The Best Online Nursing School For You: 9 Questions to Consider
Choosing the best online nursing school for your RN to BSN program may be easier than you think.
You can start by doing some research into the top RN to BSN programs of your choosing. Once you’ve found a few schools you feel confident about, you will want to compare them to see which stand out as the right fit to you.
Here are 9 questions you should ask when comparing online nursing schools:
1. How many more credits will I need to earn a BSN?
The number of transfer credits accepted can vary by school. You’ll want admissions to evaluate your transcript before you start classes so you know how many courses you’ll need to take, as that is a key indicator of how long you’ll be in school. Institutions should be able to tell you up front the maximum number of transfer credits you can receive.
2. How long is this online RN to BSN program?
As you compare online nursing schools, you will find that the RN to BSN program length will vary among schools depending on the frequency of courses, availability of course offerings and other unique program factors.
3. Does this RN to BSN program have any prerequisites?
Prerequisite courses are not always included in an online nursing school's advertised program length. This can add to the total number of classes you need to take and increase the time needed to complete your degree.
4. Will I have clinicals?
Some institutions require students to complete formal clinical experiences, similar to those in your diploma or associate’s degree program. Others offer more flexible clinical arrangements through experiential learning activities that may be completed on your own time or even while you work.
5. How often is each course offered?
Some schools do not offer every course at every session. This could result in you waiting for a course to be offered so you can complete your BSN degree. Programs which offer all courses at regular intervals will be better at keeping your overall time in school to the advertised program length.
6. How are faculty prepared?
You will want to know if all the nursing faculty have a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing. Also, if you're looking to complete your BSN in an online program, ask whether the faculty receive any training when it comes to online instruction. Online instruction can be very different than classroom-style education, and faculty who are specifically trained for this format may be better-equipped to teach in the online setting.
7. Are there specific times I need to login?
While flexibility is a big part of the online experience, some schools may handle it differently than others. Check with an admissions advisor to find out if you’ll be required to login for classes at specific times.
8. What support does the school provide?
Schools offer a variety of student support services. For each institution, you should know what resources would be available to you. Important services include:
- A dedicated admissions advisor
- Guidance through the admission process
- Assistance requesting all official transcripts
- Academic advising
- Access to faculty and program deans
- Tutoring services
- Personal resources to ensure all of your questions and concerns are addressed
9. What is the total tuition cost?
Schools should be able to be upfront with you when it comes to the total cost for your program. You’ll want to find out about the tuition costs as they relate to courses, as well as student resource and service fees.