Entry-Level/Direct-Entry MSN Applicants

Posted
by Veigar3 (Member)

Hey all,

This post is for all those with non-nursing bachelors degrees, or those interested in entry-level/direct-entry MSN programs.

I am curious how competitive (or noncompetitive, cynically) of an applicant I am in these programs. A little about myself: I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a 3.09 GPA with a BA in biology, minor in philosophy. As I plan on elaborating in my narrative, I battled depression throughout my undergraduate career but have since come out of the closet and am now very confident in my academic abilities in a graduate program. Since graduation, I've worked in customer service, I've worked as an EMT, and currently working as a CNA/NAC. I also have over 100 hours (accruing more weekly) of volunteer service in an emergency department. At the time of submitting applications, I think I will have good references and mentors (nurses) who will write me great letters of recommendation. This sounds cocky, but I'm also confident my prerequisite GPA will be very competitive (12 more credits), as well as my GRE score (which I've been studying for relentlessly the past few weeks).

I'm not asking for any cheerleading, but I am asking for your honest thoughts and opinions on what else I can do to be the most competitive applicant I can be with my sub-par GPA.

I'll be applying to PLU's ELMSN program this fall, as well as nearby CC ADN programs (if those, then RN-MSN in the future).

I'd appreciate any feedback, especially from Puget Sounders. :-)

Mama&Nurse

12 Posts

I start my direct entry MSN program this fall. I can only speak from my personal experience, but my undergraduate degree was in education, which I discovered was not for me when I did my student teaching. My grades were not great, 3.2-ish GPA, I believe. I had started out pre-Med so I had some sciences but my grades for those were mid to low Cs. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about being accepted!

What helped me was taking the GRE & having a good score (not required by my program but recommended if the undergrad GPA is in the low side). I also was re-taking chemistry & in my 1st semester of A&P at the time of my application, and had As in both classes. So when I went in for my interview, I was honest--my heart wasn't really in my classes as a fresh out of high school kid, & I floundered a bit. Many years later, I am much more committed to school (& have much more at stake as I have a family now) and my grades, as well as my GRE score showed my dedication to studying & working hard. I also described things I'm doing differently this time around: going to professors to get help when needed, joining study groups; things that show I'm a team player and also willing to ask for help when it's needed.

It sounds like you've already done most of what I've mentioned. With your references & experience, I think you definitely have an advantage, and hopefully your interview will allow you the opportunity to explain your situation and make it clear you are serious about this opportunity. Good luck!

elkpark

14,633 Posts

If I were you, I would not mention any history of psychiatric difficulties. I realize you are proud of having overcome this, and healthcare professionals are not supposed to care or stigmatize people for that sort of thing, but I would really encourage you to not go there. It might not hurt you, but it definitely cannot help you.

Best wishes!

Mama&Nurse

12 Posts

That's a good point. It may be better to discuss distractions & attention being focused elsewhere when talking about the less than great grades & career change. At least in my interview, the not so stellar grades and reason for a career change did come up, so it would be good to have a plan for what you'll say, just in case.

Veigar3

52 Posts

Are you talking about depression or sexual orientation? Or both?

elkpark

14,633 Posts

I was referring specifically to your reference to battling depression.

Veigar3

52 Posts

Gotcha. The two obviously went hand-in-hand. Thanks for the advice, I suppose I'll address my GPA in a different way.