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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 Web site, 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 the Point System May Impact your Students

Our first level of Impaction Criteria area affects primarily our own First-Year students and limits enrollment in our Pre-Nursing Core Sciences to a rank-ordering of available seats by their GPA in the CSU A1, A2, A3, and B4 courses. As a result, transfer students should not expect any available seats in our Pre-Nursing Core courses at CSUSM, as seats will be assigned each fall to our most-qualified Sophomore students.  Transfer students should plan to take the Pre-Nursing Core science courses at a Community College either before or after transfer to CSUSM. 

Will We Admit a Spring Cohort to the Traditional BSN Program?

We currently only admit a Fall Traditional BSN Cohort.

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.

Advice for Transfer Applicants to the Traditional BSN Program

Our University has a new level of Impaction Criteria for the Nursing major that limits the number of students who can enroll in the Pre-Nursing Core science courses.  Our students are rank ordered by their grades in the CSU Golden Four courses at the end of their Freshman or Sophomore year, and seats in the science courses are reserved for our most-qualified students.  Transfer students are not able to get a seat in these Pre-Nursing Core science courses at CSUSM, as the seats have already been assigned at the end of each spring term.  Transfer students will need to plan accordingly.

The University's Accelerated BSN program provides an excellent alternative for students who will not earn enough admission points for entering the Traditional BSN program.  The Accelerated BSN program is described in more detail in a separate link, below.  Students would pursue a Bachelor's degree in another discipline here at CSUSM, while also taking courses required for Nursing, and then apply to enter the 2-year ABSN program administered through Extended Learning.

Our three-year Tradional BSN program includes at least one required non-NURS course each semester.  Students can complete these non-NURS courses early, but this will lighten their load while in the 3-year program. In some terms, if students have already completed most or all of the required non-NURS courses needed to graduate, they will not have enough units in progress for financial aid, and they will have to also pursue a Minor at the University.  If possible, students need to focus on the Pre-Nursing Core, PSYC 100, and any courses needed to meet the University's Language other than English requirement.  It is not necessarily advantageous to a student to stay at a Community College and complete every required non-NURS course for the degree here.  

Be sure to check our University's admission policies for transfer students.  Nursing applicants not admitted to the University in Fall, can not then be considered for admission to our Nursing program.  If you have University Admissions questions, please contact the CSUSM Office of Admissions and Recruitment.

Our University does not accept B4 Statistics courses from:  (1) UC campuses; (2) Out of State schools; or (3) Private schools. 

Understanding the University LOTER Graduation Requirement

The University has a Language other than English Requirement (LOTER) that must be met in order to graduate from CSUSM, for first-degree seeking students.  Second Bachelor Degree students do not have to meet this graduation requirement.  We award points for admission to the Generic/Basic BSN program, if a student has met the LOTER requirement prior to entry to the program.  This is not a requirement for admission to the Traditional BSN program, but merely an optional way to earn points.  Our reasoning for placing this on our Point System, is that beginning with a student's first semester in the Nursing Program, they will be in off-site clinical classes.  If they have the LOTER proficiency, they will use the language in these clinical settings, when appropriate. 

There are many ways to meet the University Language Other Than English Requirement (LOTER).  Please visit the University's LOTER Web sitefor more information. This Web site also includes a list of courses at local schools which meet this University requirement. 

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.  The science courses will definitely slow students down and completion of a Bachelor's degree in another discipline at CSUSM or another school will allow such a student to slowly build any remaining sciences courses into their schedule.
  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.