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woodlingj

Finishing Undergrad in 3 years, then what

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I'm currently finishing up my 2nd year at UC San Diego. I will be going to school all summer and all next year in order to finish my undergrad in 3 years. I plan to take a year off after undergrad to accrue some HCE (leaning towards CNA), shadow doctors and PAs, and to take a few prerequisites that my school doesn't offer and then I will apply (2018-2019 cycle). My issue is that because I've been rushing school, I have hardly any extracurriculars. My current GPA is a 3.92 (science GPA is about the same) and I don't expect it to move much beyond that in either direction. I've been a part of a few clubs, have a few random days of volunteering and I will be volunteering in the burn unit of a hospital starting in a few weeks and continuing all year (I expect around 150-200 hours). My targets are Southern California schools like Western, Marshal B Ketchum, Southern California University of Health Sciences, etc. 

 

A few questions:

 

1) Will not having any research (especially coming out of UCSD) have a negative impact on my application?

 

2) Is a good GPA, a good amount of HCE and some volunteering enough to land me an interview specifically at California schools? 

 

3) Is a shorter undergrad time looked at any differently? Either positively or negatively?

 

I would love to do more volunteering and get involved more and even do some research but I just don't have enough time with my really heavy course load and keeping up my GPA is my first priority. And before it is suggested, slowing down and taking an extra year for undergrad is not an option in my case.

 

I'm just trying to stay on track and make sure I can pursue my dream career! Thank you in advance for any and all advice :)

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Start getting some health care experience

Research is kinda whatever.

Shorter undergrad doesn't matter as much as being able to show that you are able to balance and be successful with a large work load/proving your time management skills

I would have a minimum of 1000 hours of HCE....2000+ is more competitive

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I'd say:

1) yes

2) no

3) no

 

3.9 GPA and 1000+ good quality HCE (with a strong personal statement and good LORs) should garner some interviews.

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Hey! Current WesternU PA-S here.

 

Your GPA is definitely very competitive for the SoCal schools. Like others have stated, if you don't have much HCE hours, that should be one of your highest priorities. The HCE requirements vary widely among the SoCal schools from WesternU (where HCE is "recommended") to USC/Loma Linda where they require at least 1000-2000 hours. There are some solid EMT programs in SoCal that allow you to go through the entire thing in 4-5 weeks (like UCLA's program). That's the one I did to land a job as a ER tech to rack up the hours. If you dedicate a year's worth of time mostly to HCE, you should easily be able to hit the ~2000 hour mark. With that, you'd have a nice solid foundation for most of the SoCal schools. Good luck!

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Why are you "rushing" through school? I don't see the benefit...

 

Agreed.

 

College is a blast. Relax and stay a while. Get that 3.9 GPA in 4 years and have some fun.

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As soon as I graduate I am planning on getting certified with either CNA or EMT and hopefully find work full time. If not, I'll at least work part time with that and do medical scribe part time as well so I shouldnt have an issue getting at least 1500 hours before I apply and of course I will continue working after I apply and before interviews so that should put me close to 2000. I know some schools don't count scribe, but if I could only find part time work, I think it would be better to do it in addition to the other job.

 

If I were to do any research, would clinical research be more favorable than bench work? Or favorable at all for that matter?

 

I was having similar worries to what Z-PAC brought up, will my lack of extracurriculars DURING school be an issue? Sure I will have all of the hours at the time of application, but will it look bad if a majority of my activities are post graduation? I certainly have more work than I have time right now but I'm concerned adcoms won't see it that way and will be put off by the fact that I didn't do school and all the other stuff at the same time.

 

As for my rushing through school, personal and financial circumstances are limiting my options.

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I really think you're overthinking the extracurricular thing.  It's great to be involved but joining clubs or being president of some random society is really not going to make or break your application.  If you have the grades, HCE, etc, stop worrying.  

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Seriously, extracurriculars are nice, but they aren't going to change anything about your application.  You are competitive once you get your HCE.   Get the HCE drop the concern about clubs and such

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I think you're in fantastic shape. Research and extras mean pretty much nil as long as you have the grades and the shadowing/HC experience.

 

In addition, the 3-year plan course load with a high GPA demonstrates that you are able to succeed in a rigorous academic environment, which is something ad comms are looking for. Most people I've known who graduated in 3 years did so for financial reasons, and it is not as uncommon as some think. If you can do it and maintain an excellent GPA all the more power to you - you have the good grades and saved yourself some serious $!

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