BSN/Non-trad - concerned about undergrad course load

Tradewinds

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2013
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I am currently a nurse with ICU experience and a BSN from a state school. My main reason for posting is to find out if I will be at a disadvantage due to the course load I took in undergrad and how I might approach this on applications.


Freshman year 16/16 crds (small private 4 year)

Bio 1/2

Chem 1/2

Language

Gen Eds and Psyc

GPA 2.8 and 3.6 for semester avg. 3.2


After freshman year I decided to become a nurse and transferred to my state university, which not only was a better fit for my personality but also had a nursing program that offered admission to students based solely on GPA in prerequisite courses rather than amount of time spent on the waiting list (read: avoid gap semesters with no classes- get done faster). Subsequently, I was admitted on first application after completing the prerequisites. My main concern is that due to the layout of the nursing program and the number of clinical hours required, many of my semesters in the next 3.5 years were only 12-14 credit hours as you CANNOT take courses out of sequence and I had completed most of the upper level science pre-recs already. (also, 11 credits was actually considered full time for nursing students only d/t this layout)


My GPA for the last 3.5 years averages out to 3.89 (pretty steady each semester)

Despite the fact that many of the nursing courses were, by default, pass/fail

(read: no padding since a smaller % of my credits affected my GPA)


Fast forward to now, I am completing Orgo I, Phys I and Biochem this semester (11credits)

Finishing Phys II and Orgo II next semester (10 credits)/MCAT/Apply June/July (next cycle)

Again, minimal credits :/ but for financial reasons, I am somewhat limited on taking too many more credits. I am working part time, and these are the only pre-requisites I have left to finish….plus I have already taken many of the other “upper level sciences” already as part of my undergrad so I don’t have many left that I could do….


If you are wondering about the difficulty of my undergrad in general, my nursing school was somewhat unique at the time (they have since lessened a few of the upper level requirements), they did require us to take courses that were also frequented by pre-med and pre-dent students: Microbiology with lab, upper level Nutrition, Pathophysiology with lab, Anatomy with lab, Pharmacology, and Genetics, all of which I earned good grades in, so I do have some “real sciences” on my transcript aside from basic pre-reqs.


My main concern is if and how I should present this to Adcoms. Will they be overly concerned that I often took 12 credits per semester? (I did work during school but only part time, and I have good school and career ECs despite them mostly being nursing leadership related) Should I discuss this light load somewhere on the application? If so, are there any suggestions for how I might approach it?


I appreciate any constructive advice, and would especially be thankful for any adcoms who might take pitty on me and drop a hint =)


Thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:
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Tradewinds

Tradewinds

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2013
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Medical Student
Thanks for the response NickNaylor! I will make sure to be ready for questions on this, if I'm granted interviews.
 

lobo.solo

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May 4, 2011
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Consensus on SDN is that you want to have a full-time student schedule. This is school dependent. That being said, it shouldn't be a deal breaker and I wouldn't mention it. Use the search function on here to gather info about how other nurses made a successful transition to medicine, I think it might be helpful to you. Also have a good answer for your change from nursing to medicine. GL
 

calvnandhobbs68

I KNOW NOTHING
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May 20, 2010
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The one thing I would be concerned about is the amount of pass/fail courses you have on your transcript, given that many of the nursing credits were pass/fail. Even though it sounds like none of your prereqs were P/F, schools typically don't like to see large amounts of P/F classes taken overall so that might be something you have to explain (by stating that you had no choice but to take them pass/fail). I wouldn't be terribly worried about the amount of credit hours especially if it's clear you were doing other things (like working) during that time. It may be brought up during interviews though (as was stated above).
 
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Tradewinds

Tradewinds

5+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2013
142
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Medical Student
Thanks for the clarifications and replies, much appreciated :)