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I'm planning on applying this cycle (most of the dealines for the schools I want are in Dec or Jan) and I'm scrambling to try to get all the parts of my apps together in time. I have a couple questions and I'm hoping anyone out there can help me...

First question: I took the GRE last Nov and I was not happy with my scores. Verbal 155, Quantitative 148 (yikes!) and Analytical 4.0. Although I'm not happy with my scores, I still haven't taken it a second time reason being 1) I feel like I might not do that much better the second time around and 2) from what I've read online, my scores might actually be ok enough to get me an interview. What do you guys suggest? Should I retake it?


Second question: I've worked at a daycare (various hours and positions) for three years and I asked my boss if she would write one of my letters of recommendation for me; however, I'm not so sure if I should actually follow through with it. She knows me well enough where I feel confident that she would write me a good LOR, but I don't know how helpful the LOR would actually be since she only knows me in a professional setting, not a healthcare one. Basically, I think she can only say professional descriptions about me like that I work hard, that everyone likes me and gets along with me, that I'm dependable, etc. The other person I was thinking of asking is my old anatomy/physiology professor. I had her for two semesters (lecture only) but only started to know her towards the end of the first semester. I got a B+ and a B for the two semesters. I don't think she knows me that well where I would feel totally confident in her LOR for me, but I'm thinking of asking her because she's a professor and can actually somewhat attest to my academic ability and interest in healthcare. Another drawback to asking her would be that I'm not sure that she would remember all the details of all our conversations since I haven't seen her since May and I don't know if she has taught other classes over the summer that would cloud her memory of me. Who do you suggest I ask- my daycare boss who I'm more confident about or take a chance on my professor?


Third question: Shadowing- I am super behind the ball on this one. I'm going to shadow for the first time tomorrow and plan on doing a lot more from then on. How many hours do you guys think its good/good enough to shadow a PA? 50, 100, 200?? Also, is it appropriate to ask for a LOR from a PA that you're simply shadowing and haven't actually worked with? If so, how many hours of shadowing would be appropriate before asking for a LOR?

Last question: Is it better to have two PA's write me LOR's or one PA and one MD?

Thanks in advance for your responses!



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I applied this cycle and I can help answer your questions because I have been looking. These are my responses based on the schools I applied. Each school programs different so it may or may not apply to you.

question 1: I didn't send the GRE to any school that did not require it. For the ones that required it, your scores are not bad or good but from what I have read most programs just want you to take it and do decent (which you did so I wouldn't stress to much on this). It is just one part of the application. Your Gpa and HCE hours weigh more.

Question 2: Each school has a different requirement of the number and "type" of letters they want. Usually they want PA and/or academic letters. Some schools offer an optional, personal letter to further strengthen the candidate. What I did was get one from the hospital I volunteered at, a PA I shadowed, and my academic professor in which I conducted research with. What I recommend for your teacher is to ask her in person if she would write a letter. I made a "cheat sheet" that included conversations, career goals, and resume to help him write the letter. That's what I would do for your teacher. My school is very big and the classroom size is always 200+ so it's hard for the professor to remember you to write a GREAT recommendation. The information I have helped him out. For shadowing you usually don't need that many since all you do is follow them around and see if that is the profession you want to get into. What you need is health contact hours (HCE). Each school has a different hour criteria ranging from 0 to 1000+. You should get a good amount of hours because its obviously important and a big component of the application. I mean if one person has 8000 hours and the other applicant has 2000 it's not that big of a deal. You just need to have a good amount to 1-meet the criteria of the program and 2-enough to show that you are interested in PA. The last question is really picky as both are sufficient enough. I would choose the two people that you think could write you the best recommendation possible.

Sorry if there are any typos or any grammatical errors. I am typing from a phone and its hard to read. If you have any other questions you can PM me.

Good luck! Hopefully we get in one of the pa programs we applied to! Fingers crossed.

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