Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the most common pace that students take to complete this program? What is
considered full-time or part-time?
Our RN to BSN program is very flexible. Most of our students are working full-time so the most common pace is to take 1-2 courses a semester. However, students are not locked into taking a certain number of courses every semester. They can choose to increase or decrease the number of courses they are taking a semester without these choices affecting their progression in the program. To qualify for financial aid, undergraduate students need to be taking at least 6 credits a semester, which usually consists of 2 courses. If undergraduate students take 12 credits a semester, they are considered full-time students.
- Do I have to take courses in a certain order or sequence?
Yes, there is a suggested sequence, but it is possible for some variation to meet the needs of individual students. A suggested sequence is posted on the website under the link “RN to BSN Schedule Options”. This sequence is designed to provide students with the appropriate preparation for each course. If you want to take courses outside of the suggested sequence, you should check with your advisor to see if your plan is reasonable.
- Are all the courses offered only online?
No, the program is also offered in a mixed delivery format (see # 4) at some geographic locations when there are enough students to offer the courses in this format. However, the online option is by far the most popular format, with close to 400 students enrolled in the online courses.
- What is meant by the term “mixed” or “blended” delivery?
This means that a course is offered face to face on designated dates at an off-campus site with the rest of the course meeting online. This will vary from course to course, but at least half of the class meetings take place online in this kind of format. The BSN Schedule Options & Current Sites link can be accessed from the website and will reflect all the current and proposed sites where mixed delivery is an option.
- How do I know if online learning is right for me? Is it easier than face-to-face?
If you would like to know if online classes are right for you, you can review the information and complete the online skills assessment at Ferris Online. Online learning is time-intensive for both faculty and students. Although there is more flexibility in the online learning environment, it is not easier than a face-to-face class. Instead, learning is different where students are more accountable for and directive of their learning and faculty are facilitators to guide students in meeting their learning needs. It is important for students to learn effective time-management strategies to guide them in this new, flexible environment. Prior to the start of each fall or spring semester, an orientation program is provided in designated regions of the state to help students acclimate to online learning. Students are urged to participate in one of these sessions if they have not enrolled in an online course before.
- If I start taking courses in a mixed delivery format, can I move to the fully online
Yes, the program is designed to allow for this kind of flexibility.
- Do I have to own a computer in order to enroll in this program?
Yes, or at the very least, you need to have daily access to a computer. Whether you are in a fully online or a blended/mixed delivery course, you will need frequent computer access to be successful in this program. See Connection Speed information and the Information Technology Services website for further information regarding technology and support available for our online students almost 24/7.
- How many hours can I expect to have to commit each week to each course? Can I manage
taking 2 courses at a time?
In online learning, students need to think differently about the total amount of time they spend completing a course. Success in a traditional classroom-based course often requires 3 hours of classroom time each week, travel time, and perhaps 7 to 10 additional hours for reading, research, and projects, the total time may remain the same in online courses but be distributed differently. In online learning, there are usually increased student-student and student-faculty electronic communication as well as an individualized time schedule for the student to complete the online learning assignments. Whether students can take 1 or more courses concurrently really is an individual decision. This decision is dependent upon the amount of hours the person is committed to work a week and time outside of work that is dedicated to professional and personal activities. Additionally, other responsibilities such as caring for an ill-parent or child, will determine how much coursework a person can manage at one time. Finally, there is personal perception. What one person may feel is manageable, may not feel manageable to another person.
- What if I find I cannot take any courses for a semester or two?
If conditions arise where students cannot take courses for a semester, they should communicate with their advisor so a plan is in place for continuation. Most courses are offered every semester online, which makes it easy to continue the program after an interruption. If students do not take courses for more than one semester, it is a university requirement that they will need to reapply for admission to the university. This can easily be done online by filling out another application. As with the original application, there is no fee.
- If I select the online program will I ever have to come to the Ferris State University
campus in Big Rapids or meet face-to-face?
