Graduating High School? Thinking about college? There’s so much to consider when it comes to getting ready for college: where to go, what to study, how to apply, how to pay for it all, and more.
It’s never too early—or too late—to explore your options for college. Inside this Guide are some key steps in preparing for college and resources that can help you along the way. You’ll have to take the time to research and understand your options, but you don’t have to do it alone. This Guide Can Help!
Why go to college?
More money, more job options, and more freedom. With less than a high school diploma the average income is just over $34,000 per year. With an Associates degree your earnings jump to more than $58,000 per year and $75,000 with a Bachelor’s degree. Earnings soar ever higher with a Master’s and/or Doctoral Degree at over $100,000 per year.
As a student or the parent of a student about to start college, the following checklists will help you get ready.
1. Work hard all the way to graduation—second-semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility.
2. Stay involved in after-school activities, and seek leadership roles if possible.
3. As soon as possible after its Oct. 1 release, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), at fafsa.gov, along with any other financial aid applications your chosen school(s) may require. You should submit your FAFSA® by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying, usually by early February.
4. After you submit the FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within three days to three weeks. This document lists your answers to the questions on your FAFSA and gives you some basic information about your aid eligibility. Quickly make any necessary corrections and submit them to the FAFSA processor.
5. If you haven’t done so already, register for and take the standardized tests required for college admission. Check with the colleges you are interested in to see what tests they require. pply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully. Follow the instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!
6. Well before your college application deadlines, ask your counselor and teachers to submit the required documents (e.g., transcript, letters of recommendation) to the colleges to which you’re applying.
7. Complete any last scholarship applications.
8. Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll.
9. Review your college acceptances and compare the colleges’ financial aid offers.
10. Contact a school’s financial aid office if you have questions about the aid that school has offered you. In fact, getting to know your financial aid staff early is a good idea no matter what—they can tell you about deadlines, other aid for which you might wish to apply, and important paperwork you might need to submit.
11. When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit. Many schools require this notification and deposit by May 1st.
Notes: a. Understand the FAFSA better by watching the videos in the “FAFSA: Apply for Aid” playlist at www.YouTube.com/FederalStudentAid. b. Follow or like the office of Federal Student Aid at www.Twitter.com/FAFSA and www.Facebook.com/FederalStudentAid to get regular financial aid tips. c. Make informed decisions about student loans. The following resources are important at this point: Federal Versus Private Loans and Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students
REMEMBER: Register for all tests in advance and be sure to give yourself time to prepare appropriately! If you have difficulty paying a registration fee, ask your school counselor about getting the fee waived.
For more information go to: https://studentaid.ed.gov
Nursing is challenging, interesting, and allows you to make a difference in people’s lives every day. Nursing is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. and offers a variety of medical settings. Nurses are near the top of the list when it comes to employment growth and income. In short, nursing can offer a career that is both personally and financially rewarding.
Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing (KSN) has announced exciting opportunities to help you become a nurse or advance your nursing skills.
RN-BSN: Competitive Price, Complete in Two Semesters
KSN offers an outstanding RN-BSN program in which RNs can complete their BSN in just two semesters, and for the lowest cost of any degree program the university offers. Classes meet one day per week for four hours. No course prerequisites, nursing exams, care plans, or clinical hours are required. Denise Burton, chair of the RN-BSN program, has particularly reached out to those who attended schools which did not have nursing accreditation, stating “We accept students’ RN licenses regardless of whether they graduated from an accredited institution or not.” Burton further noted that many of our students go on to earn advanced degrees. RN-BSN classes meet at the OKCU campus, at Mercy Hospital OKC, and at Norman Regional Hospital.
BSN and MSN: Nearly $500,000 in Scholarships for New Students
KSN recently received a gift creating “The Kramer Way” scholarship which will provide $400,000 for ten new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students and $90,000 for six new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students over a two-year period starting in fall 2019. The scholarship is named for the school’s commitment to its core values of caring, kindness, and respect.
