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Accepted student, Am I in trouble?


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So I am a recent college grad that was fortunate to be accepted into multiple PA programs this year. My only worry is if I'll be able to make the jump from college to PA school. My grades in college were good (3.65), but I pretty much studied all the time. I would go to class, eat, and then study all day (even on the weekends). I rarely had time for any social activities, working out, etc. I know PA school will have way more material than an undergrad bio major.

 

Am I making a mistake by going? Any advice?

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What did you do for HCE?

 

Patient care tech, hospital volunteer, took pt hx at a free clinic, lots of shadowing.

 

edit: I think my HCE is good, which is why i got into some top tier PA programs. I'm just not sure if it matter though, since med students typically don't have much hce but they learn similar/same stuff.

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Honestly I think you might have an easier transition than most. GPA is not as important in PA school. And what most people struggle with is how much studying takes away from everything they want to do, you on the other hand are used to it. Only thing I'd recommend is try to look into how you were studying and see if you could of been more efficient in undergrad. Even if that's not the case I'm sure you will be fine. Best of luck. Really don't think you have anything to worry about compared to the average PA student.

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Now is maybe the wrong time to be thinking this through.

 

However you were studying must have been successful for you, now you just need to make it more efficient.  Just remember that PA school is a challenge and a lot of material for pretty much everyone, even the kids who had an easy go of it in undergrad.  Stay positive, stay confident.  If you haven't started your program yet, make sure you take some time to reflect and make sure that PA is what you want.  You'll struggle more if you aren't excited about the end goal.

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agree with MT2PA.  

 

Would also add that if you find yourself feeling behind or struggling the least little bit ... GET HELP!  Sooner rather than later.  

 

You are going to be in a cohort of the 'best of the best' - roughly the top 10% of the applicants to whatever school you choose.  There will be people who make it look easy, effortless.  It's not.  To the best of my knowledge, there's no significant value in your ranking in your PA class - your goal, and everyone else in your class, is to be a sponge soaking up the massive amount of information (some of it changing as evidence presents and new discoveries are made) ... I know students who are reluctant to admit when they aren't performing (whether that be meeting the program's standards, or their own).  This is not the time to succumb to pride, or shame, or whatever it is that's holding them back from getting help.  Consult your advisor, consult your instructor for whatever courses where you are struggling, ask if there are other resources on the faculty that could help (no offense, just an observation, but some clinicians are better educators than others or have a better understanding of the issues when a student isn't learning well given their teaching style/approach).  

 

Your classmates should also be a source of help.  There will be people with backgrounds and experiences that can make things 'real' for you.  There will be people that already have a knack for assimilating material and educating others (hopefully they'll be PA preceptors or educators in the future!); get them to hone their skills on you - you'll all benefit.  

 

One way of studying learning probably won't work for all subjects either - be flexible - try different strategies - for the material as well as the setting (individual study, pairs/small group, etc.).  Lots of variations here!  

 

You'll also learn at some point that some of the people who excel at the didactic work / classroom / book knowledge, but they may struggle when it comes to the clinical side of interacting with a real patient ... and vice versa.  Don't measure yourself against your classmates.  Set your OWN, realistic goals (and that may not be straight As - it's more important to KNOW the material and be able to apply it than to memorize and 'dump' it on a random TEST).  

 

It's most definitely a marathon, not a sprint.  :)  ready, set go!

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Thanks for the help all!

 

Just one final question: So how difficult is it to merely pass? Obviously I'm going to try my best to score my highest, but would you guys say it's pretty reasonable to pass as long as I'm studying 8+ hours/day? Thanks!

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Thanks for the help all!

 

Just one final question: So how difficult is it to merely pass? Obviously I'm going to try my best to score my highest, but would you guys say it's pretty reasonable to pass as long as I'm studying 8+ hours/day? Thanks!

