Nursing FAQs

Applying to WSON | About the Nursing Program | Transferring Courses | Clinical Year | After Graduation

Applying to WSON

How do I apply to the Nursing program?

If you are graduating from high school, you are a "traditional student" and need to apply to St. John Fisher through Freshman Admissions. When you are accepted, you declare a nursing major. In your freshman and sophomore years you will take the seven prerequisite courses needed for nursing (Anatomy (BIOL 105), Physiology (BIOL 106), Microbiology (BIOL 107), Chemistry (CHEM 120), Nutrition (BIOL 108), Statistics (ECON 221), and Development Across the Lifespan (PSYC 231)) and work on the college core (total 60 credits). You will also take the Freshman/Sophomore Nursing Seminars offered each semester. These are S/U graded 0 credit hour classes offered monthly to discuss contemporary nursing practice. As part of the College Core, you will need to take an Ethics course (P2).

There is a separate application process to begin the clinical portion of the nursing program in your junior year. You must apply to the Wegmans School of Nursing (WSON) by March 1 of your sophomore year for admission to the fall junior class. To be considered for the clinical portion of the nursing program, you need a minimum GPA of 2.75 from all previous college work, a "C" or higher in each of the seven prerequisites and a prerequisite GPA of 2.4 or higher (includes all attempts), a completed application (application form, essay, two references) and a score of 84% or higher on the Level A math screening test given at the Math Center.

If I already have a bachelor's degree and/or a master's degree - what is the application process?

If you are "second degree" or "second career" student, you apply to the college through Transfer Admissions. You should request official transcripts for all college level work and, once accepted, meet with a Transfer Admissions counselor to determine when you will be ready to apply to the Wegmans School of Nursing for the clinical year. Although the college core is waived for anyone with an undergraduate Bachelor's college degree, the seven prerequisite courses (Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Statistics and Development Across the Lifespan) must be done with a grade of "C" or higher  and a prerequisite GPA of 2.4 or higher (includes all attempts) before starting the clinical portion of the nursing program. You apply to the WSON (application form, essay, two references) and pass the math screening test (grade of 84% or higher) the semester before you are ready to start the clinical year. In order to be considered for the clinical portion of the nursing program, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 from all previous college work. Transfer admissions are competitive - so the higher your GPA, the better your chances of admission. 

If I am a transfer student from a community college and I don't have a bachelor's degree, how do I apply for the Nursing program?

If you are transfer student, you apply to the college through Transfer Admissions. You request official transcripts for all college level work and, once accepted, meet with a Transfer Admissions counselor to determine when you will be ready to apply to the Wegmans School of Nursing for the clinical year. You need a grade of "C" or higher for the seven prerequisites courses for nursing (Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Statistics and Development Across the Lifespan) and a prerequisite GPA of 2.4 or higher (includes all attempts) and most of the college core (total 60 credits) done before you start the clinical part of the nursing major. You apply to the WSON (application form, essay, two references) and pass the math screening test (grade of 84% or higher) the semester before you are ready to start the clinical year. In order to be considered for the clinical portion of the nursing program, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 from all previous college work. Transfer admissions are competitive so the higher your GPA, the better your chances of admission. 

If I am a LPN, how do I apply for the BS in Nursing program?

If you are LPN transfer student, you apply to the college through Transfer Admissions. You should request official transcripts for all of your college level work and, once accepted, meet with a Transfer Admissions counselor to determine when you will be ready to apply to the Wegmans School of Nursing for the clinical year. You need a grade of "C" or higher for the seven prerequisites courses for nursing (Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Statistics and Development Across the Lifespan) and a prerequisite GPA of 2.4 or higher (includes all attempts) and most of the college core (total 60 credits) done before you start the clinical portion of the nursing major. You apply to the WSON (application form, essay, two references) and pass the math screening test (grade of 84% or higher) the semester before you are ready to start the clinical year. In order to be considered for the clinical portion of the nursing program, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 from all previous college work. Transfer admissions are competitive so the higher your GPA, the better your chances of admission.

