If you have the calling to become a nurse, but your grades aren’t ideal for this competitive and challenging career choice, then there are a few things you can do to gain acceptance to the nursing school of your choice.

A good future nurse isn’t just the numbers on a college application. Students striving to become a nurse need to have a few important characteristics that will help them as they navigate nursing school. These include experience, dedication to the profession and stellar listening, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Low GPA and Nursing School

If you have a low GPA, then you need to take action in other areas of your application that admissions officials deem important. Explain any extenuating circumstances that led to your low GPA, particularly if your grades show a significant drop over a short amount of time.

A personal approach on your application can greatly increase your chances of getting into nursing school. Reach out to the admissions adviser at the school you hope to attend. Let him know all that you can bring to the university and let him see that you are much more than a number.

If you can, retake courses that significantly lowered your GPA. An Advanced Placement class has more weight than standard classes and can raise your GPA if you have time before applying to nursing college.

Nursing College Requirements

Apply to colleges that accept 2.5 GPAs and pump up your application in other areas to show the talents you will bring to the student body of the nursing school you hope to attend. Make sure it is accredited and in good standing with the Commission for Education in Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and from the local state board of nursing.

A student has many levels of education to complete before becoming a certified nurse. Choose a college that will propel you to a professional career.

Some 2.5 GPA nursing programs include:

  • Cumberland University
  • University of Southern California
  • Utica College
  • Walden University
  • Simmons College

The program should prepare you to pass the required National Council Licensure Examination. Try to find a program that has high graduation rates and licensure exam pass rates. You can also narrow your search by the college’s percentage of graduates who gained employment immediately after leaving the nursing school.

BSN and MSN Programs

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can be earned at a four-year college or online. The first two years are spent on general education, which is where you can focus on bringing up your low GPA. Take any anatomy, chemistry, physiology or other science- or math-based courses to shore up your degree.

Many programs also offer Master of Science in Nursing degrees. If you plan to enter a teaching or research career in nursing, you may need a MSN.

Online Nursing Programs

Online nursing programs are growing in popularity. There are many online programs from respected universities that will accept a 2.5 GPA. Take classes in which you excel early on in your online college career to boost your GPA as quickly as possible and open doors to other programs.

Online BSN programs that may accept a low GPA include:

  • University of Phoenix
  • Purdue University Global
  • Benedictine University

Accelerated Nursing Programs

An accelerated nursing or direct-entry program is available to those who already hold a bachelor’s degree. Your major doesn’t matter when applying to an accelerated nursing program.

These are challenging and demanding courses that cover copious amounts of data over a short period of time. This makes it difficult to hold down a job while cramming for tests and attending school. Most accelerated nursing programs are 11 months to 18 months long.

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About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.