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Greetings Everyone,


I stumbled across this forum a few months back and was looking for some guidance. After recalculating my uGPA I realize it is going to take some serious work to get my GPA back to anywhere remotely close to getting admitted into a PA program. If you can work with me here I would really appreciate it. 


I went away to school when I was a freshman and ended up failing 5 courses sophomore year due to being young, stupid, going through a bad break up, and attempting to manage my dysfunctional family. I left this school with a 2.1. 


I took a semester off, transferred to a different school and got a BA degree in media studies (definitely not what I wanted to do). There were sporadic Cs in my communication and media classes in this degree. My GPA was wiped when I got into this school and I started fresh (I know not really according to CASPA). I finished this with a 3.18, but that does not matter. The real overall GPA when these are calculated together is 2.8. I am a pretty intelligent guy. I just lacked structure and motivation during these years.


After finishing this degree I did some soul searching and really followed a path I wanted to follow. I took the MAT, wrote a solid essay, got great LORS, and got accepted into graduate school for counseling. I finished this degree last semester with a 3.9.  Regardless, my transcripts before graduate school are not pretty at all. My graduate school transcript is A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A, A..........B. I worked very hard and developed great study habits and time management. I have been working in mental health as a case manager/counselor for the past year. I was a vocational counselor for people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, depression, anxiety disorders, and various other psychological disorders. I recently accepted a new job which is more clinical. I utilize the DSM, do intakes, provide psychotherapy, case management, and frequently collaborate with PAs, psychiatrists, general practitioners, and nurses at a community based mental health center. I frequently treat people with psychotic disorders. I have not found out if this will count as direct HCE. I do assessments, treatment planning, medication monitoring, and counseling. 


Three months ago my father passed away of cancer and that has been very tough. It has also given me motivation to follow my aspirations. I don't want to be the guy that says I got into medicine because of X family story, but in reality this event has made me look deeply into myself and pursue my dreams. I only took 2 biology courses in my undergrad and those are all passed the expiration to any of the schools I want to apply. I am starting fresh with all of my sciences.


I have also exercised the thought of applying to an OT program seeing that there is a program which counts graduate school GPA into the admission GPA where I am located. 


I work 45 hours a week so I am limited on time to take these classes but I did find a Saturday Bio 1 class at my local community college. I am looking at making a 3-4 year plan to take classes, gain other types of experience, get involved in volunteering activities, gain PA shadow hours, and network. I frequently talk to the PA at our mental health center and she is very encouraging. I am well aware it is going to take me some time to get this all together but I want it so badly. I do have 2 friends who are PAs and I plan on sitting down with them and getting their feedback too. 


Courses I am enrolled in for the fall:

General Biology 1

Intro to Sociology (if I go OT)

Intro to Psychology (required for PA program, retaking to get an A and refresh)

Medical Terminology (required for programs I am interested in)

15 credits


What I plan on taking in the future:


Human Biology 

General Biology II


Basic Chemistry I

General Chemistry I

General Chemistry II



Organic Chemistry I

Environmental Biology

Child Psychology (if I go OT)



Total it will be about an extra 70 credits post-bac.


If anyone could give me advice on:


1. Any recommendations regarding bringing my GPA up? I know securing As in my courses seems like the only possibility. Should I take other classes I know I can do well on?

2. Is my HCE acceptable? What other kind do you think I could secure given my 9-5 schedule? I have seen people have case management on their HCE experience before.

3. Any particular sequence I should take these courses in?

4. Will my Master's Degree in Counseling be of any benefit to me in the admissions process?

5. What are some other ways I can show admissions committees I can be a successful PA?

6. Any other impressions or guidance, advice, support you can provide?


Thank you in advance for your help. I really appreciate it. This is a great community and you all rock!

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Your plan looks solid.  Your HCE looks good.  You are interacting with patients and making decisions that affect them.  That's what adcoms like to see.  Just make all As if possible from here on out.  I think you have a good shot if you can demonstrate a strong performance in the sciences.  Good luck!

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