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How many of those HCE hours are "direct patient contact?"  And yes, many schools give preference to applicants with volunteer hours.  Also, an implied prereq (if not explicitly stated) at a lot of schools is PA shadowing (and a subsequent LOR from a PA).  There are plenty of people with stats and trends like yours that get in.  Some of them go on to complete a graduate degree which, if health-related, can be a big gold star on an application.  Also, I think other skills and qualities (languages?  experiences?  talents?) can help one stand out.  Finally, for applicants whose grades don't tell the whole story, I really think the Personal Statement (and LORS) is especially important.  If the grades aren't going to give them the whole picture, the written stuff is really the only other place they get a glimpse into the more human aspects of your application.  Checking out the Personal Statement review link on this forum, there are people getting ready to submit a whole lot of terrible essays to CASPA.  It's really a shame because a compelling essay can make such a difference.  Not that this was an issue with you, but my point is that if you have a deficit in one aspect of your application, you've got to make up for it in others.  The GRE, recent GPA, and PS (and possible grad degree) are a great way to emphasize your trend and focus, and the PS and LORs are a great way to paint yourself in the best light.  I didn't mean for that to turn into an advice column, but it's sounding like you're looking for answers.  Those might be some; I'm sure others will have other ideas.  Keep your chin up high!  And why don't you get in some volunteering now, and submit a resume update to your schools once you've got some hours under your belt?  Don't give up yet; many schools interview right into January.  Good luck!

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There are computer programs schools use to filter out applicants who fall below a certain GPA threshold, Some are 2.8 or 3.2, but most are 3.0. But that's just for the bare minimum, keep that in mind.

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Hello, 

BBPA private messaged me and asked me to share "my story" although there isn't much of a "story" to tell. The truth is, yes my stats weren't that great but they weren't that bad either.

 

At my time of acceptance I had well over 1100 hours of direct patient care and ~500+ hours of clinical research/volunteering experience to add in. However when I applied I had only just started working on my direct patient hours so I had only accumulated around 300. My GRE was very average. I only took it twice, with a much better outcome the second time around. I was a varsity student athlete in college which, I believe, played a significant role in my acceptance. I based my entire personal statement around the hardships I faced as an injured student-athlete at a prominent Division I school in North Carolina. My personal statement was edited by a med school friend. Additionally I received interview coaching by a med school professor friend. The hardest part to me was waiting around and hoping for an interview. I kept telling myself that if I could just get an interview, then I wouldn't let anything stand in my way of rocking the interview and gaining an acceptance. Fortunately, that is exactly what happened. As soon as I received invitations I read the "How to Ace the PA School Interview" book and began formulating answers to hundreds of potential interview questions. This book was extremely helpful and I truly believed it helped me to feel comfortable at the interviews. I attended coaching sessions as mentioned before, and let him critique me on my answers to questions. Although we only met for two sessions, these experiences were invaluable to me. They helped me to get out my nervous jitters in practice sessions before the real deal. If I were to give anyone advice about the process, I would definitely recommend that they do mock-interview sessions with someone that they don't know very well so that they can feel slightly uneasy during the process...because you will feel this way at the actual interview.

 

It's hard to give advice about this process because I don't know what to attribute my acceptance to...my stats were on the lower end of competitive for PA programs, but I suppose they were just good enough to get me some face time with the schools. If you can perfect your application and make it as glistening as possible to be granted even just one interview, do everything in your power to prepare for the interview so that you can walk away with no regrets and feeling like you did everything you could do to get accepted. 

 

Because in the end....it is all so worth it if you're sitting in my shoes a year later, preparing for a neuroanatomy exam in your 6th week of didactic year :) I feel so blessed to be here and so humbled that anyone would seek out my advice. If you want something bad enough, never give up! I know it's cliche and corny, but willpower and tenacity can take you a long way. I'm a living, breathing example!

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Zoopeda: Thank you so much for the great advice! My HCE is 'direct-patient contact' at hospital as an NA and at a pediatric clinic as an MA. I was even able to include the clinical research as HCE due to it essentially being an MA position, as well. I definitely intend to do volunteer work and I'm in the process of getting that going now. I didn't realize I can still include it for this cycle so I will definitely look into that with the programs I applied to. I agree about the PS, I put a significant amount of effort into it and reading it now I can see that it was well worth it.  I think the take away is that if I can get the other portions of my application to shine then I DO have a chance and if I need to pursue a masters I will do it. Thanks, again!

