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AnonymousAngel

University of Charleston, WV--THE TRUTH

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That stinks :(. I'm sorry about your experiences there. 

 

I think many programs have a schedule that can be inconsistent though, and constantly changes. I was warned at several interviews to be prepared for that - I just assumed it was a common thing. I'm a routine person so it will be a challenge for me haha. 

 

That's too bad about the lack of service opportunities... but maybe its better to just focus on PA studies in PA school for a life of service thereafter. 

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I don't think it's common. The places I interviewed showed us their schedules. All but UC. I assumed the opposite. As for lack of service, I am capable of balancing my studies and helping my community which is why I found it important. I know every one will have a different view than what I posted, but I think it's fair to post what it's like for transparency. As I stated, I'd never tell a student to apply or not apply based on this, but I think having all the information possible before making any informed decision is necessary.

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Without commenting on this specific school, this is why I suggest that students look at a few different numbers when selecting a school:

* First time PANCE pass rate

* Overall PANCE pass rate

* % of matriculating students graduating on time

* % of matriculating students graduating.

 

It's essentially trivial to increase your PANCE pass rate as a program: give ridiculously hard written tests, and expel the students who fail them.  Any survivor is therefore likely to pass the PANCE with ease, giving you a great first-time PANCE pass rate for your program.

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Without commenting on this specific school, this is why I suggest that students look at a few different numbers when selecting a school:

* First time PANCE pass rate

* Overall PANCE pass rate

* % of matriculating students graduating on time

* % of matriculating students graduating.

 

It's essentially trivial to increase your PANCE pass rate as a program: give ridiculously hard written tests, and expel the students who fail them.  Any survivor is therefore likely to pass the PANCE with ease, giving you a great first-time PANCE pass rate for your program.

 

Problem is it's a new program without any published PANCE scores or retention rates. Unfortunately with new programs, you are the guinea pig and it looks like there will be a lot for ARC-PA to look at. If you have other classmates having the same issues or have similar sentiments, maybe you could collectively voice your concerns to the program director. Being a new program I would hope they are open to criticism and change. Just keep trying to adjust and graduate. Good Luck.

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Just keep trying to adjust and graduate. Good Luck.

I think you missed this...

 

I attended UC for a semester.

 

That ship, unfortunately, appears to have sailed. 

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I was in the third class in a new program; the first class graduated after I started. There was no track record to review, so how did I decide to go there?

 

Unlike for the OP, there were students for me to talk with, but the key element was how I felt about the faculty. I got to meet many of them, either during my early visit (before I had applied) or during interviews. The director had been the director elsewhere and was recruited to start the program. She had done it before. Her staff sent the right vibes (unlike at some of the other schools I had visited). It was still a crap-shoot, but it felt right.

 

There is no way to know for sure if your choice is going to work out for you, whether you're in the first class or not. It isn't the promises that you should be listening to, but the people who are making them.  Do you feel they are qualified, have what-you-see-is-what-you-get personalities, and will be there for you? Kind of like getting married, I suppose!

 

To the OP: You tried. You left. Lay down your bitterness and move on. It's second down and 10 for you; call your life's next play. And good luck on the outcome!

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I think you missed this...

 

 

That ship, unfortunately, appears to have sailed. 

Mistaken "I" for "I've", thanks for the catch. At least now the OP will know how to evaluate a good program from a bad one.  

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It's essentially trivial to increase your PANCE pass rate as a program: give ridiculously hard written tests, and expel the students who fail them.  Any survivor is therefore likely to pass the PANCE with ease, giving you a great first-time PANCE pass rate for your program.

Wow this sounds exactly like my program. Its basically an incredibly expensive self-taught course. 

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I attended UC, and actually graduated from the program. Let me tell you about my experiences.


 


I personally wasn't too worried about community service opportunities, as my priority was learning medicine. However, our class participated in several community service activities including: habitat for humanity, Ronald McDonald House, mission trip to Peru, and community health fairs. Some of these were required, others were on a volunteer basis. The faculty understands that you are very busy as a student, and they don't want to overload you with community service so that you aren't able to perform in your classes. There are committees established for each class that can help facilitate extra curricular activities, or community service if one so desires. The class that OP was once a part of has performed, or has in the works more community service activities and extra curricular activities during their first semester and a half than the first two classes did combined during their didactic training. If OP thought that it wasn't enough, maybe they should have become more involved? As far as the 503 status, I can't comment on that as I haven't heard anything about it, and it was NOT a problem while I was attending. The change in the summer schedule was NOT something that the PA program did, that came down from the University. Not much that can be done when the President of the University tells you that you will be changing your schedule. 


