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PennState_PA_Program

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  1. I'm late to the 2019-2020 party! Sorry about the delay in getting on the forum. As the admissions director for the Penn State PA Program, my energies have been solely on getting our secondary application live at this point. I recognize this delayed start is not ideal for applicants wanting to apply early and have tried my best to keep CASPA-verified candidates updated via email and have also sent verified candidates the secondary questions so they can be prepared to their responses expeditiously when the system does go live. Long-term gain in terms of enhancements for applicants moving forward far outweigh this short delay in getting out the secondary application. And again, I sincerely thank those of you who have continued to wait patiently for our go-live. We are grateful. Major upgrades to the entire Penn State system have successfully been completed and we are still on track for a launch the week of July 15. I am grateful ST@PSU, Sue, has been available to prospective students in my absence in this forum. THANK YOU! As Sue mentioned, all applicants must complete the secondary to be considered at Penn State. We will open our interview cycle in August and host many interview dates each month between August 2019 through February 2020. Caryn Stopper, M.Ed. Director of Admissions Penn State PA Program
  2. bhkim: When completing the academic review of the supplemental, enter the school where you received the AP credit, enter the number of credits received for the AP course, and select AP from the drop down box. Obviously there is not a letter grade to list. Only enter a course prefix and number if the AP course was given credit for a specific course. Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  3. Hi FuturePA8 - Thank you for posting - even if I believe your posts to be misdirected I am happy to respond and share what I can. Posts like yours allow me to take inventory of the work I do day in and day out as the Director of Admissions for this program. It also allows me the time to share with a wider audience what we do at Penn State since we’re being called out because someone is dissatisfied with the way our class photos look. Does a photo really tell of a group’s diversity? You wouldn’t know from looking at a picture of our faculty and staff that we have two veterans, one Hispanic, one Native American, and two first generation in college. That’s 66% of our faculty and staff with some form of under-representation or disadvantage. Knowing our team, I am confident that no one exhibits an ‘oh well, what can we do about it’ attitude as you’ve suggested. FuturePA8 - Please share with me what program you’ll be attending. It would help me to possibly reach out to their admissions team – many programs work together in a friendly way and I would enjoy learning more about their strategic plan to diversify the student population. I joined the PA Forum to help demystify the elusive admissions process and clear up misconceptions about the admissions process as a whole. It can be overwhelming for prospective CASPA applicants to get a handle on so let’s dive in to help answer FuturePA8’s posts. I absolutely LOVE working with candidates to Penn State – the strength of the applicant pool is astounding and continues to strengthen year after year. The students that make up each class are incredibly talented, inspirational, hard-working and dedicated women and men of all ages, races, creeds, and walks of life. From traditionally underrepresented in medicine (URM), to veterans, to DREAMers, to parents, to students with disabilities, to career changers, to LGBTQ, to international students; each cohort is vibrant and rich in diversity. Of the 150 students who have graduated or are currently enrolled in our program 27% are traditionally URM, from military service, or students with disabilities. Our 25+/- candidate interview days that take place each admissions cycle highlight the very best from our applicant pool. We take great pride in our recruiting, screening, and interview process. If we wanted to recruit a class where every student had a perfect 4.0 GPA from undergrad, we could certainly do that, we have the numbers to do that but we make a concerted effort to recruit differently. Our holistic review gives preference, to qualified candidates with military service, URM, economically and educationally disadvantaged candidates, second career seekers, and those with a strong interest in primary care. Preference however is not awarded to males nor do we reserve seats for/cap enrollment of any demographic subset as you are suggesting. You may find it interesting that nearly 50% of our total applicant pool are males so to suggest that we intentionally bring in more men than what is warranted is inaccurate. Does it buck the national trend? Certainly. Is it appropriate given our applicant pool? Absolutely. Below are some statistics from our current 2019-2020 admissions cycle you may find helpful. You will note we interview more URM and military candidates than what is represented in our total applicant pool. As a reminder to all potential applicants to Penn State, our cycle is still very active with many seats remaining. All candidates have until January 30 to submit their Secondary Application. We are still interviewing and offering admission through February, so these percentages, again are not finalized. Percentage of: Total CASPA Applicant Pool to Penn State Percent Interviewed at Penn State URM 10% 15% Military Service 1% 10% Male 48% 39% We receive important feedback by surveying all interviewed candidates who were denied admissions, waitlisted, or offered a seat. At the end of each cycle, our program holds a retreat devoted to adjusting, enhancing or