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Counselor Information

The following information is provided to assist Community College Counselors when working with students interested in transferring to CSU San Marcos and getting admitted to one of our Nursing programs.

ASSIST and the Nursing Major at CSUSM

For our Nursing major at CSUSM, in the ASSIST Website, we have accepted more courses as equivalents for our major than are necessarily accepted by the Academic Departments at CSUSM for course-to-course articulations.  Therefore, it is important that students select the Nursing Major and do not select departmental course-to-course articulations.  Link to ASSIST instructions for our Nursing major at CSUSM.

If you are a Counselor at a California Community College, for which we currently do not offer an articulation agreement in ASSIST for the Nursing major, but articulation agreements are available for other majors at CSUSM, please send an email to Patti Garnet at with your request.

If CSUSM does not have any articulation agreements with your Community College, you need to speak with your College Articulation Officer for such a request. 

Point System, or Supplemental Admission Criteria, for our Traditional BSN Program

Our Traditional BSN program at CSU San Marcos is an Impacted Nursing Programs at CSU San Marcos. Supplemental Admission Criteria, or a Point System, is used to evaluate and rank order all applicants.  We then drop down on the rank-ordered list and admit the number of students for which we have State funding available to admit. Currently our State funding has only allowed us to admit 40 students each fall to the Traditional BSN program.

How We Calculate the Pre-Nursing Core GPA

For equivalent courses that meet the Pre-Nursing Core, including science labs listed separately on a transcript, a course can only be repeated once and we will average the two grades earned. For a course to count towards the Nursing degree requirements, a grade of C or better must be earned.  A grade of C- is not acceptable, even for separately listed lab courses. 

In calculating the Pre-Nursing Core GPA, we treat each of the eight course requirement areas equally.  In other words, we give the same weight to a B4 Math course as we do an A1 Speech course.  When we calculate the grade points for any of the science courses, if one or more separately listed labs have been completed, we weight average these along with the associated science lecture course, and then this total GPA for that science requirement area gets counted equally with the other requirement areas.

Our Course Repeat Policies for Nursing

University policy stipulates that if a student earns a C or better on their first attempt, they cannot repeat the course for a better grade. We follow this CSUSM policy for courses to be applied towards the Nursing degree here, including coursework for the Pre-Nursing Core.  If a student retakes a course in which a C or better was earned initially, we will only count the first grade earned.

Why Might it Be Advantageous for a Student to Pursue the Accelerated BSN Program Instead

There are several reasons why it may be more advantageous for a student to consider the Accelerated BSN program, in lieu of the Traditional BSN program, even it they must first complete a Bachelor's Degree in another discipline.

  1. The student's Pre-Nursing Core GPA is below 3.2.  Statistically, we know that such a student is unlikely to get admitted to the Traditional BSN program, unless they can maximize other admission points for entry.
  2. The student has exceeded the 60 CSU transferable units, but has not completed most or all of the Pre-Nursing Core Science courses yet.  
  3. While such students are pursuing a Bachelor's degree in another discipline, they need to fit in most, if not all, of the other non-NURS required courses, as the Accelerated BSN program focuses on the NURS courses needed for the BSN degree.

Should you Advise a Student to Get an LVN License to Try for Entry to our LVN-to-BSN Program

At most each year, we can admit a maximum of four LVN to BSN students, as admission is on a space-available basis.  These students fold into our Traditional BSN program. Thus, if a student is considering completing an LVN program at a regionally-accredited college/university, it will be most advantageous for them to continue there into a LVN to RN step-up program, and then transfer to CSUSM for our RN to BSN or RN to MSN program.  If a student has already completed their LVN coursework at a regionally-accredited college/university, or has Corpsmen or Medic Military training, such a student can be encouraged to apply to our LVN to BSN program, and to also consider applying to the Traditional BSN program, if qualified.