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Am I ready to apply for PA school now or next cycle? Need advice.


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Hello everyone, I'm currently an undergraduate student from CUNY and am trying to look for many opinions from other people in this field. Here's a little background on me as well as my qualifications below. 

 

-Currently enrolled in a 4-year CUNY and am now finishing my B.S. in Biology this upcoming fall.  

- My cumulative GPA is 3.915. 

- My science GPA is 3.946.

- Possible candidate for summa cum laude honors.

- Maybe valedictorian or salutatorian but I'm not counting on this. 

- President's List, Provost's List, Dean's List. 

- Member of Chi Alpha Epsilon honor society and Phi Theta Kappa honor society. 

- SEEK student. 

 

- Science courses I've completed as well as classes I'm going to complete this fall:

Genetics, Pathophysiology. Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Statistics, Molecular Bio Tech: Theory and Application, Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Abnormal Psychology, General Bio, General Chemistry, General Physics 1.  

With labs.

All are A's and A+ except Gen Chem II Lab which was a B [This professor would mark our lab answers wrong if we didn't match the theoretical answer on her lab manual solutions book. She was also pretty darn anal on her format on how to hand in assignments and wasn't clear about until it was too late to change it :l] and Gen Bio II Lecture was a B+[ Was 3 exams and a final with all being above 90 except my 2nd exam which was a 77].

 

-Health care experience: Medical Scribe, currently at around 150 hours at the time this post was written. I'm part-time and will go full-time after this fall. Also, I've shadowed a Nephrologist for 1 week which equals 25 hours. 

 

- Non-clinical experience: 150 hours at the time this post was written. I've done tutoring for adults and children at public schools and learning centers around NYC. The majority of my hours come from serving food at a kosher soup kitchen.

 

-The biggest mistake I think I've done in my college career in general is not accumulating my clinical and non-clinical hours as early as I could've :l [i didn't really start until around the end of last year] and not taking organic chemistry. My concentration is General Biology not pre-med and my advisor told me this option was for pre-PA and the other was pre-MD...

 

- I was born in the U.S. and my parents are from Ecuador. I'm going to graduate debt-free since I've been on financial aid since we're not financially fortunate and been doing well in school. I turned 21 in May of this year. 

 

-I speak English and Spanish fluently and am currently learning simplified Chinese. 

 

- I didn't take GRE and organic chemistry. I would've taken orgo 1 if I'd only knew I could've taken it for free since being above 3.0 for a while allows you to take a free course once you reach full time according to the cunyfirst system. There are a bunch of schools around here, however, that don't need orgo but it'd make me even more competitive. 

 

-Lastly, SUNY Downstate seems to be my #1 choice for PA school. So, I'm optimizing my courses for that school, but as of now I only could apply to 3-4 schools based on what I'll have by the end of this fall. GRE, orgo, other courses, and AP credits are getting in the way of some other schools. My Stats and Calc credits are from AP, both 4's.

 

-I've done Downstate's PATH Allied Health Track program during the Summer of 2015, which should be a +1 when applying for their school. 

 

- LOR's are comming in soon which is a Neuro MD, my supervisor from NY cares volunteering, my Patho professor who is also an MD, and maybe other professors I know. I recently started working as a scribe, so my supervisor didn't want to give me a LOR yet which is understandable. 

 

-I'm going to study for GRE soon...

 

What are my chances? Any guidance is well appreciated. Thanks for taking your time to read this. Looking forward to hear from this forum. I'm new here :). 

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Just apply and see what happens if your financially able to. The worse that happens is you don't get an interview, but that's what's gonna happen either way if you don't apply at all. Maybe you can get at least some interview experience and maybe even an acceptance.

 

Keep working on gaining healthcare experience and try to also get something that's more hands on with a patient than just a scribe. I would also recommend taking Organic Chem and the GRE as more schools than not require them.

 

I say just apply, you got nothing to lose besides the application costs and everything to gain.

