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Hi there,

 

I graduated with a degree in Biology, but really didn't know what i wanted to do with it while i was in school, and as a result, i did not receive the best grades. I got a cumulative 2.56, but I have a 3.2 in my prerequisite classes, and a better cumulative over my last 4 semesters, but still not great, 2 C's and mostly B's. 

 

That being said, PA school is my dream. It's something i really want to do. I recently obtained my EMT-b and want to start working, I have some HCE but not a lot, yet. I was just hoping to get some input on how to address my low GPA. What types of classes I can take, and where, to increase my GPA?

 

I am also very highly considering going to Paramedic school for my EMT-P. Any suggestions? Am I screwed by my old grades from when i had no idea what i was doing? Should I try and go to nursing school or RT or something over Paramedic? Would that make a difference?

 

Thanks anyone for input, I feel like I am in quite a bind, and would really appreciate input or suggestions.

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People screw up; it's what you do next that matters.

 

While getting good healthcare experience is very important (and your EMT-A might open a few doors), it won't overcome your grades. The only thing that will do that is more and better grades. People do "post-bacs" with additional classes -- especially relevant science classes -- to do that. Some also choose to go to nursing school, etc to improve the academic standing. 

 

If you really want to be a PA, figure out a plan to improve your grades (but getting lots of As in science) and more healthcare experience. I would recommend trying to get some as an EMT and then decide if you want to be a paramedic. 

 

Good luck!

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I agree with UGoLong. Nowadays it is about the grades for the most part (at least to get to the interview). As far as explaining low grades, you have already done that in your post. An ADCOM will be interested in seeing how you have changed and that you are focused on your academic performance. At least that's what I am seeing ADCOMs doing. So your improvement in recent coursework is a plus in your favor! Keep moving in that upward direction!

 

Take more biological science classes, pharmacology or courses that can demonstrate you can handle the rigors of a PA curriculum. Post bacc programs, as mentioned above are good, but expensive and hard to get into I believe. Maybe not. Get some HCE under your belt, community service is always a plus.

 

You will have to roll up your sleeves and put in the time, hard work and sacrifice. But if being a PA is what you want then it should be worth it. Good luck in your future PA endeavors.

 

LesH

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Thank you for your input.

 

I will definitely try and take some more classes, besides a pharm course, is there any other you would recommend? If I go to Paramedic school, would those grades count? And last (thanks again for everyones time) is Paramedic the best route after I work as an EMT? or would nursing school, or med tech, or RT be a better option as far as HCE?

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Hi, I was in roughly the same position as you when I started this journey to becoming a physician assistant.

 

Right now, I'd say you should plan on a solid 2-4 years before you could put together an "average" application. My starting cum GPA was about a 2.8 and it took me over 80 post-baccalaureate credits to get it to a very marginally competitive place. At some point, you need REALLY solid grades (see: basically straight A's for a sustained period of time - plan at least 3 or 4 semesters of being a perfect student). Also, years (not hours) of HCE can help over come some grade fluctuations. Honestly, this won't be an easy path forward for you (assuming you're in the same place I was, and it sounds like you are). 

 

I decided to become a PA 5 years ago, went back to school full time for two years then stayed part time until currently, constantly taking a least a couple of classes per semester in order to raise my GPA. I worked or volunteer at least part time on top of that in order to get HCE and build connections with MDs and PAs. It has been quite an adventure getting to this point, but I finally landed my first PA school interview this past month. In retrospect, the past 5 years have flown by and I think you'll realize (like I did) that the journey is a great part of the experience. You're going to learn a lot.

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Thank you for your input.

 

I will definitely try and take some more classes, besides a pharm course, is there any other you would recommend? If I go to Paramedic school, would those grades count? And last (thanks again for everyones time) is Paramedic the best route after I work as an EMT? or would nursing school, or med tech, or RT be a better option as far as HCE?

 

 

Yep!  So long as you attend paramedic school at an academic institution, where you receive a transcript, it will count under CASPA as "other science" for the GPA.  It added ~50 credit hours for me.  

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Yep!  So long as you attend paramedic school at an academic institution, where you receive a transcript, it will count under CASPA as "other science" for the GPA.  It added ~50 credit hours for me.  

 

Great! sound like that is definitely an option! how did you like paramedic? Do you think it is a strong option for PA school? Or should I look into RT or Nursing or something else? I'm kind of uniquely not tied up in something currently, so I want to keep my options open.

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I love being a paramedic; just haven't found anywhere I love working. It really depends where in the country you are and how the protocols are, and who runs the 911s (and if fire runs ALS first response...)

 

Most of the schools I interviewed at have been very favorable towards my experience. I think (hope) it is good experience for PA school. Then again I didn't go into EMS strictly for HCE, I did it because it's something I enjoy and at one point wanted to make a career out of.

 

EMS and nursing are very different jobs (both very good experience though); I'd look closely into the difference and see what would appeal to you more.

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Paramedic here as well. Depending on the system you function under, it can be a wealth of learning through experience and responsibility.

 

Some systems are very restrictive and others allow significant levels of autonomy.

 

I truly believe that there is really no better way to learn how to differentiate between truly sick patients and those patients who are not so sick (or at all).

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