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    Dec 2013

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    Default Improving candidacy

    Hello guys,

    Just found the forum as I've been sending e-mails to schools and haven't had much in the way of help on ways to improve my candidacy.

    I will start with a little about myself for those of you who choose to read this. I'm not asking for any validation of my past or a pat on the back but a honest opinion and assessment...

    I'm a 27 year old guy with a low GPA. I necessarily worked to put myself through my undergrad or it wouldn't have happened, but it was not without its academic costs. I first pursued a chemistry BS as my undergrad and completed everything but one class (calculus 3) to obtain the degree. At that time I was interviewing with British Petroleum for an entry level quality control job - a lot of gas chromatography and run of the mill spectroscopy on client samples when I grew sick of chemistry. While in school I interned with green petrochemical companies and worked on research projects with Argonne National Lab organic chemists while in school - all of this could be easily backed up with reference letters if schools care (do they?).

    So, as I lost my love of chemistry, realizing in chemistry I'd be too far removed from society - and most of all lacked any real sense of helping people and obtaining job satisfaction, I returned to school for nursing. I completed my BSN in may of last year. So, despite my huge amount of credits in chemistry (over 68 math/science: calculus, physics, quantitative analysis chemistry, biochemistry etc...) I actually only ever obtained one degree - my BSN.

    If I had completed my degree before turning to nursing, I would have had a much harder time obtaining federal aid and loans for a second undergraduate degree . I briefly considered taking the MCAT after just sticking out and finishing chemistry, but knew I had too low of a GPA for that too. Slightly off topic, (and I hope I'm not out of line) based on nursing clinical experiences, I'm rather glad I chose nursing over attempting the MCAT. I've spent loads of time with material science chemists turned PhD physicists from national laboratories who can be more personable than a few doctors I've run into.

    My overall GPA is 2.7. I planned on being an chemist where grad school is not as competitive and slacked on my non-core classes. As I approached the ending of nursing I realized the error of the method of slacking on western civ (etc.) - but there is no turning around a ship of 197 credits by taking a class here and there to boost GPA - an aced 3 credit class is...not statistically significant to put it lightly.

    I believe with my math and science background I can perform well on the GRE and will be taking this in a few months after I brush over a review book or two. Most schools I have e-mailed will not budge on the GPA requirements though they require at least 50th percentile for GRE. (Also, I've been told some of my chemistry classes date back to 2006 - and schools have told me they will no longer look at these - is this true!?).

    My question is can I score high enough on the GRE to negate my undergraduate GPA? I believe I can do quite well with my math/science background as well as verbal, but do not know the likelihood of this scenario. I have had chemical engineers I should have graduated with through chemistry tell me they scored 85th percentile to enter chemical engineering PhD school - and in math/science I was closely par with these guys who I have kept in contact with in chemistry.

    Still, that doesn't replace low undergrad grades in philosophy, religion, history and psychology even I have good chemistry grades.

    So, how best can I boost a GPA? I'm in more of a stable financial environment now and could afford to score great grades on graduate level courses.

    • What courses matter in your experiences? Graduate level statistics courses? Should I retake some biochemistry on the graduate level?

    • Or should (or even could I take) more undergraduate courses to boost my low level undergraduate GPA?

    • (making some serious - but I hope founded - assumptions here) with a 320-340 GRE is low undergraduate GPA still of significance?

    • Are schools likely to over look my chemistry classes at they date back to 2005-2006? Should I just complete my chemistry undergraduate as a separate degree?

    I'm starting as an ICU nurse soon and will be obtaining applicable certifications as soon as I can along with my experience.

    I know this is a long, drawn out post - but after a LONG journey so far I'm not ready to give up and stop climbing. I HATE the idea of giving up and staying where I am. I KNOW I can make a bigger difference somewhere, and while the money would be nice right now I just want use what I've learned - and CRNA seems to be the amalgamation of chemistry and nursing - the two things I love.

    Any advice from someone who's trod the path would mean the world to me.

    Last edited by DutchNurse; 12-07-2013 at 11:55 PM.

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