In addition to helping students earn their first degree, the school’s BSN program also allows those who have a degree in another field to earn a BSN in just 18 months. “The scholarship is critical because many candidates exhaust their financial assistance while earning their first degree but this will allow them the financial ability to become a nurse,” said Dr. Lois Salmeron, dean of the Kramer School of Nursing.
Salmeron also indicated that few scholarships are available for graduate study, further making this opportunity unique. The school’s MSN program offers tracks in nursing education or leadership and features distance learning as well as a low-residency model which enables nurses living in communities outside of Oklahoma City to successfully complete their degree.
DNP: Student Support Eases Clinical Placement for FNP and AGACNP Students
KSN offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with two tracks, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), which can be completed with part-time study over four years. The school also offers certificate programs in each track. Additionally, the school has added a clinical liaison who manages clinical placement for the students.
Dr. Gina Crawford, chair of DNP programs, noted that while online schools have proliferated in recent years, attending a classroom environment allows students to experience individual interaction, hands-on skills workshops, and greater support from classmates, faculty, and staff. “The faculty get to know students’ strengths and weaknesses, and can evaluate their competency. Those in the AGACNP program are well prepared for management of acute, critical, and emergency care; while those in the FNP program are ready for primary care.”
Gabrielle Stuehm, a current FNP student added that “the OKCU Kramer School of Nursing FNP program has been such a wonderful experience for me. I believe that having weekly hands-on experience in class has put me at a great advantage in my post graduate education. The faculty has always been available to me when I need further understanding; additionally, the faculty wants us to succeed and do well in the FNP program. I am so grateful that I have been able to continue my education at OKCU.”
Information about Kramer School of Nursing academic programs, continuing education events, and campus facilities can be found by visiting www.okcu.edu/nursing or calling (405) 208-5900.
Lacy Smith, a Texas native, considers herself a Cowboy for life. For her, choosing to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Oklahoma State University was an easy decision.
The online program, which launched in Fall 2017 and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), provides students with a convenient and flexible option to complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as one year. With this degree, graduates are qualified for leadership roles in a variety of healthcare environments.
Advancing and enriching her career is exactly what Smith plans to do after she walks across the stage with her diploma next fall. She currently works as a delivery/charge registered nurse (RN) for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at OU Children’s Hospital as well as a staff nurse at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital. After obtaining her BSN, Smith plans to apply for a master’s or doctoral program so she can become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“My dream job is to be a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (CPNP-AC) as a cardiac intensivist, which means I’d care for infants and children following cardiac surgery,” Smith said. “I’ve always loved medicine. With nursing, I get to do it all. I never have the exact same day, and I love the challenge. I’m a caregiver at heart. I’ve always been most passionate about my patients and their families. I see them on their best and worst days, and I always want them to remember the care they received in a positive light, even in a bad situation.”
When Smith decided she wanted to complete her nursing degree so she could achieve her professional goals, it was important to find a program that accommodated her busy schedule. The full-time or part-time curriculum option offered at OSU was a huge selling point.
“The program is extremely flexible, which is necessary for someone like myself who has a husband, two jobs and no extra time,” Smith said.
In addition to flexibility, Smith sought an online learning experience that would be enhanced by personalized attention from qualified and invested faculty. That’s what she found in the OSU College of Education, Health and Aviation.
“The nursing faculty truly want to see students succeed, and they make themselves readily available to help,” Smith said. “This makes the whole experience.”
As most would attest, communication in an online program significantly impacts student satisfaction.
“Our faculty communicate extremely well, especially considering it’s an online program,” Smith said. “They offer a variety of ways to share information and foster relationships with our peers, which allows us to be successful. It’s easy to have a positive experience when you feel your efforts are not only noticed, but also celebrated.”
Ultimately, the mission of the RN to BSN program is to prepare nurses to practice professional nursing that meets the dynamic health care needs of individuals, families, groups, communities and global populations. Faculty facilitate the education of students in the art and science of nursing to provide leadership with an emphasis on ethics, wellness, cultural competency and population-based and professional inter-collaborative practice.
The OSU College of Education, Health and Aviation is proudly preparing leaders who power a better educated, healthier and more accessible world. Oklahoma State nursing graduates truly embody this through their passion, dedication and investment in providing the best possible care to patients and their families.
