Nursing student hopefuls are retaking classes to compete with peers

With Langara’s nursing program being so competitive, students need to raise their GPA



Students are repeating prerequisite classes for Langara’s nursing program to improve their grades to have a higher chance of acceptance amidst intense competition.

Howard Ha, a biology student at Langara, is retaking a biology class to increase his GPA. He is trying to get an A, hoping that his extra effort secures him a seat in the nursing program. His GPA currently sits at 3.2, and he wants to reach 3.5 when he finishes his classes.

Ha said he spent $1,000 this term retaking a biology class after having previously done the course.

Ha thought the nursing program would be a good fit for him, and he liked the prospect of being paid a decent wage.

“I heard the nursing program here is good. Plus, it’s accessible compared to other schools like BCIT,” said Ha.

Wanda Pierson, division chair of the faculty of nursing, said the prerequisites are meant to prepare the students for the nursing program. The prerequisites include two biology courses, two English courses and their choice between a statistics or psychology class.

“It’s so that when we accept students into the program, they have demonstrated some degree of academic capacity,” said Pierson.

While the admission requirement GPA is at 2.33, the academic level of students applying raises the competitive GPA. This fall, the intake among students was 3.7.

Some students choose to spread out their class requirements to reduce the overall difficulty they have in fulfilling their requirements.

First-year Langara nursing student RJ Gozum had a difficult experience with the prerequisites.

“My first semester I thought I could take just three prereqs at the same time. That did not work out. I dropped one of them,” Gozum said.

For students coming directly out of high school, the prerequisites can be even more of a step up than the normal transition from high school to college.

“The first semester was kind of overwhelming because the bio course they put you in is a lot more difficult than high school is. It is a big jump,” Gozum said.

Janaina Brusco, biology instructor at Langara, said students fresh out of high school often end up withdrawing from the prerequisites.

If they do withdraw, she offers students the option to continue to attend her lectures and take notes to better prepare them for when they retake the course.

“If [you] withdraw you still come to lecture, get exposed to the material,” said Brusco.

It is this kind of preparation that Brusco says improves students’ chances of succeeding in the prerequisites.

“If you want to get a super high grade, you should get one, max two courses at once, no more than that,” said Brusco.

Zeph Hipolito has given up pursuing nursing at Langara because “it’s too competitive, the GPA is really high compared to BCIT’s.”

He spread his five required classes over a period of four semesters to ensure he was not overloaded by the requirements.

“The moment I took the two bio courses I realized like, oh this is like at least like four months of class squished,” Hipolito said. “It’s like so many chapters fit into one semester.”

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