If I failed nursing courses at another school (AD or BS), can I apply to WSON?

Students who have failed nursing courses or who have been dismissed from other nursing programs for academic or non-academic reasons are not eligible for admission to the WSON nursing program.

Students who have started the clinical portion of a nursing program and wish to transfer to the WSON need to provide a letter from the program Chair, Dean, or Director stating that the nursing student is leaving that program in good standing.

Are there scholarships for nursing students?

When students apply to Fisher either through Freshman Admissions for traditional students or through Transfer Admissions for second degree, second career or transfer students, they should complete the FAFSA form. Most nursing scholarships are awarded through financial aid packages. All transfer students are reviewed for eligibility for transfer scholarships based on their GPA and related criteria.

Resources are available on the Nursing Scholarships and Financial Aid page.

In the junior and senior year, notifications for opportunities to apply for additional scholarships are sent to students by email. Some of these scholarships are based on need and others on academic achievement.


About the Nursing Program

What is the number of men/minority/transfer/second degree students in the program?

Over the last 3 years, the typical class has had approximately 10-12% male students, 10-12% students from underrepresented groups, 33% transfer students and 10% second degree students.

How many transfer students do you admit each year?

The fall class of 96 nursing students typically has 20-30 transfer students and the spring class of 64 has 30-50 transfer students - a combination of second degree, second career and community college students.

What is the typical week like in the Nursing Program?

Students in the junior and senior clinical years have classes 2-3 days a week and clinical or labs (both acute care and community care) 1-2 days a week. Most clinical experiences are Monday through Friday during the day but occasional evening and weekend clinical groups are scheduled. Juniors have a 10-day preceptorship (every day) at the end of their second semester. If you have additional core/elective courses to work on, these need to be scheduled around your nursing classes and clinical assignments.

Can I still work while I am in the Nursing Program?

Many students continue to work while in the nursing program. Students will be busy in class and clinical four full days a week. Nursing students in the clinical years should plan on 12-15 hours of prep time a week in addition to time needed for writing papers and studying for exams (3 credit class = 6 to 9 hours of outside class work).

Can I declare a minor while I am in the Nursing program?

Yes. A Minor in Spanish/Latino Culture for the Health Professions is offered that has a seven course sequence (20 credits). Information is available in the Undergraduate Catalog. Students who have Spanish language courses should meet with the Modern Language Program Director to see if they can receive credit for previous course work. Traditional students should declare the minor on admission. Transfer students can declare the minor and meet with their advisor to formulate a course plan to include the courses in the minor while they are working on the prerequisites for nursing and the college core.

Students interested in other minors should consult the plans of study in the Undergraduate Catalog in the specific discipline. They should also meet with the Chair of the Department in that minor to coordinate their plan of study. There is limited time to take additional courses in the junior and senior clinical years. Students should have a significant number of the courses in their minor completed when they start the junior year.

What if I fail a nursing course?

Any "NURS" course in the nursing program that a student does not achieve a grade of C or higher (75%) can be repeated once - often the next semester. Clinical courses are sequenced and both the class and clinical components must be passed together to progress to the next level of clinical courses. Failure of the same nursing course twice or two "NURS" courses results in dismissal from the nursing major. Students in good academic standing at the college can declare and complete a different major.

Do you have an accelerated program for second degree students?

Second degree students apply to the college through Transfer Admissions and then to the WSON for the Junior Year (4 semester) BS program. At this time there is no year-round program.

Do you have a LPN program?

No. The BS degree in Nursing is a four year degree leading to licensure as a Registered Professional Nurse.

Do you offer part-time study for the BS in Nursing?

The undergraduate BS program is designed for full-time study. If there are open seats* in the clinical year, students who want part-time study can meet with the program chair for an individualized program of study.

*This is on a space-available basis only.

Does Fisher have day care facilities?

