How Do I Know if I Will Be Successful Pursuing My RN-BSN Degree Online?

If you’re thinking of enrolling in an online nursing degree program, perhaps you’re asking yourself “How do I know I will be successful pursuing my RN-BSN degree online?” Let’s discuss the 3 most important factors that can influence your success when you pursue a nursing degree online. Nobody but you can guarantee your success; but if you can formulate positive, workable answers to each of the following questions, you’re probably going to succeed.

1. How Will You Pay for Your Online RN-BSN Degree?

It doesn’t matter whether you study online or in a traditional face-to-face classroom setting; either way, having the ability to pay for your education is the number one factor that will make or break your success. According to the latest data available from the US Department of Education, the overall college graduation rate in the USA stands at around 59 percent. According to a study posted at, most college dropouts do not have their parents’ help paying for tuition; most college graduates do have financial help from their parents.

If you’re a working RN, you already have a steady source of income and are less likely to be dependent on help from your parents. You likely already have some obligations for how that income will be spent, though. Perhaps you have rent or mortgage payments, car payments or children to support. Whatever your obligations, you’ll have to do the math to see whether you have enough money remaining to pay for your education — including books and supplies.

If you don’t earn enough to cover tuition and other expenses, you’ll have to line up funding to cover the difference. Your current employer may offer a tuition assistance program. Funding might also be available to you through scholarships, grants and student loans. You’ll also want to do the math on any future loan repayments to ensure that you don’t get into more debt than you can realistically pay back.

Related Resource:
Top 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs

2. Do You Have Adequate Time to Devote to Pursuing Your Online RN-BSN Degree?

An online nursing degree program offers you a lot of flexibility in scheduling, but you still have to be realistic about the significant time commitment you’ll be making when you enroll. To succeed as a nursing student in a traditional degree program, you will likely spend at least 14 hours a week reading and another 14 hours a week studying. On top of that, you will also need to perform clinical work. Some online degree programs are accelerated and require an even greater allocation of time for success.

Because most nursing degree programs require such intensive studying and participation, it’s extremely difficult to keep working full time as a nurse while you earn your BSN degree. Many students work part time while pursing their RN to BSN online.

If you have children, you’ll definitely need to make both a primary plan and a backup plan for childcare before you commit to earning your degree. If you have a spouse, it’s essential that the two of you cooperate in planning how your usual responsibilities will be handled for the duration of your studies.

3. How Will You Stay Accountable for Succeeding With Your Coursework?

Face-to-face accountability is one of the most significant differences between a traditional nursing degree program and an online program. In a classroom setting, you’re going to look like an idiot if you show up to class unprepared; this motivation is enough to keep many students on track with studying and doing their homework. In an online setting, if you slack off, perhaps nobody will know about it but you — until it’s exam time and you fail. You definitely want to avoid this scenario.

If you go the online route, you’ll want to make a plan for being accountable to someone for doing the required work. You can team up with another nurse who is completing the program; you can enlist the help of a spouse, sibling, parent or friend. Choose someone who will not let you make excuses or slack off.

These are going to be your three biggest hurdles in succeeding at an online nursing degree program. If you have a plan in place for dealing with all three of these issues, you are going to be well on your way to success. When you ask yourself, “How do I know I will be successful pursuing my RN-BSN degree online?” you can answer with confidence: “I KNOW I will succeed because I have tailor-made a plan for my own success.”