So, you have all your pre-requisite classes finally completed done, your references organized and resume put together. You start exploring different program options and go to prepare your nursing school application only to realize there is one major problem.
Your GPA is lower than the minimum GPA listed on the website.
And its not just that one program, but you find that your GPA is lower than the required GPA for multiple schools.
And before you’ve even started it already feels like game over.
But before you panic, take a deep breath.
This isn’t the end of the road.
When applying to nursing school, GPA is an important part of your application that admission committees will focus on. So what do you do when your ready to apply for programs but your GPA isn’t quite where it needs to be?
First! We don’t lose hope.
Yes, we have to find a work around, but there is always a solution.
Let’s explore some strategies that can help increase your chances of getting accepted into nursing school, even with a low GPA.
Retake Classes with low grades
One option to consider is retaking classes in which you’ve received low grades. Most programs require a minimum grade of B in science and math classes and a minimum grade of C in all others. Prioritize your science and math classes’. If you are able to, consider retaking any of those classes that you’ve received less than a B in. So classes such as Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology, statistics, etc.
There is a common myth spread amongst pre-nursing students that retaking classes will negatively impact your nursing school application.
And I’m here to tell you, that is not true. AT ALL!
Not only does retaking classes demonstrate your commitment to academic success but it also shows your willingness to put in the necessary effort to achieve your goals. Plus science pre-requisites are important foundational pieces to everything you will learn in nursing school. If there is topic you don’t understand or are unsure about, retaking the class will allow you gain a better understanding of the subject.
Most programs will allow 2 attempts of any class and will use the higher grade to calculate your GPA. And while overall GPA is important, nursing school admission committees tend to calculate a separate GPA with the classes required by the program. So even if your overall GPA is a little lower, as long as your calculated pre-nursing GPA meets the minimum GPA set by the program you’ve already improved your chances of admission.
Take additional classes to boast cumulative GPA
Similar to the previous strategy, taking additional classes can be a great way to increase your cumulative GPA! If you are currently enrolled in a degree program, look into courses that relate to your nursing prerequisites or additional science classes. By successfully completing those extra classes with higher grades, you can show nursing school admission committees that you are committed to improving yourself academically, and showcase your smartness!
Exploring Other Qualifications and Experiences
Nursing schools admission committees take into account more than just your GPA when evaluating applicants. When applying its important to highlight your other qualifications and experiences, since they can help enhance your application. Consider getting experience in the medical field, whether that be through a job, internship or volunteering. This is a great opportunity to showcase your commitment to the nursing profession and show that you already have hands-on experience. Admission committees love to see applicants with previous medical experience, so this is a great method to help compensate for a lower GPA. In addition, consider requesting letters of recommendation from healthcare professionals you’ve worked with! By emphasizing your experiences, and having others attest for you, you can distinguish yourself from other applicants who may have a higher GPA.
Apply for a Program with a Entrance Exam
Another way to compensate for a low GPA is by applying to programs that determine admissions with the aid of a entrance exam! Performing exceptionally well on entrance exams, such as the TEAS, KAPLAN or HESI allows you to show your knowledge in another way. These exams assess your knowledge in subjects like math, science, English, and reading comprehension, and there are many study resources available to help you succeed! Make sure to give yourself enough time to study and prepare for these exams, as the goal should be to obtain a high score. Utilize study guides, online resources, and practice exams to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content. By scoring high on these exams, you can demonstrate your ability to succeed academically, even if your GPA doesn’t reflect it.
Strengthen Your Personal Statement
Your personal statement is another vital part of your nursing school application. It gives you the chance to express your enthusiasm for nursing and clarify any challenging situations that may have impacted your GPA. Take this opportunity to honestly explain your lower grades and emphasize the efforts you have made to grow and overcome them. Share any personal growth, academic accomplishments, or relevant experiences that have shaped your aspiration to become a nurse. By showcasing your determination, and personal development, you can persuade the admissions committee that you are a deserving candidate.
Gain Nursing experience for nursing school applications
To increase your chances of being accepted into nursing school, I highly recommend gaining practical experience in the field of nursing. This hands-on experience will not only better your understanding of the profession but also show your commitment and passion for nursing. By actively seeking opportunities to work or volunteer in the healthcare setting, you’ll have the chance to observe and assist healthcare professionals, interact with patients, and develop essential skills that nursing schools value. This experience will provide you with valuable insights into the daily responsibilities and challenges faced by nurses, and it’ll also allow you to build professional connections. Basically,, having nursing experience on your application will make you a more competitive candidate and demonstrate your dedication to pursuing a career in nursing.
Consider other Types of Nursing School Programs
Consider exploring different options to enroll in a nursing program that fits your specific needs and interests. This could involve researching alternative types of nursing programs such as accelerated programs, online programs, or specialized programs in areas like pediatric nursing or geriatric nursing. By expanding your search and considering a wider range of nursing programs, you can improve your chances of finding the ideal match for your educational and career goals.
While having a low GPA can present some challenges, please don’t let it discourage you from pursuing your dream of becoming a nurse. Instead, consider emphasizing your other qualifications and experiences, putting in extra effort to excel in the entrance exam, and strengthening your personal statement. These steps can significantly improve your chances of being accepted into nursing school. It’s important to remember that nursing schools are seeking well-rounded individuals who demonstrate the necessary qualities and dedication to excel in the field. So, rather than allowing your GPA to define you, focus on showcasing your true potential and passion for nursing. With persistence and determination, you can overcome any obstacles and embark on a rewarding career in nursing.