“There isn’t another profession like nursing,” Smith said. “My favorite nurses are caring and compassionate. We will do whatever it takes to help our patients be successful.”
Applications for the BSN program for Summer or Fall 2019 are now open. Interested students can review admission and pre-requisite requirements and apply online at nursing.okstate.edu.
There’s something special going on with the future of rural healthcare in Oklahoma and it’s taking place at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
Shelly Wells, PhD, MBA, APRN-CNS, ANEF is the Division Chair and a Professor at the school. A big smile covers her face when she describes how the Alva university is educating nurses to provide healthcare to rural Oklahomans for generations to come.
“We want to keep them out in the high-need areas so our curriculum includes education on rural nursing and that sets us apart from other programs in the state,” Wells said. “At this time, we are the only public university in Oklahoma that offers a BSN to DNP.”
Northwestern features three different options to advance your nursing education.
The traditional BSN program is offered at four different sites. Students who have earned their LPN may be admitted with advanced standing into the traditional program.
“We have provided access throughout four different sites throughout rural northwestern Oklahoma so that the students don’t have to travel to a main campus to receive their education. They can receive much of it near their home areas.”
An online RN-to-BSN program is available with no traditional clinical hour requirements that may be completed in 12 months. This program is designed for working RNs to complete their BSN.
A hybrid BSN-to-DNP program allows students to pursue their family nurse practitioner licensure without needing to obtain a Master’s degree first. Coursework is offered online with practicums close to the student’s home setting.
“We anticipated admitting six students the first cohort and 10 the second and we have admitted 25 so far in each cohort and it’s become a competitive entry process,” Wells said of the growing program.
A Nightingale Award of Nursing Excellence recipient from the Oklahoma Nurses Association, Wells takes pride in the program’s low faculty-to-student ratio and the relationships the faculty have forged at healthcare facilities across northwestern Oklahoma.
Allowing students to learn in their communities creates a natural draw for students.
“That’s the plan,” Wells said. “We have students completing clinical rotations in those four sites with the thought and hope they will stay in those sites to serve their home communities.”
The NWOSU Nursing program is nationally recognized for its accessibility, affordability, and program outcomes.
The BSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) and is approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN).
The BSN-to-DNP program for Family Nurse Practitioners has received provisional approval from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and has applied for national accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Education (CCNE) with a site visit scheduled in November 2019
The yearly application process for the traditional BSN program begins each October. The Online RN-to-BSN program enrolls students year-round and the annual application cycle for the BSN-to-DNP program opens every January.
With more than 30 years of teaching experience in nursing, Wells has closely followed the national trend calling for more BSN-prepared nurses.
“All the hospitals we have talked to in Oklahoma prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses and they are encouraging their staff to go back and complete their BSN,” Wells said. “We’re seeing those numbers increase.”
A BSN provides the foundation of study that can serve as a basis for pursuing advanced education in nursing.
And Northwestern provides options to do that close to home.
By any measure, Southwestern Oklahoma State University with campus locations in Weatherford and Sayre is considered by many to be the home of one of Oklahoma’s best universities. SWOSU is known for its quality programs having 14 nationally accredited academic programs—most among the senior regional universities in Oklahoma.
The SWOSU School of Nursing offers five programs: the traditional BSN program taught on campus and four online degrees for students who are already RNs: RN to BSN, MSN in Nursing Education (graduate), MSN Nursing Administration (graduate), and MSN Nursing Informatics (graduate).
SWOSU also offers online professional programs in Health Information Management, Healthcare Informatics and Information Management (graduate).
The university also has two contractual agreement programs between SWOSU and Caddo Kiowa Technology Center for the Occupational Therapy Assistant and the Physical Therapist Assistant Programs.
Six of SWOSU’s nationally accredited programs are in Health Information Management, Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology and Medical Laboratory Technician.
The university boasts professionally and academically qualified faculty who mentor students towards accomplishment of their goals.
SWOSU boasts one of the most diverse selections of academic college course options and the university is top rated in affordability. As always, SWOSU is dedicated to providing its students with a quality education while preparing them for the career of their dreams.
