Less than impressive GPA - but from 20 years ago

  1. all - i've seen a few posts addressing similar questions but wanted to ask for feedback on my specific situation.

    i graduated from college in 1991 and have been working in two fields unrelated to nursing (journalism and pr). over the past two years, however, i've decided i really want to go into nursing.

    here's the issue: i didn't focus on my academics when i was in college as i was concurrently working as a reporter at the newspaper i would join full-time upon graduation. so my focus was the job, not my classes. as a result, my cum gpa is a 2.7, which i know falls short of the 3.0+ that many accelerated or second degree bsn programs require.

    i am set to begin my pre-reqs this fall. if i do exceptionally well in them, will some schools give weight to a) those grades; b) the fact that it's been 20 years since my middling academic performance (that was under mitigating circumstances); and c) the fact that i've done very well since college, demonstrating that i can excel? or am i saddled with this less-than-stellar performance any way i look at it?

    i'm in the hudson valley so any suggestions on schools that might be more open to these conditions would be appreciated. also, if anyone thinks it just won't happen, what's my next best avenue? do i try for an adn so at least i can sit for the rn exam?

    many thanks for any and all feedback.
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    About rebecca41

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 26; Likes: 1
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in ER, PACU, Progressive Care, Med-Surg

    13 Comments

  3. by   Seyma
    Well every school looks at different courses in different ways (different point system for evaluating applicants and deciding admission).

    The school I was accepted into and the reason why I applied to this school was because they didn't look at my cumulative GPA. They looked at my Science GPA (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, inorganic/biochem), the GPA for my four core class (Critical Thinking, Composition, Communication, Math) and they looked at TEAS test (which is like a nursing entrance exam) scores.

    I also applied to one other school that didn't look at cumulative GPA but only the science GPA. They also gave points on how many general education courses you had completed but your grade wasn't a factor...just that you had passed it.

    So there is hope. Just look into the different point systems for the schools around you
  4. by   nohika
    I agree with Seyma - you'll definitely need to look into the colleges around you. I'm working on my pre-reqs myself, and my college goes on a point system. It only looks at your pre-req classes to determine admission, nothing else. Like Seyma, it'll be the only way I get in because my Cum GPA sucks. x3

    But remember, every college does it differently. =3 Look into a variety of colleges and find out what works best for you.
  5. by   rebecca41
    Thanks to you both for your replies; may I ask which schools you're looking at/you've seen that focus on the pre-reqs? So far I've only looked online at several of the schools around me and most list a 3.0 cum GPA as a requirement.
  6. by   exnavygirl-RN
    I had a less than impressive GPA from 20 years ago, also. With the pre-requisites I had to take for nursing school I was able to pull that GPA up. You'll be fine. I worried about this for a long time and everything came into place. Good luck to you!
  7. by   nohika
    I'm up in Washington, and mostly looking at Clark College's ADN program. They look at the cumulative GPA of all your pre-reqs, but nothing more then that, I think. It's an odd point system; just changed a week ago.
  8. by   CrufflerJJ
    You're doomed...DOOMED, I say!

    OK, probably not.

    My first undergrad degree (1983) GPA was a blazing 2.59! Like you, I was only looking to pass my courses, not excel in them. I worked hard to maintain a 4.0 in all classes taken after my undergrad (paramedic coursework, Japanese language classes, plus the nursing prereq classes). That, plus a couple extra letters of reference from my A&P and Micro profs, did the job for me. I was able to get into an accelerated BSN program and ended up graduating with a 3.95 GPA in it.

    You might want to touch base with the directors of any nursing programs you're interested in attending. They can tell you what they'd need to see in terms of proof that you can handle the accelerated pace of challenging courses.

