How to Get Into a Nursing School With Bad Grades and Low GPA

It has never been this hard to get into nursing school. There is so much competition from students who realize that their social science or humanities major is not going to land them a job. They want a career that requires hands-on contact that is very difficult to outsource.

Because of that, a GPA below 3.0 greatly reduces the number of nursing schools available.  Many schools have GPA cutoffs from 3.5 to 3.8 in the science GPA alone. A low GPA of 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, or 2.8 will have very limited options. Any GPA of 2.4 or below will have extremely limited options. However, any student with a GPA above 2.0 can still get into nursing school regardless of prerequisite completion.

Finding Low GPA Nursing Schools

The first thing to look at is a list of low GPA nursing schools. Today, that is considered anyone with less than a B average (3.0). A B- average (2.7) is considered a low GPA nowadays even though that is still considered above average in almost every other major on campus.

Private Nursing Schools and No Prerequisite Nursing Schools

The primary option for those with low GPA, especially those below a 2.5, is to look at private nursing schools. There is a reason why those schools do not have waiting lists. It is due to their cost. On the other hand, most of them do not require the completion of prerequisite courses. All you need is a high school diploma and GED. You might need to pass an entrance exam, which is usually very easy. These private nursing schools allow students to earn the exact  same NCLEX-RN nursing licenses granted to graduates from all other nursing schools.

These private nursing programs begin at $25,000 and up in cost. That is pretty unattractive for students with high GPAs who want to pay state university or community college tuition rates.  You will need to get federal grants, federal student loans as well as private student loans in order to pay for the cost of education. The financial aid offices at these private schools often have arrangements with banks or finance companies to help students get the funding they need to attend.

Those who have completed nursing prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or better can transfer those courses in to reduce the cost of tuition. While most nursing schools will frown on a grade of “C” in A&P, private nursing schools will gladly take those credits and accept you into the nursing program.

In short, here are the advantages and disadvantages of picking a private nursing school:

Advantages of Private Nursing Schools:

  • No waiting lists (many schools have waiting lists of 1-3 years for accepted applicants)
  • Any GPA of 2.0 or above is OK.
  • Can enter directly from high school or GED without completion of any nursing prerequisite courses.
  • Prerequisite courses can be taken promptly at the private nursing school. Prerequisite courses at state and community colleges often have two to three times the number of students on the waiting list. Due to physical limitations of lab space, those courses cannot be over-enrolled.

Disadvantage of Private Nursing Schools:

  • Cost is much higher than public universities and community colleges. This can be mitigated somewhat if you have any nursing prerequisite courses already completed.

Most students who really want to start a rewarding career in nursing should not give up on their dreams just because there is a long waiting list or very high GPA requirement. However, there is a financial cost to be paid if you still want to go for it. Only you can decide if a career in nursing is worth it.