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  1. Hi all, I wanted to thank you in advance for any advice that will be given on this topic. I will be applying for the second time in April 2019 and I am kind of caught up as to where I should apply. My first time applying, I went more of a geographic approach (I applied to places I would like to live) while also considering how I compared to the previous classes. Out of 13 schools, I had 1 interview and I was waitlisted at that school. I have been doing extensive research on school statistics and although I meet all minimum criteria and seem to be average for most schools, I fear that where I apply will be the wrong choices (I was pretty surprised at my lack of interviews). Did any of you have a system to narrow down where you wanted to apply? How do you pick schools that are the most likely to offer you an interview? Stats: GPA: 3.5 Science GPA: 3.44 Direct Patient Care Hours: 2,150 (Phlebotomist, Medical Assistant) Indirect Patient Care Hours: 6,750 (Emergency Room Medical Scribe, x3 years) Volunteer Hours: 350 (Free Medical Clinic) Shadowing Hours: 80; Orthopedics, Trauma, ER, Internal Medicine GRE: 308; W 4.5 Undergraduate Science Courses: Immunology, Genetics, BioChem, A&P, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Microbiology. Other application boosters: From a rural area, 1st generation college graduate, both parents deceased when I was 16. Thanks!
  2. I am an IMG physician applying to the PA masters program. Last year I had sent in my application at the very end of the application cycle expecting that it might be too late but I wanted to get the process started and I did get rejected. Since then I was able to shadow a physician and a nurse practitioner and will be getting 2 LORs (letters of recommendation) from them. I have been working on getting trained so I can get some work experience in US to strengthen my application but I will probably be done with my certifications (patient care tech) and be able to work in a hospital setting only next year. My question is , is it worth applying again this year or should I wait till next year with some work experience to add on my application. If I do decide to reapply now and get rejected again, will that look bad or negatively impact my application when I reapply next year? Thanks Ann
  3. I wanted to put my (shortened) story out there and stats to see what everyone's opinion or feedback might be for reapplying the 2nd time. Last cycle I applied to 7 programs in California, Oregon and Washington which have all rejected me, no interviews. It obviously left me feeling a little hopeless and wondering if I should pick a different healthcare path. However, like many of you I'm sure, I realized that nothing worth having comes without a fight and that becoming a PA is undeniably my life goal. My overall GPA is 3.07, just grazing the minimum for most programs. It's the weakest point of my application, I'm sure. My post bac science GPA is 3.43, which I'm proud of and reflects the upward trend of my grades after not taking my undergraduate seriously at times. GRE scores are 155 quant, 159 verbal, and 4.5 analytical. I had previously taken the GRE and received a 144 in quant, I'm hoping admissions will see that I was able to improve my quant score significantly and that it will speak to my academic abilities and perseverance. I have 4000 hours of PCE working as a PT aide, and have recently switched to a medical scribe job at a Stanford Health Care affiliated Pediatrics clinic. My healthcare related volunteer hours are limited. 3 LOR's from my microbiology professor, a physical therapist I worked closely with, and a PA that I shadowed. Another note: I submitted my applications at the end of September for all programs My game plan and questions for you guys: 1. The medical scribe job - I'm not sure if I should keep this job or switch to something more hands on such as a CNA, MA or even a patient care technician job at a dialysis center. I feel that my ability to learn new things and face challenges is beginning to plateau as a scribe, however since I have 4000 hours of PCE as a PT Aide would it be strategically smart to invest time and money into CNA or MA training? 2. Medical mission trip - Since I have a low GPA, I know it's crucial to make other areas of my application shine like a star. I'm thinking a 2 week trip to an underserved country would bolster my volunteer hours and also serve inspiration for my personal statement. It's also something I'm able to arrange and do in a short amount of time, which leads me to my next point... 3. APPLY EARLY - I plan to have applications submitted by late May. Does anyone think this is too early, or is there any other guidance on best times to submit applications? 4. Revamping my personal statement - I reached out to an online editing service specifically for PA programs and received truly useful feedback and suggestions. I plan to make edits and add in sections reflecting my time as a scribe and my determination as a re-applicant. 5. Updating some LORs - Hoping to receive a letter from the doctor I scribe for. I also plan to write a cover letter to recap my prior experiences and relationships with the LOR writers, as well as adding updated information as a re-applicant. With such a low cumulative GPA I'm terrified that perhaps PA school just won't work out for me. I'm hoping, however, that AdComs will really see how much I want this as reflected in my PCE, volunteer hours, personal statement and LOR's. Thanks so much for lending the time to read this, I am grateful for ANY insight/advice/comments anyone has :)