correcting areas of our admissions and interview process. Does that make Penn State’s process perfect? By no means. But the effort is most certainly present. I am pleased with the program’s effort to date, in terms of pipeline recruiting, mentoring of youth, work with high school and undergraduate students, and participation in diversity in healthcare career fairs to name some activities. So what else can Penn State do to increase enrolled students from URM and military? Our program will be working with our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to hold candidate interview days for URM and those with military service, including their families if so desired. These sessions will include additional presentations, dinner, and time with current students who are URM or military the night prior to the candidate interview day. There are some additional projects we are working on that I am excited about however they are in their infancy stages and to discuss publicly would be ill-timed. I am looking forward to working on these projects in the coming months and years. Will these be the answer to increased racial and ethnic diversity? Time will tell but I am certain Penn State is committed to enrolling as diverse a class as possible. Be well and happy new year! Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions Penn State College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s mission and vision statement: Mission Statement for Diversifying Penn State College of Medicine’s Student Population According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the demographic composition of the nation is changing. The U.S. white population, which was 62.1 percent in 2015, is expected to decrease to 46 percent by 2065, while the Hispanic population will increase to 24 percent (from 18 percent in 2015). The Asian population will rise to 14 percent (compared with 6 percent in 2015) and the Black population will remain relatively the same at 13 percent. Students entering medical school in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, across the nation, were 60 percent white, 22 percent Asian, 9.8 percent Hispanic, and 7.5 percent Black, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. The changing national demographics mean that our student/learner population should become increasingly more diverse as well. Recruiting a diverse medical student, graduate student, and physician assistant student body will have a positive impact on the learning environment for the increasing diversity representation of our learner population and on the quality of education provided to all students/learners. Increasing the diversity of the medical student population and residents potentially increases the number of physicians who will work with under-represented populations and work in under-served communities. As a result, Penn State College of Medicine is committed to recruiting, retaining, and advancing a student body that is reflective of the diversity of the nation’s and medical center’s patient population. The focus of our diversity efforts will be those from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine (African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American individuals), those with military service, and students with disabilities.
  4. My recommendation for providing more information on writing intensive courses is to include documentation, whether it be a course syallbus or a letter from an institution official verifying that said course(s) is deemed writing intensive. It may satisfy a writing requirement to graduate. Generally, a course syllabus will give us the details we need if a transcript doesn't designate it a writing-intensive course. This documentation should be uploaded to your CASPA application specifically for Penn State in the "Program Documents" tab. It is the easiest way to get us this information. Please let me know if you have any other questions - Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  5. CWell1901 - We send two separate confirmation emails; the first when we receive the verified CASPA application and the second when we process a candidate's secondary application to Penn State. Please contact the program so that I can verify your status; no sense playing the guessing game or stressing yourself out over something like this when a quick check in with me will make sure you're on track (or we'll get you on track should something have been missed). Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  6. PrePAMeg: GRE's are required and are stated on our website and in CASPA - you can see more at: https://med.psu.edu/physician-assistant/apply It is the 3rd bullet listed on this webpage in addition to there being a section on Standardized Testing Requirements if you scroll slightly further down the page. In addition, you can view our Class Profiles to see the average GRE score and high-low range of GRE scores for each incoming class since program inception in 2014. I'm uncertain where the confusion is coming from? Pre-requisites refer to required courses and hours needed to matriculate. If I can be of additional assistance, please email me directly. Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  7. angelabea - now comes the hard part...We understand having to 'wait it out' is difficult as we know how hard applicants work to make their application as strong as possible. If you heard from us on July 3rd confirming receipt, then you are in good shape at this point. There is nothing additional needed for our committee to review. It can take long...longer than long. And when you think it's been long, it might take even longer. We are doing everything we can to expedite decisions while remaining true to how we approach the admissions review process. Best of luck - Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  8. Hi pblitz! We require a minimum of one semester of each pre-req listed on our website-this and other pieces are explained at http://med.psu.edu/physician-assistant/prerequisites under the 'Detailed Prerequisites' section. Therefore the course you should list on our secondary is is Gen Chem 1 regardless if Gen Chem 2 had the higher grade. Note that as an applicant to our program, we have full access to all transcripts via CASPA and complete a thorough review. With the applicant's help, the secondary application serves as a starting point for our program to review the pre-reqs - we do look at more than just pre-requisite coursework as overall cumulative GPA and overall science GPA are core components to the academic section of our holistic review. The webpage also states that science labs are strongly recommended. Another way for me to explain this is that science labs though strongly recommended are not a requirement. My advice is this, if an applicant or future applicant to Penn State has yet to complete a science pre-req, then our program would strongly urge you complete this course with the lab component. It will be of benefit on a number of levels. However, let's say that an applicant to Penn State completed a 'lecture only' science pre-req a few years back during undergrad - Penn State would not require that applicant to repeat the course just so a lab is included nor would we ask the applicant to take the 'lab only' component. Hope this helps - Caryn
  9. My apologies to those of you having difficulty finding your school ID in our secondary application. My advice is to follow these steps: 1) Follow steps 10 & 11 at https://psu.box.com/v/pa-application-help ; in particular leaving the search as broad as possible. By listing the State Abbreviation only will pull what schools are in the system. 2) If you still cannot locate your school by state only, there is a strong probability the school is not listed. If this is the case, please leave the school ID blank and complete the remainder of the Academic Review (Section III). As a reminder, what you are providing in the academic review is a starting point for our committee to review your pre-requisites. We understand there are some limitations to this section (ie school ID, quarter vs. semester credit, etc). Complete it to the fullest extent possible to assist us in the review process. Thank you, Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  10. Hi BrethePA, Penn State utilizes a holistic admissions review. For a candidate who may have a lower GPA (keeping in mind that a minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for CASPA-calculated overall science and overall cumulative GPA) my advice is to present an application that is very strong in the many other areas of our holistic review. Hopefully your transcripts would show an upward trend in grades but if not, an explanation would assist the committee in understanding the lower grades (space is allotted for this on the secondary application). From an academic standpoint, strength should come from a solid GRE score to offset a lower GPA. Having very strong direct patient care experiences would help offset the lower GPA as well, along with showing a commitment to service in any number of ways, and demonstrating leadership during undergraduate and beyond are all additional ways to strengthen your application. Best wishes, Caryn
  11. The interview cycle at Penn State will begin in July 2018 for our May 2019 program start. Admission decisions are ongoing through next year with more than 20 interview dates scheduled between July 2019 through February 2019. We do not have an early admission option at this time. Best of luck!
  12. Greetings from Hershey, PA and to all those who have gotten a jump start on the CASPA cycle for 2018-2019. As the Director of Admissions for the program, I'll be on this thread as much as possible to help answer any questions about the 18-19 cycle or share program updates, as I'm sure some of our alum and current students will also join when they are able. May is a busy time of year in the program as the 2nd year students graduate, our rising students begin clinical rotations and our incoming class begins...Yes, this all happens in a one week time span in May. We are very proud of our soon-to-be-graduates, excited for the students beginning their clinical rotations, and look forward to welcoming the new students at orientation. I will do everything I can to provide a detailed and clear understanding of our application process by way of this thread, online information sessions, and email correspondence. Good luck with your CASPA and Penn State secondary applications. Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  13. Hi PA2k20 - we have not had any activity from the wait list. Our incoming class of 30 is at capacity at this time. If you are a candidate active on our wait list, our program would be in communication should the need arise (i.e. a current deposited student withdraws before our May start). Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  14. mpeach - We do not fill our class prior to our January 30th secondary application deadline, therefore yes, we are still interviewing and yes, there are still ample interview seats available for our February interview dates. Best wishes- Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
  15. GoFlacco-my apologies that your email did not receive a confirmation from me in a timely manner. I do try to reply personally to all waitlisted candidates but it has been quite a busy cycle, and if you've interviewed with us then you know how small our operation is for the number of applicants we have. Please email me again at your convenience and I will confirm your active status on the waitlist. Caryn Stopper Director of Admissions
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