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Hey everyone, I'm going into my last year at as a Cell & Developmental Biology major. I recently found out that I'm going to be able to graduate three months early, in March, so I'm thinking about applying in June/July of 2017. I decided last year to make the switch from pre-med to pre-PA, and I'm enjoying this journey so much more than the pre-med route. 

 

So far my GPA is a 3.52 and I have 300 hours so far, but will be around ~1500+ by the end of July 2017 if I work full-time as an EMT from March to June. I'm EMT certified and I currently volunteer as an MA.

 

I have a couple of C's from second year orgo but my third year GPA (with a full sequence of biochemistry, genetics, lab research, etc) was a 3.67. I'm taking six courses this summer (2 bio, 2 psych, 1 soc, 1 english) and I've scored straight A's in three classes so far.

 

I currently volunteer 20 hours/week as a MA at a nonprofit neighbourhood clinic (they trained me to do basically everything back office except for billing, so I regularly take vitals, patient intakes, and procedures like EKGs and glucose/hemoglobin/A1C tests.) I'm also a certified EMT and currently volunteering at first aid tents through the county public health department. I'm able to patch patients up and document the care delivered (under RN supervision, of course.) 

 

I'm planning to take anatomy & physio with the lab summer session at CC from 5/22-8/13, and/or Fall from 8/22 to 12/10, so I'd have to submit those courses as in-progress. I'm taking the GRE in a few months, and shadowing a PA in family practice a few hours a week.

 

The benefit of waiting another cycle would be that I could accrue more hours, go at a slower pace, spend time with family/friends, and take time to travel. The benefit of applying early would be graduating and working earlier, so that I can stop financially burdening my parents (I'm the eldest, so I feel especially responsible in this regard).

 

I'd really appreciate any insight that you guys could give. I'm looking at prospective schools to apply to out of state, and it's a little overwhelming - I'm not sure what schools I would be a good fit for with my numbers and volunteer experience. If anyone has any advice, I would appreciate it very much. Thank you all in advance :)

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You can always apply to a couple of schools this upcoming cycle and see where you land if you are financially able and willing to apply twice if you do not get in. Your GPA will be average but your PCE hours are on the low end so it's really a toss up depending on what schools you apply to. I think the biggest thing is to figure out which schools you want to go and research the heck out of them. I know there are some schools that say you can apply with in-progress courses but when it comes time to interview invites, they prefer applicants that do not have any that are in progress or some that say they won't give an invite until the course is finished. Just a few things to consider. I am in the camp of wait another year, get all your classes in, accumulate more than the minimum hours, and save up money while enjoying time with your family to ensure you get in when you apply. This process is a marathon. Good luck though!

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You can always apply to a couple of schools this upcoming cycle and see where you land if you are financially able and willing to apply twice if you do not get in. Your GPA will be average but your PCE hours are on the low end so it's really a toss up depending on what schools you apply to. I think the biggest thing is to figure out which schools you want to go and research the heck out of them. I know there are some schools that say you can apply with in-progress courses but when it comes time to interview invites, they prefer applicants that do not have any that are in progress or some that say they won't give an invite until the course is finished. Just a few things to consider. I am in the camp of wait another year, get all your classes in, accumulate more than the minimum hours, and save up money while enjoying time with your family to ensure you get in when you apply. This process is a marathon. Good luck though!

 

Agreed in regards to giving it a shot this year. My first time applying I had stats quite similar to yours OP (although I was two years out of college), and considered it a "test run" to get a feel for the process. And wouldn't you know it, I was accepted.

You have nothing to lose (except some application fees) by applying summer of 2017. Hopefully you'll score at least one interview so you can shake out any nerves and learn first-hand what these programs are seeking in their applicants. If you aren't accepted, you can go into the following cycle already prepped for the process.

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If you plan on having everything done or at least in progress by June I would say go for it. You GPA is decent and provided your GRE is about 50% and HCE <1000 hrs you should get some interviews. Research schools you are interested in and look at their accepted stats, try and find schools that you are a good fit for.

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Woah! Thanks to all who have replied. I didn't expect so many replies - thank you all; I really appreciate your time. 

