Is My GPA Good Enough for CRNA School?

I get this question a lot. Let’s get this out of the way now. No offense, but this question doesn’t come from the student with a GPA of 3.8. If you are asking, you are likely on the lower end of the 3.0 scale. Unfortunately, there is no good answer anyone can give you without looking at your body of work. Even then, unless that person is sitting on the interview panel making the decision, they would be doing you a disservice by giving you a yes or no answer. You have to keep in mind that your GPA is viewed differently by every program and it is looked at as part of your overall application. You can have a lower GPA and make up for it in other ways. Do you have strong clinical experience? Were your GRE scores top notch? Did you get glowing letters of recommendation? If you are able to answer yes to any or all of those types of questions then you can have a GPA on the lower end of the scale. This is graduate school and people understand that a GPA doesn’t mean you will make a great student. If you have a 4.0, but come off as a jerk and get terrible letters of recommendation, you won’t get a seat despite that excellent GPA. Hence, there is no straightforward answer for this question. If you meet the minimum requirements give it a shot and see what happens. It doesn’t hurt.

Quote from VCU FAQ website

“For the most recent cohort of admitted entry to practice students, the average GPA was 3.7 and the average total GRE score was 307. These numbers represent the average GPA and GRE scores, but it does not mean that applicants with a lower GPA and/or total GRE score were not accepted, nor that applicants with a lower GPA and/or total GRE score should not apply.”

https://nrsa.chp.vcu.edu/programs/dnap-entry-to-practice/etpdnap-faqs/

Quote from Mayo Clinic website

“Successful applicants are not selected on grades alone. Their entire college or university cumulative GPA must be at least 3.0 (4.0 scale). Selected science GPA of greater than 3.0 is highly recommended. Graduate science coursework is given added weight.”

https://college.mayo.edu/academics/health-sciences-education/doctor-of-nurse-anesthesia-practice-program-minnesota/admissions/

Averages

Some programs post information on incoming classes and will include GPAs. Take a look at them and see where you stack up. Keep in mind most programs will post AVERAGE GPAs. If the average is 3.4 – 3.6, then there are students that were admitted with higher and lower GPAs. So, don’t be discouraged if your GPA is a little lower than 3.4 in that scenario.

Where do you stack up with these programs?

Program Average GPA unless otherwise noted Cumulative GPALast 60 Units Science GPA
Baylor 3.62
Boston College 3.7
Georgetown 3.73.5
LSU 3.36
Michigan State3.69
Midwestern University 3.58
Newman University (average successful applicant has GPA of 3.45)
Rush 3.583.46
Samuel Merritt (middle 50% of admitted students)3.55-3.753.52-3.883.33-3.83
University of Iowa (generally greater than 3.5)
University of Southern California 3.5
University of Texas3.6
VCU 3.7
Wake Forest 3.7

GPAs reported on most recent averages given on program website at time of writing this article

What can we glean from this information?

Well, unfortunately not much. I started at the top of the U.S. News Best Nursing-Anesthesia School Rankings (FYI I don’t put much stock in these – and yes, my school was highly ranked) and went through quite a few schools. I posted all the information given on actual admitted student GPAs. Many of the top ranked programs list them as noted above in the table. Many schools did not. Those schools give minimum GPA requirements, but not averages of admitted students. As you can see, the highly ranked programs likely require a higher GPA for being admitted. If you don’t fall somewhere close to those averages, you will have to be stronger in the other requirements for being admitted. If you are well under those averages it would be better to look at programs where you meet the specified minimum GPA for admittance and try for those.

Summary

  • GPA of 3.6 or higher – you can apply to any program you wish. This won’t guarantee you a seat, but should get you an interview if everything else looks good on your application.
  • GPA of 3.4 – 3.59 – will be fine for most programs, but may not cut it at the highly competitive programs. Still doesn’t hurt to apply to your dream school as long as you are strong in other areas of the application.
  • 3.0 – 3.39 – you are on the low end. You still meet the minimum to apply, but you have to be strong in all other areas of your application and look at less competitive schools.
  • GPA less than 3.0 – too low to even consider applying. 3.0 or above is the minimum standard.
    • Exception is Columbia University which states they have no minimum GPA

At the end of the day there is no answer anyone can give you with certainty regarding your GPA. If you meet the minimum to apply, then take your chances and see what the people making decisions have to say. If you are on the lower end of a 3.0 GPA it would probably be smart to not waste your time on the programs listed in the table. They are competitive and while your GPA may get you an interview, it may also be the deciding factor on not getting a seat over someone with a higher GPA. Again, reaching out to a program director is always worth your time. They will be honest with you if they are willing to look at your transcripts. They are really the only ones that can see what else you offer and give you honest feedback on where you stand relative to other students.

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