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crna BSN GPA vs cumulative GPA


Background on me: I have a degree in biology with a GPA of 3.19 and a BSN with a GPA of 3.62 and am just now considering applying to CRNA school. I have been a nurse for almost six years and have spent the last year working in the ICU. I am just now considering applying for CRNA school for fall 2018.

I know CRNA school is competitive and I'm worried the my original degree GPA will be held against me and "overshadow" my BSN GPA. My biology GPA includes classes like calc 1 and 2, advanced organic chemistry, and very challenging 300 level science classes. The biology degree was just much more challenging than the BSN (please don't be offended nurses, its my opinion). Now I'm competing against mostly people who have just a BSN for entry into CRNA school. comparing my cumulative average against someone else purely nursing average is an apples to oranges comparison. People rarely get straight As in classes like university level organic chemistry and calc based physics. I remember the average in these classes being 78%. Conversely, in my nursing school 25% of class was getting A- or A.

Are there any graduate schools that take this into account with their GPA formulas and comparisons? I hate to think they just plug my GPA into a giant excel sheet without some focus on the degree rigor. Looking for honest feedback guys/gals. Thanks in advance.


Specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance. Has 8 years experience.

It depends on the school. For many, a 3.62 GPA is no longer competitive, regardless of the source. For some, you may have a chance. Your best bet is to discuss with each school, since their admission rubrics vary.


Specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance. Has 8 years experience.

On a side note, I feel for the difficulty of your previous program. Unfortunately previous program reputation is often no longer a factor, as many graduate programs have moved to standardized rubrics that do not include difficulty or reputation. That matters a lot to most employers, not so much to grad schools that have a clearly defined points grading system.


Has 6 years experience.

I know during the interview process for CRNA school they asked about classes I didn't do well in, why I didn't do well and how I've changed my study habits to no longer make that mistake. They are ultimately trying to judge based off objective data if you will excel in their CRNA program and pass boards your first time upon graduation. During the interview, they use a mix of objective and subjective (their "feeling" about you) data to make their final picks. Apply to a few different programs, you should get at least one or two to interview you, focus on how you've improved study habits and show how you've been successful in implementing said habits since your first undergrad degree.

Don't attempt to say that your first degree was very difficult and that's the reason you didn't score well because that will be a warning sign for possible failure in CRNA school. Many of the courses you listed are requirements for most CRNA schools and once you're in CRNA school you'll be going over graduate level applications of those courses and much harder information. You'll also be expected to master many of these courses in much faster time frames than what was given in your undergrad level courses. If you're passionate about getting into CRNA school and have persistence I believe you can do it.

thanks bluebolt,

Thanks for the advice. I was able to speak with one admissions councilor today that told me that at her school they use only your BSN scores to compare student GPA in order to avoid this type of apples to oranges comparison. I was pleasantly surprised but believe this is more fair than comparing me to someone that has never actually taken orgo or calc. I wish more schools would adopt this type of thinking. I also wish i had just gotten a BSN and avoided the classes that pull down you GPA. .... and so it is.


Specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance. Has 8 years experience.

Congrats and good luck. Hopefully there are a couple or few options in your area that you can apply to and increase your chances.


Specializes in CRNA.

Most of the smaller programs do consider individual courses in the evaluation of your academic record, you'll be fine. Many will specifically look at your sciences courses and consider your Biology degree an asset. A 3.6 is a competitive GPA for any program. Your overall will be above 3.2 at least, and with your clinical experience you'll be a strong candidate.

ProgressiveThinking, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in Anesthesia. Has 7 years experience.

I think you have a solid chance if you beef up the ICU experience, get CCRN/CMC, and knock the GRE out of the park. If I were a PD I would CERTAINLY hold a 3.1 GPA from a bio degree in higher regard than a 4.0 in any pre-nursing science courses. I would focus on motivation as the reason for the 3.1 rather than difficulty in my admission essay, and I would play up the 3.6. If you're willing to move, you will definitely get into a school somewhere.


Specializes in TSICU. Has 3 years experience.

There is no definitive answer about the GPA. Schools all calculate it differently or ignore parts of it. Some may look at everything combined. Others breakdown science classes. Unfortunately many of the other nurses only took the biology required for nursing and have no idea how cutthroat biology classes are at most colleges. I originally got a Biology degree with chem minor before my nursing career which wasn't my first career. I started out as a med student. I mental meltdown in life during med school and had a 2.x gpa for a year of classes before I quit, which... looks really bad. Picked myself back up went to accelerated nursing program and now am in a CRNA program. I had to do my homework in trying to determine what schools wouldn't discount me for dropping out of a graduate program in the past. Can't emphasize enough in trying to figure out what specific programs are looking for... and if you aren't a good fit don't bother applying, its expensive.

Good news. i actually had a 3.3 in my original undergrad, 3.9 for 40 credits at a community college and 3.62 for a 56 credit nursing degree. my cumulative average is a 3.485. I'm only one class away from breaking into the magical 3.5 GPA realm so many schools are looking for.

go_jets82, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCRN, CMC, CRNI.

I think recent gpa counts for a lot for CRNA