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About pastudentw

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    Advanced Member


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    Physician Assistant Student

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  1. I relocated across the country with my husband after one month of marriage and we had only known each other for a total of 6 months before starting PA school. I have really enjoyed a lot of things about relocating with him and I'm grateful every day that I don't have a roommate. I do think it is important for your significant other to have other things to be occupied with if you do relocate together. I basically spend dinner with my husband every evening and then study for the rest of the night until 10 or 11pm on weekdays. Everyone will require different amounts of time to study but if your SO has a good job they are invested in, have coworkers/friends to go out with or is happy to entertain them self at home I think it really helps.
  2. As mentioned above, classes will typically only meet once a week. In my case, we may have clinical medicine lectures a few days a week and can be from 2-3 hour lectures at a time. I also try to remember that I'm not the only one out there trying to get through PA school. Many others have done it, are doing and will continue to get through the process. Each person is different with how they adjust to their studying and getting through the material needed. It can become very monotonous work. Go to class, come home and study, sleep, repeat. A couple things I do to keep myself on top of things are to actually use my lecture time wisely. If I have to be there for three hours in a lecture, I might as well use it to actually learn to cut down on study time. Some times this isn't always easy since not everyone who teaches is actually a good teacher. I tend to work on assignments when I have short breaks between classes, during lunch or when I only have a short time to work on school stuff since I like to really dive for studying and like to know I'll have a few hours to do so. I like to do timers for when I study. Some people do 25 minutes then a 5 minute break or some variation on that. This helps me so that I don't loose track of how much time I spend on my phone or whatever it is. For me it is good to take timed breaks but sometimes I can't always do that if I have a lot to do. Hope this helps but honestly it is just trial and error for everyone at first. PA school is a much different feel from undergrad.
  3. I know this is somewhat short notice but I just thought anyone who is looking to apply to UB's program in the future would like to know that there is a graduate school health science fair going on tomorrow 11/11/17 on campus in the Wahlstrom Library. The link is below :)
  4. Your GPA is not an absolute deterrent. Plenty of people get in with lower GPAs (including me). It is about the whole application, not just one component.
  5. A couple of things from my perspective. Academically: No you don't have to be inherently smart. There is a good balance between common sense and the book work knowledge that is needed. The trick is more about using your time and resources wisely rather than "just being smart". For example, I signed up for a organic chemistry tutor the day classes started because someone had told me the slots get filled quickly for chemistry tutors. I was able to meet with my tutor twice a week. I still worked extremely hard and often struggled but I couldn't have done it without that tutor. There were people in my class who were honesty better at chemistry than me, but I was on the same playing field as them because I knew my resources. Just pick a major you actually like and one that would also give you a great career if you change your mind about PA or medicine in general. Personally: I also found myself quite the introvert in high school. But once I started talking and interacting with patients, I really enjoyed it. I was able to get a glimpse into another persons life when they were often at their most vulnerable. You will get more comfortable talking with others. Even now in PA school I tend to study by myself and that isn't a bad thing. Flexibility: I think a key thing at this point will be shadowing. You could especially find female physicians to shadow and ask them what their family life is like. Ask them about what it was like being pregnant in medical school or residency or if they chose to wait until after finishing. Then ask them how it was while their kids were young. For me personally, one of the main reasons I chose PA was because I had no interest in going through having children while still in residency. I can choose a field as a PA that has a more demanding schedule while I don't have kids, then maybe choose something more mild while I have small kids. Then change it up again if I would like when those kids start school. While you could choose to be part time as a PA, there are many hospital jobs that work a 12 hour shift schedule so that you would have more full days at home and bust out your work days in longer chunks. From what I've seen just from job postings, part time would just be the same hourly rate as full time except you just aren't getting the same hours in. End of story, shadow! Find out from the people who have actually done it. On another note, see if your high school offers any EMT or CNA courses as a concurrent enrollment or is partnered with a technical college. My high school offered this but I had no idea at the time and I wished I would have done it! Would have been a huge advantage for me. Hope this helps!
  6. I would say it depends on how many PCE hours you need and in how short of a time frame. If you need the PCE hours as fast as possible, might be worth while to quit and go full time in a patient care position. If you have more time you could do a combo of the two jobs. If you worked 24 hours a week for one year in a PCE position, that would put you at 1,248 hours in one year. Just an example for your consideration. The amount of PCE hours you will need will also depend on the school selection that you plan on applying to. Personally I had worked part time as and EKG tech for a few years, then got a full time job as a med technologist and went PRN with EKG to keep accruing hours since both jobs were valuable in my eyes. While the income is important, especially in preparing for PA school, if you don't have the PCE hours needed to get accepted, that won't really matter much.
  7. I would say if you have a strong application you should apply in April 2018. But if you think you have a less than strong app, it might be beneficial to have the degree complete so that admins don't have to guess about the rest of your GPA and apply April 2019 could be better. Just keep in mind, if you apply April 2018 you might have to juggle attending interviews while finishing up your last semester. On the plus side, most programs for the 2018 cycle would matriculate in summer/fall time of 2019 so you would still have a 6-9ish month break before starting PA school. Whereas if you apply April 2019 you will matriculate in 2020 which is more lost income and a much longer break (could be too long of a break). Also, if you apply in 2018 and don't get in, you will can also apply in 2019 which won't push your dates out too far. Compared to just waiting to apply in 2019 and then don't get in that would really push your matriculation start time much later. My .02 :)
