Twenty year old grades for Graduate School Applications?

  1. I'm hoping to get some help or advice out there regarding my applications for Master's Entry Nurse programs. i'm 42 years old and have applied to a number of Master's Entry Programs as well as California Community Colleges. Over the last year, I have taken all the science pre-requisites required and have a 4.0 GPA. In addition, I have a 99th percentile for the TEAS test including 100% on the math section. I have a BS in Biological Sciences from University of California, Santa Barbara and considerable experience as a research chemist, analytical chemist, and considerable leadership roles in the biotech field.

    The problem is that some of my undergraduate grades from 20 years ago are not so hot. All the schools I have applied to insist on using those old grades to determine whether or not I am qualified to enter graduate school. My denial letters have started rolling in, and there's no way I can change those 20 year old grades. I have retaken all these classes and received A's in every science class that is required, and I have amazing letters of recommendation from my current professors and Volunteer coordinators.

    How do I get a school to give me a chance and convince them that I am qualified and prepared for graduate school when nobody will let me escape from my youth? I'll take any suggestions I can get about how I can get into nursing school, because it seems no matter how good my grades are or how many classes I can take, I'm continuously judged for who I was 20 years ago, and not who I am today. I'm starting to feel like this is age discrimination. I am preparing appeals for various schools, and would also like to know if anyone out there has ever been accepted into a program based on appeal after being rejected.

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    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 264; Likes: 72


  3. by   Moogie
    Stories like yours really frustrate me because, although grades should be considered, school admission policies should reflect just a smidgeon of common sense. You sound like an excellent candidate. You have a background in science, you clearly demonstrate aptitude and dedication, and you have the maturity to make an informed decision on your career change. I think it's utterly short-sighted for a school to reject a well-qualified candidate because of a student's poor college performance twenty years ago. OP, you've already proven yourself. What do these schools want?

    My best guess is that any school who would judge you so harshly is probably not a school you wish to attend. There are other schools out there. Look into accelerated BSN programs; DE MSN programs are notoriously tough in terms of admission standards (although you sound like you'd do well in one.)

    I don't think this is age discrimination. There are many nursing students at all levels who are well into their 40s, 50s, and even 60s.

    Maybe you need to have a talk with some of the folks who are rejecting you. I should think you deserve an opportunity to explain your academic record and point out the success you've had as an older student. Maybe you need to be persistent and follow up on those rejection letters---find out why they made the decisions they made and maybe you can get put on a wait list.

    I wish you the best in this.
  4. by   BeachsideNic
    Thanx for the encouragement...

    I have already written my appeal letters for each school that has rejected me. I included two new letters of recommendation from Professors at the school where I've been acing my pre-requisites. I'd be curious if anyone out there has ever been admitted by Special Action or appeal. I am not one who gives up easy, and will do everything I can to get in somewhere. I have even been turned away by City college Associates in Nursing programs for the same reasons. Santa Monica College threw me out of the application session, because I got a D in Physiology in 1993 even though I got an A+ in 2010.

    Keep on Truckin'
  5. by   PacoUSA
    I'm about your age, and I was accepted into 4 accelerated BSN programs this year - 2 of which are state universities that have notoriously competitive admission standards. I took all of my science prereqs within the last 2 years with a 4.0 GPA. However, I do have 2 D's in general bio and general chem from my freshman year in college over 20 years ago. Additionally, I had a C grade in developmental psych which was used at most of these schools as a prereq.

    Like Moogie stated, you seem to be a very highly qualified candidate for admission to a direct-entry program. If I were you I would certainly sit down with the schools that have declined you (if that is geographically possible) and try to find out why you were denied admission. That way you can determine if your application is being denied for something that you can control. As an alternative, you can always pursue an accelerated BSN. I would have to assume you would get into one or more of them with your academic profile. They may very well be more forgiving for poor academic performance in the past. Some even just consider GPA from prereqs and/or the last 60 credits from your bachelors. Also, don't even linger on the thought of aging out of the application process. Many, many candidates apply that are much older than you and me.

    As I tell others on the board: Never give up!
  6. by   milzer2012
    At the schools I am applying to some include the "old" GPA on a total GPA, and separate one for Science Prereqs.

    I made sure to include a cover letter, pointing out my GPA now vs that of when I was a youungster - Drawing the obvious conclusion, in words, that I am now
    "dedicated to excellence" as evidenced in my recent grades.
    My "old" GPA was a major concern with me as well, we;ll see what happens. Like you I have an excellent GPA in current coursework, and a different point of view than 20ish years ago.
  7. by   Trillion
    Hey Paco9: I got all A's (in the hard classes) and a C in Dev. Psych (the easiest class) also!!! (from an unfair, incompetent teacher who held us all in contempt and graded randomly, IMO) I'm so worried about that C barring me from getting into Grad school at USF that I'm going to take the Clep test for Dev. Psych. USF has a 90% rejection rate. If that C keeps me out, I'm going to lose my mind. Glad you got into a program in spite of that C. It's been a thorn in my side for a year!