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About johnwaite81

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  1. Hello there, I'll try to answer your question as succinctly as possible...if you look throughout other threads with almost the exact same question, you'll find that there is a common theme: despite the advantages/disadvantages of attending a particular PA program, it is essential that you choose the program that's right for you. If you have the time, I would recommend attending an information session. Go to the program's website for dates and times, then reach out to them and let them know you'd like to attend. They usually answer all the questions you have, and 99% of the time a current student will be there to provide you the student perspective.
  2. That is a very easy answer. The ranking system for PA schools is a completely biased system. US News is required to report the methodology for their rankings, and you'll notice that there is not a standard rubric for PA programs like there is for med schools and pharm schools. Essentially, what they do is ask random PA program directors which schools they think are tops. They do not look at PANCE pass rates, cost of education versus quality of education, quality of rotations, etc. It's pretty ridiculous when you think about it. Hope that helps!
  3. Hi there! First of all, congrats on finalizing your application for USC! From what you've presented here, you sound like you would be a competitive applicant just about anywhere, at least in my humble opinion. I'm a 3rd-year at USC right now, so you must take my opinion with a grain of salt as I have no influence in the first or final part of the admissions process. If I were to provide any advice to you (and to anyone else reading this thread who is currently applying), make sure that you're honest in your personal statement and share your reasoning for wanting to become a PA. Additionally, be sure to have a fair amount of PA shadowing hours and general volunteer experience. USC really likes to see well-rounded applicants who are committed to serving the community. The last thing I think I'll mention to anyone reading this thread is the following: no matter what school you are applying to, have confidence in yourself. If you are questioning whether or not you're competitive, talk to the program directly and ask their opinion. While they cannot provide you a direct answer, they can give you pointers on how to become more competitive. Good luck!
  4. Hello again, You are absolutely welcome for the response and advice! Anything I can do to help! To answer your question as to where I am in my education, I'm in my second year. I am finishing up my first rotation today (ER) and then starting my second one (women's health) on Monday. And let me tell you, I am SO glad we get longer rotations! ER is a pretty intimidating rotation to have first, but as I exit I feel A LOT better about it. Having that extra time in the rotation allowed me to feel a lot more comfortable and autonomous, and my preceptors have been amazing throughout the entire learning experience! As far as how I feel about the extra year, I really wanted a longer program to begin with. I really like how USC gives us that summer break to recuperate from the first year because I felt both physically and mentally exhausted. The way they approach their curriculum is extremely smart, and by the time you're in the 3rd semester you're ready for rotations. Then, when rotations come, while you're totally thinking you know nothing, somehow you remember things...and I have to attribute that to how well they prepare you...and part of that is by taking their time to teach. There are always going to be some people who wish they had gone to a 2-year program, but the vast majority of us are extremely happy we chose USC and that it is 3 years. And I'll reiiterate that my friends at other programs are often WAY more stressed out than we are. Although we study a lot, we also make time for community service and for hanging out together. Work hard, play hard :) Any more questions let me know!
  5. Hi there, It makes me sad that the alum said what they did in the panel at the interview, but in all reality it's probably true. USC, to the best of my knowledge, does not directly help you find work post-graduation. However, I have not heard of any school really offering that, and I have friends at PA schools around the country. To compare Loma Linda with USC is difficult, as I do not attend Loma Linda. I have known graduates of that program, and they seem to be well-trained. Their program is shorter than ours, and yes, that will save you money. In contrast, it might be more stressful...though we still work hard, we are still pretty relaxed at USC. The other aspect of the curriculum you should look at is the clinical rotations...what does Loma Linda offer that you like and what does USC offer that you like? At USC we are primary care-focused, and we have some of the longest clinical rotations (if not the longest) in the nation...which I am very much appreciating right now. It takes a few weeks to get the lay of the land, and then you can really soar at your site for the remaining couple weeks. Finally, while USC may not directly offer job placement, our alumni network is known nation-wide as one of the best. Once you are a part of the Trojan family, you are a member for life. Obviously I am going to be pro-USC because I'm a current student, so take my input with a grain of salt. The most important thing you do is compare and contrast the two programs based off of what YOU want out of your education. What is important to you? You need to find the program that best fits you, not choose based off of everyone else's opinions. Trust your gut. Hope that helps. John
  6. Glad you didn't do it. I agree with many of the other comments. I'm currently in my ER rotation and my preceptors all tell me to only do the exams that are absolutely necessary given the CC. I would try talking to him to see if he really was serious or not and ask him for why he said what he said. If it was a joke, then you're okay; if it wasn't then that would certainly be awkward...