  8. My husband and I actually moved across country (from west to east coast) one month after getting married. Both of our families are back home. Most of the time, I'm very grateful that I'm no where near all my family. I'm very close with them and I know it would have been a huge source of distractions if I had gone to school locally. It makes life much easier for me because I don't always have to say "no" to things I would have normally been invited to. My husband works full time and is really easy going. I know it would be nice for him to be around family and friends since I'm mostly just studying every night and weekend, but he has found ways to entertain himself and we grown a lot from being out here separated from family. You will be able to visit home during school breaks which I have found always energizes me going into the next semester. I obviously don't know exactly what to tell you but I think you have a logical thinking going on by wanting to go to a cheaper school with a better PANCE pass rate. But it is also important that your spouse is happy and comfortable with where they are because you won't be able to spend as much time with them. What is the comparison of PANCE pass rates? Are we talking a few percent or a huge gap?
  9. Simply put, yes the chemistry credits (all 8 of them) should count into your science GPA :)
  10. Then in that case I would say just go with a CNA job. At the end of the day, the patient care hours will be counted. It might be worthwhile to call a couple of the programs you are wanting to apply for and see if they would count the patient care advocate job as PCE. It is worth a try. Another option is you could split your hours and for example, 60% of the time it was purely clerical work and the other 40% really was talking and working directly with patients. But again, the most straight forward will be CNA hours because there is no guess work there. Just some other ideas.
  11. Getting hands on patient experience really is necessary and is what will be most likely counted by PA programs. But, the job you described above would also offer some good value (but would likely count as HCE, not PCE). Maybe you could work part time as a patient advocate and full time or part time as a CNA? That would diversify your experience and you would have something a little unique on your application while gaining some good exposure into other factors that influence patient care. Just a thought :)
  12. This is almost the same situation I found myself in when looking into applying to PA school. At the time, I already had my associate of science and was wanting to apply to rad tech programs which was also an associate degree. But after thinking about it, I ended up just continuing for two more years and finishing my bachelors in microbiology and then went on to PA school. Basically in the same amount of time I got a BS versus two associate degrees. I think with your situation is you really have to ask yourself if you want to be a nurse in any capacity. If yes, then I think the time and money will be worth it but you will also have to put in time go get patient care hours before you apply for PA. If you continue for a BS in another major, you can get a tech job (MA, EMT, CNA etc.) while completing your BS and could be ready to go by the time you graduate and are ready to apply. The second option is risky since a biology degree doesn't usually offer a career working with patients but if you have a strong application (so far your GPA is awesome) and think you will get in your first application cycle, then that risk may be lower and PA would be a faster path. The nursing route offers a long term play with much more stability and a great back up plan while giving you great clinical experiences. If you have the time, patience and resources go for it. If not, PA might be the quicker route but won't offer as much of a back up plan if you get a BS in biology or something. Just my opinion :)
  13. Short answer is yes, working as a cardiac rehab tech would definitely count. That is how I gained all my PCE hours and it was counted by every program I applied to (which was a lot). As long as you are physically touching patients and providing some kind of care, it should be counted. It is just up to you to clearly convey that on your CASPA so they know how involved you were with patient care.
  14. Another piece of advice, If you need to try to get your GPA up, try to calculate using the CASPA GPA calculation and see what your current CASPA GPA is and how many credits you would need to at least get over the 3.0 hump. While getting over the 3.0 minimum is good because at least you will be considered, be aware of the average accepted GPA for the schools you are looking to apply to. This will give you a more realistic expectation of where you need to be. Take all the community college credits you would like, unless a program specifically says they only accept university credits (which is a very small minority of programs). Getting a good GRE in some cases might counteract a lower end GPA just because it might signify that you are a good standardized test taker. Every program is different in how they weight the GRE. Some it is just a hoop to jump through as a graduate program, others consider it more. Magoosh really was a great resource for me too. Aim for above the 50% percentile in each category but just look at the requirements of the school you apply to. Some have minimum cut offs, others don't. Some don't even require the GRE. It is very important that you are addressing the test anxiety that you have now. I can tell you that test taking is an extremely important skill in PA school and to pass the PANCE. Study habits are obviously very important but the reality is that you can't know everything, that is where test taking ability can come into play. Plus all your clinical skills you learn for the real world :) If you feel lost, shadow as much as possible with who ever will let you. Get some contact with working PAs or if you are considering other medical professions, shadow those too. Good luck!
  15. First off congrats on persevering through tragedy. That is no simple task I think you made the right decision by focusing on your grades and patient care hours. In a way, you only get one shot at the GPA, otherwise it can become a massive money and time commitment to bring grades back up. While this is only one example, I started most of my volunteering about six months before CASPA opened up (second cycle that I applied and was accepted). While it wasn't ideal, I got some good hours in and got as much out of the experience that I could. It would have been better to have done it over a few years but like you, I chose to focus on my grades instead of adding in too many extra curriculars. If you think there is still something to gain from some volunteering opportunities, go for it. Pick something you would really be interested in and adds to your story. Otherwise it might feel like you are just checking a box.