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About BaxLN

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    Physician Assistant Student

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  1. I think your priorities are a bit skewed (honestly I don't think rankings, technology, facilities matter much). I moved across the country for PA school and will be moving again to a different state after. Knowing what I know now here's where I would put my emphasis: PANCE rates, how long the program has been established, faulty support/student success (this can be VERY difficult to find out, but really try to talk to current or former students one on one and figure out what they liked/disliked about the program). A few things I wish I'd known going in: what qualifies as passing/failing and what systems are in place for remediation (this varies WIDELY by program) and how the curriculum is built (organ system vs traditional). I also wish I had known how many courses are taught by new vs seasoned professors (this has made a huge difference also). I obviously can't speak to job placement after school in a different state, but I spoke with PAs in my former state before I moved, and regularly checked job boards and there are plenty of jobs. Practicing PAs assured me there would be very little trouble getting a job in the area even without doing rotations there. Hope that helps some!
  2. I worked as a Surgical Tech for my PCE and am currently in PA school. I'd strongly suggest PA over first assist for a few reasons. Not all states recognize CSFA (and my understanding is that even if the job is recognized, there are very few positions available). I worked as a Surgical Tech in Washington, where they're not recognized. Residents, PAs, and RNFAs are the only people I ever saw assisting in surgery. A surprising number of surgeons employed their own RNFA. We discussed CSFA when I was in the surgical tech program, and it's difficult to see the reasoning to get the degree. It's a master's degree, equal in length to most PA programs, and your scope of practice is limited to the OR. Many physicians need the extra help that a PA can provide in clinic and caring for pre and post-op patients, not necessarily in surgery. I was also certain I wanted to work in surgery when I first started thinking about PA school (I had a much different first career before I did surg tech). But now I am VERY grateful to not have limited myself. There are things I love about the OR, and I may consider working in a surgical specialty when I graduate (or at some point during my career as a PA), but I've also found several other non-surgical specialties that I really like as well. I would NOT have believed that possible several years ago, but you grow a LOT as you are exposed to so many different aspects of medicine, and truly one of the best perks of becoming a PA is that lateral mobility.
  3. I considered online when I was applying, the only reason I didn't was because at the time my state wasn't on the list. I'm in didactic now (obviously at an in-person program). I did a lot of my prereqs in hybrid format (lectures online, labs in person) and in PA school I have essentially been teaching myself a lot of the content, just as I did for prereqs. Our lectures are mandatory but a LOT of them are a waste of time. I agree that there are some skills you'll miss out on, but from my experience (so far), not much. We do practice a LOT of physical and focus exams, which is definitely helpful (especially in getting you comfortable with working with "patients"), but if you're self-motivated, you can practice almost everything on friends/family members. If I remember correctly Yale online does have some times you have to be on campus for skills training. The skills like using your medical equipment and learning to cast/splint etc can be learned quickly. I don't really like studying or practicing much with my classmates, so I honestly feel like I could be doing just as well (if not better) if my program were online. And I know that not all programs are like this, but our program is VERY strict about not missing ANY classes, regardless of the situation, which can be extremely frustrating. Also, I don't feel like I'd miss much in regards to building relationships with professors/faculty. So many of our lectures are taught by guest lecturers that a lot of communication regarding course content is done over email anyway. Hope that helps!
  4. Similar situation to my program. Recently when another student was asked why he constantly asks others what grade they got on tests, his response was "it's the only way I can feel good about myself knowing others are doing worse." It's a horrendous attitude. I had a LOT of anxiety first semester, particularly about testing and grades. It's better now - I have found a couple of close friends who don't discuss grades (for the most part), and actually the majority of the class has calmed down quite a bit regarding competition/comparisons, though it still exists and I hate it. I also got on beta blockers to help with the test anxiety. There's not much to be done about it, just keep your head down and see if you can find one or two people who feel the same as you do. You'll get through didactic, it just might be without the support of your cohort, which truly sucks.
  5. I believe the majority of schools take the highest score, rather than highest per section from each attempt. However, I know there are schools that WILL take the highest from each section. Schools will put that info on their program admissions site, usually under the FAQ section.
  6. You're over thinking it. Thank you cards aren't necessary, and if the coordinator isn't emailing you back, just let it go. No, that would not be a reason for a program to not accept you. Just be patient and wait to hear from them.
  7. I agree with the other commenters - definitely work on your interview skills. To your note about medical mission trips - I think a lot of applicants compare themselves to other applicants to their detriment. Find ways to set yourself APART, not become more similar. At this point continue getting as much PCE as possible and work on your interview skills. You said you were confident in 2/3 of your interviews, remember that being overly confident can hurt you just as badly as being too timid (not saying that's what happened, I have no idea, just something to keep in mind). For interviews, one of the best things for me was to just practice answering any typical question out loud at home, over and over and over (and over and over...). It'll get you comfortable talking about yourself, and help you figure out what you'd like to focus on when you answer questions. You'll feel like an idiot doing it (talking out loud to yourself about yourself is awkward for sure), but I think it was very helpful.