  4. Hello all! I’ve been steadily reading posts here for years but I’m looking for some honest advice and who better to ask? I’m going to be a reapplicant this cycle. I applied to only 4 programs last cycle very very late, I was verified September 13 and my last letter came in a few days after that. It was my own fault, I wasn’t in the game and honestly I shouldn’t have, but I’ve regrouped life and now I’m ready to apply in May and hopefully up my chances of an interview. These are my stats, and I’ve not taken the GRE and will be focusing on programs that don’t require it. College: Virginia Tech with two bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and Criminology cGPA: 3.43 - I went from a so so freshman year with a single W, crashed first semester sophomore year with a 1.88 GPA (family trouble) but from there had a very strong upward trend making deans list junior and senior year and got all A’s my last two semesters sGPA: 3.32 Patient Care: 4,500+ hours direct patient care as an EMT, both paid and volunteer for 5 years (also have a few awards from the organization, including Volunteer of the Year and EMT of the Year) Extracurricular: Member of two honor societies for GPA, brother of Alpha Chi Sigma (professional chemistry fraternity. I was elected Master of Ceremonies in 2016 and appointed Historian in 2015, counting as leadership experience). Also ran and organized a few bone marrow registry drives through DKMS. Pre-PA club member and also on the equestrian team for two years. Shadowing: none YET, but finally got into contact with someone willing to offer it. I hope to get at least 60 hours once I start, hopefully next week. LOR: One from a biology professor/my academic advisor. One from the head paramedic at my volunteer agency of 5+ years. And hoping to get one from the PA I shadow, if not I have a letter from an MD. Currently taking a few classes to up my GPA even though some programs won’t count it. The gpa listed is what my GPA will be when those grades post mid-May. I plan to submit my CASPA as soon as I finish finals so these can be considered in my GPA for CASPA. I just need to take intro psychology and have a C- in Organic Chemistry I plan on retaking this summer but won’t wait to submit for those grades becuase two classes won’t raise my GPA substantially. They’ll both be complete mid-July. If all goes well my application should be verified by mid-May. I have 23 programs marked that fit my prereqs and allow two outstanding if they require the two I have to take. What are your thoughts on my shot at an interview and how many programs should I apply to? Also any tips for weeding down my list? I emailed all the programs and many said their average GPA is a 3.5 or 3.6. Should I not apply to these programs, or do they still take lower applicants into consideration? I did have a few email me sailing my GPA was what they want to see so I’m just not sure. Thank you so much!!
  5. My advisor has said that it is very important to mention being a reapplicant and what we have done to improve ourselves as a candidate. Beyond gaining more experience at my current job and a some more volunteering, I haven;t done a whole lot though. In honesty, I feel like poor interviewing skills is what held me back, not so much coursework, grades, or experience. That being that case, I have worked to improve on these skills, which in my eyes the most important thing I could have done. All of the grades, experiences, etc. won;t mean much if you interview poorly! What is your opinion? Thanks!
  6. Hello all, this was my first year applying to PA school and I did not receive any interviews. I was hoping to receive some advice for next year as I know I am a very mediocre applicant. Here are my Stats: Undergrad GPA: 3.16 Science GPA: 3.05 BCP GPA: 2.74 GRE: 150 quant 148 verbal LOR: RN, PA, Pharmacist Patient care : CNA (1400), Pharmacy tech(1500), Medical Scribe(400) Schools Applied: 29!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Applications Submitted: Late June/ Early July I am really embarrassed to discuss this with any of my coworkers or family members, so I am hoping you guys can help me out. I would have thought I would at least gotten ONE interview. sigh :(. Any advice is appreciated!
