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Discouraged about GPA in San Diego, need advice about getting into nursing school

by db.c db.c (New) New Pre-Student

I always come on hear to read about other people’s stories about getting into nursing school, and I finally decided that I need to speak to you all about how anxious I am about my own fears of getting in myself.

I’m about to receive my Bachelor’s in Public Health Degree. Let me tell you.. I fell into this degree because when transferring from community college, I was still so discouraged by my GPA in my pre-nursing core. I calculated it and I have a 3.27 in my pre-nursing core. I got all B’s in anatomy, physiology, chem, micro. I had so much in my plate during community that my focus wasn’t clear, and I wish I took them later in life to really put my all into those classes.

My current school GPA at my school is a 3.61. Once I finish my final semester, with how my grades look right now, it would be a 3.73. My community college GPA is 3.2. My TEAS score is 82.

I know, my grades and scores aren’t “bad”. But they’re not competitive. I have my CNA with 1 year experience. I don’t feel like what I currently have is enough for the schools in San Diego where I really want to apply to.

I applied to San Marcos’ ABSN program for Fall 2020. I also applied to Southwestern’s ADN program.

I don’t know what my other options are. I can’t retake my pre-nursing core classes because I never received lower than a C. I can retake my TEAS (except for SWC), but I don’t know where I can because of the COVID situation.

I truly want to be a nurse. So. Freaking. Bad. I want to be there at the frontline fighting this current pandemic and provide care to everyone that needs it. I just don’t know how to get there.

Hello, Diane! I am in the exact same boat as you! My overall GPA is a 3.1 and my pre req GPA Is a 3.0! So I'm JUST hitting the minimum requirement however most people have higher GPA's. I have to retake the entrance exam since I didn't too hot on it.

I've also been a CNA for about a year now.

My only advice to you is to stop worrying about things that are out of your control (I know, easier said than done!). I know it can get hard sometimes with feeling discouraged but try to focus on all of the things you've accomplished so far! You finished all of the pre reqs, you are just about to have your bachelors and you even applied to some nursing schools already! BE PROUD OF THOSE ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

Keep on applying. keep on trying. because you may just get a yes from somewhere! I know we can both do this! stay strong! 🙂

I can give some general information for your situation. I'm not going to lie and say you're not going to have some challenges getting into nursing school. Almost all nursing schools in the country are competitive to get into. Thus, rather than be discouraged for your situation, you're going to need to research the various schools to learn their admission process and requirements. Not all schools base admission solely on GPA and grades; they all look at them though.

Given you're going to have a bachelor's degree, you will have some options. Option one is trying an ADN program. These programs tend to be less on the point system. They may use point to set a minimum, but many go to a lottery system for qualifying candidates. Others admit first come, first serve to qualifying candidates. Some are still waiting lists; the community college I go used to do this, and it was a three year wait; they've done lottery, with guaranteed admission in the fourth year of applying.

BSN programs tend to be purely based on points. Top points get offers. The points are based on GPA--cumulative or science--TEAS, and science grades. Some schools will give bonus points for various stuff such as local resident, school attended, healthcare experience, veteran status, and so forth. Also, some programs give penalty points for some classes being repeated (it varies if it one or multiple times). This application process will be your most challenging. I would suggest applying to a school with larger cohort sizes. Hopefully, you get waitlisted and a spot opens for you. On a side note, you'll be considered a graduate student, so you pay graduate students prices and fees, but you're only getting a bachelor's; ie, you pay higher prices.

With your bachelor's, you have the option of ABSN or direct entry MSN programs. You're really going to need to research and probably write their school of nursing for feedback. These programs have a lot in common, but they also vary a lot. One thing consistent, they want a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. They all want at least Cs in anatomy, Chemistry, physiology, and micro-Chemistry. Some programs are very stringent on the GPA; UC Davis' MSN program says don't apply if you're bachelor issuing institution transcription does not have it; they will not look at classes after or before (transfer students). Some programs will still want a TEAS score. Others want GRE score. Some require no entrance exam scores. Some programs will do the point system situation. There are number of schools that do a holistic approach. They look at you as a whole and how you will fit within their vision of an ideal candidate. Thus, if you have a grade(s) that do not meet the minimum, they may not automatically reject you. These programs, you essays and letters of recommendation become very important for them to learn about you. UCLA and Johns Hopkins are two schools that have this approach.

What thing in your favor is that your grades improved significantly from the college community to a four-year institution. Even better if the four-year has a reputation for being more challenging academically. The name on a degree can have an influence for graduate school applications. Also, if you're able to, you can add an application addendum to explain any shortfalls. If you do this, try to do in a way that you take responsibility for it, but how you learn something from it such as time management. Anyone can give an excuse. Remember, as a nurse, you're going to take responsibility for things that may not turn out well, but you also need to need to learn from them. It's a profession that is always evolving.