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I'd say you need at least 500 hours of HCE. Most competitive PA school applicants have 1000+. I'd say wait until next cycle... Also for SUNY downstate, you must complete at least 250 hours of non-clinical volunteer hours. This means time spent doing serious community outreach projects, or something of the like. And also, 250 hours is the minimum--- which translates to "this is the amount of hours for our program to not throw out your application". Meeting PA minimum requirements does not make you competitive.

 

I, myself, will likely apply to this program soon... I only will have 250 hours, perhaps a little more non-clinical volunteer hours. I suspect though, because of this requirement, most applicants have strong roots in volunteer work and will have many more hours of non-HCE volunteer work than myself (which will give them an edge over me). I hope they will still look favorably on my ~2500 volunteer EMT hours... even though it doesn't count towards this requirement.

 

All of your grades look great. From PA-C's and PA-S's I've talked with -- you don't need to have A's in everything to be accepted... it does look great to have high grades though, of course. Work on rounding out the other parts of your application since the grades are in really good shape. And it's not unusual to take a year between undergrad and PA applications to rack up 1000's of HCE hours.

 

Good luck! 

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Definitely next cycle. You want to do this once so you're not wasting tons of money.

 

You want to have some confidence when dealing with patients during didactic/clinical year of PA school. You have the academic portion down, but do you know how to handle a patient who is outright disrespectful or entitled?

 

It doesn't hurt to wait.

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^^ next cycle.  I am usually the one to be a cheerleader about applying now- but with no GRE yet and I don't know how many classes you have this fall- your application will be incomplete for many programs. Plus it is getting late...  The CASPA is a process and even if you did it all today- by the time all your transcripts, evaluations, GRE scores, and verified- it's be hard to get it done before mid-end September, which is really late for applying

 

You'll be a great candidate next year!

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^^ next cycle.  I am usually the one to be a cheerleader about applying now- but with no GRE yet and I don't know how many classes you have this fall- your application will be incomplete for many programs. Plus it is getting late...  The CASPA is a process and even if you did it all today- by the time all your transcripts, evaluations, GRE scores, and verified- it's be hard to get it done before mid-end September, which is really late for applying

 

You'll be a great candidate next year!

In your opinion, is it also getting late to apply for Nov-Jan deadlines? My applications will be complete next week--- think I'm still in the clear? Thanks. 

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In your opinion, is it also getting late to apply for Nov-Jan deadlines? My applications will be complete next week--- think I'm still in the clear? Thanks. 

 

Yes it's still late.  Most applicants apply all at once - for all the programs they are applying to - and so even schools that have a Nov or even Jan deadline likely have a sizeable amount of applications already submitted.  Unless you know 100% guarantee they don't start reviewing apps until after the deadline (this is rare, in my experience), programs with late deadlines have likely started reviewing apps and perhaps even started offering (or holding) interviews.

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Yes it's still late.  Most applicants apply all at once - for all the programs they are applying to - and so even schools that have a Nov or even Jan deadline likely have a sizeable amount of applications already submitted.  Unless you know 100% guarantee they don't start reviewing apps until after the deadline (this is rare, in my experience), programs with late deadlines have likely started reviewing apps and perhaps even started offering (or holding) interviews.

I have 3 more that do not have rolling admissions with deadlines in Dec./Jan.--- and one that does. So my chances are slim for these schools, then? 

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I have 3 more that do not have rolling admissions with deadlines in Dec./Jan.--- and one that does. So my chances are slim for these schools, then? 

 

Rolling admissions doesn't necessarily mean they haven't started reviewing and interviewing.  Not having rolling admissions just means they generally wait until after all interviews to accept most of the class vs deciding on each student after each interview.  It really depends on the school but I personally would consider this late.

 

Especially with essentially no HCE (anything less than 1000 and ideally 2000 hours generally isn't very competitive) I'd just wait until next year to apply at this point.  Do it well once vs giving less than your best this year and then needing to really show improvement to schools the second time around.