 

Remember that passing in PA school is usually maintaining a B average (3.0).  From what I can tell, it's rare for a student to fail out, but it does happen.  Most programs want their students to succeed and will help them when they notice signs of struggling.  Ideally, you'll look to your specific program for these questions.  What is their policy on grades?  What things do they have in place to help students (tutors? advisor check ins?)?  What is their history of drop/fail outs and WHY did those students leave?

 

Simply studying 8+ hrs a day is not a guarantee of passing.  You still have to take the exams, be actually learning the material, and honestly, 8 hrs a day is probably not realistic (there aren't enough hours in the day!).  This isn't like undergrad where you are just expected to regurgitate the material on an exam and forget it - you need to LEARN this stuff.  You need to know it, understand it, and be able to apply it.  Many of our exam questions aren't just straight memorization, but actually applying the material (i.e you have to know the science and apply it to a real world situation).

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I have a couple of thoughts on this, not sure you're going to like them.  Think of it as "tough love" though. 

 

First, you are worrying about something that is kinda' moot.  You got *in* to PA school.  The thought at this point should not be, "Am I going to do ok?!?"  And there should be no hand-wringing and pacing and fretting about it.  Rather, understand that you made the grades in undergrad because you worked your butt off and realize that you're going to work your butt off to succeed in PA school.  Instead of asking, "Am I going to pass?" say to yourself, "I'm gonna' study the crap outta this material and I *am* going to get through PA school."  Because this is what you have worked toward, this is what you want to do, right?  If so, let there be no question in your mind about success vs. failure, rather make there to be only questions and plans for how you will succeed. 

 

Second, regarding how much work it takes to merely pass - this idea of merely passing PA school needs to leave your mind.  Nobody who is studying medicine ought to approach it from the perspective of merely passing.  You are studying medicine because you're going to be taking care of human beings.  You're going to be prescribing them medicine which will help their symptoms, potentially cure them, keep them from having heart attacks or strokes and if you give them too much or the wrong you may cause them severe harm or even death.  You may be a surgical PA harvesting saphenous veins from long incisions and if you don't approach your study and practice with the understanding that you must be nearly flawless then you are setting yourself and your patients up for bad outcomes.  Nobody is perfect, mistakes happen - don't get me wrong.  I'm not perfect and I wouldn't expect you to be.  But if you approach medicine from a perspective of, "I don't have to be perfect," it leaves a large crack through which things can slip. 

 

But here's the end statement and what I hope you take away from this:  I think you will do just fine.  You have a work ethic, you are smart.  You got accepted which is the hard part.  Put all of your doubts away, don't give yourself any excuses.  You will be alright.

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Time for my two cents:

 

Your path through PA school will be like everyone else's and different from everyone else's at the same time. It will unfold as it is going to and there isn't much point to worrying about things until you get there.

 

Be diligent, keep up, and start off with the study techniques that worked for you up until now. Given your grades, you must have some kind of system.

 

Get a living situation that will let you study as you need to -- in the middle of the night, early in the morning, etc. One that gets you close enough to campus to run in at odd hours to work with your cadaver, play with plastic bones, or whatever.

 

Watch how you do early on. You may discover that your study techniques work well in some classes, but not in others. Be prepared to try new approaches when you have to. The college's study center can help, as can your faculty. As another poster said, if you've got a problem, let them know. As they say, the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

 

Enjoy, get to know your classmates, and be grateful that you get to follow your dream. 

 

Steady as she goes, PA student! Good luck.

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My program is Pass/Fail. Basically you can't get below a 70. Some that I applied to were 3.0 but most were Pass/Fail (Duke, UF). Look at attrition rates and see how they rank. I think Drexel had a high attrition rate and I didn't really like that about their program.

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I would say a majority of my entering class has gotten in with average study habits/messing around in college. but PA has changed all of us into studying every day. of course there are days, even straight weeks in PA school where I do only maybe an hour or two of work a day, but i do find myself studying from dawn to dusk with breaks for BS half of my time throughout first semester.

 

Edit:

Graduated with a 3.3cGPA in undergrad from a well regarded research university that has its own medical school

 

currently in the top third of my class of 30 students

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