Answer: Yes! It is possible to gain admission to some online adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) programs without needing to submit GRE scores.
In fact, there is a range of quality, accredited online MSN and DNP programs that one can gain entry into without needing a GRE score. Many schools that require GRE scores also offer waivers for professionals with a certain level of education or experience. Some programs that accept students without GRE scores require a BSN or MSN from an academic institution that is recognized by a nursing accrediting agency like CCNE, ACEN, or AACN. Because GRE requirements are not universal across all AGNP programs, it is crucial to review admissions requirements carefully for each application.
While many online MSN/DNP AGNP programs do not require GRE scores for application, they may need a minimum threshold for GPA. A 3.0 is the minimum GPA for admission into most online nursing programs that do not require GREs. For some programs, the 3.0 GPA is cumulative—meaning that one must have earned a 3.0 across the entirety of their undergraduate degree. Others require a minimum 3.0 GPA for a certain number of credits, such as the last 60 hours of the BSN degree, or for any coursework taken in the nursing discipline.
In addition to the GPA consideration, many online AGNP programs require students to complete prerequisite courses in specific subject areas, such as statistics, health-assessment, and others. Many programs require these courses be completed with a minimum grade of a B. Some AGNP programs require prerequisite courses to be completed before the application process, while others generally stipulate that students complete the courses within a specified period or before core coursework begins. Candidates use their academic transcripts to demonstrate completion of required coursework before admission.
Some AGNP programs require GRE scores for all students, while others have circumstances under which a candidate is exempt from the GRE requirement. In some programs, GRE scores can be waived because an applicant already has a postsecondary degree like a master’s or doctorate in nursing, or in another discipline from an accredited institution. Other programs allow GRE waivers when an applicant’s undergraduate or graduate GPA is considered exemplary or competitive, such as 3.4 or higher.
Using data from a student’s submitted official transcripts, the waiver for GRE scores is often a built-in as part of the admissions process. However, some programs may require a process separate from the admissions process, so it is essential to clarify how the exemption is determined using information from admissions sites, or by speaking with an admissions officer.
Many online AGNP programs that do not require GRE scores do have an experiential requirement of candidates. Most programs express this requirement in years, and one year of experience nursing in a clinical setting is the minimum amount required for acceptance in AGNP programs.
Some programs communicate their experience requirement in a measurement of clinical hours. Some programs list this requirement as a recommendation, while others require candidates to submit letters of recommendation from supervisors providing qualitative corroboration of a candidate’s work history. Regardless of how the experience requirement is expressed, it holds different weight in an application depending on the program.
Since most online AGNP programs that do not require GRE scores do require work experience, it is expected that candidates will have an active, unencumbered RN license in all states of practice. Programs with clinical practicums also require students to have an active RN license in the state where they plan to complete their practicum. Candidates seeking online programs across state lines should check to make sure the program is available in their state-of-residence.
Some programs offering online program are only available to students in a limited number of states, while other online programs are available to anyone in the U.S. If a student does not wish to earn licensure outside of their state-of-residence, they should check admissions requirements carefully to ensure they can complete practical requirements in their home state.
Even if an AGNP candidate is not interested in taking the GRE to gain admission into a master- or doctoral-level nursing program, it is still entirely possible to enroll in high-quality, accredited online programs. The trade-off for not taking a standardized test for admission is higher GPA thresholds, a minimum amount of work experience, and the required licensure to earn that experience, and accredited degrees.