  7. Any advice for re-applicants?
  8. I have looked through this forum for the answer to this question but have not yet seen it. I am a solid applicant GPA/HCE wise but did not perform well on the GRE (147 V, 147 Q) I want to retake the GRE but do not want to wait to send my applications. On some of the applications on CASPA there are spaces to fill in answers to questions such as "are you currently taking any prerequisite courses". Would it be appropriate to disclose that I am not taking any prerequisite courses in this section but I will be retaking the GRE in June? Or should I just leave it out completely and send the scores when I retake it? Thanks!
  9. While winding down the pre-op area of outpatient surgery, a worried mother and father unexpectedly arrived with their young son from the emergency room. While eating cashews, the young boy, John, began choking and aspirated a piece of the nuts. He was unsuccessfully trying to cough it up and needed surgery to remove it. John was uncomfortable but not as nervous as his parents. As we prepared the young boy, the surgeon introduced his team including a physician assistant. As a patient care technician interested in a career as a PA, it excited me that PAs could play such a significant part of the surgical team. To everyone’s relief, the nut was retrieved safely from John’s lungs, preventing any further complications or infection. This example of teamwork between PAs and doctors in the surgical setting further enhanced my resolve to become a PA. Admittedly, this level of commitment was not present during my first semesters of college and my grades suffered. I needed to make a change. I refocused my efforts and with the help of my family, invaluable study partners, and excellent teachers, graduated with honors. My college career taught me a great deal in self-discipline and accountability. Throughout my husband’s frequent deployments with the military, we both learned about adaptability and self-reliance. Much like a PA collaborates with their physician, my husband and I communicated with each other to help maintain the household and discipline of our daughters. Now, as a civilian family, we see ourselves as lifelong learners, each on our own path of building healthcare experiences. As a re-applicant, I have focused on building my skills on all fronts. As a volunteer at a free neighborhood medical clinic, I have joined others to provide much needed medical care for the surrounding community. It has become such a personal joy to see my fellow volunteers, translators, and patients every week. Each clinic may run smoothly or be a night filled with challenges but no matter the circumstances, I always leave with a cheerful heart. One evening, a provider asked me to draw blood from a patient named Elena. Phlebotomy is an art that is learned with time and practice and two pairs of eyes are always better than one so I asked a nurse to help me find a vein to draw her blood. I remember Elena’s graciousness as we attempted and failed to get blood from her. Four venipunctures later, we finally got the blood we needed. Afterwards, Elena was not irritated about the situation or the time it took, but instead thankful for our services. Not only did we feel extremely humbled by her reaction but proud to serve a community of people that showed such faith in our ability to serve them. As with any great healthcare provider, I desire to have strong relationships with my patients, building rapport with them over time so their health improves. Our job is to listen to our patients and work with them to achieve common health goals. Mary, a family practice PA I shadowed, taught me not only how to effectively listen to patients and their concerns, but how to better communicate so they feel comfortable with our proposed care plan. She knew some of her patients so well, we could review their history before their appointments without even looking at their health record. When Mary walked in the exam room, her patients would burst out in excitement about her pregnancy and ask her all about it. Mary’s empathetic nature and great ability to listen to her patients resulted in excellent care, whether it was for our pediatric patient with a fever and cough or our patient that needed to go to the emergency room for appendicitis. She also helped me better understand the juxtaposition of autonomy while collaborating with a supervising physician. Mary saw many patients on her own during the day, but if a patient presented with complicated symptoms, she could brainstorm with her doctor to come up with the best plan of action. The more time I spend shadowing, the more I feel that a career as a PA is best suited for me and my abilities to communicate, listen, show compassion, and attention to detail. As a patient care technician in an emergency department I continuously use the opportunity to collaborate with my coworkers and strengthen my clinical decision making. When a critical patient comes in, it is paramount that the doctors, nurses, and techs all pull together for the most beneficial outcome. We put a strong focus on teamwork so there is no delay in our patient’s care. Paul, a patient complaining of dizziness and diaphoresis recently came in to triage. He had no complaints of chest pain but after completing the EKG, we saw what appeared to be a STEMI. After the doctor confirmed the ST elevation, we quickly brought the patient back to prepare him for the cath lab. A controlled chaos surrounded Paul as I helped to undress him and place him in a gown. A nurse entered the room to place IVs and the doctor also came in to explain to Paul that he was having another heart attack. A pharmacist stood by with vital medications to be administered. As the cath lab confirmed their readiness, another tech went to hold the elevator. When a patient such as Paul comes through our doors, time is of great importance. I greatly enjoy being a part of the healthcare team that makes such a difference in someone’s life. After learning about the physician assistant profession in college, my desire to pursue this career has continued to grow. From my various healthcare experiences, I decided that my skills as a confident, compassionate, hard-working, problem-solving team player best suit me to the PA career. The lifestyle, job mobility, and satisfaction are also important aspects of this field that I believe match well with my family.
