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Beware Applicants and Incoming Students!

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I am the significant other of a current PA student at Bethel University in Paris Tennessee.


There is a short list of PROs for Bethel PA students

-The didactic year education is wonderful in terms of the material you learn. You will learn what you need to be prepared for clinical year.

-Ms. Addo (the teacher in charge of remediation) is absolutely fantastic.

-Mr. Scates is also wonderful (one of the main teachers who teaches clinical medicine)

-For us the major pro was that we got accepted 


There is, unfortunately, a very long list of cons.

-Last week a student was kicked out of the program for a minor infraction during clinical year (they met the 150 hour requirement and set their schedule with their preceptor, but because the preceptor worked three days the student didn't they got kicked out). This might sound crazy but it's consistent with the craziness that happens at the school. This student had no warnings, was in good academic standing and had never had a problem before.


-Be prepared to go 2 years without knowing any details about clinical year (including during clinical year). You will get placed in a "hub" in the middle of the first year. You won't find out where your actual rotations are until the Friday before the first week of rotations (seriously, not even exaggerating). Asking questions about clinical year is a surefire way to be under scrutiny and face retaliation from staff.


-During clinical year, even if you have a "hub" be prepared to move for each rotation or drive 4-5 hours one way. While a few students have been lucky to be in the same area for most of their rotations, there are plenty of students who are driving all over creation, sleeping in their car, sleeping in the hospitals they're rotating at or sleeping on someone's couch for the major part of a year.


-The school is incredibly disorganized. Be prepared to waste precious hours sitting in class doing nothing when you really need to be studying for the 5-10 tests you have that week.


-The rules are constantly changing and frequently conflict with each other. Expectations are ridiculous and consequences are overly harsh.


-Staff are verbally abusive to students and will ask for students' concerns and then berate them for sharing.


-The recently graduated class (2016) has a PANCE pass rate in the 80% which is a significant drop from the historical pass rates.


-You will get sent to meet the disciplinary committee for minor, minor things. One student got in trouble for slamming his computer lid down. (Seriously.)


-Be prepared to be treated like children. Staff will yell at students, call them names, and demean them.


-Students don't dare speak out for fear of being sent all over the country for rotations. (This has happened to people.) Or worse-being kicked out of the program. If the staff decide they don't like you--for whatever reason--be prepared to suffer.


-Be ready to go 2.5 years of your life without having a day off. There have been students who have missed the weddings of immediate family members, have gone to funerals only to get a zero on a test (and face disciplinary action/academic probation). Even missing a class or leaving a class early is grounds for meeting with the disciplinary committee. You will be in class 40 hours per week.


-Apparently the main campus is on probationary status for accreditation (not the PA Program) and has been for the past 2 years. It will get reviewed in December which is right before the next class will start. Current students would likely (hopefully) be transferred, but incoming students would be screwed if they lost accreditation. Read more here:



If you can possibly go to a different school, you should seriously consider it. Many current students are kicking themselves for turning down other schools they got accepted to. PA school is incredibly challenging and stressful. For my significant other the most stressful part of school has been dealing with the staff and facing major uncertainty about clinical year. It shouldn't be that way--the education itself is hard enough.

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I am a current first year student and I have not seen the type of situation you describe at all. It seems to me that with this type of post you need to be treated like a child.

I am not hiding behind an anonymous screen name. My name is Mark Siebe and I would be glad to answer any questions. msiebe83@bethelu.edu

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I did take the time to read the link above about the undergraduate program and they ARE NOT on probation. The statement clearly reads that they are under a warning. If after the December 2016 review they still haven't succumbed to the wishes of the bureaucracy then they can be placed on probation. The original post is filled with things that are questionable and a few things that are down right lies.


Future Bethel students you have nothing to fear applying here.

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This person's experience is not reflective of the vast majority of the students at BUPAP. 


I am a first-year student at Bethel's PA program and I wanted to address the cons in this person's post based on my personal experience. If I do not address a particular issue it is because I have no knowledge/awareness of the particular issue. 


- I have had very pleasant experiences with the staff and faculty at our program; they have open door policies, are approachable, and truly care about our success in this program. I have never felt like I've been talked down to or feel like my opinions are being dismissed. 


- This is a professional, graduate level program. If the faculty witness behavior that is unprofessional, immature or otherwise disruptive to the class environment, it will be addressed. 


- You are allowed 1 personal day in the didactic year for non-emergency reasons (i.e. weddings, routine medical visits, mental health day). As for funerals, sick days, etc. these are handled on a case by case basis. My class has had several family members pass since the start of the program and the staff has been very accommodating. Otherwise, it has been clear from day 1 that you are expected to be in class. It is a fast-paced program and chronically missing classes can be detrimental to your progress and performance in didactic year. 


