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mafafa23

Interview advice

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Hi Everyone,

 

Can anyone who has interviewed with USC offer any advice on the types of questions to expect? I have my interview on Jan 21st and I'm nervous. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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Hey there,

 

I'm a current student at USC (Class of 2014), and the best advice I can give you is to be yourself. There is no standard set of questions, per se, however it would behoove you to have a clear understanding of why it is you want to be a PA, as well as what you hope to achieve by being in the program. Trust me, this will be the most fun you'll have on any of your interviews, good luck!

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Since you are a current student can u highlight what you think are the programs strengths? Also how are u justifying the cost. Knowing what you know now would u still choose usc if u had to do it again

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You should probably know that I'm a third-generation Trojan, so I definitely have some bias...I'll try to be as unbiased as possible ;)

 

I'll start by discussing the cost of the program: yes, it is expensive. The financial aid office is extremely helpful in securing you enough money for the year, but then you think to yourself, "how am I ever going to pay this back?" as you are basically taking a mortgage out on your education (or adding to the one you already have from your undergraduate work). I, personally, am not worried about paying it back for several reasons, the major one being that I want to work in underserved urban communities for the majority of my career (translation: scholarships and loan repayment programs are endless if you choose this route). There is also the Navy that will pay for your entire education if you give so many years of service. Finally, USC has one of the top alumni networking groups in the country, and you really can't put a price tag on that.

 

I'd also like to touch on the fact that we are a 3-year program. Many people take issue with this, as the average program length is 27 months. I'm not 100% sure why they chose to go for 33 months, but I will say that they want to ensure that we go through the material at a pace that is manageable, and to ensure that we get sufficient breaks during the didactic portion (3 semesters instead of 2) and don't burn out. I've spoken with students from every other program in CA and they are ALWAYS stressed out. Our final semester focuses on preparing for the PANCE (boards), finishing our Master's thesis, preparing for the workplace and finding jobs, as well as offers us an opportunity for an elective rotation. Everything I've just mentioned I consider to be strengths to our program. Additionally, our faculty are unbelievably AMAZING and accessible. They make such an effort to learn everyone's names the first couple weeks and to ensure that you do well in the program. Also, they do a terrific job in choosing the classes, and your classmates really do become your family. On that note, once a Trojan, you are in the Trojan family forever...an amazing family to be a part of.

 

Now I'm sure you're wondering what some of our program's weaknesses are, and to be honest I can't think of any. They really do make every effort to accommodate their students' needs so that once you're in, the hard part is over :)

 

Hope this helps!

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Thanks for your info, johnwaite.

 

I have a question -- how often do you see PA students receiving scholarships/grants/etc (vs. just loans)? And how much do they typically cover? I was hoping that some of USC's astronomical costs would be made up for in scholarship available to its students. Or is that mainly the case in undergrad, not so much for grad programs?

 

Also, what is the class size? Do you ever feel like it's too large a program to enable good, personalized student-faculty interactions?

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Ms. Chievious, I'm sorry for having taken forever to come back into the forum to answer questions. And seeing as it is over a month from your original question, I hope that my response is not too little too late.

 

I'll keep it as simple as I can. Most of us are on loans 100%. There are some in our class who are on full-rides with the NHSC scholarship, and there are some who were able to take advantage of a special scholarship offered to 4 people in our class that paid for one year of tuition. There are definitely scholarships available, but most of them are small dollar amounts (i.e. $1000). The best one is the NHSC, followed by one from CA for $20,000. The last two require that you trade time in underserved populations for the monies for school. Additionally, the Navy has a full-ride scholarship if you join the Navy, and I think the Army has something as well.

 

In terms of class size, our class is 53 students (originally 54, but someone had to leave in the first week due to extenuating circumstances). Our is definitely not too large to allow for personalized student-faculty interactions. Everyone really makes an effort to get to know your name by the second week, and they really do take time out to answer questions outside of class. Our faculty is probably one of the greatest strengths we have.

 

Hope that all helps!

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Hi John! I met you last month when I was auditing a pharmacology class with Dr. Durham. You probably don't remember me, but I was blown away by that experience. Everyone was so warm, welcoming, and helpful. I was so impressed that everyone was so positive about their experience so far at USC. I had an interview 2 weeks after that and I'm ecstatic that I got a call from Dr. Lohenry last week! I have been looking at scholarships, also, and was wondering if you have the name of that CA scholarship you mentioned. I will be applying for as many as I can, even if they're small amounts. Every little bit helps! Thanks for your help! BTW, did you go to D.C. yet?

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Hi guys! I am a prospective student for the entering class of Fall 2013 so, I will be applying in June or July of this year. Any tips or advice you can give me that might help. Should I apply as early as possible? USC is my number 1 choice and I would love to attend this program. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!

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Hi guys! I am a prospective student for the entering class of Fall 2013 so, I will be applying in June or July of this year. Any tips or advice you can give me that might help. Should I apply as early as possible? USC is my number 1 choice and I would love to attend this program. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!

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I would suggest applying early because you'll find out a lot sooner if you're in or not. I submitted my CASPA on Sept. 1 (which I believe was the last day for Western and USC's deadline was Oct. 1? but now it seems fuzzy...) I was still waiting for CASPA to finalize and send out my app when I was seeing all these people posting (on this forum) about acceptances already! It made me feel really nervous and I wished I had gotten it in early. By the time I got my interview, I was worried that there weren't going to be many seats open and there still a lot of applicants being considered. I was lucky enough to be accepted, but while I was waiting that long dreadful time, I swore that if I didn't get in this year, I would apply as early as possible the next year. USC is an amazing school and you will be so impressed with their interview process. I also interviewed at Western and it was very different (in a bad way, in my opinion.) I felt so anxious and awful after my interview at Western and sure enough, I didn't even get wait-listed there. USC was very reassuring. They told me that if you make it to the interview, they already know you have what it takes. They just want to get to know you and see what your passions/personalities are like so they can see if you're a good fit for the program. Then you can just be yourself and not worry about trying to impress them with all your accomplishments. I definitely appreciated that. If possible, try to audit a class, go to the info sessions, or e-mail your questions so they will be familiar with your name. I think that was key! They're super helpful and want you to feel familiar and at ease in the surroundings by the time you get an interview. Just FYI, I did not have any paid health-care experience and while I wouldn't recommend not doing that, it just goes to show that you can still get in without it! I'll be starting in the Fall and I am so excited, nervous, giddy, scared, ELATED! Best of luck to you!

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You should apply as early as possible for all schools. As far as USC goes, you should apply by Sept 1st. I'm a re-applicant, and both years I applied to USC in August (supplementals in sept) and both times I received an invite for the first interview date, which is the end of october. USC does not contact anyone for interviews until October, but other schools start interviewing in the summer months. So if you are applying to other schools (which you should apply to multiple schools), look into when they start interviews. If your application is complete in June, then by all means submit it then, but if you're waiting to finish anything or get more hours, then wait until it is complete so you're at your strongest. As far as USC, submitting in May or June is not going to improve your chances, but it may for other schools.

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