Although there is high demand get a nursing degree in the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego areas, there are many nursing schools in Southern California available. Despite the intense competition, most students with a decent academic record will eventually find a college or university that will take them.
The competitiveness of your academic record should dictate which schools you should apply to. If your GPA is low, you will want to stick with California community colleges. If your GPA is high, you will want to apply broadly and widely to ensure that you get into a school somewhere although chances are good you will not have to wait for a year or two on a waitlist.
Southern California Nursing Programs at California Community Colleges
California community colleges select students for nursing programs with a lottery. You have the same chance as a 4.0 GPA student to get into a community college’s nursing school. However, you still need to complete the nursing prerequisite courses at a GPA level which gives you a reasonable chance of success. That minimum GPA for most community college nursing programs range from 2.50 to 3.00. After you’ve met minimum requirements on prerequisite courses, it’s up to the lottery to determine whether you get in or not.
Mount San Antonio College – MtSAC in Walnut, CA is located in the eastern part of Los Angeles county. It is the largest community college in the west. It is conveniently located to those that live east of Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire and northern Orange County.
Another community college option to consider is Cypress College’s RN Program in Cypress, CA (northern part of Orange County.) Their program admits 75% by rank order (academic merit) and 25% via chronological wait list.
Los Angeles County School of Nursing is known for the difficulty of their nursing school as well as producing highly regarded graduates. Their grads often have an advantage recognized by local employers when looking for nursing jobs in any economy.
Those in the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino area) might want to consider Riverside Community College.
Students who are in the San Fernando Valley or north should consider College of the Canyon ADN Program.
California State University and University of California Nursing Schools
Although the CSU and UC schools are publicly funded like the California community colleges, they are allowed to select students on the basis of merit. Due to the intense competition for admission to nursing school, a high GPA is required to get into most programs. Also, the low cost of getting a baccalaureate degree from a CSU or UC makes them very popular options for getting a BS in Nursing. For example, Cal State Long Beach has recently required a GPA of 3.85 to get into their school of nursing. That GPA is higher than many medical schools.
CSU Fullerton BSN – Fullterton, CA
CSU Long Beach BSN – Long Beach, CA
CSU Los Angeles BSN – Los Angeles, CA
CSU San Marcos ABSN – San Marcos, CA and Temecula, CA
UCLA School of Nursing for Freshmen – Los Angeles, CA
SDSU San Diego State University School of Nursing BSN – San Diego, CA
Accelerated Nursing Programs in Southern California
There are accelerated nursing programs in Southern California as well. In many cases, they are intended for those who already hold a baccalaureate degree. Unfortunately, there are budget pressures in publicly funded universities which have caused some accelerated nursing programs to become discontinued. Below are some popular accelerated BSN programs:
Mount St. Mary College Accelerated BSN Program – Los Angeles, CA
National University Accelerated BSN Program – San Diego, CA
Cal State Northridge Accelerated BS Nursing Program – Northridge, CA
SDSU San Diego State University Accelerated Online BSN – San Diego, CA
CSU San Marcos ABSN Accelerated Bachelor’s in Nursing – San Marcos, CA and Temecula, CA
Private University Nursing Degrees in Southern California
Private universities have stepped up to the plate with regards to providing extra seats to students in nursing programs. In some cases, these programs are not as competitive due to their high cost even though student loans are available to cover the cost of attendance. Nevertheless, the GPA requirements are usually lower than their public university equivalents. Keep in mind that this does not mean that GPA does not matter. Many students with GPA above 3.0 still get rejected. Students planning to earn a nursing degree from a private university in Southern California still need to do reasonably well in prerequisite courses to gain admission.
Azusa Pacific University BSN – Azusa, CA
Concorde Career College LVN Programs North Hollywood, Garden Grove, San Diego, and San Bernardino
Everest College – Ontario, CA
Kaplan College San Diego ADN-RN Program – San Diego, CA
Loma Linda University – Loma Linda, CA
National University – San Diego, CA
West Coast University – Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ontario