 

I didn't mention this earlier, but I skipped a grade in elementary school, so I'll be graduating at the age of 20 - turning 21 in May 2017. I feel like that'd be more of a reason to take the extra year to grow as a person and apply when I feel ready. (As cheesy as that sounds). I just feel like I was rushed to get into college -- visiting east coast schools by myself at the ripe age of 16 -- and attending first year when I was 17. Then I pressured by my parents to "get into" medical school. So it seems like a selfish reason, but I'd really just like a year to breathe, for once.

 

I'd likely be able to choose more established programs and geographical locations that I'd like to live if I applied later, which is a perk. Applying earlier would be a bit more of a gamble, and I've always liked playing it safe. I'm definitely leaning towards applying in 2018 after hearing all of your thoughts, but the interview experience would admittedly be a benefit.

 

I'm curious though, @pa-wannabe, what schools did you apply to? I have been looking at schools that take newer graduates, such as Butler U in Indiana; they all seem to want higher GPAs in lieu of experience (in terms of life experience, or PCE hours). I don't think my GPA is really "good enough" to offset the fact that I don't have 2,000+ hours (and my age). 

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Woah! Thanks to all who have replied. I didn't expect so many replies - thank you all; I really appreciate your time. 

 

I didn't mention this earlier, but I skipped a grade in elementary school, so I'll be graduating at the age of 20 - turning 21 in May 2017. I feel like that'd be more of a reason to take the extra year to grow as a person and apply when I feel ready. (As cheesy as that sounds). I just feel like I was rushed to get into college -- visiting east coast schools by myself at the ripe age of 16 -- and attending first year when I was 17. Then I pressured by my parents to "get into" medical school. So it seems like a selfish reason, but I'd really just like a year to breathe, for once.

 

I'd likely be able to choose more established programs and geographical locations that I'd like to live if I applied later, which is a perk. Applying earlier would be a bit more of a gamble, and I've always liked playing it safe. I'm definitely leaning towards applying in 2018 after hearing all of your thoughts, but the interview experience would admittedly be a benefit.

 

I'm curious though, @pa-wannabe, what schools did you apply to? I have been looking at schools that take newer graduates, such as Butler U in Indiana; they all seem to want higher GPAs in lieu of experience (in terms of life experience, or PCE hours). I don't think my GPA is really "good enough" to offset the fact that I don't have 2,000+ hours (and my age). 

 

If you're okay with waiting a year (and that's great!  There's nothing wrong with that!) you're right - growing as a person is a huge thing.  You'll be in charge of people's lives as a PA and maturity and life experience can be great knowledge to have.  You'll never regret taking an extra year to get more experience in life and in healthcare and applying when you have an even stronger application especially when you're only 20/21.  No need to rush into it, you have plenty of time.  (If anything, you might regret not taking that time for yourself - PA school is intense and a life full of working awaits afterwards...)

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I guess on some level I'm a bit irrationally worried about what others will think - my mother in particular wants me to do things faster, to "save time and money", but she never went to college so I don't think she understands how difficult things are for me. I also feel like many of my classmates who decided early on about dental school, pharm school, etc. are doing one gap year if they do one at all. I just don't want anyone to think me as lazy or slow, I guess. But I realize that a) that's an irrational fear since I am so Type A & generally a competent human being, b) everyone's journey is different, and c) a year here or there won't make or break my finances since I'm lucky enough to have parents who can support me! I've also talked to many many clinicians/ third year PA students/ professors/ advisors who have encouraged me to take the extra year. 

 

Redditors also pointed out to me that having anatomy & physio in progress doesn't look good on my application, either. I think I'm going to take an extra year and apply next cycle,  so that I can be in a better spot for my preferred locations - California schools in particular seem pretty competitive. I'm planning on moving back home to work as an EMT at either an ambulance agency or in the ER of a hospital after I graduate in March. I would love to continue volunteering at a nonprofit clinic in my spare time (if I have any), continuing to shadow, and wrapping up pre-req classes (anatomy, physio, medical terminology, spanish) from March 2017-June 2018. Sounds like a solid plan? Thank you all for your kindness & input! :)

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