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Any questions for a current student?


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Hey all,

 

I'm currently attending South University - Tampa, class of 2015 (most recently admitted class). Just wanted to make myself available to answer any questions about the application/interview process, the school, the program, or the Tampa Bay area.

 

Some information that might be useful:

 

  • Last year there were 850+ applications, and 28 students admitted. However, from what I've heard, the class size is meant to be 24... we only have 28 to make up for a class of 20 in the previous class.
  • Interviews went from end of July to early November, I believe. People got offers of admission from the first interview cycle up to 3 days before class started.
  • Student age ranges from 22 to 55
  • Student background ranges from moderately experienced (EMT, paramedic, ER techs, MAs) to completely inexperienced (shadowing only).
  • Over half of the students in class are from out-of-state.

 

I don't have any info on average class GPA, GRE scores, or any knowledge of how the faculty weights different parts of the application.

 

Any general questions feel free to ask here, if you have a specific or personal concern feel free to PM me.

 

-Sotaskimmer

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**Please keep in mind that any information I have is based on the previous interview cycle, and could have changed this year**

 

- The interview went well for me overall. It basically consists of 3-4 solo interviews with faculty, where you can be asked a variety of questions based on your application. Often, applicants were asked about the weak points in their app. Just keep in mind that you're there interviewing, so the faculty are interested in you, and all they want is to be assured that the weak points won't be an issue in PA school.

 

- "Behavioral questions" refers to a series of medically-related ethical questions they may pose to you during the interviews. Just answer honestly with your feelings on the issue. Don't ask me for details, I won't give them; I don't want to compromise the interview process.

 

- The system used last year was that you had 3 faculty interviews, and each of those faculty members scored you as an applicant. There was also a 4th interview with the program director, however that vote was only used as a tie-breaker if needed.

 

- I was told several times that up to half the class comes from the waitlist.

 

 

The program is going by FAST. Seems like just the other day we were going through orientation and taking a tour of the facilities, and now we're in quarter 3. Being single with no kids, I haven't had too much of a problem keeping up with the course load so far, but it can be challenging if you fall behind. I imagine it's harder for those with more responsibilities. Finals week can be brutal (for quarter 2 we had 8 exams during finals week). We've gotten a week-long break after each quarter thus far (which is sorely needed) and after the next two quarters we'll have extended breaks (2+ weeks).

 

An average week is about 21 hours of class, generally starts at 7:30am and we'll get out anywhere from noon to 5pm. That's 5 days a week. An hour for lunch if there's class in the afternoon. Our classes this quarter include clinical medicine w/ lab, EKG, imaging/radiology, pharmacology, current issues, and musculoskeletal care.

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As far as classes, Pharmacology is the bear. However, it can change from year to year depending on what lecturers are teaching the class.

 

Generally speaking, the challenge is just staying on top of all the classes and assignments. It's not impossible, but it does take some discipline. Just imagine taking 21 credits of science/medicine classes in undergrad, and that gives you somewhat of an idea of the workload.

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Hello there,

 

I am a current BSN student at South University Tampa and have been giving some thought into how I want to continue my education. PA is the most appealing to me. I have a 3.76 overall, anticipating keeping that or raising it a bit by the end (I won't graduate until next December so I have time, although the highest I can accomplish would be around a 3.85 with straight A’s from here on out) and being that I go to South already I hope that will help me!

 

Ok so questions...

 

My plan is to begin working as soon as I graduate, most likely somewhere in critical care as a nurse, while (hopefully) starting the PA application process and then (hopefully again!) starting PA school. The program cost is probably close to the BSN program, if not more - so I'm anticipating having to work while in school. Do you think that's realistic? Is working while in PA school something that you see often? Being that I will be working in a hospital the hours should be flexible.

 

Do you anticipate job hunting to be easy once you graduate? I was hoping to stay in Tampa until all these crazy student loans are paid off! Do you hear of graduates finding work easily?

 

My other option is to go in to the nurse practitioner field. Both are 2 additional years. Do you have any insight on one over the other? I know they are not, but they sound a bit similar to me!

 

Thanks for any insight - I would love to pick your brain more as I get more into this process, as I mentioned I have time, but I like to be well researched and prepared. And if this is something I really end up doing, I want to layout my school now to be more conducive, and start focusing on critical care in clinicals and attempt to get my preceptorship in that area (I would love to be an ER PA).

 

Thank you so much for your time

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if you are already going to have a BSN i would recommend nurse practitioner. it just makes more sense. pa admissions comittees are going to wonder why you would rather become a PA than a NP as you are already trained under the nursing model. as long as you have an answer prepared for that question then go for it! they are definitely going to ask you

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What makes you lean toward PA? Here in Southwest Florida, the average pay is slightly in the PAs favor, but that can change from year to year. Other than that, I can't think of too many differences. In Florida, both NPs and PAs require medical supervision, can't prescribe schedule drugs, can't sign death certificates, and can't (I believe) Baker Act patients. I'm by no means an expert on the subject, and I recommend looking for the PA vs NP discussion elsewhere on these forums.

