How to Get Into Nursing School With a Low GPA

April 10, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/06/23

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 learn more! 

“Can I get into nursing school with a low GPA?” If you’re asking yourself this question, know multiple factors contribute to the strength of your nursing school application. 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 explore how to get into nursing school with a low GPA and answer FAQs 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 can 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 have a competitive GPA for nursing school, 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 or options. 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 have higher expectations of candidates. While most nursing schools require a GPA of at least 3.0, more competitive ones may expect GPAs of at least 3.8. 

If your GPA is well below these requirements, you may want to consider looking for schools with less competitive requirements. Here are some schools with lower GPA requirements:

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 your education’s quality, rest assured these programs still offer 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 submit for admissions committees to review. You’ll also likely submit a personal statement, other essays, a document detailing your volunteer or work experience, letters of recommendation, SAT and ACT scores (GRE scores are for MSN programs), and a statement of career goals.

In short, your GPA isn’t the only application aspect that matters. 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 extracurriculars and gaining volunteer or work experience in a clinical setting, such as a hospital.

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

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 applying. These certifications can get your foot in the door, give you clinical experience, and make you a better candidate for nursing school. 

Admissions committees 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:

  • A Certified Medical Assistant (CNA) Certification: Takes four to 12 weeks and allows you to gain experience assisting and working under registered nurses
  • A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Degree: Typically takes two years to complete and allows you to work as a nurse under the supervision of registered nurses
  • A Personal Support Worker (PSW) Certification: Takes around six months to complete and gives you direct patient experience

Pursuing these alternate paths may not have been your original plan to become a nurse. But they 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 pathways first, you can take a gap 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 general education classes at your local community college to help boost your GPA and make you a more competitive applicant. This is a great option if you need to finish incomplete or failed prerequisites.

Nursing Schools with Low GPA Requirements 

Even if you don’t have a 4.0 high school GPA, getting into nursing school is still attainable. If you’re concerned about your options, here are ten nursing schools that accept a low GPA: 

While your options are more limited with a GPA below 3.0, there are still many schools you have a shot of acceptance at. 

How Important Is Your GPA for Nursing School Admissions?

Numbers play an essential role in the selection process. Out of other application requirements, your GPA and 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; high GPAs can fortify any nursing school application. On the other hand, if you have a GPA lower than the set requirement, you have a very slim or potentially no chance of acceptance.

FAQs: Getting 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 isn’t competitive at most 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 application components, including your 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 plays a crucial role in the admissions committee’s selection process. Nursing school is known to be rigorous and competitive. Your GPA gives schools 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. 

6. What to Do if You Have a Low GPA for Nursing School? 

You have many options: you can pursue extra credit projects, pursue another type of nursing degree first, take a gap year, or explore at which schools you exceed the GPA requirements. 

7. What Is a Competitive GPA for Nursing School? 

A competitive GPA depends on what schools you want to apply to. For example, a GPA of 3.8 or higher ensures you’d be a competitive applicant at most nursing schools. However, a 3.5 GPA may be competitive at schools with a 3.0 requirement. 

Final Thoughts

The idea of your high school grades determining your career path can be unnerving! Your GPA holds enough weight to influence the schools you’d be likely to be admitted to. 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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