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Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA) graduate Rachel McPhie was accepted into Brigham Young University’s College of Nursing at just 18 years old. She had completed most of her general requirements and some prerequisites for the nursing program while she was still in high school.

With this advanced opportunity, Rachel was able to apply for the program during her first semester of college. Typically, students have to wait at least a full year to apply, and only 30% get accepted.

“I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be accepted; a lot of people have to apply twice before they’re accepted, and I was just an 18-year-old freshman,” Rachel said. “I literally cried when I got my acceptance letter. I was so excited.”

Rachel enrolled in IDVA in seventh grade after transitioning from homeschooling. Her mother preferred the convenience of having Rachel and her siblings at home, but she wanted to ensure they received a high-quality education.

After just one year at IDVA, Rachel started taking high school courses in the eighth grade. With encouragement from her mother, she began working toward her future.

“I finished most of my high school courses my sophomore year,” Rachel said. “I was allowed to dual enroll with colleges through IDVA and earn college credits.”

While most students value the scheduling flexibility of an online education, Rachel prefers the qualities it instilled in her from a young age.

“One thing that many of my college peers have said is that I’m very dedicated, focused, and self-motivated,” Rachel said. “I feel that online education played a huge role in making these qualities part of my personality.”

Another important quality Rachel acquired is selflessness. She has always wanted to change the world and help people. “I believe the doctors are the brains of health care and the nurses are the heart,” Rachel said.

It also helps that blood doesn’t make her queasy in the slightest! She is fascinated with the human body. Anatomy and physiology were some of her favorite classes.

In addition to Rachel’s love of nursing, she enjoys adventurous outdoor activities, including four-wheeling, snowmobiling, biking, swimming, hiking, spelunking, rappelling, skiing, and boating. She also plays the piano and is trying to teach herself the guitar.

Although Rachel has many accomplishments to be proud of, she never forgets the hard work that she put in. “Dreams do come true, but there’s a lot of late nights, tears, sweat, and work behind those dreams,” she said. “I think it was worth it all.”

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