 


We do have a pass/fail system, and it is CLEARLY posted on the website. This is also discussed in depth during orientation. If OP didn't like how the grades were computed, that would have been an excellent time to decide that this wasn't the program for them. I'm not sure what was expected as far as pass/fail? I'm not sure why OP thought that only faculty would have access to grades, that must have been a misunderstanding. Would you want someone taking care of your family member that passed PA school without any type of standard? Do you want to incur a mountain of debt, and then not be able to pass the PANCE? I certainly wouldn't. They set a high standard, and expect every student to attain it. If you don't make an 80% in a class at the end of the semester, you are expelled. There are plenty of opportunities to earn points aside from exams, and passing is certainly possible. Some of those points come from self-refection assignments. Check your spelling and grammar, and you should receive a very good score! There are other various group and individual assignments that make up the remaining points. In fact, not 1 person was expelled from our class. We all knew exactly what was required of us, and we made sure to keep ourselves above that standard. If you don't get above a 75% © on an exam, it is considered a failing grade and one must remediate. Once you remediate, you still receive the score that you EARNED! This isn't meant to be punitive, but is a chance for the student to look at what they have missed, and try to understand concepts better. Every one of the faculty members at this school has an open door policy. There is no need to set up and appointment, just walk over to their offices. This is the 4th university that I have attended (3 undergraduate), and this has NEVER been the case. I spent many hours in their offices having them explain topics to me that I didn't clearly understand. It didn't matter what they were doing; when I had a question, they stopped and gave me as much time as I needed. I know that this is not unique just to me, I have heard many of my classmates talk about how great the faculty are, and how willing they are to help. This is a small school (30 students per class), so it presents a unique opportunity to get to know everyone well. This is something that I really enjoyed about the program. If you "bomb" one test, life isn't over. I failed one test in PA school, and I really did poorly. I knew that I would have to work hard to remain in the program, and did just that. Students have access to their grades, and it takes very simple math to determine what one must get to stay above the 80% benchmark. We are adults, and this is a graduate program. Professors should not have to babysit anybody and tell them when they are in jeopardy of failing a class. Patients trust us with their lives, and we must learn to take responsibility. Of course there is no remediation of courses. Some PA schools allow this, UC doesn't! Again, this is something that is CLEARLY explained in orientation. If OP thought that this may be an issue, getting out of the chair at orientation and withdrawing right then and there would have been a prudent decision. Nobody expects to fail, but don't blame others when it happens. Take some responsibility!


 


Class times are not consistent, and do occasionally change with short notice. Life happens, and these changes don't happen very often. I would venture to guess that when out in the workforce, you may have a patient or two that won't show up when scheduled. One must learn to be flexible, and not get too upset about minor things in life. Go to class, study, eat, sleep, and do it all again the next day. When that happens isn't necessarily as important as it happening. Sure it can be frustrating, but welcome to PA school! 


 


I won't say much about surface anatomy other than this school is obviously located in the United States, not Europe. OP knew that there is no cadaver lab here when they matriculated. Take responsibility, and do the best with what you have. Reading imaging studies can be tricky, I imagine that OP would have a better grasp on this had they made it through more than one semester of PA school. 


 


I believe that faculty and students are given the opportunity to express their beliefs at this school, especially during the first semester when medical ethics is taught. These discussions are very interesting, as many people have differing opinions. As far as faculty pushing you to believe how they do, I never felt that was the case.


 


I have tried to address all of the points of OP's post. NOW THE TRUTH FROM MY POINT OF VIEW:


 


This program is a new program with faculty that will do almost anything to help you out. They want each student to be successful. There are "bumps" in the road, but the faculty have always been more than fair. I am very happy with the education that I received,  and passed my boards with plenty of room to spare. At the end of the day, that is why we all go to PA school, so that we can pass the boards and practice as physician assistants. The clinical rotation sites were great, I learned lots from every preceptor that I had. This program is awesome. 


 


If you have any further questions, I would be happy to answer them!


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I am a current student in OP’s former class.


 


“But their policies aren't posted online, and I think transparency is just.”


