Am 52 years old, should I get my LVN or RN degree ??

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Hello, I have Bachelors in a different country and I am currently taking Micro last prereq for RN my GPA was low for my previous Bachelor because of all the life unexpected bad stuff that happened when I was studying. Now I took a lot of other courses including my prerequisites for Nursing and getting A's. Do you think it is is better for me to take LVN first and then ADN then BSN or try to apply for ABSN. But my GPA was low from my bachelors though, I am worried no school will take me. I might get accepted in an LVN program from a community college. So now I am confused and I am now 52. What do you think? I Need an advise please

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Given your circumstances, including completing a bachelor's degree in a different country, concerns regarding a lower GPA from your earlier academic career, and recent achievements in prerequisite courses for Nursing, there are several considerations for your next steps toward becoming a nurse.

Each path, whether through an LVN, ADN, BSN, or ABSN program, has unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Let's break down some options:

LVN/LPN to RN Bridge Programs

Starting as an LVN/LPN and pursuing an ADN can be a viable option. It allows you to enter the nursing workforce sooner, earn an income, and gain practical experience.

Bridge programs exist for LVNs/LPNs to transition to RNs, which can be a smoother path to obtaining an ADN and, eventually, a BSN.

Starting with an LVN/LPN program and then progressing to ADN and BSN might be a slower path but could be more forgiving with GPA requirements. 

However, this stepwise approach takes longer to reach the BSN level, increasingly becoming the preferred degree for many nursing positions.

ADN Program

If you can gain admission to an ADN program directly, it would be a quicker route to becoming an RN.

Many ADN programs have partnerships with universities, allowing for a smoother transition to BSN programs after completing the ADN.

ABSN Programs

Given that you already hold a bachelor's degree and have been performing well in your nursing prerequisites, an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program could be a viable and efficient path to becoming an RN.

ABSN programs are designed for individuals like you, with a bachelor's degree in another field, looking to transition into nursing. They are intensive and typically range from 11 to 24 months in duration.

These programs, however, tend to have higher GPA requirements, typically around a minimum of 3.0. Despite your lower GPA from your previous bachelor's degree, your recent academic successes and life experience could still make you a competitive candidate.

Many programs value diverse backgrounds and the maturity that non-traditional students bring. It's also worth noting that some ABSN programs accept lower GPAs or offer conditional acceptance based on prerequisite coursework performance.


  • Consider your goals and timeline. If your primary goal is to become a nurse as quickly as possible and you're willing to invest significant time and energy, an ABSN program might be the right choice. However, if you prefer a more gradual approach to transitioning careers, beginning with an LVN program could be beneficial.
  • Review program requirements carefully. Look into several ABSN programs to understand their specific GPA requirements and other criteria. Some may have more flexible admissions policies or offer pathways for students with lower GPAs.
  • Highlight your strengths in applications. When applying, emphasize your recent academic successes, life experiences, and healthcare-related work or volunteer experiences. These aspects of your application can help offset concerns about your GPA.
  • If you want to earn a BSN, look for programs offering a clear pathway from ADN to BSN or LVN/LPN to RN to BSN.
  • Speak with admissions advisors. Contact the admissions departments of programs you're interested in. They can offer personalized advice and suggest steps to strengthen your application, such as retaking specific courses to improve your GPA.
  • Consider financial aspects and the time commitment associated with each pathway.

Age Considerations

While age is a factor, it should not deter you from pursuing your goals. Many students enter the field at various stages of life, bringing a wealth of valuable experience and perspectives in healthcare settings. Consider your timeline and what works best for you.

Consideration of GPA

Don't assume the worst because of your prior GPA. Some nursing programs may consider your recent academic performance more heavily than your previous GPA. During the application process, highlight your recent achievements and any improvement in your grades.

Your commitment to overcoming past challenges and succeeding in recent courses demonstrates resilience and dedication—qualities essential in nursing.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth