Is it possible to get accepted to a MEPN program with less than average GPA

  1. Hello;

    I would like to get the opinion of any and everyone on this. I have a low GPA from my non-nursing degree mainly because of my first year in undergrad and because of my sketchy work schedule. I work swing shift from days to midnights for 5 1/2 years My job paid for me to attend school, but I had to fit school in my work schedule. I did graduate college, but due to the crazy work hours and mandatory over time, this caused my grades to be sketchy as well. At the time I felt that If I didnt attend school full time I would become discouraged and frustrated with the constant change in my work schedule and not go to school at all. I did what I had to do and I decided to finish undergrad full time despite being on midnights 2 weeks out of the month and on day shift the other two weeks and times in between on afternoon shift. I spoke with all of my professors in undergrad and explained my work schedule the majority of them understood and was more than willing to work with me, but the others basically told me do what I can, but if im not in class everyday then that will affect my grade. I couldn't afford to get another withdrawl on my transcript nor could I afford an F, so I either got a c, d, or F, but I did finish.

    I think with that Im worried that my gpa which is a 2.8 overall including post grad classes that I have taken will not get me accepted into the MEPN that Im applying to. I know my first choice school does not have a minimum GPA for undergrad, the only prereq's are to have an undergraduate degree in any field, a statistics class with a C or better and Anatomy and Physiology and if thats not been taken, its not required. I have shadowed an NP. I work/volunteer in a domestic Violence shelter as the sexual advocate assistant. So I have clinical experience under my belt. I have had a wealth of life experiences, I know an RN who also has a masters degree, but not an NP, who is my mentor who also works as a nurse at my job (I work in a factory for one of the big three automotive companies) who is writing a letter of recommendation for me as well. I just have to score better than average on the GRE test.

    Do you think my GPA is going to be a stumbling block for me getting into grad school? All opinions are welcomed

    --Christina





    Do you think my low GPA will cost me not to get into any MEPN/GEPN programs
    Last edit by JazzyOneRN on May 22, '07
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   arciedee
    Most graduate entry programs are pretty competitive, so you may have an uphill climb, but that's not to say you can't make it to the top! For one, how were the grades over the years? Was there any improvement as you went along or were they pretty much steady? If there was an upward trend that's definitely something to mention in your admissions essay to show that you had a lot of obstacles, but you were able to learn to successfully balance work and school and your grades show it. If they were steady, have you taken classes since then? If so, how were the grades in those? A lot of times schools are looking most closely at the most recent grades and that can offset some glitches from the past.

    Also, you have more than grades to bank on here. If you have to take the GRE then it would be worth it to invest the time and money into prep for that so you can have as good of a score as possible. It also sounds like you've got some great experience and references who can vouch for you. You've also got the essay which you can use to explain why you should be in the program, which may include discussing your tenacity (struggling through classes and work to earn your degree despite all odds), your strengths that aren't demonstrated by grades (personal qualities that will make you a good nurse), etc. And I would suggest, if you still have courses to take, to try to get the best grades possible in those to demonstrate your academic ability.

    Best of luck.
  4. by   Jo Dirt
    There is always the option of retaking courses to improve your GPA, even if just to get it to a 3.0. I think most graduate programs say they require at least a 3.0.
  5. by   lc3
    I looked at six MEPN programs and they all required a cum of 3.0.
  6. by   JazzyOneRN
    Columbia and Yale does not have a minimum GPA for their program and UIC looks at the last 60 hrs in which they require a 3.0. I just looked at their requirements and I think that I do have a 3.0 in the last 60 hrs of my undergrad degree as well as the post grad courses that I have taken. These three schools are the top 3 of choice. What Im concerned about is that even though they do not require a minimum GPA, would I still be rejected because my overall is below a 3.0.
  7. by   lc3
    Quote from christinajoy
    Columbia and Yale does not have a minimum GPA for their program and UIC looks at the last 60 hrs in which they require a 3.0. I just looked at their requirements and I think that I do have a 3.0 in the last 60 hrs of my undergrad degree as well as the post grad courses that I have taken. These three schools are the top 3 of choice. What Im concerned about is that even though they do not require a minimum GPA, would I still be rejected because my overall is below a 3.0.

    I don't want to be negative, but in all honesty you will be less competitive than other applicants. Keep in mind that they say that is their requirement, but it really depends on each school's applicant pool. The three schools you listed are very prestigous and likely to attract highly competitive applicants. I'm not saying that your not competitive and exceed each schools requirements but how competitive are you among the applicant pool is really the key question.

    Therefore, I would contact each school and ask what is the lowest gpa you accepted this year, the highest gpa and discuss what was the typical applicant profile of accepted students.

