Frequently asked questions: BSN

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FAQs for potential BSN applicants

Why do you only accept Registered Nurses?
We don’t teach students how to be Registered Nurses (RNs).  That education comes from a community or technical college RN program.  UW Tacoma "bridges" an RN to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). 

Do I have to pass the NCLEX-RN before applying?
No.  A student in the last year of an associate degree program may apply, but admission is conditional upon the following: 
    1. An associate degree in nursing must be completed prior to beginning classes at UW Tacoma
    2. The NCLEX-RN must be passed before the end of the second quarter as a BSN student

Does a pre-nursing associate degree transfer to UW Tacoma?
No.  A pre-nursing associate degree only transfers to “generic” BSN programs (those with a straight, four-year path to becoming a nurse).  By contrast, UW Tacoma is a bridge program, which requires an applicant to already be a licensed Registered Nurse.  UW Seattle offers a generic BSN.

Which prerequisites have to be completed before admission?
English composition and intermediate algebra must be completed prior to admission.  Other prereqs can be completed after enrolling in the BSN program.  Full-time BSN students must finish statistics before Autumn Quarter begins.  Note:  not all Natural World (science) prereqs are offered at UW Tacoma.

How can I tell if I've met your prerequisites?

Download the Transfer Student Planning Guide.  After your application and all official transcripts have been received, a University evaluator will determine if the requirements have been met.

Do prerequisites have to be taken within five years of BSN admission?
No.  Prerequisites don't "expire," so it doesn't matter how long ago they were completed.

Is intermediate algebra from high school accepted?
Yes . . . if you took three years of high school mathematics through intermediate (second-year) algebra.  Official high school transcripts must be provided. 

Can I delay taking foreign language?
Yes.  We strongly encourage applicants to finish foreign language before applying, but it is not mandatory.  A degree will not be granted until foreign language is completed, however.

I took a year of foreign language in high school and a quarter of it in college.  Does that count?
No.  You must take two years of the same foreign language in high school or a college-level 102 course (e.g. Spanish 102). 

When does a statistics course need to be completed?  Is it offered at UW Tacoma?
Full-time students need to finish stats before the beginning of Autumn Quarter (see approved course list).  Part-time students must complete statistics before Winter Quarter of their first year.  UW Tacoma offers statistics but it is fine to take it at a community college instead.

Is any basic statistics course acceptable?
No.  Students must take a course that has been approved by the UW School of Nursing.  See the approved list.  If a stats class isn't approved, you may send a full course description and details to UW Tacoma School Nursing and Healthcare Leadership.  We’ll review it to see if our standards are met. 

Can I tell if specific courses transfer to UW?
Yes . . . if you went to a Washington state community or technical college, see the UW Equivalency Guide.  The Office of Admissions can review your transcripts from other institutions.  Call 253-692-4742 for more information.

Is admission competitive?   
It varies year to year.  If the number of applications exceeds the available space admissions become competitive.  As a growing institution UW Tacoma and the School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership are always making efforts to meet additional demands.

How many applicants are accepted each year? 
Approximately 100 to 115 qualified applicants receive admission offers annually.  

How do I increase my chances of being admitted to the BSN program?
Read the BSN Application and Supplemental Materials Kit instructions very carefully.  Give thought to whom you might ask for each recommendation.  Be sure that your personal essay is well crafted and addresses each of the points listed in the instructions.  Send in all required materials and official transcripts before the March 15 application deadline!

Is it okay to use someone who isn’t a nurse as a reference?
Maybe.  A working nurse is preferred, although a physician or other medical professional might be acceptable if he or she was your direct supervisor or instructor.  In that case the BSN Committee would consider it.

Will an advisor meet prospective students?
Yes.  Please call the Office of Admissions at 253-692-4742 to schedule an appointment with an advisor. 

What’s the difference between full-time and part-time?
Typically, a full-time BSN is in class two days a week; a part-time student is in class once a week.

