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Hi everyone!


So I am in a unique situation that makes getting HCE quite difficult. Currently I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from a a very small school that has a required co-op in order to graduate. Due to this required co-op I move every 3 months between school and work. My co-op job is actually in a chemistry lab doing organic synthesis work in research and development. Due to this hectic schedule, the 11 weeks I am at school I am swamped with schoolwork since I typically take a 20 credit class load. On the other hand during work term I work from 8-5 everyday and then at least once a week make the half-hour trip to go shadow some PAs in the ER at a local hospital. Due to this co-op schedule, my undergraduate program is a 4.5 year program instead of 4, however, by the time I graduate I will have 2 years of real work experience. Since my program is a 4.5 year program, I will be graduating in December of 2014 and I really would prefer to start PA school in 2015 instead of having to take off over a year from school. I was wondering if anybody had any advice on what avenues I could pursue to help procure some HCE hours that would fit into my crazy schedule.


Also I would like some advice on how to improve my chances of getting into PA school. Posted below is my GPA along with other information:


Science GPA: ~3.25

(I go to a school that only offers sciences and engineering. That being said I also was taking organic chemistry along with my physics classes and not being able to eat due to some weird stomach condition that took over a year for doctors to diagnose.)


Cumulative GPA: ~3.39

(I plan on bringing this up quite a bit since I still have 3 more school terms left, and these classes are also more biology based which I excel at. The reason my GPA is so low is due to organic chemistry ©, physics ©, and calculus (1-3) classes©.)


Extra Information

  • Vice-President of Pre-Med Club for the past two years
  • GEO (Greener Engineering Organization)
  • During my work terms I shadow PAs in the ER
  • Aquaneers (Scuba Diving Club)
  • Job Shadow Gastroenterologist
  • Hands on Job Shadow Hospital County Morgue
  • Research and Development Chemist (Co-op Job, Since June 2011)
  • President of Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society
  • Department Volunteer ( I give tours to potential students of our labs during our school open houses, and tell potential students and parents about the program and the co-op program)
  • Doctor for a Day Volunteer


I know its not very much and I would really appreciate any suggestions on how to strengthen my application. I was debating between medical school and PA school but after talking to many people and hours of research, I found that PA school is the right decision for me and the type of personality that I have. Thank you for taking the time to read my ridiculously long post! Again any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)

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Improving your GPA and sGPA to a 3.5 will be a huge help. As far as work, I'd recommend CNA work as it's quick and you can usually work prn or part time. I remember working all the time and juggling school and it can be stressful and overwhelming. Make sure you take some time to relax as impossible as that may sound, and keep your motivation to keep going. You have a lot of extra curriculars and research and shadowing, but hands on health care experience would be even better, but that little stuff all helps some as well. Keep trudging along, bring the GPA up to a 3.5, and look into CNA or some consider EMT. Volunteering in the hospital (outside of shadowing, more like helping with pts, getting them water, helping move pts, etc) would be good in the intermittent. Biggest piece of advice is just keep going you are in deep now but it will pay off!


As far as applying, I didn't want to take a year off either, it's not a problem. Just apply in the spring of 2014, you will interview during your last semester of school, then have 1 semester off and start PA school in the summer/fall of 2015. I had 3-4 outstanding prereqs and 1 yr of my degree to go when I applied. If you get your CNA (or EMT) this summer and start working you can have a decent amount of hours by the time you apply in 2014, and you can write in your personal statement how you plan to continue working etc.

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Thanks for the advice! My program also requires for me to do undergraduate research so like this coming Fall Term I will be doing Biology Research as my free elective along with a Medical Scribe course I am taking online this Summer as another free elective. I will also be doing Chemistry/Biochemistry as well for my degree. Also to graduate I am required to write a thesis with my company to graduate from my university. They keep us quite busy at my school! I basically have a week off between work and school. Also if you don't mind could you please tell me where you applied, was accepted, and where did you end up going for PA school?

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