 

I would also say NP probably makes more sense for you, if for no other reason than it stays with your current track. Your NP classes will probably be geared more toward teaching people with more experience (nurses) whereas in PA school a lot of classes are aimed at those learning everything for the first time. Also, you'll be learning with a lot of ppl who are on the same page as you. I don't think there's a single prior nurse in my PA class.

 

As to PA entrance requirements, I feel that a 3.80+ GPA makes you pretty competitive for South U. Have you taken the GRE? Study hard for that if not, it can be another way you stand out.

 

As to working while in PA school, you'd have to be extremely motivated and work your *** off. If you consider that you're physically at school ~25 hours a week, and you tack on even just 15 hours of work to that, plus travel times etc..... then you're looking at a very tight schedule. You'd probably have to spend every waking moment possible studying/homework, and even then you wouldn't be able to work some weeks just for the study load. In short, I wouldn't recommend it. No one in my class works currently.

The exception to this would be quarter 1 at South, as it's a pretty light quarter.

 

As far as finding work, I don't know the job tracking stats from South, but I'm pretty sure you can request them from the PA office. I've seen a lot of my upperclassmen finding work since their graduation in May, and haven't heard anyone complaining about the job market, so that's a good thing. A lot of it depends on the connections you have by graduation, what specialty (if any) you want to go into, and geographically where you want to work. But I don't think anyone anticipates the job search to be especially hard.

 

Hope that helps you out!

 

 

Hello there,

 

I am a current BSN student at South University Tampa and have been giving some thought into how I want to continue my education. PA is the most appealing to me. I have a 3.76 overall, anticipating keeping that or raising it a bit by the end (I won't graduate until next December so I have time, although the highest I can accomplish would be around a 3.85 with straight A’s from here on out) and being that I go to South already I hope that will help me!

 

Ok so questions...

 

My plan is to begin working as soon as I graduate, most likely somewhere in critical care as a nurse, while (hopefully) starting the PA application process and then (hopefully again!) starting PA school. The program cost is probably close to the BSN program, if not more - so I'm anticipating having to work while in school. Do you think that's realistic? Is working while in PA school something that you see often? Being that I will be working in a hospital the hours should be flexible.

 

Do you anticipate job hunting to be easy once you graduate? I was hoping to stay in Tampa until all these crazy student loans are paid off! Do you hear of graduates finding work easily?

 

My other option is to go in to the nurse practitioner field. Both are 2 additional years. Do you have any insight on one over the other? I know they are not, but they sound a bit similar to me!

 

Thanks for any insight - I would love to pick your brain more as I get more into this process, as I mentioned I have time, but I like to be well researched and prepared. And if this is something I really end up doing, I want to layout my school now to be more conducive, and start focusing on critical care in clinicals and attempt to get my preceptorship in that area (I would love to be an ER PA).

 

Thank you so much for your time

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OP, can you tell me what the anatomy lab is like? Is it like the Savannah campus where you have models and pictures and the occasional specimen? What are the campus hours? Is the anatomy lab open outside of your scheduled lab hours for extra time to study? Do you feel like you are being taught to pass the PANCE or being given tools to be a good PA? What kind of experience do your classmates have? Do you get the impression/feeling that the faculty values experience? Do they have a business casual dress code on days when you are just in lectures all day on campus in the classroom?

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OP, can you tell me what the anatomy lab is like? Is it like the Savannah campus where you have models and pictures and the occasional specimen?

 

The anatomy labs are 2 hours once a week for the first 2 quarters. They generally consist of models and some animal dissections. No cadavers or human specimens.

 

What are the campus hours? Is the anatomy lab open outside of your scheduled lab hours for extra time to study?

 

I believe the campus is open until 11pm? Give or take an hour. The campus is shared with the Art Institute of Tampa, and I'm pretty sure they have late classes. If you want to make a special time outside of lab time to study lab models etc, you can do so; however the lab isn't open in general.

 

Do you feel like you are being taught to pass the PANCE or being given tools to be a good PA?

 

Mostly clinical knowledge but a bit of PANCE knowledge. There are some lecturers that make a point to say "This will be on your boards..." but all will make it clear when something is important clinically.

 

What kind of experience do your classmates have? Do you get the impression/feeling that the faculty values experience?

 

I feel like experience is always valued; however, perhaps a bit less at South than at other schools. My class has scribes, EMTs, medics, CNAs, and MAs in the mix. Some with extensive experience, some not. There's a handful that have practically no experience outside of shadowing.

 

 

Do they have a business casual dress code on days when you are just in lectures all day on campus in the classroom?

 

Yep, on days we don't have lab (most days) it's business casual. Slacks and dress shirts for guys, modest business outfits for girls. No suits or ties or anything like that. Scrubs and jackets on days we have any labs.

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