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Re-applicant - Any suggestions/advice? Thank you!


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Unfortunately, I was not accepted in to PA schools this past cycle.  I applied to about 12 schools, was turned down from a few for too low of a GRE/GPA, had two interviews, and two denials, and still have yet to hear back from a couple but am almost positive their classes have been filled and the e-mail/letter will be coming later.

I have felt pretty discouraged and exhausted but know this is what I want to do, so am looking for advice on what I should do from this point forward to improve.  I have already started an online Genetics course and am starting an EMT course soon.  I will finish both of those by the beginning of May and then am going to possibly retake the GRE.  I also am working about 37-40 hours a week as a medical assistant at a family practice still while doing all this.

My Background:

Undergraduate degree:  Exercise Science
Science GPA ~ 3.16

Overall GPA ~ 3.41

GRE ~Q:151, V:146, Writ: 4.5

 

I have 32 months to date of full time patient care experience working as a medical assistant at a Family practice clinic (~5,120 hrs) and still continue to work full time.

 

I have gone on a medical volunteer trip to Mexico for 1 week and India for 5 weeks.

 

I have shadowed numerous PAs, MDs, DOs, FNPs, but most of my shadowing was done before 2013.

 

I had letters of reference last cycle from an MD I work for, a PA I work for, a FNP I work with, and also a excercise science instructor/pre-professional health advisor in undergrad.

 

I don't feel that my interview skills were very strong and definitely will need to work on that.

 

What does everyone think?  Any suggestions or advice at all would be great.  Thank you in advance!

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It's definitely the combination of your sGPA and not so great interviewing skills that didn't land you a spot. 

 

Your 5K+ HCE is above average and your cGPA is within the range of accepted students. 

 

Keep working on your sGPA and interviewing skills and you'll be golden this upcoming cycle. 

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It's definitely the combination of your sGPA and not so great interviewing skills that didn't land you a spot. 

 

Your 5K+ HCE is above average and your cGPA is within the range of accepted students. 

 

Keep working on your sGPA and interviewing skills and you'll be golden this upcoming cycle. 

thank you for your response and input, i really appreciate it, unfortunately already being done with undergrad is hard to raise my sGPA significantly.  I have taken a biology, biochemistry and genetics course since undergrad and done well in them in attempt to increase. not sure what else to do there tho...

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I have similar stats as you and was accepted to three schools this cycle and waitlist at one. My overall was a 3.3 and science 3.4. gre verbal 146 math 151 writing 4.0. I have about 3K hours as a medical assistant and volunteering abroad as an EMT. I did not have any LOR from PAs though. I definitely think you have positive aspects. The interview makes all the difference. I know at my interviews I was accepted at I was myself completely. I made jokes, references to tv shows etc. My first interview I was waitlisted because I was nervous and my answers were not personal. Look at the schools you are applying to to make sure you fit what they are looking for. That could make all the difference.

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I have similar stats as you and was accepted to three schools this cycle and waitlist at one. My overall was a 3.3 and science 3.4. gre verbal 146 math 151 writing 4.0. I have about 3K hours as a medical assistant and volunteering abroad as an EMT. I did not have any LOR from PAs though. I definitely think you have positive aspects. The interview makes all the difference. I know at my interviews I was accepted at I was myself completely. I made jokes, references to tv shows etc. My first interview I was waitlisted because I was nervous and my answers were not personal. Look at the schools you are applying to to make sure you fit what they are looking for. That could make all the difference.

Thank you very much for your response. Can I ask what schools you were accepted and waitlisted at?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was a reapplicant. After all the rejections, I called/emailed to all the schools for feedback on how I could improve. I followed their recommendations. I knew interviews were very important. I went through many, many interview questions. I did mock interviews with friends, family members, and a PA. Online resources that you can try are: PA Coach on YouTube and http://www.thepaplatform.com/

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I'll add to really consider the programs you are applying to.  If you are attempting top tier schools who matriculate students with an average of 3.75 GPA, you might not even make the cut to get to an interview (though they won't all necessarily explicitly tell you it's your GPA/GRE that didn't make the cut).  Honestly that sounds like it was maybe the case for the majority of the programs you applied to.

 

If you can't up your GPA before cycles open (if you haven't taken any classes in the meantime) then you may want to consider really doing your homework on what programs to apply to.  Find ones where your GPA will get you through the first look.  Just because a school lists a minimum of 3.0 doesn't mean everyone with over a 3.0 will really get their app reviewed.  Check matriculating student stats and see where your app would be competitive.

