Nursing school admission requirements can be confusing, and it’s even worse when you can’t find the guidance you need.

I recently stumbled upon your website for my anatomy and physiology class and have told my classmates about it. I do have a question though in regards to getting into nursing school. I have tried to talk to my academic advisors about my concerns, but they haven’t been exactly helpful. I am finishing up my last 3 classes before I am able to apply for nursing school. Do you know if nursing schools look down upon students who have taken classes over for a better grade? Also, I should graduate with a 3.4 GPA (I also have been working almost full time and I’m a single mom). Do the schools take into account these things while going through applicants? Thanks so much for your time! -Heather

I received this email and wasn’t able to reply back thanks to a mysterious technological glitch, so here we are at Mailbag Monday! It’s a great question, though….and one probably many of you have.

When I was applying for nursing programs, I was able to glean a fair amount of information for each program by going to each program’s website and getting a list of the pre-requisite courses. Beyond that, if I still had questions, I made one-on-one appointments with academic advisors of the nursing schools I wanted to apply to (when possible…not all allow this as they would be overwhelmed with millions of pre-nursing students).  I also attended a group advising session put on by the local BSN program, which was also super helpful. I’d recommend looking (or calling) the programs individually to see if they offer one-on-one or group advising…this can answer a lot of your questions and save you tons of headaches down the line. Note that you need to ask the people associated with the actual nursing program….the guy teaching your A&P class isn’t going to know beans about the nursing school application process!

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As for the overall GPA and whatnot, it depends on the school…most don’t look down on repeats but may limit the number of times you repeat. This is definitely something to ask in the advising sessions. As for being a single mom, I’m not sure…you’d have to check with each program regarding their scoring criteria. 

Another big question you’ll want the answer to is how they select students. Some schools award entry based on merit (GPA and admission exam scores…this would be the TEAS test or something like it). Other schools go by a lottery system (here in California, many -maybe ALL- of the ADN programs do this). As long as you’ve met the minimum requirements (which i think is a C grade) then your name gets put in a hat. I didn’t have ANY luck with the ADN lottery programs, but got into the merit-based BSN program on my first try…this is just another reason why grades are so important!

And, for another view on the topic, an occasional guest-blogger on my site has her own website at and I am pretty sure she has info about getting into the programs. I also have one post about this at

I hope that helps! Best of luck to all of you as you navigate the often-times confusing world of applying to nursing school. It’s worth it!! Hang in there!


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