Weatherford is very accessible—located on Interstate 40, less than one hour west of the Oklahoma City metro area. The location is convenient for commuters and traditional students.
The OBU College of Nursing boasts a long and storied history of excellence in nursing education. The College continues to build on its decades-long reputation for educating nursing graduates who are skilled and in-demand. Always at the leading edge of nursing education, the OBU College of Nursing has been a trailblazer since its inception and continues that tradition of innovation and excellence today.
First in the State
In 1952, the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing approved OBU to launch Oklahoma’s first baccalaureate nursing program. This degree was the first four-year baccalaureate program for nursing in the state among all universities.
The first graduating class included 11 nurses in 1956, and the OBU nursing program was accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1960. This accreditation continued without interruption until the School of Nursing affiliated with American Association of Colleges of Nursing, its current accrediting body.
The College of Nursing now offers a Bachelor of Science with a strong liberal arts foundation, a BSN completion degree for nurses with an associate degree, an LPN to BSN, and a Master of Science in Nursing.
OBU nursing alumnus Travis DeWall, ’16, offered his perspective on why he chose to study nursing at OBU.
“I felt compelled to use my talents and efforts in a field that would allow me to directly serve others,” he said. “Nursing met this goal and is a career with the opportunity to expand my scope of practice in the future if I decide to. I chose the OBU College of Nursing because I felt the appeal of both rigorous academics and the valuable focused interaction with professors that only a school of this size can provide.”
Leading the Way into the Future
The OBU College of Nursing is housed in Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall, a state-of-the-art nursing education facility. The building opened in 2016 and delivers cutting-edge nursing education for both undergraduate and graduate-level students. It includes five classrooms, a 109-seat lecture hall and a computer lab as well as spaces for students to study, meet and interact with faculty. The facility also includes six state-of-the-art, high-fidelity skills simulation labs, a medium skills lab, a health assessment skills lab, and a home health and bathing training room, totaling 24 beds.
The facility is unrivaled in the state of Oklahoma, with its attention to detail and inclusion of real-world medical technology. This allows OBU nursing students to be ultimately prepared to enter the nursing workforce and prepares them more thoroughly for their careers than does any other higher education institution in the state.
Nursing Simulation Technology
The College’s simulations labs are the crown jewels of Stavros Hall. Their technology, design and cutting-edge practices are second to none. These labs bridge the gap between learning and practice, placing students at the front lines of patient care, all while under the watchful eye of their professors.
The high-tech simulation labs are equipped with the industry’s most advanced medical simulation solutions. Lifelike patient simulators are used to train students in various medical emergencies, allowing learners to acquire the clinical skills necessary to improve patient safety. Students have the opportunity to acquire hands-on practice using a birthing simulator, pediatric simulator and adult patient simulators.
All simulation scenarios are recorded, allowing instructors to conduct debriefing sessions with students in which video recordings are reviewed so that students can receive necessary feedback for improving their skills. The training curriculum consists of single- and multi-patient scenarios that include respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, maternal-child, trauma, mass casualty and disaster situations.
Patient simulators significantly enhance realism, as they can breathe, bleed, speak and even give birth to a lifelike baby that cries upon delivery. The lifelike devices also simulate complications and various life-threatening scenarios while allowing students to monitor vital signs and administer treatment.
With the addition of this facility, OBU continues to lead the state of Oklahoma in nursing higher education, a position familiar to the College since its earliest days.
He has spent 22 years training to fight for his country. Now, instead of firing a high-powered rifle at enemy combatants a thousand meters away, Craig Wheeler – a master sergeant in the U.S. Marines and father of four – is about to embark on a career focused on healing the wounded and comforting the sick.
Wheeler isn’t the only military man about to graduate from the University of Tulsa’s BSN program. After four years serving as boatswain mate second class in the U.S. Coast Guard, Daniel Chavarin is making a similar transition.
Essential skills for soldiering and nursing
For both men, military training provided skills and attitudes that have proven valuable for their nursing studies. “The biggest thing I learned in the Coast Guard was adaptability to change,” Chavarin says. “I also learned about leadership and communication. Nurses must be able to lead a team and advocate for a patient’s needs. You also have to be there at the bedside, listening to and communicating with your patient, trying to understand their goals – for life and treatment.”