  8. Agree with the comment above, I think the red flag is mostly that you repeated didactic. PA programs want to retain their students (for both financial and statistical reasons), which you know because they let you repeat your first year. Other programs might look at that experience and just assume you won't be able to finish their program either. I really empathize, it puts you in such a tight spot because you're clearly determined and know what you want, loans SUCK, and PA programs are rigid with almost a complete lack of flexibility. That's one thing that some DNP programs do better, I know of several that are very flexible and more than willing to work with students on retakes and delays, etc. I agree with the other comment, the program most likely to give you a shot is the program that you left. I also agree with you that it's really unfortunate that there's this stigma against students who failed out or had to withdraw. PA school is SO, so challenging, and it shouldn't be seen as a failure when a student can't get through the program, especially when there's extenuating factors. Keep your head up, best of luck.
  9. Your GRE is fine, don't retake. When you say OR assistant do you mean in a CNA type capacity, or as a surgical tech? I feel like your PCE must be fine if you're getting those interviews, so I don't think I'd recommend becoming an EMT. I agree with comments above - it's likely your interview skills. One of the best things for me was to just practice answering any typical question out loud at home, over and over and over (and over and over...). It'll get you comfortable talking about yourself, and help you figure out what you'd like to focus on when you answer questions. You'll feel like an idiot doing it (talking out loud to yourself about yourself is awkward for sure), but it really helped me.
  10. I didn't have one from a PA, though I understand some programs specifically want you to (and I know of one program specifically that doesn't publish that info but pretty much requires it). I personally wouldn't become a scribe just to get an LOR. And I honestly feel like it's very possible to build a good enough relationship with a PA from 50 hours of shadowing. It obviously depends on both of you - you need to be active and engaged, and the PA needs to honestly want to help out, but in my experience, most PAs are excited about the chance to help out students and future PAs. The PA I shadowed the most I spent about 25 hours with, and I didn't ask him for an LOR because I felt really good about my other letters, but I am positive if I had asked he would've written a solid recommendation.
  11. This is 100% accurate. I only had 500 hours when I applied (though made sure it was known that I would continue to obtain hours before matriculating). I got four interviews, but I'm pretty sure one of the biggest reasons I stood out to schools was that my sGPA was a 3.89 and my GRE was high. The school I'm attending now even told me during the interview that they didn't like how low my PCE hours were and they wanted me to keep working before the program began (and this is a program that doesn't specifically require any number of hours). Point being, even if a school says they don't require many hours, that's not necessarily what they're looking for. Your GPAs are good, but right in the average range. So I'd suggest applying this cycle (and apply smart, make sure you're finding programs you think you'll be a good match for), and keep getting PCE with the understanding it may take more than one cycle.
  12. I understand the draw to move and experience a new city, but I'd suggest staying in NC for multiple reasons - the main one being that you like the program so much. I moved across country to a new city for PA school, and while I like the city I'm in, I hardly ever get to experience it. I'm at school/studying constantly, and when I take the occasional night off, we usually stay in because I'm just so excited to relax (and am usually exhausted). I'm still in didactic (and I do expect this to change somewhat during clinical year), but my point is that you'll care a lot more about the quality of your program than the geographic location once you're in school.
  13. Nobody can recommend schools for you - you need to put the work in on that yourself. Even if people can recommend the program they are in, or perhaps programs they liked or disliked when interviewing, that's super subjective. Researching programs will help you figure out what you like or dislike about programs, and that should be reinforced when you go on interviews. During interviews, the program is getting a feel for you just as much as you're getting a feel for them. A program that is a great fit for one person may really not be good for you. And even more, almost everyone (both applicants and programs) are looking for qualities that aren't easily put in to words, you need to get a feel for it yourself. Researching schools is time consuming, but necessary. Don't doubt your confidence, if you meet the requirements and like the look of a program, apply!
  14. It sounds rather like you’ve already made up your mind to defer/reapply. But I completely agree with previous comments, never apply to a program you wouldn’t want to attend. Student loans suck no matter how much you’re borrowing, and if you attend the program you’ve already been accepted at, you’ll be paying off those loans that much sooner. Waiting/reapplying is no guarantee (even with your application hours mishap). I would personally go with the program you’ve been accepted at now, but to each his/her own.
  15. If you have transcripts from both schools, and the first chem isn't expired, I don't see why you couldn't use that as your prereq requirement. When you're applying on CASPA, each program has you go through your transcript and mark which courses you assign to each of their prereqs. Just because the university didn't accept the CC chem course doesn't mean PA schools won't.
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