Low GPA and CRNA school... - page 2

I'm looking for help and opinions on my situation. I would love to go to CRNA school but my BSN GPA is a 3.1(while in school, I had no plans on attending CRNA school). I've been an ICU nurse for 6... Read More

  1. by   may2kd
    Most programs suggest you get your core courses out of the way before you start, such as theories of nursing, research, etc. Find out what the core courses are going to be, and get them done, even if you haven't been accepted into school yet. This will show the admission board that you are serious about anesthesia school and you can handle graduate level course work.
  2. by   loveanesthesia
    Most Graduate Colleges have a limit to how many credits taken before acceptance to a program can count toward the degree requirements. Usually it's around 6 or 9, if you take 12 and then are accepted into the program you can only count the 6 or 9. Check that out before you take too many credits.
  3. by   NataliaG
    So did you end up applying?
  4. by   allieRN,CCRN
    Hello. I was in your same situation. My undergrad GPA was 3.2, and I knew that I wanted to become a CRNA. When I started college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and I did not have good study habits right out of highschool. Well now, after a lot of hard work, I got accepted into CRNA school. I am so excited! I start this fall.
    Here is what I did to make myself more competitive:

    1) Take the GRE. This is a basic requirement to get into CRNA school. Try to do as well as you possibly can on the GRE.
    2) Work in High-Volume ICU. I worked as an RN in a level 1 trauma center, high volume CCU. Get all the experience that you can get! Ask to be given the more complicated patients, and learn, learn, learn! Know your job like the back of your hand. I worked there for 1.5 years before getting accepted.
    3) Take Graduate Level Nursing Courses, and ACE them! I took all the basic courses for an advanced practice nurse: pharmacology, pathophysiology, research & statistics, health assessment, etc. And, I got all A's. my graduate gpa is a 4.0.
    4) Get certifications. I got my CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse) certification, as well as CSRN (Certified Sedation Registered Nurse) certification as soon as I was eligible to sit for the exams. The majority of people who apply to CRNA school do not have any professional certifications. So this will make you stand out... especially the CCRN. If you only want to get one certification, then get the CCRN. The CCRN exam is very difficult. It represents commitment to the profession of nursing, pride in your work, and above all, proof of your competency to care for critically ill patients. The CRNA selection committee knows that the CCRN certification is a significant accomplishment, and they will look on your CCRN with very high regards. Your hospital may pay the exam costs, as well as give you a small raise for getting those certifications. Find out because the exams are like $200 each, not including your study materials. I did not pay a penny for the exams, but put out like $150-$200 for study materials. If you are not eligible to sit for the exam yet, then prepare yourself now and study, study, study. That way, as soon as you are eligible, you can take the exam right away. (to be eligible, you have to have so many hours of clinical practice as an ICU nurse under your belt). The way I looked at it: time is precious. The faster you can improve your competitive factor, the faster you will get into CRNA school. So don't waste any time.
    5) Network and find some Outstanding References. I am the only one in my family that is in the Healthcare / Medical Field, so I did not have any friends or family connections that were doctors or CRNAs. So, I had to start from scratch and get my own references. I got the Chair Director (MD Cardiologist) of my unit to write one of my references. And, she wrote a really outstanding letter for me. Also, after I got off my shift at 7am, I would walk over to the OR and shadow CRNAs. I did this for several months, and I got a CRNA to write me a really good reference letter too. I also got one of my charge nurses to write a reference letter for me. Do everything you can to impress, work hard, go above and beyond in your job.
    6) The CRNA School Interview. I believe that this is the pinnacle of your package: your CRNA Interview. The Program Committee is looking over your portfolio, and they want to know why they should accept you into their very challenging & rigorous program. The important thing is to remain calm and try to be extremely confident in yourself. Even if you are not... you must appear that you are very sure of yourself, you know exactly who you are and where you are going. You know exactly what your shortcomings are (like your low gpa), but you believe that your experiences & shortcomings will make you into an even better CRNA than those that do not have such experiences, because you are now more determined, more committed to this profession than ever before. That is the basic message and you must relay that message successfullly. Where I interviewed, the selection committee asked me directly about my low gpa. Go ahead and have an answer ready. Use that opportunity to talk about yourself... and turn what they feel is a shortcoming, your low gpa, into a positive attribute that has made you into the extremely motivated, self-determined, and confident individual that you are today. Then, talk about the manifestations of your hard work and determination: all A's in Grad Courses, CCRN & CSRN certifications, High repertoire with your colleagues, etc... Remember, it is the TOTAL package that counts, and the total package is what will get you into CRNA school.

    If you can't tell, I am really enthusiastic about this! If you stay determined, work really hard, and do all that you can to get into CRNA school, then you will get in! I hope everything goes well for you! Good Luck!! Let me know if you want to talk more about this, and I will be happy to answer any more questions that you have!
  5. by   Lightattheend05

    I'm in a similar position. I have a 3.3 undergrad GPA. I just finished my nursing program and I'll be taking my boards at the end of the month. I have accepted a position in the Surgical ICU and I'll be starting in September. My goal is to attend anesthesia school, but I'm so concerned about my GPA. I planned on taking graduate level classes, but would it make sense to take an undergraduate organic chemistry as well? I'll also be taking the revised GRE because it's changing in August. Any advice would totally be appreciated.

