Jump to content

Recommended Posts

For those of you looking to enter, and for those that have been accepted, are already in, or about to start classes...

First, more to follow--I'm in the middle of studying for a difficult end of rotation exam, so my time is limited.


Be genuine. If you put on an act or believe that you can fool folks into thinking that you are something you are not--the rigors of PA school will "out" you. 

PA school is difficult. Very, very difficult. It does NOT get easier as you go along--the responsibility grows as do the expectations. Most of your learning will be on rotations, so you gunners that can name every biochemical reaction by heart---that's swell, but it won't help you a bit with that comminuted intra-articular fracture and subluxation. 


Just because you get accepted doesn't mean you'll make it. Every class has a few that fail. They are just like you, only they find they can't handle the pressure, the workload, or the stress of family and school/finances, etc. If you cop an attitude just because you got in or made it through semester 1, you are hurting yourself, the reputation of the program, and your future patients. Get over it and get over it now.


You have to be better and smarter than your medical student cohorts. Think of it this way--when a doctor screws up--he's a bad doctor. When a PA screw up, ALL PAs suck. You are representing all that have come before, yourself, your classmates, and all that will pass this way in the future. Don't mess it up for the rest of us. Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp. 


There are rules. Follow them. Dress codes apply to you too. Scrubs are cool, don't wear them to class--EVER--unless you have explicit permission to do so from faculty. Don't whine--you'll just earn yourself a target. PA school is tough, it's supposed to be. Suck it up and move on. Life ain't fair and sometimes school ain't either.


Make friends. As many as you can. Medical students, preceptor, other allied health or nursing students--they can all make the process easier with study tips, cool info, etc. FIND A STUDY PARTNER(S) and treat them like gold. They are more valuable than anything else in school.


More later.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2...

Get your finances in order. Get loans/scholarships set up. It's expensive and you'll need the money for school, living expenses, unexpected expenses, and the occasional meal or beer with your PA school friends. 

Get your relationships in order. Dr. Blessing has a good line about how husbands understand, wives understand, etc. but that boyfriends don't understand the rigors of school. He's right. If your significant other is used to having you around, they need to get right with not having you around for a while. 

Get good parking early. Worth repeating...get GOOD parking early. Don't have to depend on the shuttle bus. 

This isn't undergrad---you will find that you are teaching yourself much of the curriculum because the vast majority of your study time will be spent outside of class. For every hour of lecture, expect to spend two hours of study. Per week. 

Cramming for tests is for undergrads and quitters. You might make it through a semester trying to do that, but you will eventually burn out and fail. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. That means studying for tests a week, ten days, or two weeks out.

If you like Starbucks, you're in luck. There's one on campus and one directly across from campus. I got my gold card in less than 6 months. 


Good shoes. Danskos are great. There's a store that carries them at IH-10 and Huebner. Or order them online.

Differential diagnosis, SOAP notes, patient presentation, procedure notes...know them, practice them, get really really good at them. (For current and future students only--applicants need not worry about this until matriculation)

Mac is better than Dell. Trust me.

The Faculty does not always have your personal best interests in mind. Sounds harsh, but they have other things going on as well and that can mean that they might not be as pleasant as they seem in orientation and interviews. Flying under the radar can be a good thing.

Keep your sense of humor. Invaluable asset. You will see and experience hilarity--share it (within reason and HIPAA, of course)

  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice! I'm looking forward to starting the program. It would be great if a few current students would join our Facebook group.

Find their Facebook page and invite them, each class has a page somewhere on there.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More