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Your Questions Answered: Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

The University of Providence’s Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Vander Werff program offers a traditional college path for recent high school graduates and transfer students who are interested in pursuing a career as a registered nurse. The Vander Werff program combines a two-year liberal arts education with a two-year nursing program to provide students will a comprehensive understanding of the core principals, practices, and skills required to serve as qualified nursing professionals and lifelong learners within healthcare.

Explore questions about the Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

What is the difference between the Accelerated BSN and Vander Werff?

There are major differences between the Vander Werff traditional BSN program and the Accelerated BSN program. The Accelerated BSN is a one-year hybrid degree program for students seeking initial licensure as registered nurses. To be eligible to apply for the program, accelerated BSN students are required to hold an existing bachelor’s degree in any field. The traditional BSN program is a four-year degree program for recent high school graduates or transfer students who are aspiring to become registered nurses. Traditional BSN students are not required or expected to have any previous college experience or professional nursing or healthcare experience. Students will complete two years of pre-nursing courses and two years of didactic and clinical nursing courses.


Will there be academic support available to me through the program?

Yes. Our nursing faculty, staff, and administrators want to see you successfully graduate from the program. If you require or need academic support, several on-campus academic support services are available – including TRIO Student Support Services, academic tutoring, academic counseling, and faculty advising from a nursing program faculty member. You can learn more about our academic services and how to utilize them through our student academic support page.


My GPA was 2.5 in High School, but I want to become a nurse. Can I still enroll?

Yes. You can enroll in our program as a pre-nursing student. As a pre-nursing student, you can boost your GPA while taking the core curriculum required of our BSN students.  After two years of taking courses in the core curriculum, you can apply to enroll in the Vander Werff program.


Can I play a sport as a nursing student? I want to apply for an athletic scholarship.

Yes. Vander Werff nursing students can play a sport. However, you should consider the extra-curricular demand of our Vander Werff clinical schedule in your junior and senior years. So long as you can manage a sport on top of your clinical schedule, you can play sports all four years.


Is it possible to get a double major or a minor in addition to my BSN?

Yes. There are no restrictions on earning an additional major or minoring in another program as a Vander Werff student. However, you should consider the additional demand of our Vander Werff clinical schedule in your junior and senior years. So long as you can manage the additional coursework from another major or a minor on top of your clinical schedule, you can play a double major or earn a minor.


Are there courses I take in high school to bypass some of the courses in the first two years?

As a high school graduate, you do not have the course history that would qualify you for course credit. However, if you want to take summer courses following graduation, you can enroll in the Consortium.  Courses offered in the Consortium are approved by our core faculty. If you pass the courses with the required GPA, you may apply for those courses as course credit toward your BSN.

**Be advised that not all core coursework is available in the Consortium**


What is the difference between Direct Entry and Pre-Nursing Admission?

Direct entry admission students are accepted into the Vander Werff program as freshmen, reserving their seats in later nursing courses and clinical placements as they complete their pre-nursing requirements. Pre-nursing admission students do not reserve a seat in the Vander Werff program as freshmen. Pre-nursing students will enroll in UP under the pre-nursing major, completing two years of pre-nursing requirements before reapplying for admission into the Vander Werff program.


I go to a different University; can I transfer my credits and enroll in the program?

The Traditional BSN program is accepting transfer students from outside colleges and universities on a select basis. Applicants interested in transferring to the University of Providence to pursue a degree in Nursing should contact the Office of Admission before completing a NursingCAS application.


How many courses will I take per semester as a nursing student?

As a full-time student, you will take an average of five classes per semester. Depending on where you are in your academic journey, courses may be added or removed from your schedule. You can speak with an academic or faculty advisor for more information on the courses you’ll take.


How many hours outside the classroom should I expect to spend working on coursework?

The amount of time you will need to spend outside of the classroom working on coursework can vary depending on several factors, such as your learning style, level of preparedness, and the specific course you are taking. In general, it is suggested that students spend at least 20-30 hours per week working on coursework outside the classroom. However, this number can fluctuate per student.


How Intense is the Vander Werff nursing program?