WIth all that said, I can tell you my experience in getting into accepted into nursing school; I start fall 2020.

Like you, I went to community college. While there, I had a bad term, where I got a D in the class and dropped my term GPA below 2.0. I took the class later and got a A. When transferred I had a GPA of 3.33 and associate degrees in General Business and Liberal Arts, and a certificate in General Business. It is worth noting I had 101.5 semester units completed in three years while working part-time and did extracurricular activities.

I transferred to UC San Diego. While there, I had two bad terms where my GPA dropped below 2.0; these were consecutive terms. I got an in one D class, took it the next term, got an F. Took it a third time and got a B. I still do not know how I did worse the second time. I graduated with a GPA of 2.795 with a bachelor of arts in economics and a minor in Pan American studies.

After graduating I went to work in insurance--health and annuities. I had to be licensed by the State, which I still maintain. I went back to school at a different community college and earned a certificate in paralegal studies; I was considering going to law school; all As but one B. Economy took a dump, ended up poor paying job and having to help my parents.

I went back to school again part-time at the community college where I started college. I went originally for computer programming. I did this for a few years taking computer and math classes. I learned there was a big age discrimination that would be against getting a job, so I switch to nursing. I won't get into all the reasons since that's a whole different topic. This school has a nursing program. I talked to the school counselor to find what I needed to take to be able to apply.

I took all my nursing prerequisites for that school--anatomy, Chemistry, physio, micro, pharmacology, and nutrition. I already had the requirements completed. I got all As, except Bs in anatomy and physics, and a C in calculus II. I earned another associate's degree in General Science. I had another seventy-eight competed semester units and raised my GPA up to 3.50. I also had four units of biology honors for human dissection. I also arranged with the county coroner to view an autopsy. I the CNA class because the other local community college wants for their applicants, and got a part-time job where my clinicals were; I ended up in the skilled nursing facilities memory ward dealing with dementia, Alzheimer's, and PTSD.

I took my TEAS exam after completing the CNA course. I studied/reviewed for about two months. This was a year after completing the last core science course. I got 87.3% with a 99% on math, ~84% science. I don't remember the other scores, but all high enough I would not be disqualified from any programs.

I applied to several programs--ADN, BSN, and direct entry masters. I applied to two programs for Spring 2019. I got waitlisted at CSU East Bay, and later was accepted in early December for a January 2020 start. I went through orientation. I gave this spot up a few weeks later.

I did not know about direct entry master programs till I started working as CNAs when one of the charge nurses told me about them. I looked into UC Davis, and wrote them about the GPA issue. They told me, as nicely as they could, not to apply. I wrote UCLA and was told I could apply, and I had a chance if I could show I was significantly improved student and did not have anything less than a B in any science prerequisite.

For fall 2020, I applied to the community college (ADN), BSN programs at CSU East Bay, CSU Long Beach, CSU Sacramento, San Diego State.

I submitted an application for direct entry master's at UCLA, Univ of San Diego, and Johns Hopkins, which I learned about from virtual fair and NursingCAS (popular nursing school application service many schools use). I wrote all the programs about my situation. UCLA even asked to see transcripts. I went to an information session for Johns Hopkins that was local to me and able to talk to an admissions advisor who advised that I should include the human dissection, autopsy, and CNA work, why I was using a manager from over tens years ago via an application addendum. I got help on my resume from an aunt who does human resources for a living, so she reads resumes all day. I had another friend who is a writer and in graduate school for literature help me with all my essays, including the addendum.

I was not offered admission to Univ San Diego or UCLA. I did get an admission offer to Johns Hopkins right before Christmas and was given a scholarship; not a full ride. Johns Hopkins is one of the larger cohorts I've seen. It's about 120 spots, but they still get six hundred to seven hundred applications per cohort. In general for nursing programs, it's about five hundred applicants for fifty spots. Johns Hopkins is holistic. There are were people who did not get offers who had better grades, more healthcare-related experience, or advance degrees such as masters.

I was concerned I was going to be toiling around for a couple of years trying to get it. I still more classes that other programs wanted to in case I wanted to try to apply the next year.

Remember, there is more than one way to becoming a nurse. I did not even talk about being an LVN/LPN or bridge programs since I did not explore that path.

I just wanted to thank all of you for sharing your stories and words of support with me. It really helps to hear from you guys because it makes me feel like I’m not alone! All of your guiding words will surely help me in my future endeavors. I’ll be in nursing school eventually. 💗