If you’re considering nursing school, one of the first questions you probably have is, “What GPA do I need to get in?”
The short answer is that it depends. There are various types of nursing programs with different admissions requirements. In this article, we’ll break down GPA expectations for common nursing degrees.
We’ll also give tips to strengthen your application, even if your grades could use improvement. By the end, you’ll understand typical GPA requirements and how to boost your chances of admission.
Let’s start by looking at popular nursing paths and the average GPAs it takes to get into each program.
Average GPA for Getting Into Nursing School
There are a few main nursing education routes to becoming a licensed nurse. Common options include:
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Diploma nursing programs
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certificate
- Accelerated BSN for candidates with a prior bachelor’s degree
GPA requirements differ based on which option you choose.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) GPA Requirements
An ADN is one of the quickest paths to entering the nursing field. These 2-year programs are offered at community and technical colleges.
The average GPA for ADN programs is typically 2.75 or higher. However, requirements range from 2.5 to 3.0 depending on the school’s competitiveness.
ADN programs tend to place more weight on your grades in core science prerequisite courses like anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Excel in these classes for the best ADN chances.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) GPA Requirements
BSN programs take 4 years and are offered at colleges and universities. They include a more extensive curriculum than an ADN.
The typical BSN program looks for a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. But to be competitive, aim for 3.5 or higher.
Science grades are still crucial, but BSN admissions evaluate your entire academic record. Strive for consistently solid grades throughout undergrad.
GPA Requirements for Other Nursing School Programs
Besides ADN and BSN degrees, other nursing options like LPN and CNA programs have more flexible GPA requirements.
LPN certificates take about 1 year to complete. Many LPN programs have no defined GPA minimum, but admitted students often have a minimum requirement of 2.5 GPA.
CNA training is completed in 4-12 weeks. Strong academic performance can help your CNA application, but a minimum GPA isn’t always required.
Earning an LPN or CNA is a great way to launch your nursing career if your GPA needs work. You can gain experience and then bridge to an RN degree later.
GPA Requirements for the Top 20 Nursing Schools
Getting into a top nursing school takes top grades. Here are the average admitted GPAs at nationally ranked nursing colleges:
|Cumulative GPA Requirement
|Science/Math GPA Requirement
|University of Texas at Austin
|University of Pittsburgh
|The University of Nebraska Medical Center
|University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
|University of Kentucky
|The University of Nebraska Medical Center
|University of Maryland, Baltimore
|University of Iowa
|University of Illinois – Chicago
|University of Alabama at Birmingham
|Oregon Health and Science University
|New York University
|University of Washington
|University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
|The Ohio State University
|Case Western Reserve University
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
|University of Pennsylvania
As you can see, GPA expectations are high if you plan to attend a top nursing college. Earning As in your prerequisites and nursing-related electives will help seal the deal.
Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Nursing School
What if your current GPA falls below typical requirements, and you really want to become a nurse? Don’t panic – here are strategies to strengthen your application:
Consider an Accelerated Nursing Program
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, accelerated BSN programs condense training into 12-18 months.
GPA requirements for accelerated tracks are high, often 3.0 or greater. But your entire college GPA won’t be considered. Focus on excelling in prerequisites.
Excel in the Prerequisites
Admissions committees emphasize science grades since nursing builds on this knowledge.
Retake any prerequisite courses like anatomy, physiology, or microbiology where you scored below a B. Ace the classes in round 2.
Take Other Pre-Nursing Coursework
Round out your transcript with additional classes like nutrition, psychology, and statistics. This shows you can handle a demanding nursing curriculum.
Earn High Marks in Nursing Assistant Training
If your GPA is borderline, relevant healthcare experience can compensate. Enroll in a nursing aide course and dedicate yourself to learning hands-on skills.
Consider a Post-Baccalaureate Program
These programs are for bachelor’s degree holders looking to enter nursing. Take upper-level science courses and other bachelor’s prerequisites and aim for a post-bac GPA above 3.0.
GPA Requirements for Nursing School
Nursing school GPA requirements differ based on which program you pursue. ADN degrees ask for 2.75, while BSN programs expect 3.0-3.5 or higher. Accelerated and top nursing schools typically require a 3.0 minimum.
If your GPA is below the target threshold, all hope is not lost. Strengthen grades in must-have prerequisites, enroll in relevant coursework, and gain clinical experience to compensate.
With smart planning and dedication, you can still achieve your nursing school dreams even if your GPA has room for improvement. Now get out there and start building up those grades!
FAQs: Nursing School Admissions GPA Requirements
What Is Considered a Low GPA for Nursing School?
A 3.0 GPA or lower is generally considered low for nursing school, particularly BSN programs. Many schools require at least a 3.0 to be eligible for admission. Anything under 2.75 will likely need improvement.
What Is a Good GPA for Nursing School?
A good GPA can vary slightly by program. For BSN programs, the average admitted GPA is between 3.8-3.9, while some schools average closer to 3.5 or 3.6. For ADN degrees, aim for at least a 2.75-3.0 GPA.
Is a 3.5 GPA Good for Nursing School?
Yes, a 3.5 GPA is typically considered a strong GPA for getting into nursing school, especially ADN or diploma programs. It’s above average but may be on the lower side for certain competitive BSN programs. Still, a 3.5 demonstrates solid academic abilities.
Is It Possible to Get Into Nursing School With a Low GPA?
It is possible if you take steps to compensate, like retaking prerequisites for higher grades, pursuing LPN/CNA certifications first and transitioning later, or highlighting excellent clinical experience. Also, look into schools with lower GPA cutoffs or minimums.
Does Your GPA Matter for Nursing Schools?
Yes, GPA is one of the most important factors nursing schools consider during the admissions process. They want to see that applicants have demonstrated academic success, particularly in foundational science courses, to equip them for the nursing curriculum. A strong GPA signals you can handle the course load.
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