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Advice for an "old" student


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Hello!

 

I am a thirty-something professional with a MS in biology/genetics/physiology and considering applying to PA school. Unfortunately, some of my prereqs are older than 10 years, so I will have to retake a few of them. My MS is only 4 years old, and I currently am a AP Biology teacher/adjunct college professor/MCAT review instructor, so I'm immersed in the topics constantly. I am not worried about getting As in any prereqs I need to retake. My GRE score is very good and my MS GPA is 3.93. I only made one B. I am going to shadow my kids' PA this summer and I'm hoping to start volunteering at a local medical clinic very soon.

 

Here are my questions:

1. Am I crazy to consider this? (Long story short, I always wanted to work in medicine, but life happens, and I never applied to PA school or med school.This is the realization of a dream for me.)

 

2. Am I too old?

 

3. I have been asked to interview for a summer TEACHER research opportunity at a school that is also one of my top choices to apply to PA school. Do you think it would hurt my chances of being accepted into PA school if I were to be accepted into a TEACHER paid summer research program that is intended to develop and invest in TEACHERS? (I am not planning to apply to PA school until Fall 2017, entry (hopefully!!!) in Summer 2018.

 

I appreciate any advice any of you have to offer regarding my nontraditional journey! Thank you so much!

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1. no, not crazy

 

2. no, not too old

 

3. if you want to pursue PA as a career, your choices for how you spend your discretionary time should reflect this. So instead of spending your time on a research opportunity, see if you can create an opportunity to interact with patients.

 

When I applied to PA school, nearly all my courses were > 10 years prior, I was able to avoid having to re-take them by pointing out to the admissions committee that I was current on all the topics as part of my present work (scientist/scientific editor). As a science teacher with a Masters degree you may be able to mount a similar argument - try contacting your target schools directly, to ask about this.

 

Your biggest deficit will be health care experience - do what you can before applying, to strengthen this. I spent a fair amount of time volunteering in my local hospital ED, also got my CNA (certified nursing assistant) credential, which will allow you to work. I had very thin HCE going into PA school (I was very fortunate to be accepted to PA school and even more fortunate to get the job I have), and this remains my greatest weakness as a PA, even now. So get that experience in before applying!

 

Good luck! I had a similar sort of background - now I am a working PA and don't regret a moment of the journey.

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A huge part of being a PA is educating your patients, so I actually think your background is great.  You're not too old!  All that matters is your willingness to learn.  If you have a family, you'll have to work a little harder to manage your time, but it's definitely do-able!  Good luck!

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Regardless of your first career, your experience dealing with people of all ages in a major plus. Your age has also demonstrated to you that you adapt, improvise, and overcome obstacles. Going back to school to pick up an old dream was one of the most pleasant experiences I've ever had. It wasn't always easy and it wasn't always pretty, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

 

I turned 60 a few months before I graduated, so you aren't too old.

 

Best of luck!

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Thank you for sharing your stories! I'm relieved when I read about others' journeys to becoming PAs (as I'm only slightly further along on my path than you, socrafty!) We're not crazy or too old! I spent the first 9 years of my career working as a Dietitian. For the past 10 years I've worked in Health Informatics, and now I want to get back to being with patients. I've spent the past 2 years working on prerequisites (some repeated, like you), and I've applied/interviewed/been accepted (school starts in June, a few days short of my 41st birthday). I happen to be an adjunct nutrition instructor at our local community college (and we had a great discussion about my teaching experiences during my interview - I'm sure that that will only help you too!) It sounds like you have a great plan for your HCE & shadowing hours - I'm sure you'll succeed! Obstacles will come, but can be overcome (mine will be the 1 hour commute to school everyday, as I've lived 2 minutes away from work for the past 19 years, and I have 3 daughters aged 12, 7, & 4 - I'm lucky to have an amazing husband!) Best of luck on your journey!

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