  10. Hello everyone, I am a re-applicant and would like to discuss the best possible things to do in order to re-apply. From what I have gathered, accumulating more direct-patient healthcare experience, taking more science classes, volunteering more, shadowing more PAs, possibly retaking the GRE, re-writing a new personal statement and making sure it is really good, and applying early would be best. Does anyone else have any other great ideas to give a re-applicant the best chance possible? I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks so much.
  11. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! "To say I was an accident prone child is an understatement. I frequented doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for a variety of injuries and ailments. I remember staying home sick from elementary school, curling up on the sofa to watch marathons of “Medical Mysteries” and “Trauma: Life in the ER”. My squeamish parents were somewhat disgusted by my gruesome choice of entertainment and were puzzled by my infatuation with medicine. Even so, my interest and enthusiasm for medical care persisted. In 2006, after I was involved in a serious golf cart accident, I knew for certain that I would pursue a career in healthcare. I suffered extensive injuries after being ejected from the vehicle, run over, and dragged along the pavement. I remember the rushed atmosphere and commotion of the emergency room as I lay there feeling shocked by the gravity of the situation. Then, Michelle walked in, a smiling brunette clad in a crisp white coat. I assumed she was a physician as she explained the imaging procedures and tests I would soon undergo. She addressed me not as a naïve thirteen-year-old but simply as a concerned patient. She answered all my questions and stayed engaged in our conversation even as she performed an intra-articular injection to determine if my knee joint had been compromised. I was in awe at the combination of her technical proficiency and calm disposition. Not until years later, after attending a physician assistant symposium in college, did I realize Michelle was a physician assistant. After my accident, my passion for medicine persisted. In high school, I enrolled in Honors Anatomy and Physiology and was fascinated by the field trips to watch an open-heart surgery and visit a cadaver lab. My teachers noted my enthusiasm for the subject and nominated me to attend a medical leadership conference at Georgetown University. When selecting a college major, I chose Nutritional Sciences because of the strong focus on biological science; it also provided a unique perspective on clinical work and emphasized the critical thinking skills necessary in practice. I worked assiduously because I knew exemplary academics were necessary when applying to graduate programs. However, despite struggling with a personal crisis during my sophomore year, I was determined not to let one semester mar the academic record I had worked so hard to achieve. I made significant changes in my life and learned how to maximize my academic potential while managing stress in a healthy way. This experience was a critical point of self-exploration, and I am confident it was an important step in preparing me for the rigors of PA school. Once I was comfortable managing the challenges of a science-heavy course load, I began to focus on gaining more experience working in healthcare. Although my interest to learn the intricacies of medicine was undeniable, I was still unsure about which career would be the best fit for me. I spoke with doctors, nurses, and PAs to determine the differences between these types of practitioners. While trying to make a decision, I repeatedly thought of Michelle, my earliest inspiration. I saw clearly that compared to other healthcare professionals, PAs have a unique opportunity to build a rapport with their patients by getting to know them on a personal level, which is what I value most. However, it was not until I became a certified nursing assistant at an assisted living facility that I truly understood how much I valued being a part of someone’s healing process. Initially, I saw the job as an opportunity to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, but I realized quickly the magnitude of this experience was much greater than I anticipated. It is remarkable to watch the aging process unfold and see the devastating progression of diseases. It is my responsibility to not only provide care to the residents, but also to be vigilant about changes in their condition, to be compassionate about the struggles they endure in light of their impending mortality, and to listen to them when nobody else will. These moments make me realize what an honor it is to be a healthcare provider. Although my academic journey has always been aimed towards a career in medicine, my unique life experiences are what inspired me to become a physician assistant. The PA profession encompasses my passion for scientific knowledge and my desire to build relationships with patients. Pursuing such a fulfilling and exciting career leaves me with a profound sense of purpose and the definitive notion I will be a successful physician assistant."