There is an Early Learning Center on campus. Interested students should contact the ELC Director for information at (585) 385-8327 or by visiting the Early Learning Center website.


Transferring Courses into the Program

Can I do the prerequisite courses and/or college core courses at a Community College?

Yes. You can transfer in a maximum of 66 credits from a two-year program. You should make sure the courses you take at the community college are the appropriate level to transfer for specific core and prerequisite courses at Fisher. Check with Transfer Admissions counselors at Fisher while planning your course selections.

How "old" can my courses be to count towards my degree?

The seven prerequisite courses (Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Nutrition, Statistics and Development Across the Lifespan) must have a grade of "C" or higher and be done within the last 10 years. Prerequisite courses more than 10 years old must be repeated. Core courses can be done any time and if they are part of an undergraduate degree, there is no time limit.

Do courses from other nursing programs transfer?

Nursing courses from two year AD programs do not transfer to the traditional nursing program. (The AD in nursing degree does transfer for the RN/BS completion program). Nursing courses from four year BS nursing programs are reviewed and awarded transfer credit on a case-by-case basis by the program Chair for a fit with the WSON undergraduate nursing curriculum.


Clinical Year

How much clinical experience do students get in the BS program?

There are eight clinical courses for a total of 19 credit hours or 800 clinical hours. Students are strongly encouraged to work in a clinical setting over the summer and internships and jobs are available in local hospitals and agencies.

When do undergraduate nursing students start clinical?

Students in the first semester of nursing (junior year) start clinical for NURS 300 Foundations within the first few weeks of the semester. There are 1-2 clinical courses in each of the following three semesters.

Do you only admit nursing students into the clinical year in the fall?

Students are admitted in the fall and spring semesters.

Every fall, up to 96 students are accepted into the junior class to start the clinical year in nursing. These students are both traditional students who started at Fisher out of high school and transfer students who enter directly into the clinical year from other colleges or community colleges. Many of these students are adults with other degrees who are starting second careers.

A class of 64 students is admitted in January each year.

What clinical facilities do you use?

Students have the majority of their clinical experiences at local hospitals including Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, Unity Park Ridge, and St. Mary's Hospital. Regional hospitals including FF Thompson (Canandaigua), Newark Wayne Hospital, Clifton Springs Hospital, and Lakeside Hospital (Brockport) are also used for the junior clinical block experience. Students also work with patients and families through community agencies such as the Visiting Nurse Service, Lifetime Care, and HCR.

What happens if I am on the "wait list" for admission to the clinical year in the WSON?

You should keep in touch with the nursing school by email. You will be notified if/when a spot opens - up to the first day of the semester. While you are on the wait list, you should make sure all of your requirements to start the clinical year are done (physical, immunizations, documentation of a PPD within the last year, current CPR certification, flu shot within the last year, and Hepatitis B series). Usually 10-20 students enter the program from the wait list each semester.


After Graduation

What salaries do new grads in NY make?

Currently new graduates in the Greater Rochester area who have a BS in Nursing and a RN license start at $40,000-$45,000 (about $22.50/hr). Salaries are higher in larger urban areas (e.g. New York City and Boston). Salaries also increase with additional specialization at the master's and doctoral levels.

Do you help new grads get jobs?

Students often are recruited and offered jobs from the nurse managers in settings where they are in student clinical placements or summer jobs.

The SJFC Career Center has a Career Fair each November with hospitals, home care, and long-term care agencies from the region.

Resume preparation and interviewing skills are included in the senior year courses to prepare the new graduate for the workplace. Recent grads have enjoyed full employment for those looking for full-time and part-time positions.

How do new grads do on the NCLEX-RN license exam?

Our graduating BS students are constantly at or above the state and national average for BS Programs. All undergraduate students take a NCLEX-RN prep course in their final semester of the senior year. They are educated about the computerized adaptive testing (CAT) format for the licensing exam, review test-taking and stress management strategies, review the application process and complete practice questions.


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