-OP


 


Firstly, here is a link to the program’s policies which is accessible from its homepage:


http://www.ucwv.edu/PA/Policies/


 


OP’s former classmates are planning to take part in community service projects scheduled for the coming months which include giving an oral health presentation to kids(required), organizing a 5K to promote PA week and general wellness(voluntary), manning a booth at the Montgomery Health Fair(required), serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House(voluntary), partnering with Union Mission(voluntary), and gathering contributions for a food drive. Depending on interest, a Haiti service trip will be planned for next year and is voluntary. If you can’t or don’t want to pay, simply don’t sign up. The student organization will help where it can. Other community service opportunities are free. Our class even formulated a community outreach committee where students can propose and enact service projects at their academic discretion.


 


The student organization doesn’t have a 501©3 standing but that has posed minimal problems. This is a new program, and not everything is in its final form. It is a goal of the student organization to obtain this status in the future.


 


Yes, this year's end of summer break was cut from 3 to 2 weeks by the university at large. Our faculty didn’t want this. Oh well. Moving on.


 


Yes, the schedule changes sometimes but not all that often. They gave us fair warning of that during orientation and it frankly isn’t a big deal as there is great communication between faculty and students. Plus, we had a rough winter and amazing adjunct lecturers making long drives in bad weather which prompted inevitable, yet rare schedule changes for their safety. Time management and adaptation are part of PA school and will be part of PA life. Moving on.


 


The grading system is pass/fail with a concrete numerical cut-off detailed in the policies which, again, are easily accessed from the homepage. A lot of people make an occasional exam score under the 75% mark and must remediate before working extra hard to bring their future grades up. This is because exams and course material are very challenging which our future patients would be glad to know. Mathematically, the only way a single test could guarantee you failure of a course is if you got like a 20% on it, in which case you probably shouldn’t have patient lives entrusted to you anyway. Again, I refer to the program policy link for more information on grading policies which were also orally given to us during orientation.


 


Faculty members have very high expectations of students and that is a challenging, but beneficial thing because patients will share those expectations. The class size is relatively small and, in my experience, the faculty have been incredibly open to questions and concerns whether they are of an academic or personal nature. They have an open door policy and appointments are not required to meet with them. They don’t constantly hold your hand but they will spend time with you and patiently answer questions. I cannot speak for OP’s experience, but that has been mine. Need help? Just walk in.


 


A list of faculty members and their qualifications is available in a link accessible from the program’s homepage as well.


 


Classes do not have an equal opportunity for points because they are different classes with different learning outcomes, different structures and different difficulties. The point breakdown for each class is detailed in that class’s syllabus which is available to students from day 1 of classes. You have everything you need in order to know how you must perform on assignments, practicals and exams.


 


This isn’t Europe. As a part of 1 out of 7 first semester classes, you and your classmates will act as anatomical models while instructors help you find important surface anatomy landmarks and mark them with washable markers. This is a small drop in the well of what is learned during your first semester. There is no cadaver lab which some like and some do not. Nowhere does the program claim to have a cadaver lab.


 


You don’t finish the first semester of PA school as a pro in anything. You keep building.


 


I never felt that faculty would “often tell you their opinions on very ethical or political topics. They will then express that this is how you should also feel about said topics.” I guess I can’t definitively prove it, but it wasn’t the case for me or apparently for the alumnus who posted ahead of me. Sorry OP felt that way.


 


Self-reflection assignments are graded and serve to encourage introspection into yourself as a future healthcare provider and to help your grade because the program is challenging.


 


A final, personal word...


 


This program is new and highly challenging and I truly do not fault OP for struggling. It is a shame that OP has been left with such a bitter taste in his/her mouth and I wish him/her the best of luck with the next step in life. My classmates and faculty are hard working, self sacrificing, motivated and intelligent people dedicated to excellent patient care. My personal experience has been wonderful and much more in line with the alumnus poster ahead of me than of one-and-done OP. I admit that I only have about 1.5 semesters of PA school under my belt, but I knew exactly what I was getting with UC’s PA program and so far I am highly satisfied with the product.


 


Congrats on passing boards, cstrat311! Back to the books for me so I can follow in those footsteps.

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I am a current student in OP’s former class.

“But their policies aren't posted online, and I think transparency is just.”

