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College Counselor: I have a low GPA

Q. My first year of college, ten years ago, was pretty bad – I ended up with a 1.9 GPA. Then I went into the military, and took some courses during this time. I did well, and got a B+ average. Now I want to transfer into nursing school, but with the low grades from that first year, my average is still only a 2.87. Could I simply not send that earlier transcript?

A: You are not the same person you were ten years ago. A decade in military service has given you experience, knowledge, and perspective. You are obviously more focused now, and most colleges and universities will be happy to give you another chance at earning your baccalaureate degree.

However, both the credits you may receive and the admissions decision will depend upon the institution and the program to which you apply. Even if you have a solid B+ average, I cannot guarantee that a specific nursing school will accept you. Ultimately, the ball is in their court. Here is what you ought to do:

Colleges will want to see all the courses you have taken. You have to submit those earlier grades. Not only is that the honest thing, but you might actually be granted credit for courses you passed. At the very least, the contrast between your earlier transcript and your military transcript will demonstrate how much you have improved as a student. I suggest that you request copies of both transcripts and make an appointment with the closest college that offers the BSN. Ask to speak with a transfer advisor, and inquire about the application process.

Transfer advisors really do want to assist applicants to achieve their objectives. They will give you solid and reliable guidance about how your courses will be evaluated. I hope it all goes well for you!

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Summer is a prime time for visiting colleges! Or is it? Wouldn't be better to go when classes are actually in session? My next two columns will explore the pros and cons of summer campus visits, and will also tell you what to look for and what to ask if you do go!

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