The Definition of a Cohort
What is a cohort? According to Wikipedia, a cohort is “a group of students who work though a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree together. Cohortians are the individual member of the group.” This is a very accurate definition. Basically what it means is that a group of students take classes together while they are getting their degree. In this case it’s their online accelerated nursing degree. They start the program together and they graduate together. This student grouping allows students to bond and build relationships with their class.
Cohort programs have increased in popularity in the last 10 years. They are increasing as the number of online or non-traditional classroom-based courses increase. In a standard/traditional classroom environment, students might find themselves creating a natural cohort by creating a study group or by joining a club. You wouldn’t call this group a cohort, but it provides a similar structured group interaction. With coursework that is done less in person and more online or remotely, these types of groups are a little harder to form. This is why a formal cohort structure is put into place.
Benefits of a Cohort Program
There are many benefits to choosing a nursing program that offers the cohort model. Here are a just a few:
- Ease of learning – Most people learn better in a group setting. This model allows for group-based learning with people that you will become comfortable with.
- Sense of Community – A cohort program provides a sense of community with a group of peers. These peers will likely become friends, coworkers or people to network with later in life. The people in your cohort will likely have similar life goals as you. This makes you have something in common to begin with and will make you more likely to meet up again later in life.
- Comfort – A member of a cohort is more likely to feel comfortable with their classmates. This makes it easier for people to ask questions and act naturally.
- Structure – The program is set up so that everyone starts and ends at the same time. There is a definitive start and end date, which is helpful for life planning.
- Emotional Support – Since everyone in you cohort is going through the same or similar coursework, there is a group of people to provide emotional support.
- Increased Perspective – A member of a cohort will be able to see how others within a cohort solve the same problem. No two people will solve all problems the same since they have different backgrounds. People from different backgrounds coming together into one cohort provides increase/broadening of one’s prospective.
What Do Cohorts Look like for Marian’s Accelerated Nursing Program?
At Marian University, the accelerated nursing program is 16 months long. Students are placed into a cohort as soon as they are accepted into the program. Cohort bonding often begins before classes even start.
The groups collaborate formally and informally. The groups do their clinicals and labs together, and they all take the same courses at the same time. For informal communications, many cohorts have active social network groups that they all collaborate within. They also create study groups and review sessions. Overall, most students love that they can bond closely with this group of peers.
What Students have to Say about Cohorts
Here is what a few Marian ABSN students had to say about the ABSN cohorts:
“I like our little family! We’re really close. You can immediately get a hold of people – we’re social with each other. You can talk to another cohort to get tips/trade secrets. It’s really nice because it’s accelerated.” – Megan Dupi (second semester student). Megan points out that with accelerated BSN programs, it can be a bit more difficult to naturally meet your peers. The cohorts allows you to instantly have a group to reach out to who understand what you are going though.
“Cohorts put a group with the same goals together – helps with strengths and weaknesses when you study together you can help each other; rather than being alone, because then you have to reach out to the professor and their mind is not the same.” – Eudon Perkins (1st semester student)
“It’s nice being with same because you get to know them. I had the opportunity to often work with the same recurring group of clinical people, and you’re comfortable asking for help. You know others’ strengths so you know who to ask. I didn’t participate in study groups (because I live farther away and just wasn’t interested) but for the most part, being a part of a cohort is irrelevant for the class part (with the exception of study groups). But for clinicals, it’s nice because you change clinical spots so often that you never establish a relationship with anyone, so to at least know other students helps a lot. Especially knowing you’ll see each other and share at post conference and lunch – it’s really helpful to know students.” – Danielle Bessette-Galley (4th semester student – graduating in December)
Start in the Next Cohort
So now you have heard all about cohorts and the advantages to them. If you are looking for a nursing school in Indianapolis or Nashville the next step is for you to become a part of the next cohort at Marian University. If you are ready to get started, contact us today to talk to an admissions advisor.