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I have a question and concern that I want to post to the forum that is unique to my personal situation.  I wish to get feedback.  I am very close to applying to PA school.  My undergrad GPA is horrible.  I have a 2.7.  I played soccer while in college and worked part time, thus my focus was not entirely on my school work.  I have BS in horticulture.  I didn’t find out about PA programs until later.  I then started knocking out my pre reqs with all A’s.  I only need micro and phys left.  I have got my hours volunteering in the ER (1000).  I am discouraged because of my very LOW GPA.  I do not know if I should continue to take MICRO and PHYS for the fear that I will not get in anywhere.  I have a full time job now that is good (not in medicine) (county position) with a pension and I am 27 years old.  I want to be a PA as I believe it to be my calling.  There is no doubt in my mind that if I got into a school I would be an excellent PA.  I am an amazing interviewer and have exemplary interpersonal skills, so I am confident if I got an interview I would crush it.  I have reached out and done my due diligence to a degree, However, no schools have been informative or taken the time of day to give me an answer about my situation.   Thus, I was hoping I could find the answers via this forum.  I also have Italian Citizenship and was curious about opportunities abroad if I cannot get in anywhere in America.   I would truly appreciate your time and help with my dilemma.  Thank you very much.

 

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As far as I know, programs are most interested in your overall GPA/science GPA, which combines undergraduate classes and those taken later. Your prerequisite GPA is important too. It's hard to say anything without knowing your overall GPA - with ALL your classes, not just your undergraduate classes. If you're over 3.0, that's a good start. If PA is your dream then keep taking classes.

 

If you have a lower GPA, you might want to consider having more HCE and higher quality experience. Have you considered getting some kind of certificate or license with paid employment?

 

As for the citizenship issue, I have no idea.

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If you don't apply, then you are guaranteed not to get accepted into PA school. If you do apply, yes there is a chance that you will get denied, but there's also a chance that you'll get invited to interview. The only thing you lose by applying is some hard-earned money, but if it eventually gets you into PA school, then the money you spent can be seen as an investment and not a loss. PA schools like to see progression, so if your GPA was poo at the start of undergrad but continuously got better because you were more focused, then in your essay I would elaborate on the change in you and how you've used it in the pursuit to become a PA.

 

It's also important to manage your expectations. Will you be a fantastic PA one day? If you want to be, then that answer is yes... but the more competitive schools will most likely push you to the side because of your GPA. It's not a because of you as a person; they just have so many people applying to their school that they have to have their minimum thresholds set high. So my advice to you would be to focus on applying to schools that are less competitive, such as new programs and such. Newer programs have a lot more kinks to work out than more established programs and you'll have to work harder to be successful, but in the end you will still end up taking the same exact exam that students from schools like Duke will take to become a PA. A good gauge on how competitive a school may be is by looking at their graduation rate and first time PANCE pass rate. The higher those two percentages are, the more competitive they will likely to be.

 

I hope this helps!

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It looks like you're going in the right direction with the A's in your prereqs. Schools like an upward trend. GPA is not the only thing that PA schools evaluate an applicant on, though. HCE is also equally, if not more important. Try to get a healthcare job that is direct patient care and rack up hours. There are some schools who do not take volunteer hours seriously. Likewise, some PA schools like EVMS offer a free application consultation, to evaluate if you're a competitive applicant - a free critique from a PA school admissions officer really can help you improve your application profile. Best of luck! 

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Original Poster:

 

Have posted this several times before - hope you enjoy my story:

 

Decided to become a physician assistant 5 years ago. I had a 2.7 overall GPA in a non-science major, no health care experience, and only the most vague (and generally inaccurate) ideas about what PAs did. Went back to school full-time to do prereqs, retake old classes I got less than a C in, do microbiology and bacterial research, and most importantly, generally figure out how to be a good student (never did that one either in my previous college career). Also, became an EMT and CNA, first did volunteer jobs, then paid EMT, then ER tech at level II urban trauma center. Shadowed different PAs. Earned their trust and got awesome letters of recommendation. Applied to 12 PA schools. Didn't get a single interview. Kept my chin up, took more classes, kept working, got even better LORs from clinicians who I worked with. Applied to 10 schools this year. Got one interview. Went on it. 

 

Bottom Line:

 

"Congratulations on your acceptance to the 2017 Physician Assistant Education class..."

 

I start in two months.

 

It can be done.

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Original Poster:

 

Have posted this several times before - hope you enjoy my story:

 

Decided to become a physician assistant 5 years ago. I had a 2.7 overall GPA in a non-science major, no health care experience, and only the most vague (and generally inaccurate) ideas about what PAs did. Went back to school full-time to do prereqs, retake old classes I got less than a C in, do microbiology and bacterial research, and most importantly, generally figure out how to be a good student (never did that one either in my previous college career). Also, became an EMT and CNA, first did volunteer jobs, then paid EMT, then ER tech at level II urban trauma center. Shadowed different PAs. Earned their trust and got awesome letters of recommendation. Applied to 12 PA schools. Didn't get a single interview. Kept my chin up, took more classes, kept working, got even better LORs from clinicians who I worked with. Applied to 10 schools this year. Got one interview. Went on it. 

 

Bottom Line:

 

"Congratulations on your acceptance to the 2017 Physician Assistant Education class..."

 

I start in two months.

 

It can be done.

 

Almost identical story here. Ive posted on several other threads regarding low GPA (2.4 here so I really started in the basement). Started my journey ~5years ago as well. About 60 credit hours, several thousand HCE hours, and several hundred volunteer hours later I recieved my first interview and acceptance. It is a glorious feeling.

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I've shared my story previously too. Started with a 2.6 uGPA. 63 hours post-bacc (@ 3.94 GPA to bring it over 3.0), decent GRE, good quantity & quality HCE, some life experience as part of the whole story, applied to a variety of schools (all across the country) ... and 3 years later received invites to many, and offers or waitlist from 4 of 6 where I did interview. Start at my choice in May! Whoop!

 

I don't think non-US citizenship would be an issue attending a US school. I do not know anything about how you would get licensed in US without taking US boards ... which in my limited understanding requires you attend an accredited program and those are only in US.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Many of us got in with lower than average GPAs.  Just make sure you at least hit the minimums (3.0 at many (most?) schools).  Otherwise you waste a lot of time and money to have your application thrown away without a read.  Definitely do a search on this site.  Especially if you find schools that value RECENT GPA calculations, you're above average in all other pre-interview categories, and you have something interesting on your app that makes you stand out (in a good way).  GOOD LUCK!!!

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  • 1 month later...

dont't worry about your low GPA score, everything is for the best.

 

If your GPA is your weak area, focus your efforts on fixing that. While you need to develop a strong "package" to present to a program, clinical experience will not relieve concerns about your academic ability.

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