Nursing school has a lot of difficult pre-requisites, and students are often in a hurry to get them done so that they can get started with what they really want to do…becoming a nurse! So it’s very tempting to take short-cuts in an effort to speed things along. That’s not necessary a bad thing, unless your “shortcut” backfires. A shortcut that doesn’t work will waste your time, energy, and money.
One common shortcut that pre-nursing students look for is online classes. Online classes are great because they allow for a flexible schedule where you can work at your own pace. In fact, I’ve often seen nursing students ask about taking their Anatomy & Physiology classes online (I even asked that question myself when I was still pre-nursing!). Here’s the important things you HAVE to consider before taking an online Anatomy & Physiology class.
Is the A&P class completely online, or is it a “hybrid?”
All A&P classes should have 2 parts: Lecture (3 credits), and Lab (1 credit). In general, if you find an A&P class that claims to be completely online…stay away!!! The Lab portion of an A&P class should always be completed in person. Yes, that means that you will have to physically go to a campus and participate in lab, but it also means that you will get the full 4-credits of A&P that you need to attend nursing school. I have never seen a nursing school that accepts an A&P pre-requisite that does not include an in-person lab component, so it would be a waste of time for you to take a class like that.
On the other hand, many colleges now offer a “hybrid” version of A&P. This allows you to take the Lecture portion of the class online, while still traveling to campus about once per week to participate in the Lab. This is a nice compromise that still allows you to have a lot of flexibility, while still making sure that you satisfy the nursing school pre-requisite requirements. Just be aware that some colleges may still require you to take exams on campus in the computer lab, while other schools might let you take exams at home on your personal computer.
Can you study well independently? Can you teach yourself?
Just because you CAN take an A&P lecture online doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. A&P is the foundation of nursing school, so it is is super important for you to understand all the information. If you have any difficulty teaching yourself or staying disciplined with the amount of studying it takes to be successful, then do yourself a favor and take the class in-person.
Don’t underestimate the amount of time that you will have to spend on this class just because you are taking it online. In many cases, you will actually spend MORE time studying for an online class than you would have if you had just taken it in-person. When you take a class in-person with a good teacher, that teacher acts as a sort of “guide” to help you figure out the most important information to understand.
Will the credits transfer?
Do your best to make sure that your hybrid A&P credits will be accepted by your nursing school before you pay to take the class. Unfortunately in my experience, schools will rarely tell you for sure if a particular school’s class will definitely transfer until you apply. But there are a lot of signals you can look for to maximize your chances.
- Take the class at the same school where you want to attend nursing school No more worries about whether it will transfer!
- Take the class at a reputable state school or private university that is in the same state as the nursing program you want to attend.
- Take the class at a reputable state school or private university that is in a different state than the nursing program you want to attend (but that is still close to you, since you’ll have to go to campus for lab!).
If you find an online A&P course that is offered by a school you’ve never heard of, or by a online-only school that does not have a physical location…BEWARE! If the school is not accredited or does not make you take Lab in-person, then the class will probably not count for nursing school.