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Am I on the right track? What are my chances?

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I know people are probably sick of seeing threads like this, but I want to make sure I'm on the right track to apply next year, or the year after (preferably I would like to apply during the next application cycle, in a year from now)


I graduated from Wesleyan University this past May with a BA in psychology. I had a 3.6 science GPA and a 3.68 overall gpa (I had a really strong upward trend--didn't do so well freshman year, but had a ~3.9 every semester after that).


Haven't taken the GRE's yet--but I'm already studying (will probably take the GRE in Feb-March 2014), and feel pretty good about my chances of getting a high score.


I have about 50 hours of shadowing a Breast Cancer Surgeon, 200 hours of volunteering at a psychiatric hospital (not sure if this will count for hce, but I'm assuming it's still something good to put on my application!) and worked for 2 months as a psych research assistant.


I am getting my phlebotomy certification now--and already have a potential job lined up for after I complete the course--am hoping to work from october up until the time I will enroll in PA school (if I get in that is!) So hopefully before I complete my application I'll have around 1000 hours of hce. I also am going to start shadowing a local PA next month, and I should get some more hours of shadowing in from that.


I also have a lot of community service on my resume--I was chair of my University's Relay for Life event, philanthropy chair of my sorority, and have gone on a number of service trips to Nicaragua. (not all health related, but still good resume boosters, I hope)


So basically, I just want to know if you guys think I'm on the right track to apply next year? I know that I might be a little lacking in the hce department, but I really don't want to wait another 2 years to apply...Do you think I'll be competitive enough to apply next year??


Thank you for all the help!

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I think your record is fairly good. The GPA is a little high, and a 300+ in the GRE would really show that you have a good potential to do reasonably well in PA school.


I'd suggest focusing on schools that weigh more on academics than HCE. If you can research your schools further, look for ones that place high value on community service. Some schools are explicit when they want paid HCE, and there are those who don't mind volunteer work. I'm not too sure what you really want to do later on when you work as a PA, but your experiences of humanitarian service could be used to sell yourself as a PA interested in working at underserved communities, or with certain vulnerable populations. I'd really suggest shadowing more PAs, at a variety of settings, as an LOR from one can really help you a lot. Plus, you need to know exactly why being the PA is the career for you, and not nursing school, medical school, pharmacy and etc.


When you make your application, try to have a nice narrative that relates your experiences to your aspirations if you do become a PA. When you get interviewed, hone in on selling yourself as the kind of applicant you talk about in your application. I'd say target schools that fit your profile, as I've discussed, and do it early at the start of the application cycle next year.


In my opinion, you're not particularly that strong at either the academics side, or the HCE side. Still, the best thing to do is capitalize on what you do have, to get a good chance for acceptance.

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