I recently wrote a blog post describing a typical day for me in PA school. Hope you find it useful and that it gives you an honest understanding of what PA school is like. I did one post for didactic year and one for clinical year. Enjoy!
I am a second year PA student and I have a blog PAjourney.com where I post advice for students looking to get into the profession. Recently I wrote a post that I hope will help new PA students survive didactic year. I thought it would also be great if other experienced PA students gave advice in the comments section on what helped them survive.
Because lets face it, the one year of didactic learning we do is probably harder than any academic year in any other major/degree/profession in existence. Med students have a long road ahead of them, but no single year of their education even comes close to the challenge of didactic year for PA students. Please read my article below and add your own advice in the comments of this post!
PAjourney: End of Didactic Year, Thoughts & Advice From the 1/2-way Mark
It's about to be a challenging journey full of ups and downs!
I was in your shoes exactly 1 year ago when I finally got the courage together to apply for CASPA 2015-16. It was the first year with the new CASPA application page and the because of the HUGE volume of applicants, the website had crashed. I was already anxious enough talking myself into applying, and finding out that the year was so competitive that CASPA crashed added a new level to my worries.
However, you push through and you get your 3 letters of recommendations. You take and submit your GRE scores. You get your official transcripts sent from all of the institutions you've ever attended. You write your personal narrative and dozens of supplemental essays, trying to figure out how you can reword the essays to reuse for each school. Then you painstakingly input each and every HCE, volunteer, community, work, research, grant experience you've had in the past few years. This is probably the part that took me the longest. My advice is to create an excel sheet for yourself to keep track and to get familiar with the specific way that CASPA wants you to input those experiences!
Slowly, but surely, you start reaching the end -- it's almost time to submit!
If you qualify, definitely consider the CASPA fee waivers. I had applied to a dozen schools and that was an expensive choice that I still think was worth it. While I was interviewing, there were people I met who applied to 4, to 20, to 1. Everyone has their own path and perspectives, and you should definitely do what feels right for you. Some schools have supplemental essays that cost money to apply to. For those schools, make sure you would definitely matriculate there if accepted before you submit on CASPA because there's no turning back. I had one school where I paid the CASPA fee before realizing that I didn't want to use the time and money (+$50) to submit 5 more supplemental essays for the program.
When interview invites started coming, I was surprised to find that there was a huge range in program admission timelines. My earliest interview invite was for August 2015 and my latest interview invite was for March 2016. Seven months of stretched out interviews! And officially one year later -- literally April 27, 2016 -- I have finally chosen which program I will be matriculating into this year :)
If you have any questions about any part of the CASPA application or interview process, please feel free to ask me. I would love to be a resource -- especially if you identify as a person of color, as LGBTQ, as disabled, as an activist, or come from a disadvantaged background!
I'm on the other side of the CASPA/Pre-PA journey and I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE FUTURE! If you have any questions at all, please find me at socialjusticepa.org and follow my journey at socialjusticepa.org/blog
Does anyone know of a medicine website or blog that is geared towards teaching certain topics in medicine? Maybe even geared towards medical topics that PAs need to know and should know in order to get survive class exams as well as the PANCE/PANRE? Would people find that as helpful as I think it would?
This blog was recently promoted on our intranet and I've spent the last two days reading everything on it, alternately disgusted and amazed. Really well-written and understandable with great content from both the author, Dr. Bobbi Pritt, and knowledgeable readers. It's mostly case-based. Some of the cases have more background information than others.