-OP

 

Firstly, here is a link to the program’s policies which is accessible from its homepage:

http://www.ucwv.edu/PA/Policies/

 

OP’s former classmates are planning to take part in community service projects scheduled for the coming months which include giving an oral health presentation to kids(required), organizing a 5K to promote PA week and general wellness(voluntary), manning a booth at the Montgomery Health Fair(required), serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House(voluntary), partnering with Union Mission(voluntary), and gathering contributions for a food drive. Depending on interest, a Haiti service trip will be planned for next year and is voluntary. If you can’t or don’t want to pay, simply don’t sign up. The student organization will help where it can. Other community service opportunities are free. Our class even formulated a community outreach committee where students can propose and enact service projects at their academic discretion.

 

The student organization doesn’t have a 501©3 standing but that has posed minimal problems. This is a new program, and not everything is in its final form. It is a goal of the student organization to obtain this status in the future.

 

Yes, this year's end of summer break was cut from 3 to 2 weeks by the university at large. Our faculty didn’t want this. Oh well. Moving on.

 

Yes, the schedule changes sometimes but not all that often. They gave us fair warning of that during orientation and it frankly isn’t a big deal as there is great communication between faculty and students. Plus, we had a rough winter and amazing adjunct lecturers making long drives in bad weather which prompted inevitable, yet rare schedule changes for their safety. Time management and adaptation are part of PA school and will be part of PA life. Moving on.

 

The grading system is pass/fail with a concrete numerical cut-off detailed in the policies which, again, are easily accessed from the homepage. A lot of people make an occasional exam score under the 75% mark and must remediate before working extra hard to bring their future grades up. This is because exams and course material are very challenging which our future patients would be glad to know. Mathematically, the only way a single test could guarantee you failure of a course is if you got like a 20% on it, in which case you probably shouldn’t have patient lives entrusted to you anyway. Again, I refer to the program policy link for more information on grading policies which were also orally given to us during orientation.

 

Faculty members have very high expectations of students and that is a challenging, but beneficial thing because patients will share those expectations. The class size is relatively small and, in my experience, the faculty have been incredibly open to questions and concerns whether they are of an academic or personal nature. They have an open door policy and appointments are not required to meet with them. They don’t constantly hold your hand but they will spend time with you and patiently answer questions. I cannot speak for OP’s experience, but that has been mine. Need help? Just walk in.

 

A list of faculty members and their qualifications is available in a link accessible from the program’s homepage as well.

 

Classes do not have an equal opportunity for points because they are different classes with different learning outcomes, different structures and different difficulties. The point breakdown for each class is detailed in that class’s syllabus which is available to students from day 1 of classes. You have everything you need in order to know how you must perform on assignments, practicals and exams.

 

This isn’t Europe. As a part of 1 out of 7 first semester classes, you and your classmates will act as anatomical models while instructors help you find important surface anatomy landmarks and mark them with washable markers. This is a small drop in the well of what is learned during your first semester. There is no cadaver lab which some like and some do not. Nowhere does the program claim to have a cadaver lab.

 

You don’t finish the first semester of PA school as a pro in anything. You keep building.

I never felt that faculty would “often tell you their opinions on very ethical or political topics. They will then express that this is how you should also feel about said topics.” I guess I can’t definitively prove it, but it wasn’t the case for me or apparently for the alumnus who posted ahead of me. Sorry OP felt that way.

 

Self-reflection assignments are graded and serve to encourage introspection into yourself as a future healthcare provider and to help your grade because the program is challenging.

 

A final, personal word...

 

This program is new and highly challenging and I truly do not fault OP for struggling. It is a shame that OP has been left with such a bitter taste in his/her mouth and I wish him/her the best of luck with the next step in life. My classmates and faculty are hard working, self sacrificing, motivated and intelligent people dedicated to excellent patient care. My personal experience has been wonderful and much more in line with the alumnus poster ahead of me than of one-and-done OP. I admit that I only have about 1.5 semesters of PA school under my belt, but I knew exactly what I was getting with UC’s PA program and so far I am highly satisfied with the product.

 

Congrats on passing boards, cstrat311! Back to the books for me so I can follow in those footsteps.

Hey PA Awan,

 

I just received an interview invite to UC and was wondering if you could give me some tips or advice. Also, do you know any good places to stay for my interview as I will be flying in from Florida.

 

Thanks in advance ;)

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I find it interesting that the OP deleted the original post after a former classmate came and inserted their input.

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