    Good luck!
  9. by   rebecca41
    Just seeing this has brightened my day. I was really thinking it might be a lost cause. Thank you for the feedback (and keep it coming, if you like!) and for the words of support!
  10. by   Seyma
    Quote from cwalton41
    Thanks to you both for your replies; may I ask which schools you're looking at/you've seen that focus on the pre-reqs? So far I've only looked online at several of the schools around me and most list a 3.0 cum GPA as a requirement.
    Southern California...I applied at Cal State Long Beach and Cypress College. They require a 2.5 minimum GPA to apply but it is not a determinant in their actual admissions. Cal State Fullerton on the other hand, looked at your cumulative GPA so I did not apply there. You kinda have to apply to schools strategically...I've heard of people with better grades than me that got turned down. Just find a school with a point system that makes your transcript look competitive. It might require you meeting with counselors and going to orientations but I feel there is a school out there for everyone...just make sure you do well in your science prereqs because those classes will always have the most weight.
  11. by   SFChef
    As other posters have already said, you are definitely not a lost cause!

    I was in close to the same situation. I screwed up big time 20 years ago, and had a very low GPA (probably under 2.5)--but at the time, I dropped out and never finished. When I returned to finish 10 years ago, I graduated with a 4.0 (from the classes I had to take to finish). Fast forward 10 years to nursing pre-reqs, and I completed all of my pre-reqs (including some extra classes like physics and o-chem) with all A's (again, a 4.0).

    So, did I get in to nursing school? Well, Hopkins turned me down--said my cumulative GPA was 2.9 and that they had far more competitive applicants. I appealed the decision, but they would not look past the mistakes that were made 20 years ago. So, I called my 2nd choice school, Duke, and spoke with their wonderful admissions rep, who explained to me that they look at the whole person, and they care about what you can bring to the table now. I applied and was accepted!! I am all set to start in their nursing program in the Fall.

    What did I learn? Don't give up.

    My advice to you: call the schools you are interested in and explain your situation. It will save you both heartache and application fees if they will not look past your earlier GPA. I think most of them will look past it, but for the few that won't, just remember there are lots of good schools out there.

    Good luck!
  12. by   rebecca41
    SF Chef - that is a really inspirational story. Thank you for sharing. I can't wait for the fall so I can start the pre-reqs! Good luck at Duke!
  13. by   45whenimdone
    20 years ago I attempted nursing/journalism/counseling/admin justice you name it. I didn't know what direction I wanted to go and didn't know how to get the right guidance to direct me. My gpa would not get me into any nursing program. I gave up. I became a stay at home mom. Raising my kids. taking care of my husband and the household. I've had different jobs throught out the years, but I always kept thinking about nursing in the back of my mind. it would nag me constantly. Eventually I talked myself out of nursing a few years ago b/c I thought what's the point? My gpa would take forever and a day to get up to par; and maybe nursing isn't what i really wanted to do with my life.
    After a very long and extensive talk with my VERY SUPPORTIVE husband... I now know that nursing IS MY CALLING. MY PASSION. I wasn't ready THEN. 20 years is a long time to think about things in life, and though life gives you plenty of ups and downs, one should never ever give up on their dreams. My husband knows that with 3.5 kids undertow, me taking my science courses, and studying is going to be very difficult, but we know in the end, it will all be worth it.
    There are schools/programs out there as pp stated that look at what you have accomplished in the past 2 years as opposed to a cummulitive gpa. And if worse comes to worse and the top schools/university's don't accept you, DON'T GIVE UP!!! Try getting into the ADN program at your local comm. college and transfer from there (if you plan on going on to get your BS/Masters). OR do the LVN/LPN program and then transfer into an RN program somewhere. There's a way -- it may not be the ideal way, or the first choice, but if you really want it, there's a way to get to your ulitmate goal.

    good luck.
  14. by   studentCL2009
    You may want to look into it with your school. You can probably just google it and find out for sure, but in Texas there is a fresh start law. Maybe there is one in your state. It says that you can start over if it has been more than 10 years. So maybe your low GPA won't have to count against you and you would be able to start fresh. I'm not sure of what the details are, but it could be worth looking into if you really want to go into nursing!

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