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Which is Better School of Nursing or University?

So you want to become a nurse, do you? That’s great. Now you’ve got a big decision to make whether to get your nursing degree from a traditional university or go the career college route at a nursing school?. Both options will prepare you for an exciting career helping people, but there are some major differences to consider.

A nursing school is focused specifically on nursing education and training, while a university offers a wider range of programs and a more traditional college experience.

University may give you more flexibility to explore different areas of study, but nursing school could get you career-ready faster. Cost, scheduling, and admissions requirements also differ significantly between the two.

Comparing Nursing Programs: Diploma vs. Associate vs. Bachelor’s Degrees

When deciding between a diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in nursing, consider your career goals and how much time you want to spend in school.

A diploma in nursing typically takes 3 years and prepares you for an entry-level position. An associate’s degree, or ADN, usually takes 2-3 years and also leads to an RN license. Both diploma and ADN programs teach essential nursing skills.

However, a BSN, or bachelor’s of science in nursing, provides a 4-year broad education that opens up more career opportunities.

With a BSN, you’ll have a stronger foundation in areas like critical thinking, leadership, and community health. This can lead to higher pay and positions like nurse manager or nurse educator. A BSN is also usually required for graduate nursing degrees.

While a diploma or ADN may get you into nursing quicker, a BSN can take you further. Some hospitals even prefer BSN-prepared nurses. The good news is, if you earn your ADN first, many schools offer RN-to-BSN programs so you can continue your education.

READ ALSO: Inside the State College of Nursing, Hadejia – School Fees, Courses

The Pros and Cons of Attending a Nursing School vs. University

So you want to become a nurse, but can’t decide between nursing school or university. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s break them down.

Nursing School

  • Focused specifically on nursing courses. The curriculum is tailored to prepare you for a nursing career.
  • Usually take 2-3 years to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • Generally smaller class sizes mean more personalized attention and support from instructors.
  • Often lower tuition costs and fewer general education requirements.


  • Typically 4 years to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. BSN may open up more career opportunities and higher pay.
  • Exposure to a wider range of subjects through general education requirements. Can be a more well-rounded education.
  • Access to more campus facilities and resources. Opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities.
  • May feel like a bigger, more impersonal environment. Easy to get lost in the crowd.

As with any big decision, think about which factors matter most to you. If focused nursing courses and lower costs are priorities, nursing school could be a great option. If you want a traditional university experience and opportunities outside the nursing program, a university BSN may be the better choice. At the end of the day, both can provide an excellent nursing education and pathway into this rewarding career.

READ ALSO: After School Of Nursing What Next? Steps for Your Career

Choosing What’s Right for You: Key Factors to Consider

Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Cost and Time

Nursing schools typically focus specifically on nursing education, so programs are often shorter in length and less expensive than a traditional BSN at a university. If time and cost are concerns, a nursing school may be appealing. However, a BSN from a university provides a more well-rounded education and may open up more career opportunities.

2. Program Options

Nursing schools usually offer an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Universities provide more options, including BSN, MSN, and doctoral nursing programs. If you plan to pursue advanced degrees, a university likely offers more possibilities for continuing your education.

3. Resources and Opportunities

Universities typically have greater resources and opportunities for extracurricular activities, networking, internships, and global experiences. There are more chances to get involved in campus life and connect with faculty and peers in other disciplines. For some, these additional resources and chances for enrichment make the university experience worthwhile.

5. Learning Environment

The learning environment can vary between a focused nursing school curriculum and a traditional university setting. Consider whether you prefer a smaller, more career-centered program or a larger campus with diverse areas of study. Think about which option will motivate and support you best as a learner.


In the end, you must weigh all these factors and determine what is most valuable and meaningful for your needs and aspirations. While cost and time are important, don’t forget to consider the long-term rewards of your education. The investment you make now will shape your future as a nursing professional.

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