  12. Ordered chaos: like worker bees buzzing frantically, each individual in the OR functioning independently, but dependent on one another, working as a team to prepare the patient. The wail of the bone saw cutting through the man's sternum, the pure white of the bone fracturing, dispersing shards. As I stood in awe atop the foot stool breathing through a mask, my eye shield fogging up, I could see the man's beating heart. Blood pumping, the smell of warm blood filled the room, it was open heart surgery. Shortly after my CASPA submission last year, I observed Rob Frost, PA-C assist on a surgery, a fascinating experience that I will never forget. I shadowed Mr. Frost prior to the surgery, screening patients before the operation. Mr. Frost graciously acted as my mentor sharing his experience of getting into PA school. He similarly applied more than once and could empathize as a repeat applicant himself. “It will all be worth it,” he said, informing me it's actually a blessing to have additional time to reflect and improve the application, further solidifying your goal of PA. I took his advice and started this new year with an open mind continuing my PA journey not dwelling on disappointment but seeking opportunity. By early 2014, I was exploring new ideas, tactics, and strategies to further myself along this journey. None were more impactful than the feedback sessions, which allowed me the opportunity to discuss my previous application with PA school representatives. After their harsh yet honest criticism, I was left with genuine suggestions, realistic expectations, and food for thought – however difficult to swallow it may have been. The greatest flaw of my application was - and still is - my GPA. My college career certainly did not mirror the one I dreamed of. It took me nine years, six different schools (and being kicked out of one), all while working a total of five different jobs to pay for tuition, books, and tutors to finally earn a bachelor's of science degree from UCSD, an accomplishment I was told I’d never obtain. But, even after earning that degree, I knew it alone would not be enough to achieve my goal of PA school acceptance. I understand that my short-comings and less than stellar GPA lay squarely on my shoulders and I wholly accept responsibility for that. Academically, I have challenged myself not by simply re-taking courses in which I did poorly in the past, but rather taking new, hard sciences courses. PA school will be the hardest academic challenge of my life, and by taking these courses I demonstrate my academic potential and further prove my preparedness for PA school. Since my last application, I have taken 22.5 credits earning a 3.478 GPA. Accomplishing this has proved to me just how successful I can be when I am truly dedicated and aspire to be the best PA possible. Since the feedback sessions, I have revamped my strategy, improving and refocusing the breadth of my experience on primary care, the basis to a solid PA background. Reducing my hours in a clinical research lab leaving befriended patients as their cognition declines, heartbreakingly watching Parkinson’s disease run its course; moving on from my clinical experience testing neurodegenerative disease patients as part of the multidisciplinary team at the UCSD Movement Disorder Center, physically holding up individuals with Multiple System Atrophy as their blood pressure is measured since losing the use of their legs, taking the risk of leaving that rich experience behind to expand my patient care. I have made the conscious choice to leave these established roles behind and since June, I have scheduled weekly shifts in a medically underserved non-profit primary care clinic in El Cajon, CA as a volunteer scribe. Here I have the great pleasure to observe an abundance of primary care health issues, from treating chronic diabetes and obesity to assisting with ear lavages. Every day I experience something new in a setting I am unfamiliar with. I hear Arabic and Spanish, I see children with no shoes on, but each individual shares the need for help and it is the best feeling to simply offer that. Having this dream for nine years when I first applied to PA school, and now in my 10th year of this pursuit, I have re-strategized my approach, sacrificing the familiar for new opportunities, dedicating myself to this career. My PA shadowing hours are consistently climbing, my healthcare experience is diversifying, and most importantly my grades and academic preparation are improving. My training for this career is never stagnant; it is ever-changing, realizing that I will have an uphill battle for an invitation to an interview, the opportunity for acceptance, and the potential for a career as a PA.
  13. I know it suggests that you write a new essay- but can I include some parts of last year's essay that are relevant? My reasons for wanting to be a PA have not changed. I am applying to many of the same schools and while I am refreshing and changing my essay, there are many components that are still the same. Do I start fresh or is this ok? Oh and I did get two interviews last year so I don't think my last essay was terrible :/
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