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Thoughts on chances, application material etc

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Hello all!


I was hoping to get an opinion or two as to my efforts preparing for PA school application process.



First off, I am a medical rep that was blessed to have hands on patient time as a rep  in the realm of sleep disorders and another opportunity to work as a rep with chronic lung disorders and neurological disorders that lead to respiratory problems/ failure.  I am currently a rep for a home health company where I have taken that knowledge I gained and designed specialty programs for COPD/ restrictive lung disease patients, trying to reduce hospital readmission rates, and neuromuscular patients.  So far I have amassed over 350 hours of clinical shadowing in the fields of Orthopaedics and Neurology.  This fall I will be an intern / volunteer that is allowed direct patient contact at a local hospital.  It is a yearlong program where I am rotated every quarter into a different department.  The departments they would like me to consider thus far are Acute care, ICU, PACU and Surgery.  I will also have completed 60-100 hours in the community working with special needs children and wounded warriors. I have a BA in Business and am just shy of an AA in Biological Sciences.   My shadowing is still ongoing until they become tired of me.  ;)



My concern is my undergrad GPA from 15 years ago.....Its right at a 3.0 but there are some nasty marks scattered here and there.  Thankfully all my sciences had expired so I could retake them and currently have a 3.5 science GPA with 3 classes left.  I'm hoping that an admissions panel will be able to discern that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at the age of 18 while pursuing my undergrad.  Thus, I had no passion for my studies and frankly worried more about the social aspects of college life than academic life but at 39 I finally realized what I wanted to do when I grew up and that ignited a passion within me.  I know that is not a stellar GPA but was wondering if a panel  may take other aspects into account like the fact that I am working a 45-50 hour a week job, taking 10 hours per semester while helping to raise two young daughters, one with special needs.  On top of that, my wife is an NP in MedOnc and HemOnc, and due to the stress and demands of that field, has more than her fair share of MS exacerbations these days.  :(


 At risk of sounding like a country song, I'm wondering if a panel will take into consideration that if I can pull a 3.5+ science GPA with all this going on imagine what I can achieve if I'm able to remove work from the equation and devote that time to a PA program.  My fear is that my mediocre undergrad GPA will get my application immediately tossed into the garbage without a chance to explain! My family and I are prepared to move states in order for me to attend a program; whatever it takes.  Will any of this help or be taken under consideration?   I have not taken the GRE yet.  



Opinions, good or bad, are greatly appreciated.  Suggestions as to how to continue to become a more competitive candidate are most valued as well.



Thanks for reading my Novella!

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Thanks for sharing your story with us.  As someone who went back to school later in life, I think it’s important for you to realize that you aren’t 22 anymore and right out of school. You are a little of that person still, but you’ve also lived a life and changed directions, maybe more than once.


There is a fear that applying for school is strictly a numbers game, and there is some of that. Schools get lots of applications and need some kind of sieve to filter them down. That said, especially for nontraditional students like us, I advocate a more personal approach, in addition to taking classes that prove you have the ability to hack a difficult program and getting the healthcare experience that shows you have learned a bit about what you will be getting into.


In my case, I visited each of the three schools I was going to apply to; having a family of young adults, I wasn’t going to move much farther away than that. I set up appointments and went in to talk with the academic coordinators. I did it as much to understand what their programs were really like as I did for them to get to know me. I didn’t want them to picture a 57-year-old guy who wouldn’t integrate himself into a much younger class, or someone no longer able to take the rigors of school. I don’t know for sure if this helped me, but I was accepted at all three.


Things may be different in 2015 than they were in 2003 when I was applying, but so too are there many more programs. Work your academic and experiential plans, but also make personal contact. Heck, you are a drug rep! Your life is about building relationships with customers. Those lessons work in other settings as well.


Good luck!

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Sounds like you are on your way.  Adcoms won't care about when you were 18, they care about why you are applying now.


In order to ease your anxiety, you need to be on your prospective school's admissions pages, looking for the stats of the last accepted class.  3.5 is not mediocre, it's actually right on the average for many schools.


Apply early and broadly.

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