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Thank you everyone for your input.  It is really appreciated and very helpful to gain insight from many different people.  I absolutely love feedback and do agree that maybe I need to reconsider which schools to reapply to this next year and possibly find ones who look more at patient care experience than so much the numbers in GPA/GRE.  I definitely will be updating personal statement and essays as well as getting updated/new letters of recommendation.  I will also be practicing more for interviews if/when they come in.  Any other suggestions or thoughts from anyone else?  Thank you again so much.

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You have above average HCE, look at schools that favor HCE over GPA. I think it's too late to take any courses for this upcoming cycle to boost the GPA. Did you get many interviews? Focus on PS and interviews. Your HCE is good, GRE is decent, and GPA can't be changed at this point. Focus on what can be improved at the current time and good luck. 

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What do people think of obtaining an EMT certification but not necessarily using it and working with it before applying?  I have 3 solid years of full time work as a medical assistant (~6,000hrs by the time I apply in a couple months), and I am currently going through an EMT course where I think it would be awesome to use as an ER tech after I am finished with the course if possible.  I don't finish the course until beginning of May.  So, I will be able to put it on my application, but won't be able to work with it just yet.  How does that look to PA schools?  Thank you.

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What do people think of obtaining an EMT certification but not necessarily using it and working with it before applying?  I have 3 solid years of full time work as a medical assistant (~6,000hrs by the time I apply in a couple months), and I am currently going through an EMT course where I think it would be awesome to use as an ER tech after I am finished with the course if possible.  I don't finish the course until beginning of May.  So, I will be able to put it on my application, but won't be able to work with it just yet.  How does that look to PA schools?  Thank you.

It probably won't affect anything positively or negatively.  So you'll have the cert, great, but it's really the HCE that schools care about and they won't see it on your app so....you're just back where you started with an extra cert.

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It probably won't affect anything positively or negatively.  So you'll have the cert, great, but it's really the HCE that schools care about and they won't see it on your app so....you're just back where you started with an extra cert.

thank you for your input.  I guess an extra certification will be good, and i'll still have close to 6,000hrs accrued as a medical assistant at the time I submit my app...

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I think you having a significant amount of HCE will work in your favor if you make it. I agree with everyone who said try to find programs that focus more on HCE and maybe a little less on GRE/GPA scores. One piece of advice I will give is try to find out the ACCEPTED GPA/GRE scores of a program from the last cycle before applying. That will give you an idea of where you stand with applying to that particular program. And I think you should definitely put working as an EMT in your application. Sure, you won't have a whole lot of experience to talk about in detail, but as you said, you did get a few interviews. The interviews (in the next cycle) will be a great time for you to update the admissions committee about your new experience and how that makes you a stronger applicant. About the interviewing skills, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you prepare. I was not too great at interviews either, but with the help of a lot of different recourses, I was able to improve my interviewing skills. I'll redirect you to my blog where I've posted quite a bit about interviews, otherwise this will be a very long post lol but keep your head up and kudos to you for pushing through! :) 

 

apthepa.blogspot.com

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Hey guys! I have two questions about reapplying to PA school.. Initially I submitted my application and secondary apps last October/November and was granted 4 interviews of 10 schools. I have been accepted on the waitlist for all 4 schools but now the time is coming around where I have to apply again in case I am never accepted off of the hold list. So, I was wondering if it's okay to use the same letters of recommendation for my second time applying? Also, should I redo my personal statement? 

 

Thanks so much for any feedback, I really appreciate it!!!!

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Hey guys! I have two questions about reapplying to PA school.. Initially I submitted my application and secondary apps last October/November and was granted 4 interviews of 10 schools. I have been accepted on the waitlist for all 4 schools but now the time is coming around where I have to apply again in case I am never accepted off of the hold list. So, I was wondering if it's okay to use the same letters of recommendation for my second time applying? Also, should I redo my personal statement? 

 

Thanks so much for any feedback, I really appreciate it!!!!

 

Assuming you used CASPA, you can't actually use the "same" LORs, since those don't carry over.  Your references would have to re-enter their evaluation and recommendation in your new application.  :)  But yes, you can use the same references - I did.  

 

As for PS, yes and no - as in mostly.  I was very happy with my personal statement and it earned me interviews even the first year I applied (when I still had pre-reqs to complete and GPA improvements needed!).  I did, however, make slight improvements in phrasing (after a year it's unlikely you wouldn't find SOMETHING you could improve about it) ... AND I updated the closing paragraphs to include reference to the things I'd been doing since the last application cycle that would improve me as a clinician in the future, as a PA student in the future, and as an applicant.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have any further suggestions/advice/comments from my very first post in this thread?  With the app cycle opening date quickly approaching, I want to make sure I'm prepared and doing everything I can to be ready and be more competitive this time around?  Thank you very much for reading and for any input.  I greatly appreciate it.

