Even with a 3.5 undergrad GPA and healthcare experience, Kathryn couldn’t find a nursing school in New York that could supply her with the quality education she wanted to fast-track her transition into the profession.
After taking a year off, the combined psychology-biology major from Long Island was done waiting to start nursing school. So she cast a wide net in pursuit of her career goal, searching for accelerated nursing programs in and around New York City.
She soon realized, though, just how tough it was to even hear back from some schools, let alone get accepted to one. Some schools denied her; others put her on their waitlist.
“It was definitely a hard time applying, spending all the money on applications, sending your letters of recommendation, essays… I even took an EMT course to get myself into the field and get some medical terminology background but it didn’t help my application at all to those schools, unfortunately, because of the abundance of people that apply,” she says.
It wasn’t until she discovered the Utica College Accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in Syracuse, New York, that she knew she landed on the right program for her.
Kathryn became interested in the healthcare field as an undergrad at Stephenson University, and knew after internships working in lab settings that she wanted a career path that allowed her to interact with people more. Nursing school felt like the next logical step for her after taking a year off to travel and work in a doctor’s office as a medical assistant.
“I felt like I was one step away from becoming a nurse and doing what I really wanted to do, so better late than never,” she says. “I didn’t want to wait any longer.”
She actually started researching nursing schools her senior year, with her academic counselor pointing her in the direction of accelerated nursing programs. That’s when she found Utica College’s 16-month ABSN program, which currently has no waitlist because it offers three start dates per year in January, May and August.
Kathryn’s first point of contact with UticaABSN, an admission representative, set the right supportive tone for the rest of her nursing school experience — a breath of fresh air after sometimes receiving no response from nursing schools she applied to in New York City, she says.
“This has been the easiest transition; my admission representative was amazing,” she says. “She would call to check up on me and make sure everything was going smoothly. Once I finally submitted everything, she would give me status updates. It was nice not to be waiting on an answer.”
Because of the competitiveness of getting into nursing schools in New York City, Kathryn extended her search as far as Maryland, she says, so relocating for nursing school wasn’t off the table for her if it meant she could start sooner.
Even though UticaABSN is an online-based program, it also involves on-site components such as skills and simulation labs and clinical rotations at top area hospitals. For Kathryn, that meant moving from Long Island to Syracuse to enroll in our program.
“Relocation wasn’t necessarily what I had wanted at first, but when I compared (UticaABSN) to the other programs I was looking at in the city, this one seemed better,” she says.
To solidify her decision, Kathryn’s admission representative offered up ways to make her move as seamless as possible.
“She provided me with a list of places in the local Liverpool area and some toward Syracuse,” she says. “Also, at first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live with a roommate because I had in the past, so she helped me connect me with a few people. … She was very helpful.”
Learn more about relocating to Central New York for nursing school in this free guide.
Moving to a new area to start nursing school seemed intimidating to Kathryn at first, but once she got to know the fellow nursing students in her cohort and developed relationships with her professors, the transition became easier. One semester in, she already feels at home in Syracuse, she says.
“You become close-knit and develop a sense of community that you’re all in this together and working together to achieve your goals. That was something I was nervous about, moving away from home not knowing anyone in this area,” she says. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to to either work through it or talk about it.”
Accelerated nursing school — no matter where you choose to enroll — is intense and requires your utmost focus and dedication. The fact that Syracuse was removed enough from the hustle and noise of the city but close enough for her to return if she ever needed to also appealed to Kathryn.
“Syracuse is peaceful and relaxing. I don’t have to worry about noises or disruptions, even noisy neighbors. The apartment community I live in is great; I haven’t had any issues. On a relaxing day, it’s nice to go walk around the lake. It’s so scenic and Zen,” she says.
Syracuse’s downtown district offers plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment venues, while area parks provide a respite from busy city life.
UticaABSN’s blended approach to learning also stood out to Kathryn. It was a major factor in her decision to relocate to Syracuse for nursing school because of the way it combines online courses, simulation and skills labs and clinical rotations at top area healthcare facilities.
She admits at first she was unsure of how the online component would work, but since enrolling in nursing school, it’s become one of her favorite parts of the program.
“In regular undergrad when I had to go to class all the time, I took two online courses and hated both of them,” she says. “Now that all my classes are online except for our labs, I love it. I love the ability to go home after lab. If I need a break because I was just in a three-hour lecture, I can, and then get started.”
Kathryn says if not for the Utica College ABSN program, she likely would still be working at her 9-to-5 job, applying to more programs and waiting to start nursing school. Her advice to those anxious about relocating for nursing school? Don’t be.
“If you know nursing is a career you want to get into but you’re nervous about some aspects like location or online learning, just do it,” she says. “I was nervous, and now that I’m in the program, I wouldn’t even think to do anything else.”
If you’re like Kathryn, the Utica College ABSN program may be the perfect fit for you, too. Reach out to one of our admission representatives and someone will be in contact with you soon.
Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.