Why do full-time students have to start in Summer Quarter?
The full-time BSN takes four quarters to complete.  By starting in Summer, students graduate the following June.  Full-time students MUST begin in Summer Quarter.

Can part-time students start early?
Yes.  Part-time students may apply for Summer Quarter.

I applied for the wrong quarter!  Can that be changed?
Maybe.  This is an Admissions Office decision, please contact them at 253-692-4742.

Can my application be deferred? 
Maybe.  Changing the quarter of application quarter could necessitate a new application and fee.  See the Admissions Office website for information about deferring your application.

If I start full-time, can I switch to part-time?
Yes.  Students may slow down to the part-time path. However, part-time students cannot "speed up" to become full-time.  An academic advisor can provide details.

When are classes held?
Currently, BSN classes meet on Mondays and/or Wednesdays, generally in the afternoon and evening hours. Although class times vary somewhat each quarter, schedules are announced about 10 weeks in advance.

When is the application deadline?
The BSN application deadline is always March 15.  If all required materials are received by that date, the applicant is assured of a review.  Those completing the application after the deadline are considered as space allows.

Can the 10 credits of required electives be taken at a community college?
No.  BSN electives must be upper-division classes (300 or 400-level) that are taken in residence at UW Tacoma.

Why does it take so long for an admission decision?
Several steps must be completed before an admission offer is made.  Transcripts are evaluated, required materials are cataloged, and nursing prerequisites are assessed.  At that point, the BSN Committee considers admission decisions.  Depending on faculty availability and workload, their review could take days or weeks.  

How much does it cost to earn a BSN?
Undergraduate Nursing students take a minimum of 45 credits (more if they take stats or prereqs at UW Tacoma). Tuition will change, but the current rates are posted here (excludes books, room & board, transportation, and personal expenses): Quarterly Tuition Rates.

When is tuition due?
Tuition is always due the third Friday of each quarter.

Is there financial aid to help with tuition?
Yes. The school of Nursing announces annual scholarships each spring. These are limited to new and continuing Nursing students. The University offers campus-wide scholarships and financial aid resources.

The BSN requires only 45 credits.  If I'm part-time and only take six credits a quarter, does that affect my financial aid?
Good question!  Please consult the standard BSN program plan and speak with the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

I want to use tuition exemption as a state employee.  How does that work? 
State Employee/Tuition Exemption applies only to courses that have space available and are taught in a traditional manner.  Although many Nursing courses are taught in a traditional manner, they fill early, which results in no space available at the time of tuition exemption registration.  The program does not cover courses that are delivered with individualized instruction (such as T NURS 414, T NURS 499, T HLTH 499).  We hope this information helps students planning to fund their education with the State Employee/Tuition Exemption program.  For additional information, see the Registrar's webpage.

I went to college outside of the U.S.  Do you need my transcripts?
Yes.  Foreign transcripts must be reviewed by an approved credential evaluation service, and that report is submitted to the UW Tacoma Admissions office for an evaluation of transfer credits.  The Admissions Office will need official transcripts from each  school, along with a translation if the transcript is not in English, and a course-by-course evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) approved educational credentialing service such as WES or FIS.

I was educated outside the U.S.  How is English proficiency documented?

You need to have successfully completed two transferable English composition classes.  See the English proficiency requirements for transfer students on the Admissions Webpage for details.

My nursing education was outside the U.S.  Can that substitute for the NCLEX?
No.  The state of Washington has a process for licensing RNs who have passed the NCLEX in other countries.  Please see the Washington State Department of Health's website, and click the link to "Examination Application" for those trained outside the U.S.  Again, you would need to be licensed as a Registered Nurse in the state of Washington to be admissible to the UW Tacoma RN to BSN program.

I'm concerned about passing the criminal background check.  What kind of thing might be an issue?
See the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Secretary's List of Crimes and Negative Actions.  If questions remain, you may contact the School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Director.