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Here is how it feels to me:

 

Somewhere a busy faculty member has been given the assignment of reading all of the applications between "Smith" and "Taylor" in the large, on-line CASPA applicant queue, and then have some of them invited to the next interview session. Someone else has already scanned the applications to make sure that all of the LORs, etc were submitted and that the GPAs are at least at the program's minimums.

 

He opens the queue and starts reading. Lots of numbers cutting your grades in lots of different ways (by year, but type of subjects, etc). Then the actual transcripts. Then all of the HCE statements and volunteer positions. Then the LORs, which are often pretty generic. Once and a while there will be a really great one, but not usually. And then...

 

The essay. Up until now, the application has been dry and the reviewer's eyes have glazed over a bit. Please tell me something about yourself that makes me want to have you invited in, he thinks. 

 

In the next three minutes, the reviewer will be making his decision. Hopefully the essay isn't a stylized product, isn't overly melodramatic, or makes generic statements about how fervently the applicant wants to be a PA. Instead it is a slice of the virtual person in front of you, showing what kind of person they are, how they approach and overcome problems, work with people, and have learned from his or her HCE.

 

If you don't have a good, honest, not overly-long essay, only fabulous grades or a letter from an attending at the Mayo Clinic will save the day (and many of us didn't have either).

 

Job 1: Get an interview with a good, easy-to-read essay that tells the reader something about yourself and makes him/her want to meet you.

Job 2: Go to the interview, don't be up-tight, be who you are, but maybe on your better behavior. Like you're meeting your future in-laws for the first time.

 

Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am in a similar situation.  I had a nightmare with CASPA last year.  Missing grades on transcripts, verification process took from June to September, no contact besides general response emails, etc.  So last cycle I interviewed at one school and was placed on the wait list two days later.  I have a Undergrad GPA of 3.6 with a science GPA of 3.7 I have  gone on two medical mission trips, interned at a pediatric hospital for 3 years, and worked 2 years full time at a hospital totaling over 3500 hours of HCE.  My only faults were my GRE scores (150 verbal 150 quant) and my timing.  I definitely think that if the timing wasn't such an issue I would have gotten offered at least one spot in a program.  

 

Just like other members are suggesting, I am going to begin the reapplication process just in case I do not get pulled from the wait list (and because I want to avoid any issues I had with timing last year).  My big question is, would you reapply to the same program that you were wait listed for if you were me?   On one hand I think it will make the school see that I really want to be in the program and it could help me get off the wait list, but on the other hand I feel like it may hinder me because it could send the message "hey, she is willing to come next year, lets let her!".  

 

Also, if you were me would you do a couple months prep and retake the GRE?

 

 

Any advice is really appreciated !!

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  • 2 months later...

You have above average HCE, look at schools that favor HCE over GPA. I think it's too late to take any courses for this upcoming cycle to boost the GPA. Did you get many interviews? Focus on PS and interviews. Your HCE is good, GRE is decent, and GPA can't be changed at this point. Focus on what can be improved at the current time and good luck. 

 

Also I don't know if this was mentioned, but pamentoronline.com offers help with interviews, as the does the PA Coach. I am a reapplicant as well, so I feel your pain!

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Hi! I'm a reapplicant as well. Last time around I was told that my clinical was my downfall, I was approximately at 900 hours. Since then, I have increased my hours to about 1900 through work as a CNA, physical therapy rehabilitation aide, and spending 8 weeks as a medical volunteer at a hospital in Tanzania in the minor surgery ward. 

 

I am struggling as to whether or not I should mention my reapplication status in my personal statement, or just mention something in the essays that ask for you to "tell us something about yourself that is not otherwise reflected in this application" (especially for schools that I am applying to for the first time)

 

I applied to 15 schools last year and had 2 interviews and ended up on one waitlist. 

This time around, I am applying to 34, as I stopped taking location into account of where I want to go and I was in the midst of completing the second half of anatomy/physiology and biochemistry at the time, and some schools would not allow me to apply unless all of my classes were completed. 

 

My science GPA is a 3.9, my cumulative GPA is a 3.62. I received my Bachelors Degree in Film Studies from Emory University and then completed all of my science pre-reqs at City Colleges of Chicago. 

 

I have 30 hours of PA shadowing and my GRE scores were V/156 Q/152 A/5.0. 

 

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can prove that I am worthy of acceptance? I know that statement sounds comical and slightly intense, but I REALLY don't want to have to go through rejections all over again!

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