Frequently Asked Questions about the Nursing (RN & PN) Admission Process
What Every Advisory and Student Should Know
Revised 7/10/2017 

 

 

How many admission periods does the Health Professions Department have?
For the LPN and RN DAY program, students will be accepted into the program every spring and fall. For the RN EVENING program, students will be accepted every fall. Application deadlines for spring term admission will be November 1 (at 5:00 p.m.) and June 1 (at 5:00 p.m.) for fall term admission. 

Does that include Mobility students?
Yes. Lawson State Community College will only allow LSCC’s licensed PN graduates who return within two years of graduation to apply for the LPN to RN Mobility Program beginning in NUR 201.  All other interested LPNs student must apply as beginning nursing students and enter the program at Level 1.

Why has the college stopped its specialized Mobility Admission process?
In speaking with students and faculty and reviewing NCLEX data, the college determined that many mobility students benefitted from a review of core nursing principles that are established on Level We found that the practice of admitting students directly into NUR 200 put Mobility students at an academic disadvantage.  Thus, we feel this decision, in the end, will produce a stronger nursing student and strengthen content knowledge.

Can someone outline the New Admission Process for me in steps?
This information is posted on Lawson’s website; however, for a quick review here are the steps:

  • Obtain your ACT score of 18 or higher
  • Finish Pre-Nursing Prerequisites.  Although taking BIO220 before making application is not required, students are strongly encouraged to complete this course prior to making application.
  • Apply to the Program before the deadline (late applications will not be considered).
  • Await your initial notification (by mail).

Can I make an appointment with someone to (1) make sure I meet the requirements, (2) to go over my application or (3) to see what courses will transfer from my prior college?
In short, the answer is no. Although we understand that the application process can be intimidating, (1) all application requirements are provided on our website. (2) It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to be certain he/she is UNCONDITIONALLY accepted through Admissions Office AND submit a COMPLETE nursing application to the Health Professions Office. Please be sure to review the Applicant Checklist for complete instructions on submitting your application. Understand that NO ONE is exempt from any of the instructions listed on the checklist. (3) Once you make application to the college, the Admissions Office will do a thorough evaluation of all previous college credits after they have received all of your OFFICIAL college transcripts. ALL academic history MUST be reviewed. If you feel that one or more of your previous college courses should’ve transferred but wasn’t, contact our Admissions Office and ask that they reevaluate your credits. It is the Admissions Office that determines what courses will transfer into LSCC, they have the only say.

How much does the program cost?
The total cost of the PN program is approximately $10,000 and the RN program is approximately $15, 000. The cost includes tuition for general education courses and NUR courses, so the cost will go down if you have some or all the general education courses complete. The cost also covers books, supplies and all fees associated with the programs.

How long is the program?
The PN program is 3 semesters and the RN program is 5 semesters once accepted to the program.

What is the class schedules for the program?
For the DAY PN and RN program, classes will meet Monday through Thursday from approximately 8:30 am to 2 pm. Clinical rotations for the DAY programs typically run from approximately 6:30 am to 3:30 pm.

For the RN EVENING program, classes meet Monday through Thursday from approximately 4 pm to 9 pm and clinical rotations for the EVENING program typically run from approximately 2:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

There are SOME Friday requirements for testing. There are no weekend requirements, however there are occasional weekend volunteer opportunities (optional/not required).

I have attended more than one college, but took my prerequisites at just one. Do I really need to have all of my official transcripts sent to the Admissions Office?
Yes. Be certain to submit OFFICIAL college transcripts from ALL of the colleges you have attended, even if one of those colleges have previous college credits listed as transferred on that transcript or if you feel the previous courses won’t apply to the nursing program. All academic history must be reviewed. We strongly advise you to start this process well before the admissions deadline in case there are any delays. An incomplete Admissions application can result in your nursing application being declined.

If I submit all of my official transcripts to the Admissions Office, then I don’t have to submit unofficial transcripts with my nursing application, right?
NO. It is an ABSOLUTE requirement that the APPLICANT submit unofficial/student copies from ALL previous colleges WITH his/her nursing application. Also, refer to the answer above with regards to multiple college transcripts. ALL unofficial/student transcripts MUST be attached to your nursing application to be considered. It is not the responsibility of our Admissions staff or our Health Professions staff to locate the transcripts.

