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I applied the 2014-2015 application cycle and was interviewed by 2 schools, wait listed by 1 (and still unsure about the second).  I am wondering if you had any advice to boost my application for the next cycle.  

 

My application stats are: 

 

GRE 159V; 152Q

 

Science GPA: 3.19

Nonscience GPA: 3.47

Overall GPA: 3.36

*I have a strong trend upwards in GPA

 

HCE: 

4,000+ hours working 3+ years in Internal Medicine clinical research 

300hrs volunteering at a week long summer camp for 5yrs for children who are ventilator dependent 

 

No PA shadowing experience 

 

Strong references from two M.D.'s and one D.Ed. 

 

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I plan to get PA shadowing experience in the next year.  Is clinical research enough HCE? I know EMT/MA/PTA etc are ranked highly but is there anything that doesn't require an additional degree/certification that would make me competitive for the next year? 

 

Thanks! 

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Hmmm....they must have counted your clinical research hours as HCE for you to have gotten interviews, I guess. Perhaps they count it, but would prefer that you also have some hands-on experience as well to round out your application. That's probably your weak area, along with having no PA shadowing experience. Where I live you can get nurse aid work uncertified and also physical therapy aide (not assistant) work. There is also scribe work. These are considered weaker HCE but would directly involve patients. I got an EMT cert in one semester at junior college, so that's a pretty low investment in time and money. Good luck!

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I applied the 2014-2015 application cycle and was interviewed by 2 schools, wait listed by 1 (and still unsure about the second).  I am wondering if you had any advice to boost my application for the next cycle.  

 

My application stats are: 

 

GRE 159V; 152Q

 

Science GPA: 3.19

Nonscience GPA: 3.47

Overall GPA: 3.36

*I have a strong trend upwards in GPA

 

HCE: 

4,000+ hours working 3+ years in Internal Medicine clinical research 

300hrs volunteering at a week long summer camp for 5yrs for children who are ventilator dependent 

 

No PA shadowing experience 

 

Strong references from two M.D.'s and one D.Ed. 

 

-----

I plan to get PA shadowing experience in the next year.  Is clinical research enough HCE? I know EMT/MA/PTA etc are ranked highly but is there anything that doesn't require an additional degree/certification that would make me competitive for the next year? 

 

Thanks! 

Your GRE is fine. Your science and total GPA is a little low, but the uptrend is very significant! You lack HCE. Research is not good HCE for an aspiring PA student. Your volunteer experience is good. You need to spend some time shadowing some PAs (in multiple fields if possible). Great references. My advice is try to get your GPA up to about 3.5 if you're taking classes this spring/summer. EMT is great experience, but I hear that it's hard to find a job. MA or nursing assistant in a hospital setting is good. PTA is okay, but requires a degree (i think), and you don't get much exposure to the general field of medicine. 

 

I submitted my CASPA with ~3.4 GPA (which I was afraid would be too low), but my up trending GPA must have been significant enough to grab the admissions committee's attention. This is a biased statement, but I really think a nursing assistant in the float pool of a hospital is very good HCE. I get to see a little bit of everything at work and I gained a very broad set of skills that can be used in any field of medicine.

 

Good luck!

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How many schools did you apply to?   Can you use your experience and connections from the summer camp to get an aide job?  Look into jobs at group homes for kids with high medical needs, that shouldn't need additional certification.   I think your lack of direct HCE is likely hurting your chances.  Some schools accept the research, but they are the minority.   Also, some schools specify they want a PA reference.  

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Hello Everyone,

 

I have enjoyed following this forum for some time now and have learned a lot from everyone's posts, however, this is my first time posting.

 

I applied to the 2014-2015 cycle as a non-science major (Bachelor of Social Work in 2008), with two sciences still in progress (physiology & Organic Chemistry).  I interviewed at 1 school and was rejected and am still waiting to hear from 2 others.  Therefore I am making plans for apply in the 2015-2016 cycle.  (I have also taken the GRE with above 50 percentile marks)

 

I have now completed the remaining prerequisites with B's and am trying to figure out how I can improve my application.  I know my GPA is my weakest area with a 3.2 science and overall GPA.  At this point, I cannot do anything to get my GPA up significantly, but am hoping that other area's of my application stand out as a desirable candidate.  I have over 4000 hours HCE as a MA & another 2000 as a social worker in a rehabilitation setting. 100+ hours volunteering in an ED & EMT experience in varies community capacities.  I have great references from an orthopedic surgeon, PA & my clinic director. 

 

I think my downfall this year was being a non-science major with still 2 very important classes in progress.  Now that those are finished and I have even more HCE, I'm hoping this next cycle will be my cycle.

 

Any feedback is greatly appreciated. I know a lot of us are in a similar boat or have survived said boat and I would love any directive/success stories of inspiration.

 

Thanks!

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Hey everyone,

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

I graduated from college in 2012 with a major in psychology. Right after I graduated, I began working as a medical assistant in dermatology (mostly with a skin cancer surgeon) and as the lead medical scribe in an urgent care center. I've had great clinical experience and also volunteered in a medical mission trip to kenya. 