Wheeler echoes his friend’s insights, adding that in the Marines “my job required me to learn a lot of complex things very quickly, and use them in challenging and dynamic situations. Both soldiers and nurses require this skill.”
Part of nursing is about skills; part is about core values: “If you’re not here to provide compassion and care to a patient, then you’re here for the wrong reason,” says Wheeler. “Anyone coming into this field needs to provide care and dignity for a patient who may have given all their vulnerabilities to you. You need to be able to take those vulnerabilities and be protective of them. And be vulnerable yourself, as well.” Chavarin expresses similar sentiments. Toughened on the exterior from years of chasing down drug smugglers and other criminals on the high seas, on the inside this father of two boys reveals an unexpected tenderness when he speaks of the affective dimension of nursing care: “The biggest thing you have to realize is you have to give part of yourself up to help take care of people who rely on you to be there for them. If you can’t do that, you’re going to fail at this job.” Chavarin pauses and continues, “we have to give our utmost respect and love to these patients in order to give them the best treatment and outcomes they deserve.”
Two nurses, two futures
Despite their similarities and what they both describe as a “brotherhood” discovered during their nursing studies, once they receive their diplomas Wheeler and Chavarin will pursue different paths. For the Marine, a new life as an ensign in the U.S. Navy will open up. After that, Wheeler foresees coming back to TU to become a nurse practitioner (NP) and then returning with his family to his roots in western Oklahoma to set up a country practice.
For the former Coast Guard sailor, however, civilian life beckons. Chavarin plans to stay in the city (his wife’s hometown), where he recently accepted a position in the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital. “My nursing path is in critical care,” says Chavarin. “Maybe someday I will look into becoming an NP. For now, though, I am eager to acquire specialized certifications, such as CFRN (certified flight registered nurse), and to build a career working in medical, surgical or trauma ICUs.” https://healthsciences.utulsa.edu/nursing/
There is no better place to earn an RN degree than by attending OSU Institute of Technology and receiving an Associate in Applied Science Degree. The OSUIT Registered Nursing Program is approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
“Our nursing labs feature advanced simulation mannequins – enabling practice for a wide range of nursing procedures. OSUIT’s Nursing Program provides: hands-on learning environments, experienced faculty, numerous employment opportunities with excellent salary potential, smaller cohorts, caring faculty, and faculty that want you to succeed,” states Dr. Jana Martin, dean School of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“We’re very proud of our graduates and the quality of our program. Upon successful completion of the degree program, faculty continue to monitor the student and their NCLEX-RN preparation. We guide them for success on licensure,” Martin states.
Upon successful completion of the NCLEX-RN, graduates are eligible for employment as a registered nurse helping people in a lifelong career that provides both personal satisfaction and great income. Dr. Martin said in the last several years OSUIT’s NCLEX pass rate has improved, and the trend seems to be continuing. Our graduates are normally offered a job before they graduate.
“We have a rigorous program. It has to be rigorous— we are dealing with patients’ lives, your family member’s life.” Martin said students who come to the nursing program are almost always surprised by how difficult and challenging it is, even for those who excelled in high school or other college programs. “It’s a new way of learning that they’re not used to. It’s a different type of memorization that adds application of the critical thinking process. There is a large amount of reading required and commitment from the student. It requires organization, flexibility, the ability to make tough decisions and prioritize. As one of our previous graduates, Carolyn Casey stated, “you must make choices to succeed.”
Students need a wide array of support at home as well to be successful. The training and education are tough because the profession is hard work, Martin said, and the faculty in the nursing program are continually working to ensure the program improves while also meeting the needs of the industry. “Our faculty make sure this is a quality program. They make sure we maintain our standards.”
“Everything we have done, and our accomplishments are because of our faculty,” she said. “They stay up to date on best practices and new technologies.” It’s all in service in making sure the students are prepared and knowledgeable when they start their careers. “We believe that our program prepares them for success not only in passing NCLEX-RN but the career of nursing as well,” Martin said.