Trying to get into nursing school with a less than perfect educational record...


Hey all,

I graduated high school in 2006 when I wanted to be a nurse. I got accepted into a great university that didn't offer a BSN program. I went anyway. I became a history major while fulfilling pre-med requirements. I had to get a job to pay for things and moved off campus, where my grades began to suffer. I didn't admit to myself that I couldn't balance both at the age of 19 and continued to register and subsequently withdraw from classes, tarnishing my record. I took some time off, and am now 25 years old and still pursuing my first bachelor's. I do regret not going to nursing school like I wanted to straight from high school, but I'm glad I finally got my wits together to take some time off giving me the chance to go for the degree I want.

That all being said, my transcript doesn't look good. On and off, it's been 8 years since I started trying to get my bachelor's. I have a lot of UW's and attempted credits on it, all of which bring my GPA to around a 2.6. The grades I actually earned are all A's and B's. I have too many credits to earn an ADN at this time, it would just add yet another year and a few thousand more dollars to my path to the BSN so unfortunately, it's not really a feasible option.

Has (or is) anyone else ever been in this situation? I kick myself every day for it, but that won't get me far. I re-enrolled in school last semester where I started taking nursing pre-reqs. This semester I'm taking A&P 2 and Microbiology, both of which I'm doing well in. I'm prepping for the TEAS V right now and I've also reached out to some local schools, but I'm hoping someone here knows the shoes I'm walking in and can offer some words of wisdom.

I live in the NYC/Tri-state area, so if anyone has been in this situation, where did you end up going to school?


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

I would say to do your prereqs, and try to boost your grades as much as you can.

Just because you have "too many units" does not exclude you from trying to pursue an ADN. It might be a more feasible path to BSN, since BSN programs are generally even more competitive. I had to correct a lot of poor judgment from my younger days with my GPA and such, and I'm about to graduate with my BSN.

Nail your TEAS, get As in everything moving forward, cast a wide net when you DO apply to schools (apply EVERYWHERE that you qualify and you can feasibly attend), and you may just get what you want.

Good luck!

Specializes in CTICU. Has 6 years experience.

Runbaby, you make a good point. In applying for BSN programs I should just cast as wide of a net as possible- even if that means peppering a few associate's programs into it. A lot of them have a bridge program, and if it ultimately gets me to where I want to be then it's worth it.

Thanks for replying, congrats and great job on earning your BSN!!!

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

Talk to admissions counselors at programs you are interested in. They can give you better guidance about their admission criteria. For instance in my area there are a couple programs that look at gpa only - nothing else, they even told me I would have to take an intro level chem class I order to apply even though I have a BS in chemistry. Another program creates n admission score where they give you points for certain gpa, certain HESI score, how ,any credit hours you have, strength of your essay etc. and another evaluates everything from your transcript to your work experiences. Each program is different do your research. Also, in your admission essays acknowledge you fault and reinforce why you feel reAdy to commit and succeed now.

Specializes in CTICU. Has 6 years experience.

That's a great idea, keylime. I've been in touch with schools, but mostly asked about pre reqs rather than how they weigh admissions criteria. I'll definitely re-word my inquiries to better understand where I have a better chance of being accepted.

Thank you!

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

Since you don't have a degree, the rule for science courses is 5 year expiration, so your previous courses may not have a bearing at all; they may look at your high school and/or current grades.

At this point, cast your net wide for your BSN, especially if you have no family ties in terms of responsibility.

Bet wishes.

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

Where there's a will there's a way. Don't give up hope also Free is correct some schools will not accept older requirements and others only count certain ones into your GPA rather than using a cumulative. You will have to do a little legwork, but it's worth it.,


844 Posts

When I decided to go back to school and start toward my ADN/BSN, I had the GPA monkey on my back. I flunked out of college at the ripe old age of 19 >.

Specializes in CTICU. Has 6 years experience.

Thanks everyone. Leg work is underway starting with a big study day for A&P 2 and micro today ;)

the will is all here, now I just need to find a few ways to get there.

Smf, great job getting to your dream after all of that! You really turned it around and you should be proud of where your hard work has gotten you!!


13 Posts

My situation is similar! And there's hope for you! I went away to college and didn't have any idea what I wanted to do. I spent 5 years running my GPA into the ground, failing tons of classes inclusion A&P 1&2 several times. I cared more about working, and partying. I graduated with a lib arts degree but knew I wanted to be a nurse.

I took a year off and then enrolled in community college and started retaking ALL the classes I failed. I got really good grades in the classes I retook and applied to the ADN program at my school and got accepted. There's hope for you! It's just going to take a little bit of time to build yourself back up!

Good luck!!

Specializes in ICU.

I am currently in a cc pursuing my ADN. Don't worry about having too many credits. Most of them most likely won't even be looked at. If you look into a cc program, see what the requirements are and what they look at. Mine looks at 4 classes and rates you on a points system. They look at A&P I and II, English 111, and Psych 101. Then they add in your Teas score. You still have to have a minimum 2.5 GPA but as long as you have that and do well in the those 4 classes it's not a problem. Most cc do a points system where 4 year universities look a cumulative GPA.

Specializes in CTICU. Has 6 years experience.

I spoke with a friend at the CC where I'm taking pre-requisites through right now, she's applying to the nursing program for the fall and walked me through their pre-reqs and admissions requirements. I am going to speak to the chair tomorrow to ask about it and to register for RN PAX. Right now there aren't any seats left in the upcoming date, but if I can get it before the application deadline I'll definitely throw the line into that water as well.

I'm also in touch with a couple of four year schools and actually got some positive feedback from one of my top choices so I'll continue to speak to her about what I can do to earn a seat in that program.

Thank you all for your words, keep em coming! It's always great to hear from people who have "been there".