Improving Your Chances of Applying to NP School with a Low GPA

applying to np school

It happens to the best of us. Perhaps you weren’t the most diligent of undergrad nursing students and your GPA reflected it. However, now you are mature, life is different, and you want to go to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner, but you do not meet the minimum requirements to apply. Are you doomed and out of luck forever? No, definitely not. The following are a few ways to boost your GPA and application to improve your chances of applying to NP school and get you one step closer to reaching your goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. 

Retake Courses

No one wants to hear this, but the most sure way to boost your GPA is to retake classes. When I was applying for my accelerated BSN program years ago, I needed to have a GPA of 3.8 or above. This required me to retake basic sociology which I had a B in during my first Bachelors. I also took additional science classes and made it my job to get As in all of them. Looking back, this time prepared me to study hard and got me back in the groove of academic life prior to beginning a new program. So not only did it raise my GPA, it prepared me for the hard work and dedication to come. 

Get Certified 

There are so many specialty certifications available to nurses. If you work in an ICU, you might consider earning your CCRN certification or your CMC certifications. There are also specialty certifications for Med-Surg nurses and pediatric nurses as well. All of these show that you have made a conscious effort to study for something extra and are dedicated to the profession. 

Join a Committee

Most hospital units have opportunities to be a part of a committee that helps to enact change on a unit. Maybe you’re interested in palliative care or preventing pressure ulcers or falls – any committee is worth joining to boost your resume. And if you have the ability to jump onto a unit project, this is valuable experience to highlight to an acceptance committee reviewing applications as well. 

Volunteer 

Clinical volunteering and mission trips may not boost your GPA, but they can boost your application. Well-rounded experience and confirmation that the applicant is confident about being in healthcare is important as well. Volunteering might renew your faith in healthcare again, give you new ideas, and even change your direction and interests. It can be a topic of conversation during interviews and once again, shows that you are willing to work hard and donate your time in an effort to obtain an advanced practice degree. 

Shadow Time

Shadowing a professional in the position for which you are applying is also beneficial to add to your application. This can show the application committee that you know exactly what you are getting into and that you still are motivated to be part of it, it’s as simple as that. 

Speak with the Applications Office

There is no shame in calling the university applications office to seek advice. I did this both for graduate school and for undergraduate school. When you speak with an admissions counselor, tell them your situation and concerns. They might offer insider advice, specific to the university, that could get your foot in the door. Additionally, your name will become familiar to them and they might recognize your application during the process. 

And Finally, Never Give Up

The process can be daunting, but do not give up on your dreams if you truly want to become a nurse practitioner. The more you work at the process, the better you will become at applying and understanding the system. Apply to multiple schools, be flexible, build up your GPA and application, and await your acceptance. 

Danielle LeVeck, DNP, Nurse AbnormalitiesDanielle LeVeck, DNP is a cardiovascular surgical intensive care unit Nurse Practitioner in the Midwest and is the writer and creator behind Nurse Abnormalities blog and brand. She can be found at @nurseabnormalities on Instagram.