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ncsupas - this is exactly what I was hoping for! Sometimes the nuances of an application can give some insight others may not have considered. I never considered an interview coach or knew about that book until you posted about it and you're right, if you have that one shot you better make it count and do everything you can! I feel the same way, I think if I can just get one interview then I will have a decent shot. I am definitely going to read that book if I do.

 

I bet it's a great feeling and you clearly earned it. Good luck on that neuroanatomy exam!

 

Also, my intention is not to label anyone as the "low stats applicants" or diminish them in anyway. In fact, they got accepted and were probably more impressive despite the 'lower stats'! (Sorry if my thread-title sounds offensive in anyway) I guess I just want to know what the successful applicants did specifically because it may help others who are truly passionate about this profession and are willing to take any steps to achieve their dreams but feel hopeless with less than stellar grades. There are a lot of posts about "what are my chances with my GPA' and 'my low GPA'. I'd like to believe that any one can be a PA that truly has a love for the profession and are willing to work hard for it. It's great to hear from someone who is an example of that.

 

I think your post was very helpful and I really appreciate your feedback!

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mrwhite - I assumed as much. When I talk about low GPA I mean people who just skated by with the minimum and what they could do to look more competitive. So people with the 2.8, 3.0, 3.2 GPA's basically. 

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I'm tempted to reply with deep insight, but I find myself giving the same advice over and over. Outside of the search feature I'll just give 1 piece of advice. Given that you match the bare minimum requirements to apply and you address your blemishes in your personal statement while taking ownership and providing insight on how you improved on your personal statement, my advice is to make yourself as marketable as possible by increasing all of your stats besides GPA even including grabbing additional healthcare Certs. Doesn't have to be anything crazy. A one day ACLS or PALS cert, an EKG course, or a course on wilderness medicine. Anything that you can add as big or small will eventually add up to making you more marketable and standing out from the other applicants who may only bring a high GPA to the table but not much else.

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Timon - I am intrigued by this deep insight. Care to share via PM? :)

 

I know a lot of you have shared your experiences and advice ad nauseam. I've scoured this forum searching for any and all advice coming from a lower stats perspective. I thought this would make it easier for others like myself to find one thread with 'the answer', if you will, or at the very least some different success stories. Although, I am aware that 'the answer' is as diverse as the applicants. 

 

I appreciate your contribution! 

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There are so many threads on this with lots of good advice already.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Definitely apply early. I was verified early to mid August and found out that alot of schools were filled already. I applied to 24 schools and felt that I wasted a good amount of money for caspa and sending gre scores. The first interview I attended on Sept 18, felt like a do or die situation. The next day they called me offering me a spot in the upcoming class. The interview is what definitely helped me. I was able to show everyone who I was and not base me on what I had on paper. Everyone at the interview shared stats and I realized how I am at the bottom of the pool. I thought I had unique HCE that would make up for my gpa but everyone was similar. I would recommend looking into newer schools with accredition provisional status.

 

If it helps:

Overall gpa 3.37

BCP gpa 3.23

HCE >9000 hrs as EMT, PCA

22 hrs shadowing PA

Gre 304 written 4.0

Volunteer >1000 hrs as EMT on campus

I also did research in an organic chemistry lab and was a cpr instructor

I had letters of rec from my research professor, EMT manager, and a PA a volunteered with.

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I was verified late May. I had the dilemma of applying later and getting more HCE or applying early. I chose the latter and had about  750 hours of experience as a CNA and a volunteer at a free healthcare clinic. I had a 3.2 overall GPA and a 3.3 sgpa. My GRE was 153 verbal 154 quantitative and 4 analytical. I took anatomy and physiology, microbiology and gen chem 1 and 2 at a community college. The rest of my science classes came from my major of physiology at a university. I applied to 15 programs and so far have received 5 interviews and one acceptance. My advice is to really focus on your personal statement. Do not shy away from your poor academic performance; try and tackle it head on. Tell them why you did so poorly and what made you flip the switch. Hope this helps.

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Okay, this has been extremely helpful. Thanks for the replies!

 

It sounds like applying early is very important. I'm deciding my plan for the next cycle and I was thinking of taking a bunch of science courses to raise my cGPA and sGPA and to continue to show my academic ability. I was planning to take classes during winter semester ending in May and then spring summer which would finish at the end of July.

 

Would I be better off with the lower GPA and applying in May?

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