  7. Firstly, congratulations on your acceptance to USC! Yes, it is expensive to attend, and I promise that you will be given enough money to live off of and pay for tuition in the way of loans. Granted, you will not be living the high life, but they give you just enough to pull through. Before I break down for you the way that loans work in grad school, I also want to let you know that in your first year you get two disbursements: one in the Fall and one in Spring. DO NOT SPEND ALL YOUR FALL MONEY, as the two disbursements are to carry you through the summer until the next disbursement in the following Fall. Additionally, you can choose to get a job in the summer (though it might be hard to find) to help pull you through there. Now, I will do my best to explain how the loans will work. I remind you, though, that I'm a PA student, not a financial planner :) For the entire year you are permitted to borrow up to $18,500 in subsidized loans at a rate of 6.8%, and the remainder will be unsubsidized at a rate of 7.9%. As a reminder, subsidized are those that do not accrue interest until you are done with school, and unsubsidized are those that accrue interest the moment you take them out. It used to be better for the 2011-2012 year, but in 2012 Congress changed how the system works and this is what we ended up with. In all reality, expect to owe around $210,000 when you're done with the program (plus or minus, and assuming you take out loans to pay for everything, which most people do). Remember, though, that you are attending a very good school and are also going to be working in a very good field. The job prospects for PAs are numerous, and the financial return is pretty amazing (especially as things begin to change with the Affordable Care Act). I also want to tell you about other options besides loans that you might consider looking into if you haven't already. The biggest one is the NHSC scholarship. They pay for 100% tuition and fees, as well as provide you with a living stipend while in school. I'll let you look it up for terms and conditions, but I will tell you that it is extremely competitive and worth a try. Another great option is the Navy. They will pay for up to $300,000 in return for service. There's also other branches of the military that disburse large amounts of money, and there are smaller scholarships that are helpful like the PA Foundation scholarships and CAPA scholarships (be sure to join CAPA and AAPA as a student member now so you can start benefiting). I realize that this is a lot of information, and I hope you (and the others who read this thread) find it helpful. For those who are accepted, you can reach out to medfao@usc.edu for specific questions regarding financial aid. They are really helpful and quick to respond. Again, congratulations and we'll see you in Fall!
  8. Hey everyone, I'm a second-year at USC, and congrats to those of you who have already gotten interviews! To those of you who haven't, I know it's hard, but be as patient as you can be...applying is seriously the worst part of it all :) Without revealing too much information about the application and interview process, here's the answers to betochavez's questions: 1.) The number of interview sessions held is dependent upon the number of accepted students per interview. That may or may not sound obvious, but the reality is that acceptance is a two-way street, and each interview group is different. The University will extend the acceptance to the student, and the student must also accept by putting down a non-refundable deposit to hold his or her spot. What can happen is that while a student may be accepted and pay the deposit, he or she may also withdraw at any time, thereby opening up another spot. This is not unique to USC from what I understand, and I realize that this answer may not be what you were hoping or looking for, but it is the best answer I can give (again, without revealing too much private information). 2.) Is our interview a rotating group interview? Unless they changed the format, the interview itself is an individual interview. USC's interview process was, by far, the best one I experienced (granted, I only went to one other, but I've heard similar things from lots of other students). Know why it is you want to be a PA and have a clear understanding of why you want to go to USC (how can USC help you to be the PA you want to be). These are not secrets, they are common questions at just about every program. The best advice I can give, though, is to be yourself. Be honest, clear and concise and you'll do fine! Good luck!
  9. I'm assuming the call was to say you got in, so congratulations! I send you a private message to answer your questions.
  10. Ms. Chievious, I'm sorry for having taken forever to come back into the forum to answer questions. And seeing as it is over a month from your original question, I hope that my response is not too little too late. I'll keep it as simple as I can. Most of us are on loans 100%. There are some in our class who are on full-rides with the NHSC scholarship, and there are some who were able to take advantage of a special scholarship offered to 4 people in our class that paid for one year of tuition. There are definitely scholarships available, but most of them are small dollar amounts (i.e. $1000). The best one is the NHSC, followed by one from CA for $20,000. The last two require that you trade time in underserved populations for the monies for school. Additionally, the Navy has a full-ride scholarship if you join the Navy, and I think the Army has something as well. In terms of class size, our class is 53 students (originally 54, but someone had to leave in the first week due to extenuating circumstances). Our is definitely not too large to allow for personalized student-faculty interactions. Everyone really makes an effort to get to know your name by the second week, and they really do take time out to answer questions outside of class. Our faculty is probably one of the greatest strengths we have. Hope that all helps!