I don’t understand why I have to submit the unofficial/student transcripts with my nursing application if I already submitted the officials to the Admissions Office.
We understand that it may seem redundant for the student to submit two separate copies, however, we receive well over 100 applications PER program for each cycle. Our staff cannot be responsible for tracking down the transcripts for each of those applicants. Applications will be considered INCOMPLETE and will not be reviewed

I already have attended college and/or have a college degree. Do I still need to submit my ACT score?
Yes. The ACT is now part of the application process regardless of academic history for all nursing programs within the Alabama Community College System. The minimum score required is 18. The score earned on the ACT is the amount of points that is awarded to the applicant. There is absolutely no exception to the ACT requirement.

How long is the ACT score valid for?
Your ACT score does not expire.

I never took the ACT while in high school, can I take it now?
Yes. You have the option to take the ACT National exam, which is offered typically to high school students and the national test dates are posted on the ACT website: www.act.org  You also have the option of taking the ACT Residual. The ACT Residual offers more flexibility in terms of testing dates and locations. The ACT Residual MUST be taken at an Alabama Community College. ACT Residual results from any institution outside of the Alabama Community Colleges will NOT be accepted for your nursing application. LSCC ACT Residual dates can be found by clicking here:

Can I retake the ACT or ACT Residual if I didn’t make an 18 OR would like to see if I can make higher than an 18?
Yes. For the ACT National exam, please refer to www.act.org for information and restrictions. For the ACT Residual, refer to the testing center at the location you chose to test at for information and restrictions. We will use the highest of the scores that you submit with your nursing application.

When and how do I submit my ACT scores/transcript?
This is a very important question and it is something that you have to plan for before you make application to the program.  First, you have to contact request that your Official ACT score/transcript to Lawson State Community College’s Admissions Office. Keep in mind that you cannot be considered for acceptance without the official record on file, so it is important to periodically check with the Admissions Office to ensure that they have received your ACT score/transcript before the nursing application deadline. *Depending on how long ago you took the ACT, your score/transcript may take longer to be sent to the Admissions Office, plan accordingly so that you can meet the deadline. Second, you MUST to attach a copy of your ACT scores/transcript to your nursing application. There is absolutely NO exception. You are solely responsible for obtaining your score/transcript.

How can I prepare for the ACT or ACT Residual?
ACT resource/prep materials may be found online or on the ACT website at www.act.org

I am confused about what courses are considered ‘prerequisite’ courses vs. what courses are required to take before applying to the program?
We refer to ALL of the general education courses that are part of the PN and RN programs as prerequisites. To view the PN curriculum, click here and to view the RN curriculum, click here. Although we recommend that all general education courses are complete before applying to the program, it is not required. However, of all of the general education courses, we HIGHLY recommend completing the ‘point courses’ before you apply. The point courses are ENG 101, MTH 100 or higher, BIO 201 and BIO 202. Technically, if you have not completed any or all of the point courses, you can still apply only IF you are eligible for those courses, however, you will be required to successfully complete those courses as well as any other general education course by the end of the specific semester that the course is listed in on your program (PN or RN) curriculum. For example, if you have not taken BIO 201, you must be eligible to take it at time of application AND you will be required to successfully complete it with a ‘C’ or better by the end of your first semester in either program to be eligible to progress in the program.

Are all the courses listed on my DEGREE PLAN required for the RN program? (The difference between Track I and Track II)?
The answer depends on your goals. Your degree plan outlines all the courses required to earn a General Studies Associate’s Degree with a nursing concentrate, not an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. In addition, the courses on your degree plan are transferrable to a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. This is considered Track I. Track I students are looking to earn a General Studies Associate’s Degree before applying to our RN program and/or transfer to a Bachelor’s of Nursing. The Track II option is designed for students who want to meet our specific RN application/curriculum requirements only. If you compare your degree plan to our RN (Associate’s Degree Nursing) curriculum, you’ll see there are fewer general education courses listed on our curriculum. Based on what your goal is, that will determine what classes you will want to concentrate on. Some students take financial aid into consideration because if they complete all of the courses on the degree plan for Track I, they may deplete or use most of their financial aid and then not have enough to get though our RN program if accepted. Be sure to discuss your options with your advisor

If I completed all of the general education courses, would the program be shorter than 5 semesters for me?
No. The nursing courses are sequential and cannot be taken out of order. It is highly recommended to complete all of the general education courses for the purpose of being able to concentrate on the heavy load of nursing content without having to add a general education course to your work.