- In regards to clinical year: the program makes it CRYSTAL clear that you may have to move around for rotations; most rotation sites will be within 150 miles of your hub but there may be times where you have to be placed outside of this 150-mile radius. Most of the 2nd year students I've talked to have had positive experiences with their rotations. 


- I have yet to witness rules "constantly changing" and conflicting with each other. We are given student handbooks with the rules written out BEFORE we even arrive to Bethel and expectations are clear.


PA school is hard no matter where you go; it will challenge you as a student and as a human being in general. Thus far it has been a very rewarding experience for me at Bethel. If you have questions or concerns, email me at mhan30@bethelu.edu

-Michelle Han

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I am also a current first year student and would like to agree with what my classmate has said above. This post does not reflect the majority of the students' perspectives of the program. 


In regards to the faculty, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them. If I have ever needed to talk to a professor or faculty member, they have been more than willing to meet with me in a timely manner for both academic and personal meetings. I have received nothing but respect from the faculty and have always been treated like an adult and an equal. However, I also treat all faculty members with the same amount of due respect. This is a graduate program, and behavior that is seen as inappropriate is not tolerated, as it shouldn't be. I've never heard complaints from my fellow classmates in regards to disciplinary actions. We act like professional adults in a graduate program, and are treated as such. The guidelines for behavior and conduct are very straight forward and as my classmate mentioned above, are all printed out in a handbook that you are required to read and sign off on prior to matriculating into the program. None of the requirements are out of the ordinary and are all very reasonable. I am the President of the Class of 2018 and have worked with faculty outside of the classroom as well for many of the student body responsibilities. They've always been extremely supportive, have helped me in every way that I've asked, utilized their own personal resources, and even responded to emails at crazy hours of the night if I have needed help with something. 


In regards to the classroom structure, it is well organized. In addition, the faculty and instructors are EXTREMELY receptive to feedback. As a class, we provided minor feedback on different structures of the class schedules, exam schedules, practice times, etc., and every single request was heard, discussed, and brought to fruition. They honestly listened to us and cared about our feedback. I've always felt that the faculty and professors cared about our opinions, and they make it very apparent that they want us to succeed. They always offer support and extra time to help whenever you need it. Also, if we finish what we need to accomplish for the day, we are not forced to sit in the classroom and do nothing. All of our professors are either PAs or MDs and understand our study time requirements from their own personal experience, and give us as much as possible whenever they can. They are extremely accommodating and do not force us to complete menial tasks. They are not proponents of busy work or wasting our time. They want us to learn the material successfully and be successful, knowledgeable, and effective PAs. You also meet with a faculty member once a month to discuss literally everything. They ask you about your grades, how you're feeling, if you have anything you'd like to address, any feedback about the program, you name it. They meet with you every single month to make sure that they're supporting you in the best way possible. 


In regards to time off, I'd like to speak from personal experience. As my classmate said above, you're given one personal day to take off for weddings, birthdays, or any sort of personal occasion. You can split this into two half days to make it to two separate weddings or what not if need be. That is not negotiable because this program is extremely demanding. Becoming a PA isn't easy, and the courses you'll be taking aren't easy either. Missing school just makes you fall behind and makes you miss lectures that you need to know in order to be a competent provider. In regards to emergencies, I had one. I had a parent pass away unexpectedly a couple months ago. The first thing I did was email two faculty members telling them what I had just found out, and in a sense "freaking out" about the tests that I was going to miss and wondering how I could be home with my family who is over 2,000 miles away. They responded with the most heartfelt sincere emails assuring me that I had nothing to worry about. I was able to fly home for the funeral, spend time with my family, and was never ONCE hassled about it. I was able to take my tests at another time and then received a card with signatures and messages from every single faculty member letting me know that they were so sorry for my loss and expressing their sincere condolences. The faculty were overly accommodating and I kept thinking of how incredibly blessed I was to be in a program like that. Please do NOT think that if you experience a tragedy, they will punish you and not have your back. That is simply not the case and it is in fact the exact opposite. 


In regards to clinical year, I can't even count the number of times that we were informed of the potential situations that may occur. It was made incredibly clear to us that we may have to travel for rotations. They do their best to keep you as close as they can to your hub city. The clinical paperwork says that they will try to keep you "within 150 miles" of the city, but that you may have to relocate. If there is not a preceptor in a certain city, they will find a preceptor as close as possible who can take you. They also do their best to put you in a city (if this happens) with another classmate so that you can stay with them and not have to find housing (hence the "sleeping on couches"). I can't tell you how many times I was warned about this possibly happening. They made it very clear to me, so I don't understand how it could ever come as a surprise. Their main goal is to provide you with the education you need, and they will make that happen however they need to. It's your responsibility as a student to be receptive to change and accept that sometimes everything doesn't work out as planned. The vast majority of students that I've spoken to about their clinical experience had great things to say. 