 

(Plus no GRE and only professor LORs....wait and get an employment supervisor for next year.)  Plenty of reasons to wait.  Only 6 months til the next cycle opens.  

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So, it's getting late in CASPA season to submit applications. But, if you find a program you like that has no minimum HCE, and does not require orgo or GRE, go for it. You have excellent grades, but that's about it.

 

Otherwise wait, take the GRE, build HCE hours and apply the first day of the next cycle.

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Before you spend the money on CASPA, I'd make sure to check with each school that you are applying to

 

I just got a call yesterday that my interview scheduled for next week will be simply for a spot on the waitlist, because they fulled the class.  I am still going to attend.  But I submitted early July- I was shocked that I was so late to the game with an early July submission.  The deadline for this school is November 1st!

 

If you have plenty of money and time- you can do it, it will give you experience with this even if you don't get an interview.  But if you'd be real upset about the lost money, it's not worth it.  You will be a really good applicant next year- this year you are fighting against a clock- but it's your call at the end of the day.  Good Luck in whichever you decide!

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Before you spend the money on CASPA, I'd make sure to check with each school that you are applying to

 

I just got a call yesterday that my interview scheduled for next week will be simply for a spot on the waitlist, because they fulled the class.  I am still going to attend.  But I submitted early July- I was shocked that I was so late to the game with an early July submission.  The deadline for this school is November 1st!

 

If you have plenty of money and time- you can do it, it will give you experience with this even if you don't get an interview.  But if you'd be real upset about the lost money, it's not worth it.  You will be a really good applicant next year- this year you are fighting against a clock- but it's your call at the end of the day.  Good Luck in whichever you decide!

Yeah, it quickly became a race against the clock to apply for this cycle. I'm really overwhelmed because I'm actually trying to do this all in one week which is getting more hectic by the day. It sucks because I have everything just not the HCE for Downstate. 

 

Also, is it actually true you can only apply to Downstate a max of 2 times? 

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You have amazing grades! You'll have absolutely no problem getting interviews if you apply next cycle.

 

I found myself in a very similar situation last year as I was finishing undergrad, I had a great GPA, but had only accumulated 500 or so hours working as an EMT by the time I graduated. I was rushing trying to accumulate as many hours as I could and scrambling for letters of recommendation in an attempt to get my application in by the end of summer for programs that required 1K hours. I decided to wait and apply this cycle, which has turned out to be a great decision.

 

That extra gap year will allow you to gain more experience and save some money prior to starting PA school. Maybe try getting a quick cert like phlebotomy, CNA, or EMT to get hands-on patient experience in conjunction with scribing, that way you have the ability to start perfecting communication with patients and bedside manner. Wouldn't worry too much about studying for the GRE considering your academic record, my scores are caca and I'm getting interviews.

 

Good luck! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

You have amazing grades! You'll have absolutely no problem getting interviews if you apply next cycle.

 

I found myself in a very similar situation last year as I was finishing undergrad, I had a great GPA, but had only accumulated 500 or so hours working as an EMT by the time I graduated. I was rushing trying to accumulate as many hours as I could and scrambling for letters of recommendation in an attempt to get my application in by the end of summer for programs that required 1K hours. I decided to wait and apply this cycle, which has turned out to be a great decision.

 

That extra gap year will allow you to gain more experience and save some money prior to starting PA school. Maybe try getting a quick cert like phlebotomy, CNA, or EMT to get hands-on patient experience in conjunction with scribing, that way you have the ability to start perfecting communication with patients and bedside manner. Wouldn't worry too much about studying for the GRE considering your academic record, my scores are caca and I'm getting interviews.

 

Good luck! :)al

I am certified in Phlebotomy, EKG, CPR, and Medical Assistant. I just decided to do ED scribing first because I got the opportunity to land a job much easier in that profession. ALSO, THIS QUESTION IS FOR ANYONE AT OR PURSUING DOWNSTATE, do you think they will let me complete the amount of hours prior to matriculation to the program? I'll definitely have 1000+ hours before next summer.

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  • 6 months later...

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