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How to Get Into Nursing School With a Low GPA

March 18, 2023
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Getting Into Nursing School With a Low GPA: Steps to TakeHow Important Is Your GPA for Nursing School Admissions?FAQs: How to Get Into Nursing School With a Low GPA


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 03/18/23

Nursing school is known to be competitive. If you’ve completed high school with grades lower than anticipated, you may be wondering how to get into nursing school with a low GPA. Read on to find out the steps you should take to proceed with your application and still stand out as a candidate.

There are multiple factors that go into nursing school’s decisions on their applicants’ candidacy. While your GPA is one of the most important factors, you shouldn’t lose all hope of fulfilling your career goals if you have a low GPA!

This guide will tell you how to get into nursing school with a low GPA and answer the most frequently asked questions about the importance of your GPA.

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Getting Into Nursing School With a Low GPA: Steps to Take

Here are the top five steps you need to take to pursue your dreams of getting into nursing school with a low GPA:

Ask for Extra Credit

If you’re still completing your final year of high school and don’t think you can boost your GPA enough to be considered competitive at your top choices, you should consider asking your teachers for extra credit!

While it may seem daunting, your teachers are there to support you and help you reach your goals. They understand the importance of your grades and how they will influence your career trajectory!

Accordingly, if you explain your circumstances, the grades you need, and your willingness to complete extra assignments, they’ll likely offer you some advice and options to do so! The worst that can happen is they’ll say no, and then you can proceed to the next steps. 

Assess Your Options

Higher-ranking nursing schools will have higher expectations of their candidates. While the majority of nursing schools require a GPA of at least 3.0, more competitive ones expect GPAs of at least 3.8. 

If your GPA is well below these medians, you may want to consider joining a school with less competitive requirements.

Here are a few options to consider depending on how low your GPA is:

You may also want to reconsider the type of degree you pursue. While BSNs can open more doors for you and lead to higher pay, Associate’s Degrees in Nursing typically have lower GPA requirements, ranging from a minimum of 2.0-2.8

If you’re concerned attending a lower-ranking nursing school will impact the quality of education you receive, rest assured these programs will still offer you the skills and experience needed to prepare for a career as a nurse!

Create a Stellar Application Otherwise

Your transcripts aren’t the only application materials you’ll have to submit for the admissions committee to review. You’ll also likely have to submit a personal statement or other essays, a document detailing your volunteer or work experience, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, SAT and ACT scores, and a statement of career goals.

You should pay particular attention to all of these elements of your application. While you may be lacking in one element, your GPA, you can potentially make up for it through the other elements.

Write a personal statement that tells a unique story about you, what nursing means to you, and the type of nurse you hope to be. You should also focus on participating in useful extracurriculars and gaining a significant amount of volunteer or work experience in a clinical setting, such as a hospital.

Proving you’ve already begun interacting with patients can prove your GPA does not reflect your ability to thrive in the medical field! You should also request letters of recommendation from mentors that can attest to your excellent patient care and teachers that can vouch for your academic potential. 

If your school requires you to write the GRE as part of the admissions process, dedicate adequate time to preparing for it, so you can score high and impress the judges. 

Understand That Sometimes the Right Path Is Not the Easiest

When considering which nursing school to apply to, you may also want to consider pursuing other certifications or degrees before attending nursing school. These certifications can get your foot in the door, give you clinical experience, and make you a better candidate for nursing school. 

Admissions committees will focus more on the grades you received during these programs, value your dedication to the field, and appreciate your eagerness to begin honing the skills necessary to succeed in nursing.

Some certifications you may pursue before going to nursing school are:

Pursuing these alternate paths may not have been in your original plan to become a nurse. But, they will allow you to still accomplish your ultimate goal of becoming an outstanding nurse – it may just take a bit longer!

Consider a Gap Year

If you’re set on obtaining a nursing degree, and don’t want to pursue other education beforehand, you can always take a gap year. During this year, you can pursue meaningful work or volunteer experience that can strengthen your application and make the admissions committees more inclined to overlook your low GPA.

You may also enroll in a few general education classes at your local community college to help boost your GPA to make you a more competitive applicant. This is a great option for students that need to finish incomplete or failed prerequisites.

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How Important Is Your GPA for Nursing School Admissions?

Numbers play an essential role in the selection process. Out of the other application requirements, your GPA and standardized test scores are the only tangible factors admissions committees can use to compare you to other students.

Accordingly, your GPA is important for nursing school. It can make or break your application. If you have a weak personal statement and generic letters of recommendation, a high GPA can be your saving grace. 

On the other hand, if you have a low GPA, it can be all the committee needs to reject your application, unless you can compensate for it with the other parts of your application.

FAQs: How to Get Into Nursing School With a Low GPA?

For any remaining questions about how to get into nursing school with a low GPA, read on to find your answers.

1. What Is the Lowest GPA for Nursing School?

The majority of nursing schools require GPAs of at least 3.0. However, some schools will accept GPAs as low as 2.0. 

2. Can I Go To Nursing School With a 2.0 GPA?

If you’re planning on getting into nursing school with a low GPA, it’s essential to be flexible and know your options. 

A 2.0 GPA will not be considered within the competitive range for the majority of nursing schools. However, it would meet the minimum requirements for Cox College’s nursing program and other lower-ranking nursing schools. 

3. Can You Get Into Nursing School With a 2.9 GPA?

Yes, it’s possible to get into nursing school with a 2.9 GPA. As many schools have a minimum requirement of 3.0, you may still be granted admission if you can prove your academic potential through the other components of your application, including your standardized test scores and letters of recommendation from your teachers.

4. What Is the Easiest Nursing Program to Get Into?

Cox College is amongst the easiest nursing schools to get into. Its BSN program has a minimum GPA requirement of 2.0.

5. How Much Does My GPA Matter for Nursing School?

Your GPA will play a crucial role in the admissions committee’s selection process. Nursing school is known to be rigorous and competitive. These committees want to assure they’re admitting bright students that can handle their extensive curriculum.

Your GPA gives the committee direct insight into your academic potential. As such, it’s important to focus on your grades and try to maintain a high GPA. However, if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world! As important as your GPA is, there are several other application materials the admissions committee will consider.

Final Thoughts

The prospect of your high school grades determining your career can be unnerving! This one number holds enough weight to influence the education you receive and the career you pursue! As such, it is an important part of your college application and should be taken seriously. 

Yet, as much as you might hope to receive a certain GPA, plans don’t always pull through, so it’s important you know how to adapt! Luckily, the steps shared in this guide can allow you to still follow your dreams and become an outstanding nurse!

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