Our country has been facing a nursing shortage for years, and it’s only gotten worse with COVID-19. But it’s a Catch-22 situation. Despite the high demand for nurses, many nursing schools don’t have the capacity to increase student enrollment—resulting in a highly selective admissions process.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, for the 2018-2019 academic year, nursing schools denied more than 75,000 qualified candidates due to a shortage of spots. Factors contributing to this unfortunate scenario include budgetary constraints, insufficient nursing faculty, and a lack of clinical placements and preceptors.
With most nursing schools requiring a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to apply, all it takes is one bad grade to hold you back. However, if you’re just below the 3.0 requirement, you don’t have to give up on your dream of becoming a nurse. Because, believe it or not, there are nursing schools that accept a 2.7 GPA. In fact, we’ve identified several accelerated nursing programs willing to consider applicants with a GPA of 2.7 or 2.8. Not to mention, some nursing schools will allow you to retake courses to boost your cumulative GPA.
It’s worth noting that just because these nursing programs don’t have a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement doesn’t mean they provide a lesser education. It means they take a holistic approach to admissions that goes far beyond GPA. You just want to make sure the nursing program maintains accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
When it comes to accelerated nursing programs, you should know they cater to individuals with a non-nursing college education. Some are second-degree options that require you to have a bachelor’s degree, while others require a minimum of 60 college credits.
5 Tips for Applying to Nursing School if You Have a Low GPA
Individuals who apply to nursing schools that accept a 2.7 GPA face some fierce student competition. There are, however, several ways to bolster your credentials and stand out from the crowd.
1. Excel in the Prerequisites
As a condition of enrollment, every accelerated nursing program requires prospective students to complete a series of prerequisite courses. Some nursing schools have as few as four prerequisites, whereas others have as many as 10.
These prerequisites are separate from the accelerated nursing curriculum. So, the more courses you need to take, the longer it will take you to enter nursing school. The good news is that many nursing schools offer these courses 100% online.
Most prerequisites are science-based courses, such as chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. Why? Because having a solid grasp of the sciences is key to your success in nursing school and the nursing profession. Earning an A in each of these courses isn’t mandatory for your acceptance, but in doing so, you’ll stand out during the application process.
2. Find the Right References
Most nursing schools require you to submit two or three letters of recommendation as part of your application. These letters should come from academic and professional references who can speak to your character and work ethic.
Be sure to choose individuals you trust and who will submit their letters ahead of the application deadline.
3. Craft a Relevant Resume
A current resume is another common nursing school application requirement. So, when putting together your resume, be sure to include information that positions you as a standout nursing student. For example, you should list any skills, experiences, or certifications that demonstrate a service or leadership mindset. The best nurses are equally competent and compassionate, so describe how you embody these traits relative to your experiences.
4. Write a Compelling Essay
As part of your application, you’ll need to write a personal essay or goal statement, and it’s your chance to convey your unique qualities and strengths. Given you’re competing with others of similar academic stature, you want to put a lot of time and thought into your essay. After all, it has the power to make or break your entry into nursing school. So, be sure to write from the heart as you convey your passion and drive to help others. You’ll also want your essay to follow a logical sequence and be free of grammatical errors.
5. Apply Early
Many nursing schools have rolling admissions, meaning they review applications upon receipt rather than wait for the submission deadline to pass. In other words, it’s a first-come, first-served process. Thereby, you can increase your chances of getting into a specific nursing school term by applying as early as possible.
How Accelerated Nursing Programs Work
By leveraging your non-nursing college education, accelerated nursing programs make it possible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) within a compressed time frame. For instance, we’ve seen Accelerated BSN programs that take as few as 12 months to complete. However, 16 months tends to be the average completion time for these programs.
Many accelerated nursing programs follow a blended learning model that combines online coursework with hands-on skills labs and clinical rotations. However, some nursing schools offer fast-track nursing programs where you complete all of the curricula in person.
No matter the learning modality, accelerated nursing programs are rigorous and require you to approach your education as if it were a full-time job. But if you work hard and do your best, you’ll graduate as a practice-ready nurse in what seems like a blink of an eye.
Want Help Finding a Nursing School?
Trying to find a nursing school that accepts a 2.7 GPA can be cumbersome and time-consuming, but that’s where we come in. We can help you find an accelerated nursing program that aligns with your qualifications and preferences—and our service is available at no cost to you. All you need to do is fill out our form.