There is a 4 hour orientation prior to starting the program which is delivered on both the east and west sides of the state or offered virtually for those who are out-of-state or have scheduling conflicts. This orientation provides students with the skills to be able to access our FLITE library services from their computer; ability to meet other students & the RN to BSN program coordinator and advisor; opportunity to learn how to access and navigate FerrisConnect, the online learning platform; and ability to receive additional information that will help them to be successful in the program. Otherwise all of the Nursing courses are online. We do encourage students to attend the graduation ceremony on campus upon completion, but it is not required.
- Can I transfer other undergraduate courses that I took elsewhere into the RN to BSN
When admitted, students can submit syllabi from previous graduate coursework to be reviewed and considered for transfer credit allocation. These courses must be able to be substituted for courses within the RN to BSN program curriculum in order to meet degree requirements. Not all transfer courses will necessarily apply to the program. A minimum of 30 credits of the total 120 program credits must be from FSU.
- Do I need to take courses that are not in the nursing major?
Yes. There are 26 nursing (NURS) credits in this program. In addition, students must meet the general education requirements for the BS degree from Ferris. Much of the coursework from the basic ADN or Diploma program will meet degree some of those requirements. However, students must fulfill general education requirements in areas outside of the nursing major: Communication, Scientific Understanding, Social Awareness, Cultural Enrichment and Mathematics. Most basic nursing programs include some but not all of these requirements. In addition, students earning a BS degree must have at least 40 credits at the upper division level, which means course numbers at the 300 level or higher. Students can complete remaining general education courses at Ferris or at another institution. Students should always consult their advisor to be sure that selected courses will fulfill the designated general education category.
- Are there any clinical courses in this program?
There are no traditional “clinical” courses in the program. However, the last course you will take as part of the program capstone experience is NURS 495 Senior Capstone Leadership Practicum. This is a project based leadership course that will require you to take a leadership role in the completion of a project. This 4 credit course requires a total of 120 hours for the project, with 90 of those hours as hands on project work. You can learn more about this course by clicking on the “NURS 495 Senior Capstone Leadership Practicum” link on the program website.
- Can I complete my practicum project at my current place of work?
Yes. However, the hours related to the project must occur outside of the student’s regular work hours. The intent is for the student to take on the role of student and active learner. If the student is in a work role with the responsibilities and accountability related to that role, he or she does not have the freedom to be in the learner role.
- Do all of the required hours for the practicum project have to take place face-to-face
with my preceptor/mentor?
No. It is expected that there will be regular meetings with the preceptor/mentor but that additional activities will take place away from these face-to-face meetings. For example, if a student is leading a project in a hospital during their practicum, he or she would probably create materials independently and then meet with the preceptor for feedback.
- What does the portfolio requirement entail?
As part of the RN to BSN program graduation requirements, students must submit a professional portfolio in NURS 450 Senior Capstone as they prepare for graduation. The framework for this portfolio is developed in the first NURS course, NURS 320. Then, the student continues to build his/her portfolio throughout the program that is reflective of the student’s academic and experiential attainment of the program outcomes.
- What does the Service Learning requirement entail?
Service Learning is a form of practical experience that enhances learning in all areas of a nursing program, and the experience of service learning reinforces the moral and civic values inherent in serving others. The faculty view service learning as an important component of the professional nursing program and, as such, you will be required to complete these activities prior to graduation. The nursing faculty at Ferris State University defines Service Learning as work done, or help provided, for another or others by faculty, staff, and students. Such activities for the professional nursing student will include documented service occurring outside assigned program activities and those not required by their employer. This activity may involve service to the community, University, or a health care institution or the nursing profession. Such activity is expected to enhance their professional development and should be related to health care.
- What about financial aid and / or scholarships?
Students should contact the financial aid office to discuss options for financial aid awards. We offer scholarship opportunities as they are presented to our university, however scholarships for students earning an advanced degree are less plentiful that scholarships for students in their first degree program. As scholarships become available, students who are eligible are notified by the School of Nursing. Students are also encouraged to contact their professional organizations because there are many additional scholarship opportunities available through state and national nursing organizations, such as the Michigan Organization for Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses to name a few.
- Who should I contact if I have further questions about the RN to BSN program?
The initial contact person for all of our online or off campus programs is Debby Buck in the College of Health Professions Student Academic Affairs Office. You can email Debby at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be able to assist you or direct you to the appropriate resource.
Updated: June 12, 2013