Nursing programs, in general, are often considered to be rigorous programs. The Vander Werff program is no exception. As a student, you must be highly motivated and dedicated to your studies to succeed. You should expect to spend significant time working on coursework outside the classroom. In addition, you can expect to spend time on clinical hours and classroom learning. To be successful, you will need to find a way to balance your time effectively, making sure set-aside time for your hobbies and interests, as well as physical and mental self-care.


I live in the Great Falls area and want to commute. Can I still apply for the program?

Yes. Commuting to school is possible. However, it’s important to remember that the Vander Werff program is a rigorous and demanding program that requires significant time and effort inside and outside the classroom. While balancing your responsibilities as a commuter student may be challenging, it is possible with careful planning and organization. UP offers a variety of academic services to help our students succeed, including on-campus tutoring, study rooms, and more.


How competitive is the Vander Werff program?

Vander Werff is a very competitive program. Not all students who apply will be accepted. Both direct entry and pre-nursing applicants must meet specific requirements for admission into the program. Failure to meet those requirements may disqualify you from eligibility. To increase your chances of being accepted into the program, you should prepare for admission as soon as possible. Make sure to have a strong academic record, be highly motivated, and have a clear idea of what you hope to gain from the program.


What documents are required of me to apply for the Vander Werff program?

When applying for the Vander Werff program, you should be prepared to submit your transcripts, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Be sure to put extra effort into your statement, including why you want to pursue the Vander Werff program and how you will handle the program’s demands as an on-campus or commuter student.


What is the difference between didactic and clinical coursework?

Didactic coursework, also known as classroom instruction, is the theoretical part of nursing education. It typically includes lectures, discussions, and exams that cover various nursing topics, such as health assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. The primary focus of didactic coursework is to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand nursing concepts. Clinical coursework, also known as clinical experience, is the practical part of nursing education. It typically includes hands-on training in a real-world setting, such as a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. During clinical rotations, students work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) to apply the concepts and skills they have learned in the classroom to real patients. The primary focus of clinical coursework is to provide students with the experience and skills they need to become competent and safe practitioners.


Will I be responsible for my clinical placement?  

It is expected that the school and your clinical faculty will arrange and coordinate the clinical placements for the students enrolled in the Vander Werff program. However, you will have a responsibility to maintain good communication with your clinical instructor or clinical placement advisor. Having good communication and maintaining good professional conduct is essential to securing and maintaining a good clinical placement. This is especially important during clinical hours, as you will be representing the Vander Werff program and the university. Your behavior and conduct should reflect well on the program.


I am a current student at UP who is interested in enrolling in the program. Am I able to do so?

Yes. Currently enrolled students can enroll in the pre-nursing major, which is tailored for those interested in pursuing a career in nursing but did not qualify for or initially apply until direct entry. The process of applying for and getting accepted into the program will depend on many factors – such as meeting application deadlines, academic requirements, and clinical placement availability. It is recommended that you speak with an academic advisor, the nursing program director, or a nursing advisor to better understand the requirements, process, and demands of the program before making any decisions.


What is the process of changing to the pre-nursing major as a currently enrolled student?

In most cases, it is possible to change your major to pre-nursing. However. there may be some requirements or prerequisites that you will need to meet before you can do so. You can start the process by speaking with your academic advisor, nursing program director, or nursing advisor to understand the process of transferring to the nursing major.  They will help you understand the requirements and prerequisites and the specific steps you will need to take to change your major.


My cumulative minimum GPA will not be above 3.0 after pre-nursing. Can I still apply?

While having a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is a requirement for admission to the Vander Werff program, it’s not the only criteria considered. Even if your cumulative GPA is below 3.0, it’s still possible to apply for the program. If you have a cumulative minimum GPA below 3.0, you should speak with an academic advisor or counselor to understand if extenuating circumstances may apply, or if there are any opportunities available for you to raise your GPA before applying for the program.


Can I complete the program as a part-time student?

The Vander Werff BSN program is designed for full-time academic study. Part-time coursework is not possible due to the rigorous demands of the program – which requires a significant time commitment and availability. In addition, clinical placement is based on the number of full-time students. Therefore, if you are unable to commit to the Vander Werff program full-time, you may want to reconsider.