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Fresh Graduate and Weak HCE-Is it worth applying?

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Hi everyone,

I have been searching through the forums to gain more insight of people's experiences with my type of dilemma. I have found a few, but they weren't as informative as I would have wished. 

I am currently a senior and will be graduating this coming May. I have recently decided that I will try to apply this coming cycle to see if I can get into any programs. Many of the schools that i will be applying require at least 1,000 HCE hrs. From now till graduation, I will be trying to pack in as many hours as possible. I calculated to have a little over 1,000 hrs by May (~1100 hrs). I understand that this would be considered weak for many programs as many applicants decide to take a gap year and attain about 2,000 hrs of HCE. I will also apply early (May-June) for the programs that are rolling admissions to increase my chances. I believe I have a pretty solid background in the other parts of the application, but I am just not sure if it's worth applying to programs with a weak HCE. Below is a brief overview of my stats that I expect to achieve by graduation.

-Science GPA: 3.57
-cGPA: 3.64
-GRE: haven't taken, but I plan on studying hard for it
-HCE: ~1100 hours as a Nursing Care Assistant at a University Hospital
-Volunteer Experience: 150 hrs at a local thrift store; 150 hrs at my university's hospital; 30 hours at a local CSA farm
-Research Experience: 2 years experience doing research in plant biology (not sure if that helps at all)

-Leadership Experience: Held 2 executive board positions in two frats I'm in
-Other Extracurriculars: Tri-Beta National Honor Society, Alpha Chi Sigma, Biology Student Mentor (1 year), Student United Way Member (first 2 years of college), Red Cross Organization Member (first 2 years college)

-Shadowing: ~50 hrs

Below are a list of schools I would like to apply to, mainly in the east coast. I believe many will be reach schools for me with my weak HCE. 
-Wake Forest 


-UC Davis
-Penn State
-Eastern Virginia

If anyone has any suggestions of programs that are on the east coast and that put less emphasis on HCE, I would greatly appreciate them! :)


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Definitely apply, you'll get in somewhere with your stats at 1100 hours.


Would you happen to have any suggestions in programs in the east coast that put less emphasis on HCE? I would like to have a list of programs that I am more "safe" for acceptance. I'll be applying to many programs to increase my chances, but I would like to get into at least one. 

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I wouldnt say you are "safe" anywhere. Few applicants are. If you apply early, and broadly, to programs that you meet the requirements for (i.e. No programs that want 2000k hours like northeastern) you should be strong enough to get in. I would suggest applying to atleast a few provisionally accredited programs as well. Search the paea program directory for programs on the east coast with hce requirements of 1000 hours or less.

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I think your list is kinda top heavy. Youll definitely get in somewhere if you add some mid tier schools. GPA is average. Your HCE is below average but it's enough. As long as you meet the required hours then youre good.

I'll definitely consider adding more programs that would prefer/recommend 1000 hours and others that are not required to have any hours. Thanks! Do you think there's anything else I can do to improve any of my chances, given a fixed HCE? 

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If I were you (and I'm not), I would apply. You can continue to update your HCE experience right on to interview time. 


In spite of the gap year stuff, a fair number of new graduates apply and get in at many programs. You can search the websites and programs of interest to either broaden or narrow your options.


Good luck!

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Apply but know that a lot of the programs you are aiming for will be out of reach due to HCE.  I actually think Duke required 2000 hrs.  Duke, in addition to Wake Forest, Northeastern, and Yale might be  a waste of money.  If you can afford it, sure, go for it.  There are plenty of schools on the east coast, take some time to look them up and do a little leg work to find out minimums and averages for accepted students.  Your stats are fine, but there's nothing from what you posted that's going to make up for the lower HCE.  Remember that many/most applicants will have stats like yours but with more HCE and often all schools can do is compare stats initially.


If you have the money to spend on applications, make it happen.  The list you provided could easily throw you into a couple thousand just for CASPA/supplemental applications, not to mention interview costs.  

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