Everything You Need to Know about the LaGuardia Community College Nursing Program

I recently graduated from the LaGuardia Community College’s Licensed Practical Nurse program in June of 2018. The program was the most difficult 10 months of my life. However, after successfully completing the program, I passed the NCLEX in 85 questions, obtained a job at a hospital and am proud to call myself a nurse.

Here is what I wish I knew before starting my journey to become a nurse at LaGuardia Community College.

laguardia community college nursing

Pre-Reqs

Check the Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse handbook to see the most current list of required classes.

For me, the LPN program pre-reqs included:

ENG 101 Composition I* (Key) 3
SSY 101 General Psychology** (Key) 3
MAT 106 Mathematics of Medical Dosages (Key) 2
SCB 203 Fundamentals of Human Biology I (Key) 4
SCB 204 Fundamentals of Human Biology II (NEW PRE-CLINICAL COURSE**) 4

And for the RN program the prereq requirements were:

HSF090 First Year Seminar for Health Sciences 0
SCC 110 Foundations of Chemistry (KEY)* 4
SSY 101 General Psychology (KEY)* 3
SCB 203 Fundamentals of Human Biology I (KEY)* 4
ENG 101 Composition I (KEY)** 3
SCB 204 Fundamentals of Human Biology II (As of Fall 2009) 4

**Note: SCB 240, Microbiology, is not a core requirement, but I would HIGHLY suggest you take it prior to entering the RN program, as I couldn’t imagine taking along with your other nursing classes.

Keep in mind both the ASN and LPN nursing programs are pretty competitive to get into. SCB 203 is counted TWICE towards your GPA for candicindy. To determine who gets in, they first check that the applicants have every requirement met, they then rank students by GPA. Last I heard, the GPA to get into the RN program was around a 3.8 in the core requirements. The LPN program GPA acceptance rate was a bit lower.

TEAS

The TEAS test is required to enter either program. You must meet the current requirements, overall, and in each subject area to be considered. Once you pass, you must print and drop off your TEAS score to the nursing department before the candidacy deadline.

Candicindy

You will only be able to apply for each program twice. After you complete the prereqs, you must go to the C building and apply for candidacy. All you have to fill out one form and hand it in. Then on your transcript, you will see a code, that reflects which program you are applying for.

Sometime before they announce candidacy, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you to go to the school on a specific date and time frame to pick up your candidacy letter. This must be done in person on that one specific date and time frame they tell you.

Cost

You have to pay for your specific classes at the cost of Laguardia Community College. Additionally, there are SEVERAL fees associated with being in the program and unfortunately, there is no way around them. Be prepared to pay for:

  • Castle Branch – when you get accepted into the program they use this to upload all your medical paperwork, vaccines, background check, and drug test.
  • ATI – throughout the program, you will use ATI. Each class you will take a proctored exam which is 5% of your final grade. ATI isn’t cheap, it averages out to almost $200 a semester!
    • TIP: Use ATI as much as possible as a resource for practice questions during the program!! Our professor even eluded that some questions on our exams were pulled from the ATI question bank!
  • Scrubs, shoes, stethoscope – You will have to buy the scrub top and bottom from a place the school uses. LPNs wear light blue pants, RNs wear dark blue pants and both a white embroidered scrub top. You have to wear white sneakers during clinicals and you must be prepared with a working stethoscope for clinicals.
  • Books – ask around you might be able to get the ebook for most classes. You can also use the books in the library, rent books or buy used. Having access to the required textbooks are your lifeline for this program. I found that renting mine was the best option, for cost and accessibility.   

Scholarships

If you don’t receive any financial aid, I would encourage you to apply for a scholarship. LaGuardia has some amazing opportunities to help you pay for your education and they are super easy to apply for. Right on your “My LaGuardia” home screen, to the right, you should see “apply for scholarships”. Or you can apply here.   

Schedule

Know that the LPN program is accelerated. In a short 10 months, you cover 5 nursing class, 29 credits, countless clinical hours and what will feel like a lifetime of studying. Once accepted into the LPN program, you will be handed a schedule of classes/clinicals. You must register for those classes, you do not get to pick.

You will have classes three to four times a week at LAGCC, plus clinical classes at an assigned hospital. Classes are typically from 9 AM to either 2 PM or 7:30 PM at least twice a week and three times during the short/winter semester. In addition, you will have clinical classes which are from 8 AM to 3 PM, or 4 PM to 10 PM once or twice a week, depending on what semester you are in. Any free time you have needs to be reserved for studying.

People, including myself, were successful in working full or part-time during the program. But, in order to be successful, you must manage your time wisely.  

The LPN program is only offered once a year starting in Fall. If you fail a class, you can repeat it the following year. You can only fail one class a semester in order to be able to repeat the class and then continue the program. You only get one time to repeat any class in the program. So if you are a “repeater” and fail any other classes in the program, you fail the entire program and cannot retake it or continue.  

74.5% is the grade you need

You need a culminate average of 74.5% which rounds up to a 75% to pass each class and move on in the program. Anything less, you will get an F. Many students failed by .1 or .2 of a percent. They are very serious about the passing score grade, and will not budge under any circumstance. You have the opportunity to review every exam, and I strongly suggest you do so.

The program is very, very test heavy. Tests account for almost all of your grade, with a small percentage being an assigned project. Your test will be taken in a similar format to the NCLEX, only through BlackBoard where you can see one question at a time and cannot go back. The questions on exams will be in multiple choice, select all that apply, put in order, math related or hotspot formats.  

Professors

Love them or hate them, they are great nurses and wonderful teachers. The professors have a no bull shit attitude, and frankly, I appreciate that. Be present in lectures, take notes, ask questions, and you will get along fine.

The exams are extremely fair and similar, or the same, for everyone in the program. You are allowed two weeks after each exam to review it, one on one. Additionally, the professors will let you know their office hours and you can even ask them for advice on your group project.  

Laguardia College nursing program

Photo from the LPN Pinning Ceremony, 2018

LPN classes are nursing classes

Every single class I have taken in the LPN program can be transferred and used for an RN program. The LPN program is designed to get you working faster as a nurse. Everyone takes a different path and at the end of the day, it’s what works for YOU that you should follow.

Laguardia Community College also offers an LPN to RN advanced pathway program. I have applied candidacy and am beyond belief to start, hopefully in March 2019. You can learn more about that program here.  

As I have heard so many people say, “Laguardia College produces great nurses”.

The program is not easy. But after I graduated I felt prepared and knowledgeable to not only pass the NCLEX but to be ready to work. In my mind, the keys to being successful are to study endlessly, be respectful, smile, don’t do anything stupid and be one time. It really will all pay off in the end.

Note/Disclaimer – All opinions are mine and mine alone. I am in no way affiliated with Laguardia Community College or any other entity. These opinions do not reflect any endorsement by the school or any other entity. Make sure to do your own research, ask questions and get advised.