I applied to 10 schools for this last cycle and received 5 interviews. I had 1-2 courses pending at the time my applicant was submitted (depending on the schools since they had different requirements). Out of the 5 interviews, I've only been waitlisted at 2. I'm thinking If I got numerous interviews, there's obviously something I'm doing wrong to not be given a seat. I honestly didn't prepare much for my interviews because I felt confident that with my experience and passion to become a PA, I would answer fine. I do think I could have been more concise and more passionate in my responses at times (I have been told by people that I am difficult to read).

Basically, I feel really discouraged that I received a fair amount of interviews and was not accepted anywhere yet. This worries me for next cycle, as I'm re-applying. Can anyone offer any guidance? Thanks so much.

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Pipedown: I have a BSW also, I don't think it hindered my application, if anything it was a benefit to stand out.  I also addressed it lightly in my personal statement and interviews, especially relating social work to medicine (especially with the SW concept of meet the person where they're at, and how it relates to talking to and treating patients).  What was the rules on in progress classwork for the schools you applied to?  How many did you apply to?

 

Paapp, have you considered doing any mock interviews? I typically interview well, but also had trouble with my first few interviews, and ended up doing interview coaching with Paul Kubin, at http://www.mypatraining.com/interview-coaching .  It was expensive, but worth it in the long run, I got accepted and was able to choose from 4 programs! 

 

 

As cliched as it sounds, a lot of the process is really about finding the right "fit."   All schools are looking for something different.  Some is quantifiable (academic, HCE, geographic preferences), but sometimes it is the personality fit.   A few schools rejected me immediately after the interview, while others called and said I was their top choice.  Some of the fit you can find online, looking closely at the mission of the program, current students, and faculty, but sometimes you won't know till you get there, and see if the school is the right one for you.   

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Pipedown: I have a BSW also, I don't think it hindered my application, if anything it was a benefit to stand out.  I also addressed it lightly in my personal statement and interviews, especially relating social work to medicine (especially with the SW concept of meet the person where they're at, and how it relates to talking to and treating patients).  What was the rules on in progress classwork for the schools you applied to?  How many did you apply to?

 

Paapp, have you considered doing any mock interviews? I typically interview well, but also had trouble with my first few interviews, and ended up doing interview coaching with Paul Kubin, at http://www.mypatraining.com/interview-coaching .  It was expensive, but worth it in the long run, I got accepted and was able to choose from 4 programs! 

 

 

As cliched as it sounds, a lot of the process is really about finding the right "fit."   All schools are looking for something different.  Some is quantifiable (academic, HCE, geographic preferences), but sometimes it is the personality fit.   A few schools rejected me immediately after the interview, while others called and said I was their top choice.  Some of the fit you can find online, looking closely at the mission of the program, current students, and faculty, but sometimes you won't know till you get there, and see if the school is the right one for you.   

Thank you for your response.  I agree that I think my BSW could be a major asset, I just think that since I applied with 2 sciences still in progress, that piece hurt my application.  I applied to 12 programs, all of which I stated it was ok to apply with 2 classes in progress, I just think that given many applicants probably had those classes completed, my application was lower on the totem pole. If I may ask, which programs did you apply to?

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How many schools did you apply to?   Can you use your experience and connections from the summer camp to get an aide job?  Look into jobs at group homes for kids with high medical needs, that shouldn't need additional certification.   I think your lack of direct HCE is likely hurting your chances.  Some schools accept the research, but they are the minority.   Also, some schools specify they want a PA reference.  

 

Thanks for responding fakingpatience, I applied to 10 schools.  I don't believe there are opportunities for an aide job there but a group home setting is a great idea.  I don't believe any schools that I applied to required a PA reference, but definitely worth looking for when I get shadowing experience. 

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Hmmm....they must have counted your clinical research hours as HCE for you to have gotten interviews, I guess. Perhaps they count it, but would prefer that you also have some hands-on experience as well to round out your application. That's probably your weak area, along with having no PA shadowing experience. Where I live you can get nurse aid work uncertified and also physical therapy aide (not assistant) work. There is also scribe work. These are considered weaker HCE but would directly involve patients. I got an EMT cert in one semester at junior college, so that's a pretty low investment in time and money. Good luck!

 

Thanks Lemon Bars - nurse's or PT aide are great ideas that I hadn't considered! 

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Your GRE is fine. Your science and total GPA is a little low, but the uptrend is very significant! You lack HCE. Research is not good HCE for an aspiring PA student. Your volunteer experience is good. You need to spend some time shadowing some PAs (in multiple fields if possible). Great references. My advice is try to get your GPA up to about 3.5 if you're taking classes this spring/summer. EMT is great experience, but I hear that it's hard to find a job. MA or nursing assistant in a hospital setting is good. PTA is okay, but requires a degree (i think), and you don't get much exposure to the general field of medicine. 

 

I submitted my CASPA with ~3.4 GPA (which I was afraid would be too low), but my up trending GPA must have been significant enough to grab the admissions committee's attention. This is a biased statement, but I really think a nursing assistant in the float pool of a hospital is very good HCE. I get to see a little bit of everything at work and I gained a very broad set of skills that can be used in any field of medicine.

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks for your advice dndandrea! Nursing assistant is definitely something I will consider as well as picking up a class or two 

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Thanks for everyone's feedback, it's really helpful. 

 

Does anyone have any experience with online biochem courses? Not every school requires it, but it's one class that I haven't taken and unfortunately I haven't found a night class at any of the local colleges. 

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