    Nevertheless, gpa is definitely not the sole determing factor. Many schools look at overall package. I can attest to getting into a top school with sub-par GRE scores and average gpa: 3.5 with the last 90 credits being a 3.75.

    Anyhow, good luck!
  8. by   JazzyOneRN
    IC3, I think you're absolutely right and that is a good idea to ask those schools those questions. I will call them tommorrow or maybe one day next week and ask then what is the lowest and highest gpa that their accepted applicant had this year as well as what is the profile of the applicants that were accepted into this year class. Good Advice

    Thanks

    Christina
  9. by   czyja
    Unless your way short on loot i would apply. I once heard a presentation given by the admissions director of a very prestigious grad program (albeit not nursing). To paraphrase, she said that if one does not apply, one is making a decision for the admissions committee - sending out a rejection letter in essence. She added, "You are not qualified to make that decision. That is our job."

    That said, some programs (Washington, UCSF) are pretty clear that they will not take an applicant with less than a 3.0. Stay clear of those programs. And have a backup plan - apply to some ADN programs,you can always get your RN, work a year then go for advanced practice.

    Best of luck. I had some crappy from 20 years ago that still haunt me. It is nasty but you will find a way.
  10. by   starryeyed
    I got into 4 really good schools with barely a 3.0 GPA. I used other parts of my application to make myself stand out. I studied really hard for the GRE's, I wrote an awesome essay and I found an NP to shadow for the summer. I also don't think that the programs are as competitive as people make them out to be. Sure there are some that are, but there are also a lot that are not. I was surprised when I saw the admissions statistics for Columbia; it was really high. So work hard to make up for your GPA and you can get into a good school. I even explained my low GPA to the admissions committee during an interview.
  11. by   elkpark
    Quote from christinajoy
    Columbia and Yale does not have a minimum GPA for their program and UIC looks at the last 60 hrs in which they require a 3.0. I just looked at their requirements and I think that I do have a 3.0 in the last 60 hrs of my undergrad degree as well as the post grad courses that I have taken. These three schools are the top 3 of choice. What Im concerned about is that even though they do not require a minimum GPA, would I still be rejected because my overall is below a 3.0.
    I am not trying to be critical or negative, but, just as a reality check, I am a graduate of Yale's program and, while they don't publish a "required" minimum GPA, there was no one in the program when I was there who had not been the top of her/his previous classes. The Ivies are all extremely competetive schools. I would imagine that they don't specify a minimum GPA because they don't think it's necessary -- it's assumed that only v. high academic performers are going to apply.

    BTW, there are plenty of good, solid nursing programs out there without the "marquee" names (and price tags!!), and a well-known, prestigious name on the school doesn't necessarily mean that the program is the best choice for each individual. I went to YSN (as a traditional student, not a GEPN) because my specialty is rare/obscure and there are only a few programs in the country that offer it -- frankly, I would have been delighted to have had a wider choice of programs!
  12. by   HYPEractiveTTU
    I'm a recent BSN graduate of the first half of Columbia's Entry to Practice (ETP) program, and currently in the ACNP program. Columbia doesn't have a minimum GPA because they realize that there are other qualities that make an excellent pracitioner. I didn't have a steller GPA, but I worked full-time, volunteered, and held positions in several organizations. I also had incredible letters of rec from professors and managers who believed in me, and expressed my passion for the profession in my essay.

    One of my favorite professors told me that "applying to school is like playing darts. The more darts you have, the greater the odds are of getting a bulls-eye." You only really need ONE acceptance.

    Also, never reject yourself without even applying. GPA is an important factor, but NOT the only factor. You never know what will happen. I was rejected to some schools i applied to, but then accepted to Columbia University in New York City.

    Apply to as many schools as your wallet will let you.

    Good luck!

    -Art
  13. by   Gennaver
    Quote from christinajoy
    Hello;

    ...Do you think my low GPA will cost me not to get into any MEPN/GEPN programs
    Hello,
    It takes the whole package and when I started I had met another student while completing our organic chemistry in the summer who had a less than stellar GPA.

    She was told to have a higher GRE to compensate and to show proof of academic ability.

    Good luck, but, I think I recognize your screen name, if so, CONGRATS!
  14. by   utexas08
    I just found out today that Columbia looks at the GPA from the school where your undergrad is/was conferred. They do not add all of your coursework together to get a cumulative GPA. This bothers me because my cumulative GPA is substantially higher than what they will be using. They said that they do take all work into account, but do not calculate a total GPA. Does anyone know if Yale does this too, or if they add all grades together into one GPA? Thanks!

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