Meet Lizzie. Lizzie was waitlisted at a large state university. Her story is the same as countless healthcare professional hopefuls’. Somewhere along their educational journeys, obstacles in the form of waitlists, expensive tuition, job or personal commitments, and other delays spring up and block the way forward to the career of their dreams. At Mercy College of Health Sciences, we know how vital it is to be able to pursue a career in healthcare at a time that makes sense. We understand that priorities can shift at a moment’s notice. Financial situations evolve, passions are discovered, and opportunities can arise at just the right time.
What really mattered to Lizzie was starting her career and helping her patients feel better as soon as possible. In searching for alternative programs in Iowa that wouldn’t delay her career by a year or more, Lizzie found Mercy College of Health Sciences. Shortly after, she began to Chart Her Course.
One of the first things about Mercy College that appealed to Lizzie was the fact that none of the academic programs have a waitlist. With year-round coursework, students are able to choose from three convenient semester start dates in order to begin their classes. Upon being waitlisted at her alma mater, Lizzie reached out directly to Mercy College to inquire about transferring. Before long, Lizzie was enrolled at Mercy College, working toward becoming a healthcare professional — much sooner than if she had reapplied and waited for acceptance at her alma mater.
“The entire process felt a lot more personal. In the past, it felt like I would email one person and meet with another. At Mercy College, I emailed my professor directly, she emailed me back, and we met in person,” said Lizzie. “I got the sense that I was going to be in the hands of someone who really cared about my success if I joined this program.”
Mercy College offers 14 academic pathways ranging from certificate programs and continuing education courses to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. None of the College’s programs have a waitlist, meaning qualified students can apply one semester and enroll the next.
“Our students’ success is our highest priority,” Mercy College Associate Provost Dr. Ryan Marr stated. “Life can be unpredictable, and we pride ourselves on meeting students where they’re at, whether that be financially, educationally, or even logistically, through the use of our online offerings. Plans change, and we do our best to accommodate so that students can focus on their success and future career.”
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After her initial meeting with faculty, Lizzie connected with the admissions department to finalize her application process. The team helped Lizzie gather all the information and documentation she needed to transfer her credits and start her classes.
“The transfer process was super easy. I sent over my transcripts, they compared it with what my program required, and they told me what I actually needed to take and laid it all out for me,” Lizzie said. “They had everything ready and prepared for me. I started the conversation about applying and a few weeks later everything was complete and I was set to start. It was quick.”
Not only is the application process easy - and free! - but Mercy College maintains transfer articulation agreements with many accredited institutions in Iowa and across the country, allowing students to transfer their previous academic credits seamlessly to their program of choice. Over half of the student body is comprised of transfer students from community colleges and four-year institutions alike. Many students, like Lizzie, transfer to Mercy College to avoid waitlists at other institutions, unwilling to put their career aspirations on hold or lose the momentum they’ve gained in other academic programs. Others decide to make the change after completing general education courses, or when they feel the call to start a new career. Still others look for ways to increase their credentials in programs that acknowledge their previous academic and professional experiences. All of them are able to do so at a time that works for them.
“The College’s convenient year-round start dates coupled with our many accelerated programs and completion tracks make Mercy College an ideal choice for those who want to earn their degree quickly and begin work as a healthcare provider,” Marr explained. “Our curriculum is built on a foundation of health science education, from our general Core requirements and pre-requisite classes through our program courses, ensuring students are fully prepared for the demands of their procession once they graduate.”
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Soon after starting at Mercy College, Lizzie was impressed with the one-on-one attention from the faculty and the hands-on learning opportunities available in the dedicated coursework and lab experiences. There, students had access to all the equipment they needed to connect their lessons to real-life applications. Lab work related directly to the lecture topics, reinforcing important information for Lizzie and her classmates as they learned.
“We would be sitting in lecture learning about certain joints — like the knee — and everyone would find a partner and literally palpate each other’s knee,” said Lizzie, “It was so nice to be able to transition from the lecture to hands-on practice so seamlessly. Having all the equipment nearby made it all feel really real.”
Class sizes at Mercy College are smaller than many other institutions offer in Iowa, giving students additional time with professional faculty for one-on-one instruction and dedicated time in state-of-the-art labs on campus. With smaller cohorts starting frequently throughout the year, students are able to practice their skills and get to know each other, forming a network of professional and academic support — something Lizzie relied on throughout the program.
“I enjoyed the friendliness of everyone I encountered and the personal nature of relating to people in my cohort,” she said. “Knowing everyone who attends has the same passion — no matter what field they’re going into — of helping other people. Everyone has that mentality of ‘We’re here to learn the skills we need to care for the people in our communities.’ Mercy College, to me, felt like a really tight knit community.”
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In addition to the coursework, Lizzie and her classmates had clinical experiences in healthcare settings that prepared them to join the workforce. Each program’s clinical experiences are designed to give students exposure to the many different opportunities available in their chosen discipline. Students are able to work in clinic and hospital settings under the supervision of professionals, giving them valuable field experiences and patient encounters on which to build their skills. Many of these clinical experiences forge professional connections, helping students find meaningful work after graduation, making the transition from student to professional that much smoother.
“The clinical experiences we had led to great job opportunities,” Lizzie stated. “I was very grateful for the opportunity to work in the different settings. I realized I do have the skills for this. I was prepared for this. I can do this.”
After graduating and passing her licensure exam, Lizzie began a new role in one of the first places she completed her clinical rotations during the program. She applied, enrolled, graduated, and began work in her field approximately a year earlier than she would have if she had put her career on hold and stayed on the waitlist at her previous school. Lizzie credits Mercy College for putting her on the right path and helping her to succeed at a time when her future looked to be full of nothing but roadblocks.
“If you’re thinking about applying to Mercy College, the application process is easy, the people you’re going to encounter are really friendly, and you’re going to be thankful you took the time now to get started once graduation time comes around,” Lizzie said.
Because of the convenient start times, easy enrollment process, generous transfer credit acceptance, and expert faculty in accelerated program pathways, Lizzie was able to Chart Her Course at Mercy College of Health Sciences and begin her career. Join Lizzie and click below to Chart YOUR Course with Mercy College!
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