How to Get into an Accelerated Nursing Program if Your GPA is too Low

When you start researching accelerated BSN programs, one of the first things you should look for are the accelerated nursing prerequisites. Answering how to get into an accelerated nursing program starts with knowing what you have or have not yet accomplished in order to even qualify. (If the information is not readily available, most programs will have an admissions advisor ready to help walk you through all of this.)

What happens when you realize you don’t meet all of the accelerated nursing program admissions requirements for the school of your choice? Should you just give up and stick to your day job? Of course not. You should never give up on your dream of becoming a nurse. But you may be left wondering how to get into an accelerated nursing program if your nursing school GPA is too low.

How to Get into an Accelerated Nursing Program if Your GPA is too Low

What are the Typical Accelerated Nursing Program Requirements?

There are three fairly standard categories of requirements for an accelerated second-degree nursing program: a prior bachelor’s degree, non-nursing coursework, and a minimum GPA. Some programs ask you to take the TEAS, and there are other factors that can help give your application an advantage, but these are the absolute requirements:

  1. A Bachelor’s Degree. Each program is slightly different, but an accelerated nursing program will typically require you to have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Many of Utica’s second nursing degree students have degrees in psychology, biology, or healthcare administration. Some even have graduate degrees already.
  2. Non-Nursing Courses. Within your bachelor’s degree, you will hopefully have already taken the non-nursing courses that are still relevant to the career. Because accelerated nursing programs focus primarily on all nursing-related courses, the accelerated nursing program prerequisites will usually include a list of courses that you will have to complete prior to your start date.
  3. A minimum GPA. Between your bachelor’s degree and your prerequisite courses, you will need to meet a minimum GPA. This again ranges depending on your program of choice. Most programs require at least a 2.5 GPA or higher. Some set their limit at a 3.0 GPA. This is important to find out during the research phase of your accelerated nursing program search.

So what if you already have a bachelor’s degree, but your GPA isn’t high enough? How can you get into an accelerated nursing program if your GPA is too low?

Bring Your GPA Up through Additional Coursework

If your GPA does not meet the required minimum, your journey to becoming a nurse may be a little more difficult and take little longer to complete, but it is still possible and still worth it. To bring your GPA up, your best option is to retake some of the non-nursing courses that are required for the program to improve your grade. Or if you are missing some of the prerequisite courses, this is an opportunity to bring up your average by doing well in these courses.

You could retake these courses at a local community college, or through Utica’s provisional admittance program. (Note: If you choose to re-take courses at a local community college, make sure the credits are transferable. A quick conversation with an admissions representative will be able to help you discern this.)

Some programs will admit you to the program knowing that you are currently taking a course or two to finish up your prerequisites. Make sure your representative knows your situation because that can help speed up the process. This way you won’t have to wait another few months after you’ve completed your coursework and before the next start date.

Depending on when you were hoping to start your accelerated nursing program, you could retake courses one at a time in the evenings and continue working, or you could work part-time and take several courses at once. Just study hard and make your efforts count. It will all be worth it when you’re a registered nurse.

Build Up Other Aspects of Your Application

If you’re still concerned about your GPA, consider working harder on other areas of your accelerated nursing school application.

  1. Write an amazing essay. When you present yourself on paper through grades and GPA, it’s hard for your personality and dedication to shine through. While your GPA can say a lot, it is also just a number. Write a thorough and thought-out essay to show why you deserve a seat in the next cohort.
  2. Get an entry-level job in the medical field. Working as a medical assistant or EMT will show your dedication to healthcare, which nursing schools like to see.
  3. Be early to all interviews. Being early, or at the very least prompt, to any scheduled appointment or interview demonstrates how important the admissions process is to you. Being late, out of breath, and flustered leaves the school wondering how dedicated you are to becoming a nurse.

How to Get into Utica’s Accelerated Nursing Program

Just like every other accelerated second-degree nursing program out there, Utica College has admission requirements for each student to meet.

  1. A bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited institution
  2. A minimum GPA of 2.8 (on the 4.0 scale)
  3. Completion of 10 prerequisite courses that include:
    1. Natural Science courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, and Microbiology with a minimum GPA of 2.8
    2. General courses such as Psychology, Statistics, Nutrition, Ethics, etc.

The complete details on Utica’s accelerated nursing program prerequisites are available online.

If you still have concerns about whether or not your GPA is good enough for accelerated nursing school, talk to an admissions representative. They will be able to help you through the process.


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