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Low GPA, any advice on next move?

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Hello there,

I just graduated last week with a BS in biology. Through the last couple years, I had no idea what I really wanted to do, and all though now that I've come to realize being a PA is my calling, my gpa is no where where it needs to be. My cumulative gpa is a 2.58. I have a majority of C's and B's on my transcript with a handful of D's.

 

My initial plan was to retake courses at a community college to boost my GPA but then I saw through this forum that maybe a post-bac is a better option? I really have no idea on what my next move should be. Any advice?

 

I know it will take a few years to get where I need to be, and in the mean time, what kind of work experience would be beneficial? Working as a scribe maybe? 

 

Ive been so upset about figuring out what to do, that I've even considered starting over as an undergrad if trying to bring up my gpa will take just as long.

 

Any and all advice and suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you so much

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What kind of healthcare experience do you have so far? If nothing yet, shadow some PAs and go the medic route. I just applied to 9 PA schools with 2 bachelor degrees @ 3.65 gpa and 800 hours mixed shadowing and volunteering hours... and have only had one interview which didn't yield an acceptance. With that said, get a ton of "hands on" experience, schools apparently don't give two shits about academics without experience even when they list hour requirements of 200. Besides experience.. look into a short masters degree; my school offers a 1 year masters in biomedical sciences (for example) that you would use to boost your GPA.

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First thing you need to do is make an excel spreadsheet and put every class you ever took in college regardless if you've replaced or retook the class and calculate your CASPA GPA. You can do this by multiplying your awarded grade points by the number of units and then divide it by the maximum number possible.

 

After that, calculate how many units at a 4.0 you need to raise your cumulative GPA and your science GPA to a 3.0.

 

I would venture to guess that you'll need roughly 60 units at a 4.0 to reach a 3.0 cGPA. Most 2 year masters degrees are roughly 45 units.

 

That being said, my advice is to get your RN or RT or attend a 2 year paramedic program at a WASC accreditated program to boost your GPA, give you a solid career landing you solid healthcare experience, and provides a backup option in case it takes you a few tries to get in.

 

Best of luck.

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Thank you both for the advice!
 

Would either of you recommend getting a masters degree over a 2nd bachelors degree? Putting all factors into play such as money and the likelihood of getting 60 units of a 4.0 in grad school, would getting a 2nd bachelors degree with a higher gpa be a less risky option, even though it took longer?

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I would go the masters route, the one year bio-medical sciences degree actually sounds decent.  The point is to take as many high level sciences as you can and get A's. Must. Get. A's.

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Thank you both for the advice!

 

Would either of you recommend getting a masters degree over a 2nd bachelors degree? Putting all factors into play such as money and the likelihood of getting 60 units of a 4.0 in grad school, would getting a 2nd bachelors degree with a higher gpa be a less risky option, even though it took longer?

I would recommend you get a 2nd degree.. could be an associates or post bach in an allied health field that way you can increase your scope of practice and quality of healthcare education while increasing your GPA. If you were closer to a 3.0 then I'd say do a masters since most of them are 45 units. But in your case you'll need more than 45 units to raise your GPA to a 3.0. And even then a 3.0 is scraping the bottom of the application pool and you should really be aiming for at least a 3.3. But a 3.0 at least allows you too apply to a school without being automatically rejected because you didn't meat the min required GPA.

 

When it comes to GPA it is a simple numbers game.. take X amount of classes and get a 4.0 and it'll take Z amount of time to reach your goal of 3.0.

 

The other stats you need to work on as well which are direct patient care hours, PA shadowing, community service / volunteering, awards & leaderships. When I look at the whole picture, I don't see a masters degree doing much for you with a 2.58 after everything is said and done.

 

Don't let anyone fool you in thinking that higher and harder level classes makes any difference. It really doesn't. Just like a 3.0 from Yale is the same as a 3.0 from Cal State San Bernardino as a 3.0 is from Orange Coast Community College. What matters is that you establish a track record of a high GPA over a long period of time with a steep positive GPA trend while taking a full course load when completing it.

 

I'm giving you advice from my own personal experience. If I were in your shoes, I would get a 2 year degree in nursing, RT or paramedic. I honestly would lean more on RN and try to work your way into an ER or ICU gig where you will have some level of autonomy and exposure to cases that will better prepare you for a primary care focus in PA school. And if you're interested in surgery you'd have a way in as a surgical nurse. Paramedic is great because you get to make the decision while in the field and you have that level of autonomy although you are still following protocols and standing orders in both roles.

 

Just saying going that route will give you the most options and the biggest bang for your buck. It'll also leave you with a security blanket and backup plan in case it takes you a few tries to get in.

 

I doubt any masters out there will lead towards having a job with paid direct patient care and with decent pay if you're looking towards becoming a PA.

 

Best of luck to you!

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Listen to Timon.

 

He should rewrite both those posts into one and just sticky it at the top of the sub.

 

Concur; Timon said it all very well.  

 

FYI, when I decided to become a PA, I already had a masters; so I took over 60 hours of post bacc courses (non-degree seeking although I qualified to add an Associates to frame on my wall) at a community college to get my cumulative undergraduate GPA over 3.0 (3.02 per CASPA!) ... just to get PA programs to take a first look.   THEN getting interviews, and multiple offers for admission, was all about the REST of my story - experiences, desire to be a PA, knowing/accepting/explaining my poor academic performance with my bachelors, etc.  I have no doubt that my GPA stats are going to be among the lowest at whatever school I choose; they are just one part of the equation (moreso at some schools, less at others).  It was the rest of the picture that earned me the opportunity.  You CAN get your numbers up ... do it in something that you'll enjoy for whatever time it takes as well as for the experiences it will bring you that make it clear you are a good candidate for a program to choose to accept. 

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