What points are awarded for the point courses?
Potentially, you can earn up to 12 points for the point courses:
A – 3
B – 2
C – 1
*Repeating either of the point courses MAY result in a deduction of points, see next question.

What about repeating point courses (ENG 101, MTH 100 or higher, BIO 201 and/or BIO 202) I have already passed (with a grade of “C” or better) or failed with a “D” or “F” or withdrew from the point course with a grade of “W”? Can I repeat either course over in the hopes of getting a higher grade and be awarded more points?
Lawson State Community College does not award the same points for course grades in which the student had to or chose to repeat the course.
There are three types of scenarios that can cause a student to fall under this Repeat Penalty.

  1. The student failed a point course with a grade of “D” or “F” and had to repeat it.
  2. The student withdrew from a point course and was issued a grade of “W”.
  3. The student originally passed a point course (the first time with a grade of “C” or better), but retook the class in an attempt to get a better grade within 4 years of making application to the nursing program.

Although repeating classes can help boost one’s GPA, it does not help in terms of boosting points earned for the specific course you retook.

Points earned for repeating a course (after being issued a “W”, “D”, “F” or “B” or “C”) are as follows:
A – 1.5
B – 1
C – .5
Thus, we strongly advise all pre-nursing students seeking admission to take all of their studies seriously and perform your best academically the first time you take any course.

This particular rule seems to be unfair.  Why is there a penalty for students repeating their point courses?
The college wants to be fair to all students making application to the nursing program.  And, as such, it feels that rewarding students who have already passed point courses by allowing them second-access to course material twice provides an unfair advantage to those students who cannot afford to take those courses over and over again.  We also want to get a better “read” on the academic standing of each student and feel that the first grade issued is the more reliable and fair for all students considered.

Can I appeal to the Committee if special circumstances led to me failing or withdrawing from one of point course?
Yes.  We do have a Repeated Course Appeal process. It is quite extensive, and there is no guarantee that your appeal will be granted by the Nursing Admission Committee.  Such decisions are treated on a case-by-case basis and require a detailed explanation and evidence that supports that a catastrophic event took place. For consideration, you would have to fill out a Repeat Course Appeal Packet and provide substantial evidence that supports your claim.  The packet is housed within the Nursing Application documents that are online.

What happens in the rare case that a Repeat Course Appeal is granted?
Although rare, the point course that you retook will be awarded full points for the grade you earned.

How will I know whether or not my appeal was approved?
The Nursing Admission Committee does not send that information out because the selection process is a private process.  However, if you would like to find out at a later date, you can always make an appointment to meet with the Associate Dean of Health Professions.  During that time, full disclosure of the Committee’s decision regarding your appeal will be shared with you.  The Associate Dean will only discuss whether or not the appeal was granted.  No discussion beyond that will be permitted.  This should be a fact-finding mission on your part only.

I’m confused.  What if I took a point course 10 years ago and passed it, but I want a refresher course?  Are you saying the college will penalize me and award me fewer points for repeating under those circumstances?
Great question; we thought of that as well and created a loop-hole for this rule.  The college does not penalize students who took a point course more than 48 months (4 years) before making application to its nursing program.  If there is a point course that you took over 4 years ago, and you would like to repeat it, you can and you will be awarded the regular points.  No Repeat Penalty will be imposed. 

I am currently enrolled in a point course at the time of the deadline.  Will my grade be added when I complete the course?
No, we will only accept grades that are on the transcript at the time of the application deadline.  If you chose to submit your application prior to the deadline, while enrolled in a point course that will be completed by the deadline, it is YOUR responsibility to submit an updated transcript with the final grade posted AND by the deadline.

Is there any other way to boost my total points for the application process?
Yes. Every nursing program within the Alabama Community College System may elect to award up to 10 additional points.  Lawson State has decided to award the points based on the grades in HPS 103 and MTH 186 IF the course(s) is complete by the application deadline.
HPS 103:                    A = 7 points            B = 4 points                      C = 2 points
MTH 186:                  A = 3 points            B = 2 points                      C = 1 point

*HPS 103 and MTH 186 are NOT required to take. Actually, the idea came about through student and teacher focus groups. Many students struggle as they try to bridge from pre-nursing students to nursing students. Thus, these courses are designed to strengthen pre-nursing students so they can transition better and enter the program stronger, if accepted.