As my classmate above also said, I am also open to speak to any potential student who would like to ask any questions personally. I love Bethel and am extremely happy with my decision to be a part of this program. My email is lodaybuchanan32@bethelu.edu. 




Laraine O'Day-Buchanan

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Not only have I had a good experience every single PACO 2017 student that I have spoken to has had a similar experience. A few months ago PACO 2016 was on campus and I didn't hear any complaints from them either.

I think that the person above (yes I do believe it is a single person in both posts why else would both accounts be created on the same day) has an issue with the program or a person at the program and wishes to do them harm. I will bring this post to the attention of my advisor and I know she will address it.  I am hoping that since there is blatant dishonesty in the posts that the forum will provide the contact info of the poster so that these grievances can be discussed in private, in an adult like manner.  

I still believe that the original post is wrought with dishonesty as addressed by Ms Oday-Buchanan's post above. I was allowed to take a Friday afternoon off to go home for my children's birthday party and I know of one other studen who lost a parent who was able to take 3 days off.

Like I said in my earlier post to complain about being treated like a child while acting like a child makes no sense to me. Pleas ask yourself if your posts above are really meant to help incoming or applying students or if they are meant to harm Bethel or make yourself feel better. I think everyone reading these posts already know the answer we just hope that you feel better and can resolve your issue before you actually do harm to either your own future or that of the program.

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To be clear, I am looking forward to my time at Bethel. Almost every PA I have shadowed or work with went to Bethel, and enthusiastically recommend BUPAP. The staff and students at the interview were great.


Just a note on professionalism. I come from a background rooted in mutual respect and professionalism. I spent 9 years in the Marine Corps, and I would challenge anyone to find an organization more dedicated to the principles of how we treat others, both up and down the ladder. No one owns you. This school belongs to you. You paid $80K to go here. In return, you will receive an education in medical science. In no instance should you allow anyone to belittle you or act unprofessionally towards you or anyone else in the program. The proper way to deal with this is to bring it up the proper channels, which is what I asked about in my previous post. 


If there is indeed a systemic lack of professionalism or respect toward the students, then that does need to be corrected. Not addressed in an anonymous post on a forum, but corrected.  So again, I ask, what have you personally done to fix the situation?


Rest assured, I will take ownership of my time at Bethel. I will not fear retribution for standing up for myself or others. I will not also go into this program with the mindset of "us" (students) versus "them" (faculty). Your post may indeed scare some away, but anyone reading it should understand that there are always differing perspectives on the same situation, and should take this with a grain of salt.

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You will thrive at Bethel.  Every day we are told that we are graduate students and they expect us to act like it.  They are training us to practice medicine and they expect us behave like people who are being trained to practice medicine.


As for the issue referenced above the staff already knew about this thread on Monday morning and addressed our entire class on Monday afternoon.  This morning our program director addressed us.  


Flexibility is a requirement, like you I have many years of military experience so as far as I am concerned I just do what is expected of me in every situation.  I wish you luck and I guess I will see you in January when you report to campus to begin your future.



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To me, the OP just seems as if they have a grudge against the school. Perhaps the significant other did not convey the importance and time commitment required to excel in a rigorous physician assistant program. Maybe there is a feeling of neglect and a placement of blame on the program. 


Furthermore, I've come to realize in my life there are people that just believe they are always being victimized and singled out, when in reality, they are blowing something out of proportion.


I received nothing but great vibes from all of the faculty members when I interviewed. I have also heard nothing but great things from current students, about how caring and accommodating the faculty is.


I look forward to starting in January and it is no exaggeration when I say that I wake up every morning thinking about it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am a class of 2016 graduate who was prepared for the PANCE and PASSED on the FIRST attempt and am happily employed in the specialty of my choice. Obviously Bethel did something right with my class, which was "thrown under the bus" about our pass rate in the beginning post. Those people were my classmates and by the end we were family. Also I don't know the exact percentage on the pass rate, however I think 80% seemed a bit exaggerated from my perspective.


I want to address some issues about what I read tonight:


1) PA school is HARD. PERIOD. If it were easy everyone would do it.

2) I have several friends from many different PA programs and guess what?! They all had their issues and problems.

3) I moved 3 hours from my spouse to complete the didactic year and my roommate was 8 hrs from hers, so I think we get the spouse perspective as well, but she and I finished and passed our boards and have happily moved past the "hell" that was PA school.

