot enter or progress in the program. If you have a question about your specific situation, you should contact the Michigan Bureau of Health Professions: or call (517) so that you can make an informed decision regarding the choice of a career in nursing. Revised and Posted: November, 2011

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