Haunted by my past...What are my options?

Nursing Students NP Students


The year is 1987. A young man, raised in a cloistered small town in rural Alaska is accepted to a mid-western university. At first, things go well. Then, trouble begins. Girls and other worthy diversions are discovered, and classes are nearly forgotten. Our protagonist spends over three years rudderless and adrift, amassing an absolutely dismal academic record.

By chance, he takes an EMT class, and discovers his calling in the medical field. He ends his prodigal ways, moves back in with relatives in a different mid-western state and enrolls in an ADN program, and does quite well.

After 20+ years of ER/Critical Care transport and Urgent Care experience, the now not-so-young man enrolls in a RN to BSN program, and does VERY well.

He thinks to himself, "I'd like to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, and move back to rural Alaska. I can help provide care to people who really need it."

As he looks through the institutions which offer FNP, he begins to panic...."3.0 Cumulative GPA required for application...." "Applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA to apply." "Minimum cumulative GPA required: 3.0."

Our subject gets a sinking, hollow feeling in his gut: Even with the good grades achieved in the ADN program, and the excellent grades in the RN to BSN program, his cumulative GPA sits -like an elephant upon an MI victim's chest- at a disappointing 2.78.

"Well," he says to himself "Maybe they don't mean it. Maybe if I just explain that I was a different person 30 years ago, and I have since gotten my act together. The RN to BSN grades prove that, don't they?" He completes the application for Concordia University, and the admission essay, he points out that his life has become more focused, more intentional and more driven than it was those 30 years ago.

It is to no avail. The dreaded letter arrives from Concordia: "Dear applicant.....regret... inform...GPA...does not meet requirements..."

A labored calculation shows that our hero must take 40 credits worth of classes at a 4.0 to raise his cumulative GPA to 3.0.

Are there any other options? Are there any programs which do not require a 3.0? Are there programs that look not at your cumulative GPA but at your major-specific GPA? Are there programs that cater to now-experienced middle-aged folks who may have made some mistakes in their distant pasts?

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice.
The applications I have seen and the one I filled out for Concordia were some variation of "List each College or University you have attended."

Do you mean that if I do not list a university, they will not know about it? What about my transcipts from my RN to BSN progam? Will they not indicate the use of credits earned at a different university toward the BSN?

Don't get me wrong, I would be overjoyed if I can simply ignore the college where I earned my abysmal grades. But abysmal as they are, I am using some of those credits. It seems as though if they would accept that, they would say "List each College or University you have attended...that are pertinent to your degree."

They will not know your previous GPA or about your attendance at any other university unless you tell them and FERPA protects this information.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice.
BTW, it is true that you may not list any degree that is not pertinent to nursing. Only one trouble is that your undergrad program will be contacted and they may be asked to report your GPA you came there with - in which case, ther would be questions where it all came from.

Per FERPA, the school cannot respond to a request from a third party about your education information. They can only respond to a request from you, and the transcript they get is the same one you get. Check your transcript. Does your school list your previous gpa from another school? I doubt it. It probably just lists the transfer credits that were accepted.

(...Snipped for brevity...) It probably just lists the transfer credits that were accepted.

Do you think they would ask for the transcripts of the school from whence the transfer credits came? If they did, would they accept my statement that "That school was not related to my degree"

if I refused to send them?

Again, I am not trying to nitpick, I just want to fully understand my options.

BTW, thanks to all who continue to provide advice. I am very grateful.

I've attended 5 universities & colleges, and will say that when I have my transcript sent to another school they do see my grades. They send everything including classes that are not pertinent to my degree plan. It may or may not show a calculated GPA, but the schools have calculated it themselves.

Most schools (including every one I've attended) want transcripts from every course you've taken at every school you've attended. Could you get away with hiding some of that coursework. Probably. But, if they were to find anything that indicated you purposefully hid that information do you think they would accept you?

If they know you have coursework that you have not sent in they will not accept your application as complete.

I went to Concordia. I only submitted my GPA for my last degree (nursing). I would send a letter to Dean Chappy if you have your heart set on their program. Honestly, make sure you are a very good student now if you choose this program. the beginning of the program was not bad....but it is not hard to fail a clinical with their rules. (you are required to have 87 percent average on tests...and their test were challenging) theoretically you can get an A in their course and fail due to the test average rule. we lost a lot of classmates after our first clinical.

I was able to totally remove a couple classes for the same reason from my transcript. I can't remember what I had to do though but I know I went to guidance counselor and got some help. Improved my GPA ALOT and I was then accepted to Honor Society, scholarships, etc. so maybe go back to the original school and see if there is a way to get them removed - good luck!

Does Kaplan have an FNP program in your state? They are fairly easy to get into. I would just keep trying. If a school turns you down ask for an interview to explain. Sometimes it takes putting a real person behind a transcript. After reading some of the other comments some people mentioned that you could get a master's degree then do a post masters program. If you choose to go that route go to a school like where you can move at your own pace. I know some people who has gotten their masters degree in 6 months.

Hi Mathew,

I don't know if my suggestion will be helpful or not, but I would contact whoever I could and have a face-to-face meeting, if possible, to share your story. If the first person says no, try the next person in line. Don't give up. My husband had a similar experience when he was trying to get into a PhD program at UC Irvine in CA. He had an undergraduate GPA of 2.8, but had been getting A's in the Master's program at a state school. UCI rejected him. He called someone (not sure who or what title), and asked what he could do to improve his chances for reapplying next cycle. They told him to come talk with someone at the campus, and long-story-short, he was accepted.

If you did really well in the nursing program, you have solid ground for your appeal. I'd keep trying to talk to someone until you've exhausted all avenues, and only then try to bump up your GPA by taking more classes.

Best of luck to you!

Specializes in ED.

I don't know if this has been suggested, because I haven't read all the way through the comments.

I was in your situation once. My parents had to threaten legal action to get my h.s. to give me a diploma, due to my truancy. :) My first term at school had me on academic probation at a 1.9 GPA.

What you can do--take the worst classes. I mean..."significant"...classwork. Not Basketweaving where you called it in and still got a "C" (raising hand).

Hard core, requisite classwork. And take 3-4 of them again. Your new grade supercedes your old one. It erases it.

No, it won't give you a 3.75 GPA. But it will boost you over the 3.0 mark with all A's in those hard core classes. The schools look at things like Sciences and Math, and take into consideration that you tried to remedy those C grades.

I had a 2.75 when I graduated with my AS in Science. I entered a BS online program (easiest thing ever in that particular field. it was literally a diploma mill) and got all As and I took four additional classes online that I had done in person and bombed. It fixed a lot.

I got into Nursing school and got all As with two Bs. I didn't graduate cum laude, but I damn well have a 3.31 now. I can't go back and re-do nursing classes, nor can you. But you can re-do classes that matter to an NP program, like A&P or Chemistry.

Then you go to the Dean of the program you want to get into. Like I did. And you sit down with them and show them what you've done to remedy your past. This matters. Part of being in this profession is finding ways to solve problems with critical thinking and a little ambition/elbow grease.

It's not easy. I understand completely. But you have to get rid of those old Cs and the only way you can do that is retake the class.

Good luck to you.

Try Chamberlain, they may consider you on a case by case basis.

Do not under any circumstances attempt to "not" list all colleges and universities attended. Most applications will contain a statement that falsifying information on an application will result in automatic rejection/expulsion. You are better off looking for a program that considers only the last 60 credits GPA for admission- that will increase your gpa if your poor performance was in the first 85 credits (since you indicate you have 145 credits). Good luck!

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