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how many schools should I apply to?


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Hello all!

 

I'm a pre-pa student and will begin submitting my applications in the Fall (2014) after I'm done with my summer course. I have a little over 900 hours of HCE as a nurse assistant, and I'm still working on obtaining observation hours and taking my GRE (my summer will be pretty hectic but i'm excited). My question is how many PA programs should a student apply to? I hear how competitive PA programs have become so I plan to apply to 10 schools. I'll be applying to schools in-state and out-of-state. My mother thinks that that's absolutely ridiculous and thinks I should just apply to 5 schools ( 3 in state and a couple out of state). She thinks that my choosing to apply to so many schools means that I'm not confident in myself and don't think I'm smart enough to get into any school I want to (and I would agree LOL).

 

I live in Dallas, so she wants 2 out of the 3 in-state schools to be SMU and Baylor...schools that are hard for even the smartest to get into! I don't want to "doubt myself" but I know that just applying to SMU and Baylor and expecting to get in is kinda..uh..stupid for me to do even if i had a 4.0 gpa (which I definitely do not have).  I want to apply to 10 to give myself the best chance of getting in somewhere the first time around. Its not like I can apply to 5 schools in the fall, get rejected but get in somewhere the following Spring semester. If i'm rejected from the 5 schools she wants me to apply to, I'll be waiting for an entire year to try to get in again and I cannot afford that risk. I've already been out of school and living home for a year and I'm ready to get out and achieve my goals. What do you all think? Is applying to 10 schools really absurd?

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I don't think 10 is an outrageous number, but one thing to keep in mind is whether or not you actually would attend those schools if you were accepted. Also, how many schools you apply to can depend on your stats, if you have a lower GPA then you should apply to more schools than you would if you had a solid GPA + HCE, in my opinion. If there are 10 schools that you can see yourself going to then by all means apply to all 10. Just make sure you have met the pre-reqs/deadlines/etc

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900 hours is below the cutoff for many quality programs. if you are applying this cycle, make sure you meet hce hour requirements or you are just throwing money away. you might want to sit out a cycle and apply with 2900 hrs next year, which would make for a MUCH stronger application.

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Agree with EMED & KMD here. 900 hours doesn't meet the minimum for a lot of programs out there. An extra year of HCE (which is generally 2000 hours) can make a huge difference in the strength of your application. Applying in the Fall can be risky too. CASPA can take over a month to get your information out. If you send CASPA out by September, by the time October rolls around many programs are already sending out acceptances. 

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SMU doesn't have a PA program so that will be hard to get into. Don't listen to your mom. 10 schools is a very reasonable plan for anyone.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

oops I miss spoke. Actually meant UT Southwestern. Don't know where SMU came from. 

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900 hours is below the cutoff for many quality programs. if you are applying this cycle, make sure you meet hce hour requirements or you are just throwing money away. you might want to sit out a cycle and apply with 2900 hrs next year, which would make for a MUCH stronger application.

 

 

Agree with EMED & KMD here. 900 hours doesn't meet the minimum for a lot of programs out there. An extra year of HCE (which is generally 2000 hours) can make a huge difference in the strength of your application. Applying in the Fall can be risky too. CASPA can take over a month to get your information out. If you send CASPA out by September, by the time October rolls around many programs are already sending out acceptances. 

 

 

thank you both for your input. I actually have 950.0 documented hours right now that i can prove. I'm waiting for the rest and i'm sure i'll be at the 1000 hr mark. However, I won't be waiting another year to apply. This application cycle is my only chance and i'm going for it. I'm going to use what i have and apply to the 10 programs and hope for the best. Guess thats pretty risky for some and seems like a waste of time or unrealistic, but I believe its possible to get in somewhere with my stats. thank you all.

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I hope by Fall you mean early August because Baylor has a September 1st deadline for CASPA application AND supplemental application. Keep in mind  that it takes about 4 weeks for your GRE score to come back, a few weeks for CASPA to be verified so you will be cutting it close if you want to apply to Baylor and other schools with this Sept deadline. But obviously you know whats best for you so do what you must and in the end the worst case scenario: you don't get in but at least you will be familiar with the process.

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Agreed. It's not true everywhere, but for many schools applying in the fall is applying for the waiting list. Also UT Southwestern has a verified deadline of 10/1, meaning you'd have to have every last thing in CASPA's hands by 9/1 at the absolute latest to make that. Keep in mind the deadlines are the final cutoff - most applicants are already applying now. It is not unusual at all for the schools to fill their classes before their deadline even comes up. That doesn't mean people who apply in the fall don't get in, but you are stacking the deck against yourself.

 

Also, if this is your "only" chance, you might have reevaluate your situation. Not many applicants get in on the first try. PA is competative enough right now that schools cut very qualified applicants simply because they do not have enough seats to take everyone they would like to have. It can take 2-3 tries to get into PA school even if you are a qualified applicant. I would advise focusing on how your skill sets would best fit the missions of certain programs; for example, some programs specialize in meeting the needs in underserved communities, or specific miniority communities, so applicants with similar interests or language skills would be a good fit there.

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Agreed. It's not true everywhere, but for many schools applying in the fall is applying for the waiting list. Also UT Southwestern has a verified deadline of 10/1, meaning you'd have to have every last thing in CASPA's hands by 9/1 at the absolute latest to make that. Keep in mind the deadlines are the final cutoff - most applicants are already applying now. It is not unusual at all for the schools to fill their classes before their deadline even comes up. That doesn't mean people who apply in the fall don't get in, but you are stacking the deck against yourself.

 

Also, if this is your "only" chance, you might have reevaluate your situation. Not many applicants get in on the first try. PA is competitive enough right now that schools cut very qualified applicants simply because they do not have enough seats to take everyone they would like to have. It can take 2-3 tries to get into PA school even if you are a qualified applicant. I would advise focusing on how your skill sets would best fit the missions of certain programs; for example, some programs specialize in meeting the needs in underserved communities, or specific minority communities, so applicants with similar interests or language skills would be a good fit there.

 

Well it's not my "only chance" ever (I'm a bit dramatic ).. definitely if I don't get in the first time I'll try again. It'll be really disheartening for me though. PA is the only thing I see myself doing for a career. I found this out in a round about way, but I feel its the field for me. August/September is truly the earliest I'll be able to apply. I'm not fond of the idea of just assuming I have no chance and sitting out a cycle however. I'm willing to risk the money to apply and risk possibly not getting in (there's no harm in trying). At least I now know that 10 schools is a good amount of schools to apply to and I now have a better idea of the admissions process. Thanks for the insight.

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