4) My class lost 12 or 13 family members during our first year, my grandmother being the first when we were 4 wks into didactic. NEVER was I made aware of an issue with funerals or family coming before class.

5) PA school is fast paced and hard, when you make the choice to do this, you make the choice to deal with the sacrifices of missing family and social events. I met my nephew on Skype that year. So be THANKFUL you got that one day off, my class didn't have that.

6) I have been informed by a very close, reliable source that the student spoken of that was kicked out has been reinstated.

7) I busted my butt getting rotations in middle TN that others have been able to use, but guess what?? I had to move for part of my rotations (yes out of state) & drive long distances.

8) I was 3 rotations from graduation and was involved in a head-on car crash resulting in a broken hip that required surgical repair and no walking for 3 months.....The staff was very open and respectful of my plan to graduate and walk with my class on time. They worked with me and I did finish on time, made up all my hours and passed all my tests so I could walk that stage with my class. We started together and ended together. I cried and hurt so bad on so many days, but hey, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

9) Do I feel things could have been handled and changed and made simpler or easier? Of course I do, but that's the same with many other aspects of life. You do what you have to until you can do better.

10) We had a crazy amount of faculty changes in my 27 months there, but I still passed and am working as a PA-C.

11) There were some faculty that were better than others in my opinion, but that's neither here nor here when it comes down to it. You work with what you're given and at the end of the day YOU ARE ULTIMATELY responsible for your own future and well-being.

12) *Edit* I forgot to add that I along with 2 other classmates had my gallbladder and their appendix removed during didactic year. Guess how many days I missed for that?! NOT ONE. Had it removed on Friday of 1st semester break and went back to class on Monday morning.

And we had 6 or 7 babies born during our cohorts time there. And one classmate's home burned to the ground.


I just don't have sympathy for whining and woe is me attitude. There are people that went through much more than I did. I don't want sympathy or a pat on the back for rising above my hardships, graduating and passing my boards was the reward for battling and overcoming.


PA school is no joke. As graduate student you are held to a higher standard than most and expected to be responsible and proactive for yourself. No one is going to hand you a Physician Assistant degree and they shouldn't have to hold your hand to get you through it.


Would I go back to Bethel? Sure. I got the education I needed to pass my boards and move forward with my life. It can be done, you just have to be willing to SUCK IT UP and make it happen.


Also I'm happy to share my email and answer questions about my posted opinion or about the program in general. kbogard21@bethelu.edu

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am currently a student at Bethel PA and I can confirm that the original poster is absolutely 100% correct about the negative aspects of Bethel's PA program.  From the mood swings of the staff dictating how the week is going to go, to being treated like elementary school children, being forced to sit in class for no good reason other than to waste our time, kicking students out for minor infractions while one student in my class had been cheating her way through half the program's tests and the staff CAUGHT HER CHEATING and allowed her to continue. This student is now in her clinical rotations while another student was dismissed from school for being late to class twice because the attendance lady decided she did not like him for whatever reason.  I would sincerely beware of applying to this school, they do not have their act together and you will quickly become depressed because of the oppression you will feel from their constant changing of the rules and the preschool style punishments.  I have been collecting an extensive list of outrageous situations that occurred at my time here at Bethel but I will not release it at this time because if the staff were to find out about it our entire class would be severely punished because that’s how this school operates (this is also the reason I am not giving my name in this post).  I cannot reiterate enough, beware of applying to Bethel PA, choose another school you will be so much happier with your life.

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  • 4 months later...



I am now in Week 7. It has been great so far. The staff is amazing. They are all very open and receptive to our needs and concerns. I am glad I came to Bethel. The facility is wonderful, and I look forward to going to class everyday. Don't worry, I will post later update if my experience changes, for the sake of another honest viewpoint so potential students can make informed decisions.

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  • 11 months later...

I was originally defensive at the original post, but through time I have understood why it was posted. 

As a first year student, you are oblivious to all of the issues that the program has with clinicals. 

As a second year student, your life is filled with anxiety as 2 staff members try to scramble to try to throw you into a rotation that may or may not work out. But hey, you agreed to possibly being moved around all over the country 5 weeks at a time, at your own expense. And 2 people setting up clinicals for 100 students, what could go wrong? 

By third year you are over it and can't wait to get out. 

The education is good, 1st time PANCE has been good, but if you want stability for clinicals, this is NOT the school for you. 

Some of the issues the school has had: expired contracts due to simple neglect, dishonesty as to how stable locations are, and optimism about setting up a new rotation (much less new hub) near home. 

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