Bad grades in HS and beginning of college


I made bad grades in high school and again in college, fresh out of high school (I'm 23 now). I know nursing is going to require a lot of science and math classes. I'm not very strong in math and will probably need a tutor. And I honestly don't know if I will be any good at science. But thinking back, I was probably most interested in bio, chem, and art. Even then, though, I would only make C's. I did worse in all the other classes. Seriously have no idea how I graduated. But now I am more determined to do this. I just don't know how easy it will be for me to learn and retain information for science. I don't remember any of it. Does anyone have any advice? Tips? I took English and Psychology over the summer. For the fall, I enrolled in Anatomy and Physiology I and I don't know what other class yet, since I haven't decided between ADN or BSN. I'm afraid of taking a third class because I've heard how difficult A&P is (I know some of you can take accelerated A&P and other classes over the summer and make all A's). But now I'm wondering, IF I decide to do BSN rather than ADN, should I should just wait to take A&P my second year? I dunno. What do you guys think? I want to spread the math and sciences classes throughout the two years and not cram it all in one semester.

I know I should talk to an adviser about all of this but I can't until a couple of weeks from now at least.

Also I got a C in bio freshman year of college. I have to retake it again anyway since it wasn't lab. Will my grade in bio lab replace it?

Specializes in ICU Stepdown.

If you're going for your BSN, take all your GECs first if you haven't. It's better to take pre reqs for nursing as late as possible, I'm assuming, so that it's still fresh on your mind. You may be able to slide with one or two more classes on top of A&P. I received good advice: don't mix easy classes with hard classes. It sounds strange but at least for me, when I did that, I would slack because I knew that I was taking easy classes and that would effect how seriously I took the hard classes. Everyone's different though! Schools are different too, my school does not allow us to retake classes for a better grade so you'll have to research your school or speak to a counselor,

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Please believe me - I don't want to squash anyone's dreams... BUT if your past experience holds true and you are unable to achieve the top-notch grades that will be needed to gain entry into a nursing program..... it's a good idea to investigate a Plan B alternative. If 'helping' is what is attracting you to nursing, there are other helping professions that do not require hard science education.

I absolutely hate the (all too frequent) posts here on AN... people whose self-esteem has been destroyed due to their inability to cope with the pre-requisites for nursing. I just want to give them a big hug and let them know "you are NOT a failure". Nursing is not for everyone. If it looks like it's not for you, please don't beat yourself up or waste too much time, energy and money on a lost cause when there are other, better options out there.

Wishing you success on the pathway to achieving your dreams.


368 Posts

It is possible to overcome the bad GPA and get accepted. I screwed off in my first couple of years of college. I was only there because it's what was expected of me....and I didn't know what I wanted to be doing sooo I partied and didn't go to class...and had an embarassingly low GPA.

Fast Forward 10 year...a marriage...2 kids....etc...and I am back.....and doing VERY WELL....with a good chance at being accepted into the nursing program of my choice in the spring (Fingers crossed) (with a lot of hard work of course). I am terrible at math....struggled through College algebra but found statistics surprisingly easy.

if you are going ADN I would go ahead and take A&P I now so that you can spread the science classes out (I have taken one science each semester except for the spring...I took A&P II and Micro. Schedule study time and stick to it.....SCHEDULE A LOT OF STUDY TIME.....flash cards......diagrams......extra lab hours....those are the things that helped me the most....I also downloaded some anatomy quiz apps that I could go through when I was waiting in the pick up line for my the grocery check out line....anytime I had a few minutes to your chapters more than once....and always go to class....You can do may not be easy....but if you work hard you can

pmabraham, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,560 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Good day, humboldt13 is a great article to read, and then act upon. As tesouthern shared, scheduling study time, and keeping up with studying matters a lot. If it helps, for any science with lab class, I actually treat the lecture as a 3 credit class and the lab as a 3 credit class in terms of approximating the amount of study time required. For non science classes, generally 2 hours per credit hour work out ok; i.e a 3 credit class would involve a minimum of six hours of study time per week. For science classes, I would recommend 3 to 4 hours of study time per credit hour keeping in mind treating the lecture and lab as two separate, 3 credit classes. So that AP1 class would run 9 to 12 hours per week for studying for the lecture portion, and 9 to 12 hours per week for studying for the lab portion for a combined 18 to 24 hours of study time (for just AP1).

Thank you.


38,333 Posts

I would take the A/P course by itself to test the waters. If you achieve that A, you will have a feel for your future road. Then, you might increase your load for the following semester, keeping the pressure manageable. There are people who only take one course at a time to insure they get those A's that will get them admitted to nursing school. If you can afford to take the time to do this, ok. But do what you need to be successful. You are already aware that C's will not get you to your goal, so taking a full load or more probably is not a good idea. Use your judgement once A/P I is behind you. Good luck.

Just A Wanderer

116 Posts

^ I agree. I, too, would suggest taking anatomy and physiology by itself, with no other course because the content is HEAVY. I had to take both classes during first year of nursing school (along with two other classes) and I didn't do so well in physiology (although I passed). I wouldn't consider myself to be "good" at science in general but adopting new study habits may have helped me succeed, which I failed to do (and hence my bad grades!). It might help to rewrite and reorganize the notes so that it makes more sense - weeding out the "extra" information from the information you need to know and categorizing everything can help you retain it better. Also, trace diagrams from textbooks, etc. and label them yourself... don't rely on just glancing at it once or twice.

Good luck! :)