Can I register for any HPS103 and/or MTH 186 course, regardless of time, day or campus?
Yes.  We try to offer both courses during on both campuses in the day and evening. The courses will make as long as we have enough students in each course. You can also consider taking either or both of these courses even if you won’t complete them before the deadline. While the extra points seem more attractive to our applicants, the content of the courses is designed to provide a strong foundation to the transitions to either program.

Will I be notified if my application is missing something?
No.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he or she submits a completed application and that all steps of the admission process are followed.  Be sure to thoroughly read the CHECKLIST that is made available on our website or by clicking here:     Please understand that NO applicant is exempt from ANY one of the items listed on the checklist.

I understand that I will be ranked against my peers and that acceptance into the program depends solely on my standing against the other applicants making application to the program. However, what does the Nursing Admission Committee look at, specifically?
The Nursing Admission Committee looks at the following when ranking students academically. 

  • ACT Score. (The ACT score must be at least 18)
  • GPA for ENG 101, MTH 100 or higher, BIO 201 and BIO 201 must be a 2.5 GPA or higher.
  • LSCC students must have a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA in addition to the 2.5 for the above courses.
  • Points earned for ENG 101, MTH 100 or higher, BIO 201 and BIO 202
  • Optional points earned for HPS103 and MTH 186 (not required)

How many students (on average) does Lawson State accept in its Health Professions’ Nursing Programs?
40 – 45 students per program, per application cycle. 

Is it possible to meet all qualifications for the nursing program and still not get an accepted into the program?
Yes.  This is true of every nursing program in the state.  Keep in mind that when you apply to the nursing program, you are entering a competitive process.  All colleges have a cap on how many students they will elect to bring in a program at any given time.  All students compete on a ranking system that includes their ACT score, GPA, performance in their Biology courses, teacher recommendations and HPS103 and/or MTH 1856course grades.  Example:  If 100 students applied and all met the minimum standard for being admitted, but the college was only accepting 30 students, then the top 30 would be accepted. 

When will I be notified after I make application to the program as to whether or not I am admitted?
Students will be notified in writing no later than the start of the next semester, after making application.  For example, if you apply for spring, you will be notified in writing before the start of the spring term in January.  If you apply for fall, you will be notified before the start of the fall semester in August.  It is our goal to review applications within two weeks of the deadline and place information in the nursing databank.  Afterwards, applications are sent to the College Admission’s Office for official calculation of the GPAs. Final review will be done by the Committee. 

Should I phone the office to speed up the selection process?
The Office of Health Professions does not address acceptance decisions by phone.  Calling the office will not speed up the process.  However, students are encouraged to call if they just want to check to see if the office has received all of their paperwork, etc…

Should I call the office to discuss with someone why I was not selected in the program?
Actually, you already have the answer.  Students meeting minimum qualifications to enter the program are not guaranteed admission.  Selection is based on a competitive ranking process.  If you were not selected to be admitted, then your rank (position) was lower than the number of students who were selected to be in the program.  Example.  Let’s say you were number 56 out of 100 students, but the college was only taking its top 50 students.  Under this scenario, you met the qualifications, but you were not high enough in the ranking order.

Can I appeal the decision of the Committee if I’m not accepted?
No.  The only option you have as a student is to reapply.  Remember, meeting minimum standards of admittance does not guarantee program admission.  Also, applying over and over to the same program does not increase your chances of being admitted.  You are re-ranked each year and are evaluated against other applicants making application to the program. 

Are alternates considered?
Yes.  The college always builds in 5 alternates per year, per campus.  That means that if we only enroll 50 students per term, we actually send acceptance letters out to 55 students with the understanding that some students (in the end) may not elect to attend Lawson State.  Once the five alternates (meaning the next 5 on the ranking listing) have been included, the college does not go back and add additional numbers beyond its first acceptance pool. 

Can I reapply to the program if I am not accepted?
Yes.  However, you will have to wait until the next application cycle to apply.  You will have to follow ALL of the same steps.  Your application will be ranked again against the new applicants.  Individuals reapplying should never assume there is an advantage to reapplying in terms of ranking.  All applicants are treated equally and fairly.

If you have read this entire Q&A booklet and you still have unresolved Questions, email us at nursingquestions@lawsonstate.edu  or Contact us—Nursing Questions Submission  email address from the Health Professions’ link. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can.