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Kwame E

Should I retake the pre-reqs I made a C in, or focus on upper-level sciences?

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My gpa is mediocre to bad, but it's somewhat salvageable if I get nothing but A's from here on out. I start my last semester of undergrad next week, and I'm enrolled in 18 hours. After I graduate I plan to get my EMT over the summer and hopefully find employment by September. I plan on taking 4 more science classes after I (hopefully) find a job.

 

With the 18 hours I'm taking this semester + EMT classes + 16 hours of post-bacc classes I should raise my GPA above a 3.0, which is the requirement for most PA schools. Only one school in my state requires a 3.2.

 

My question is, with the 4 post-bacc classes, should I retake the classes I made C's in or focus on upper level classes?

 

I made C's in chem 2, Anatamy & Genetics. Should I retake those classes or take upper level classes like Advanced Cell Bio, Biochem, Immunology, Pathophysiology, etc?

 

What would look better to an admissions board? Or should I retake the pre-reqs AND take upper-level classes? I would rather not do that since I'm low on funds.

 

Let me also add that 2 of those classes are gonna be Orgo 1 & 2. So I have 2 open options. And maybe a 3rd if necessary.

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Do both: retake C's in prerequisites AND take upper-division science courses.  If you have a hard limit on your budget, consider that there will be plenty of people in your position willing to out-spend you.  Do you want it badly enough?  Are you in a position to dedicate all the resources it takes to improve your application so it's viable?

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What you need to consider here is more than just pushing your GPA a few 10ths above the minimum.  Nobody applies with the minimum, they apply with mid to high 3s.  I applied with a 3.5 to average schools and was toward the bottom of the barrel with respect to GPA.

 

Frankly, if your academic history is bad enough that you are below a 3.0 at this point, then you need to consider spending a lot more time on this than a semester's worth of post-bac courses.  Application cycles are expensive and require time off of work.  If you don't come from money then you should consider that even competitive students are regularly passed over because there just aren't enough seats to go around.

 

Without stellar HCE/PCE, which I am assuming you do not have according to your currently pursuing an EMT license, then I would back off and not apply until you can get that GPA up around the mid 3s.

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Well I don't plan on applying until July 2017.

 

My GPA is going to be on the low side, I screwed up a lot early in my college career.. I have to supplement that with a high GRE, good personal essay, good LORs and HCE.

 

As far as hands on patient care, I have over 5 years experience with caring for mentally handicapped adults. I'm becoming an EMT to add to my experience and gain medical knowledge. I also completed a 400 hour internship last semester. So a rough estimate would be about 3,000 hours of HCE (I worked summers). That can easily double working as an EMT full time.

 

So when I apply I'll have 6000 hours of HCE.

 

Right now I'm thinking about taking Orgo 1 & 2 and Biochem and retaking Chem 2 and Anatamy after I graduate.

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The above advice is all good. Prioritize what classes you're taking this next semester as its covered in your full time tuition typically. Once you graduate, you'll pay a PREMIUM for each hour of class you take. Higher level science classes are worth more hours and will cost more money to retake later. Often times Organic Chem (and other high levels or less common classes such as immunology) are not offered at community colleges or if they are, very infrequently. If I were you, with limited funds, I would prioritize retaking anatomy and get an A in that course. A C in that course looks SIGNIFICANTLY worse than a C in genetics or chem. Not to mention, its some of the more relevant information that you need to know for PA school. Sure, chem genetics etc are all in PA school too, but understanding the concepts in A&P is fundamental. Know what programs you're aiming for and tailor your pre-reqs to match...if they require further chemistry, well you have no choice but to buck up and do them. Don't try to be a hero and stretch yourself too thin...focus and do well in what you can manage. Keep an open mind...you may find yourself enjoying life and your work as an EMT for longer than just the "minimum hours required". And thats not a bad thing. More time to figure yourself out, your career desires, your decision making capabilities. PA school will always be there and so will jobs for PAs, you won't lose much by waiting a few cycles...in fact you may gain more than you can imagine right now. 

Iwas never that great a Chem.... Chem I: B, Chem II: B-, OChem I: C, Ochem II: D Biochem: A....I didnt retake any of them. I hated chem with a passion at that time and had no desire to retake an ochem II course. I focused on biochem, immunology, histology, and developing my self personally. I took 4 years off after undergrad, traveled a ton, grew as a person, worked as EMT prehospital and ER, and have never ever regretted it. Now, I'm in my top pick program. My route to school isnt for everyone. Find what workks for you. Take all of our advice with a grain of salt---we dont walk in your shoes. Best of luck!

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Question regarding taking more upper div science courses - might be a basic question. Upper div constitutes anything above 300 level correct?  What if I wanted to take booster classes such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, immunology, etc, which aren't necessarily pre-reqs... however I'm trying to search around for a good online class to take them (since my school doesn't offer these courses), but they all seem to be 200 level. Will it be better to take the courses anyway as a science GPA booster? Or will it just be a waste of effort since they are lower division?

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Question regarding taking more upper div science courses - might be a basic question. Upper div constitutes anything above 300 level correct?  What if I wanted to take booster classes such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, immunology, etc, which aren't necessarily pre-reqs... however I'm trying to search around for a good online class to take them (since my school doesn't offer these courses), but they all seem to be 200 level. Will it be better to take the courses anyway as a science GPA booster? Or will it just be a waste of effort since they are lower division?

 

 

Generally, pathophysiology, immunology and pharmacology are considered upper level courses. Course designation depends on the school, when I was in undergrad my school didn't really label classes from 100 level to 300 level, it was just sorta random and dependent on the department that offered the course.

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Will it be better to take the courses anyway as a science GPA booster? Or will it just be a waste of effort since they are lower division?

The more relevant science you have the better.  They aren't JUST GPA boosters; they're also helping expand your foundational fund of knowledge so you feel less far behind in PA school when the time comes.

 

So yes, take all of them you can, as many at a time as you can get while keeping a 4.0.

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I would definitely suggest retaking Anatomy. It is a fundamental course for PA school and a C in that is not really great. You should have a solid foundation in that class. A C in Gen Chem 2 and Genetics is not really saying bye to PA school, but the problem is your overall GPA.

 

A GPA between 3.0 and 3.2 is not really great unless you have 8,000+ hours of direct patient care experience to compensate the mediocre GPA. I would highly recommend that you take the upper level courses that you mentioned and bring the GPA at least to a 3.3-3.4 and work on those hours as EMT (try to have 2000+) before application. Don't apply this year. Save the money and raise the GPA.

 

Also, I would highly recommend you NOT to take those upper level science classes ONLINE. Upper level is considered 300 and above for a reason. It is because online and community colleges do not USUALLY offer them since they are two year colleges and the highest level they can offer is 200. If you  take it online, it seems like you are taking the easy way out, which you may not be trying to do, but colleges would assume that. Some even specifically  say, "We do not accept any online science courses." If the class was Medical Terminology, it is different scenario, but classes like Biochemistry, Immunology, Pathophysiology shouldn't be taken online. My 2c.

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