  6. by   allieRN,CCRN

    Congratulations on graduating from nursing school. That in itself is a great accomplishment! Welcome to Nursing! You are off to the right start by getting a job in the ICU right away, which may be difficult for some new grads in certain hospitals. Now, this is totally my opinion, but I don't think you should take the undergrad organic chem class. First of all, it would be really hard to attend that class and work as a nurse because of the four hour lecture once a week, a four hour lab once a week, and lab assignments and tests. Also, I don't think that organic chem is a prereq for CRNA school. The CRNA selection committe is more interested in whether or not you are ready for their highly competitive and rigorous graduate program. I think that a 4.0 Graduate GPA speaks more than increasing your undergrad GPA 1/10 - 2/10 of a point. So, go ahead and start taking Graduate Level Nursing Courses as a non-degree seeking student. I recommend taking Pharmacology and Pathophysiology first, as those are the biggies for CRNA school. Also, try to take the courses at the university that you would like to go to CRNA school, or make sure that the courses are online. Some earlier posts make a good point... many crna schools allow you to transfer gradulate level nursing courses toward your CRNA degree, but they will only allow you to transfer like 6 credits... which is 2 classes. Or, you could choose to take more than 2 courses, as it may give you a more competitive edge.

    Hundreds of people apply to crna programs for a spot where only 20 or so will get accepted. The key is to make yourself competitive... make yourself stand out among the other applicants. After you study and take the GRE, go ahead and start studying to take the CCRN exam. You won't be eligible to take the CCRN until you have like 1,700 hours of nursing behind you, but at least you will be ready to take the exam as soon as you are eligible. That is what I did. I purchased the Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio DVDs to study. Just Google her name and her products will pop up. The CCRN speaks volumes about what kind of nurse you are, your devotion to the profession, your commitment to better nursing practice, and will be major in setting you apart from the other applicants.

    I know it seems like a lot, but just take it one step at a time. Don't lose focus of your dream. And, don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it! Believe me, I'm speaking from experience, your nursing colleagues will tell you that. I know you can do it! Good luck!
    Last edit by allieRN,CCRN on Jun 8, '11
  7. by   Lightattheend05
    Hi, Allie

    Thanks so much for the reply. It does make sense to bypass undergrad chemistry classes. If I start working in September, when would you suggest me taking grad level classes?
  8. by   PeaceKeepr
    Great advise allie
  9. by   2bEsqtoRN
    Awesome thread.
  10. by   ICU, RN, BSN, B.S.
    Quote from iwannabeaCRNA
    These forums helped me when I applied, so I thought I'd share!

    My GPA wasn't that great either . My undergraduate classes were over 10 years ago, so of course we know how much maturity can sink in over that time! Especially working in critical care! So, in order to redeem myself, I took two graduate level classes, pathophysiology and statistics. Did very well, had a decent GRE, prayed a lot, and got accepted! Your experience and your total commitment is a major part. You have to be dedicated, it isn't easy. You literally give up your life for 28 months! They have to be sure you are willing. Your success in their program reflects their success in teaching you. So don't give up...I am proof that you can get accepted! Also, shadow a CRNA to make sure you want to do this. It also shows your schools that you actually studied what it means to become one, not just dreamed of it! My GPA in undergrad doesn't reflect totally on how I am succeeding in the program. I'm doing very well and that's why I think schools look at the total package versus just GPA. Hope this helps!

    That sounds like a good idea. you would recommend taking a couple graduate level classes??
  11. by   ICU, RN, BSN, B.S.
    Some of my science classes will be 10 years old by 2012-2013. I took A&P 2 before A& P1....i took A& P2 when I was 18, and had that " i don't care mentality" and only got a 2.0. Woud you suggest retaking A&P2?? I got a 3.0 in Chem 1 (this is another class that will be 10 years old in 2012), 3.0 in A&P 1, 4.0 in Chem2, 4.0 in Medical microbiology. 3.5 in Patho & Pharm during nursing school, and 4.0 in Health Assessment in Nursing school. I also did very well in all my nursing provider classes (Med surg, maternity, pediatrics, psych, community, and advanced med surg)--I got 3.5's and 4.0s in those. I also got a 4.0 in my Capstone. I did an accelerated BSN program (super intense) so I believe that prepared me for how a super intense CRNA program will be (obv the CRNA program is a lot more difficult).

    Should I do a graduate level Patho and Pharm class? Even if I did well in my nursing school?? Also, should I retake A&P2 ?
  12. by   RealNurse419
    This is a great thread!
    I'm currently in the process of getting my applications together for school. Well actually, I have them all complete, I'm just nervous about sending them out. I graduated nursing school with a 3.25. I am currently taking Advanced Patho and Pharm and I have A's in both of them. I also have CCRN, TNCC, PALS, ASLS, and ACLS. I work in a meto Trauma 1 hospital too. I also got a 960 on GRE...anyway I'm just kind of nervous that this isn't going to be good enough, especially seeing everyone else's stats of 4.0 undergrad GPA and 1300 GRE scores ..I guess I'm just kind of venting. Hopefully I'll get some courage and send out my application soon :-/
  13. by   its_me
    I just graduated from a nursing school in the philippines and just arrived here in maryland, also I'm an american citizen. I'm currently applying for the MBON for my license and as of now its still on the process. I really want to be be a CRNA, and my problem is I have a low GPA, I have a bachelors in nursing. What are the steps that I could do to increase my GPA and improve my chances in being accepted in CRNA school. I already have A&P, Physics lab and lec, Chemistry In & organic. And if I need to take some classes to increase my GPA should I take them in the philippines or I could do it here?

    Thank you very much in advance, I would really appreciate ur response Because I really dont know anyone here to ask as of now.