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I am an old IMG, applying for 5 PA programs, and got 3 interviews: one rejection, the other two placed me on alternate list. I am going to apply for more programs.


My biggest problem is my communication skills, since I can't speak english that well, because english is my second language and I migrated to the US as an adult, so i have a strong accent and many incorrect pronunciation.


I just got an accepted to a 3 years Bachelor of Nursing program with 50% of the scholarship (around 8k) starting this August. I have to reply to the program early next week.


I now have two options:

Option 1. Enter the Nursing Program and continue to apply for P.A. Programs. If I get accepted to a P.A. Program, I can transfer. The problem is that while taking the Nursing courses, I feel I will not be able to focus a lot on improving my English speaking skills. This plan means that at the end of three years, even if I never get accepted to any PA Program, I will have a Nursing Degree in hand and will be able to work as a nurse, eventually working my up to Nurse Practitioner or even continuing to try for a PA degree. Note that I have a scholarship to pay half and the rest will be paid with student loans.


Option 2. Forget about the Nurse Program this year and spend my time taking intensive English training and some other advanced classes like genetics and abnormal psychology that some other PA programs require. I will have to pay for all these classes out of pocket, but I will have time enough to work part time as a CNA. This option will help me strength my application and improve my interview skill.


I know that with my age (older than 40) and my english speaking are challenges that I have to overcome, and PA is very competitive. Please help me decide what to do: BNS while continuing PA application (Option 1) or more advanced classes plus english speaking classes (option 2)?


I would really appreciate any advice on my situation and many thanks.

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Hi taotaox1,

Thanks a lot for the reply. Of course, I would prefer to become a PA that why I will continue applying for PA while studying for nurse. The thing is I really want to have something I can do as a career ASAP so I am able to work to support the kids. I am afraid that with my weak English speaking, it will prevent me getting a PA acceptance, then another year will be gone and I will still have no degree to work.


I feel that going to nurse now will not allow me the necessary time devote to the intensive English training I need to possibly improve my chances of getting into a PA program. But I recognize that even if I make significant improvements to my English speaking, I may still not guarantee make it into a PA Program next year. Then I may not be able to get into the nursing program at that time and be left with nothing.


So I am trying to answer this question: Pursue my dream to become a PA at any cost, or make a compromise and settle for a nursing career as a fallback? and which way can help to get PA career.


Thank you again. Any other advice is highly appreciated

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First of all, I respect your drive and interest in supporting yourself and your family while you try to reach your objective. It isn't easy and it's the work of life. You are being a great role model for your children too. Best wishes.


Secondly, your age is not an issue. I went to PA school the day after I turned 58. You're still a youngster!


The way you describe your options, you place a great deal of weight on your language skills, and I think that that is appropriate. You will go farther in the US if you are able to speak English better. That's true whether you are a PA, an NP, or an RN.


Perhaps a year in which you work days to support your family and nights doing an extensive English program might work. It's only a year and, if you are getting interviews for school this year, you will probably get them next year as well.

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