  11. A lot of people can offer a lot of great advice (as demonstrated in this thread thus far), but ultimately the decision is up to you. I was very fortunate to have been accepted by my first-choice school, however my gut told me early on that it was going to happen. And something we've been taught frequently in our first semester of school is that "even if all your labs are indicating there is nothing wrong with your patient, if your gut tells you something is wrong, then something is probably wrong." I think that this applies to your situation because it really sounds like your gut is leading you to one school (where your friends are and where you want to work) while your logical brain is telling you to attend the other (the one closer to your family)...and yes, I was in the exact same situation grappling between my gut (my first-choice and a great program) and logic (an allegedly better and shorter program). I'm not going to tell you where to go, but what I will tell you is that I am extremely happy I followed my gut. One more thing I would like to mention, however, is that when people say you won't have much time for socializing I disagree...at least during the didactic portion of school. Then again, I'm a work hard, play hard kind of person, so I hit the books pretty hard during the week so I can have time to go to football games and hang out with friends and classmates on the weekends. During the clinical rotations I know it's different, but if you want to socialize you'll make the time. I hope that what I say helps you in your decision-making process. I know it's not an easy decision to make, but kudos to you for being accepted into at least two programs...that's awesome!
  12. My undergraduate degree is in Theatre and Humanities, so that totally proves that it doesn't really matter what your degree is in. What matters most is how much experience you have (I had 10 years in pharmacy as a tech, lots of shadowing and volunteer experience as well) and also having a clear understanding of why it is you want to be a PA (and making that extremely apparent in your personal statement and at interviews). I also had a good overall GPA and an excellent pre-req GPA (I'm sure the pre-req GPA also helped me a little) and I got into my first choice! Good luck in your pursuit!
  13. You should probably know that I'm a third-generation Trojan, so I definitely have some bias...I'll try to be as unbiased as possible ;) I'll start by discussing the cost of the program: yes, it is expensive. The financial aid office is extremely helpful in securing you enough money for the year, but then you think to yourself, "how am I ever going to pay this back?" as you are basically taking a mortgage out on your education (or adding to the one you already have from your undergraduate work). I, personally, am not worried about paying it back for several reasons, the major one being that I want to work in underserved urban communities for the majority of my career (translation: scholarships and loan repayment programs are endless if you choose this route). There is also the Navy that will pay for your entire education if you give so many years of service. Finally, USC has one of the top alumni networking groups in the country, and you really can't put a price tag on that. I'd also like to touch on the fact that we are a 3-year program. Many people take issue with this, as the average program length is 27 months. I'm not 100% sure why they chose to go for 33 months, but I will say that they want to ensure that we go through the material at a pace that is manageable, and to ensure that we get sufficient breaks during the didactic portion (3 semesters instead of 2) and don't burn out. I've spoken with students from every other program in CA and they are ALWAYS stressed out. Our final semester focuses on preparing for the PANCE (boards), finishing our Master's thesis, preparing for the workplace and finding jobs, as well as offers us an opportunity for an elective rotation. Everything I've just mentioned I consider to be strengths to our program. Additionally, our faculty are unbelievably AMAZING and accessible. They make such an effort to learn everyone's names the first couple weeks and to ensure that you do well in the program. Also, they do a terrific job in choosing the classes, and your classmates really do become your family. On that note, once a Trojan, you are in the Trojan family forever...an amazing family to be a part of. Now I'm sure you're wondering what some of our program's weaknesses are, and to be honest I can't think of any. They really do make every effort to accommodate their students' needs so that once you're in, the hard part is over :) Hope this helps!
  14. Hey there, I'm a current student at USC (Class of 2014), and the best advice I can give you is to be yourself. There is no standard set of questions, per se, however it would behoove you to have a clear understanding of why it is you want to be a PA, as well as what you hope to achieve by being in the program. Trust me, this will be the most fun you'll have on any of your interviews, good luck!
  15. The waiting is the worst part...and yes, the first interview will more than likely be the last Saturday in October. Good luck guys!
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