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Discouraged about re-applying in 2017

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Hello all, this was my first year applying to PA school and I did not receive any interviews. I was hoping to receive some advice for next year as I know I am a very mediocre applicant. Here are my Stats: 

Undergrad GPA3.16

Science GPA3.05
BCP GPA: 2.74
GRE: 150 quant 148 verbal
LOR: RN, PA, Pharmacist
Patient care : CNA (1400), Pharmacy tech(1500), Medical Scribe(400)
Schools Applied: 29!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Applications Submitted: Late June/ Early July
I am really embarrassed to discuss this with any of my coworkers or family members, so I am hoping you guys can help me out. I would have thought I would at least gotten ONE interview. sigh :(. Any advice is appreciated!

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You went to USF..? 

 

I know they have a biomedical masters program.. it would help with your GPA. That's your anchor currently.. avg. for my program acceptance was 3.65. Otherwise keep working to gain more hours!

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Need to raise the GPA.  Also not all programs will count pharm tech (maybe as HCE but not PCE) which nearly cuts your PCE in half.  Less than 2000 hrs of direct PCE isn't competitive.  May also want to retake the GRE - colloquially a 300 is the minimum.

 

Also check your PS and LORs.

 

Make sure you are applying to programs where your stats are competitive, i.e match that of matriculating students.  Applying to a large # of programs never guarantees an interview if your app isn't competitive.  

 

Basically, from what you have here, all parts of your app are underwhelming.  Often a low GPA can be mitigated by stellar PCE and vice versa.  You are technically below average on all accounts.  There's nothing to make an admissions committee give you a chance.

 

You may want to take a year off from applying unless you've made significant improvements during this application cycle - applying again with nearly the same stats will likely just be a waste of money.

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Im skeptical about doing a Grad program because I thought Grad GPA is completely separate and it would still show I have low undergrad GPA. Also it would be hard to get into a Grad program with a 148, right? I feel like my best bet is to retake the GRE and gain more experience because I can only raise by GPA by so much.

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Im skeptical about doing a Grad program because I thought Grad GPA is completely separate and it would still show I have low undergrad GPA. Also it would be hard to get into a Grad program with a 148, right? I feel like my best bet is to retake the GRE and gain more experience because I can only raise by GPA by so much.

 

It's more about showing that you can do better. So really you need a mix of GPA ^ Hours ^ GRE ^ (In that order of necessity)  I think I remember programs wanting 300+ though so GRE may be just as important for you.

 

I went to USF.. the biomed masters should be pretty cheap and easy enough for you to accumulate hours at the same time.. definitely a lot of dedication needed!

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I agree with above. Your GPA is your weakest point. Try taking some classes and do well in them. Although they may not boost your GPA that much, schools will at least see an upward trend and know that you can currently handle school. Did you do any shadowing? You should try to retake the GRE and at least get that Verbal score up. Gain more HCE hours as a CNA (if you're still working as one). And review your personal statement/essays. It can seal the deal on an application. 

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Agree with much of above, more HCE. With the lower GPA a higher GRE would greatly help your chance, think above 305 combined. With your GPA it really depends on what your bad grades are. If they are really low and you haven't retaken those classes yet then you could get a good boost from some retakes. If you have already retaken them or you are averaging a B then a retake isn't going to help you much, if that's the case then the grad program might be an option.

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As a 2nd time applicant I'll tell it to you like it is. Honestly your best bet is to go through a grad program and pass with 3.7 or higher. 90% of PA school will filter your app right out if you don't and decide to just reapply. More healthcare is good but not gonna really get you accepted. There is a difference between being called to interview and actually getting accepted. The apps that get accepted are ones that flat out have high GPAs. It's a cruel process but it is what it is. As far as a grad program turning you down for a low gre, I doubt that will happen. Most places are like Casinos, "pay to play" what I mean is unless you're going to apply to a grad program that is really in demand they won't care much what your GPA, GRE, or whatever. As long as you can pay them your in. Not to sugar coat it but let's be real PA programs all want to recruit smart apps so they too can stay in business and not get shut down. So it will be to your benefit to come across as a safe bet.

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Re-taking classes are not really an option for me because I an basically a B student , so I have mostly C+, B-,B, B+ grades and the community college near me wont let me retake classes unless i failed. I think my next course of action will be to retake the GRE and then get my Masters while accumulating HCE. I am currently still working as a CNA. Then maybe after about 2 years I will re-apply to PA school?  Does that sound like a good plan?

 

 

 

I just feel like there is such a huge rush for some reason. I actually recently just graduated from Undergrad in Spring of this year(not 2013, it was an error, just changed it), so I am fairly young compared to most applicants.

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Re-taking classes are not really an option for me because I an basically a B student , so I have mostly C+, B-,B, B+ grades and the community college near me wont let me retake classes unless i failed. I think my next course of action will be to retake the GRE and then get my Masters while accumulating HCE. I am currently still working as a CNA. Then maybe after about 2 years I will re-apply to PA school?  Does that sound like a good plan?

 

 

 

I just feel like there is such a huge rush for some reason. I actually recently just graduated from Undergrad in Spring of this year(not 2013, it was an error, just changed it), so I am fairly young compared to most applicants.

 

Yes, you need to realize it could be YEARS before you are ready to apply again.  

 

I never can remember if the Masters programs will help your GPA but if they don't, YES it will show that you can do it, but you could in theory still be auto-sorted right out of contention if your sGPA and cGPA are too low compared to other applicants.  You also run the risk, if you are a B student like you say, of having a 3.0 GPA to show for it....which isn't going to get the effect you want from it.  I realize taking classes at a CC is cheaper, but it might be to your benefit to spend the money to retake them anywhere you can (even if it means a 4 yr university).  Or take new, upper level science courses (and get A's) which would help your cGPA and your sGPA.  

 

Having a lot of HCE CAN offset subpar grades but we are talking 5+ years worth of full time work.  Instead of setting a timeline of '2 years then I'll apply again' think of it in terms of having a competitive app: 'I'll apply again when my GRE is > 300, when my sGPA is 3.XX, when I have X000 hours of HCE'.  You'll prevent yourself from wasting money.

 

Also take the time to find schools where your numbers are competitive.  Where your collective app is similar to students that a school accepts.  Just meeting the minimums anywhere isn't going to get you interviews.

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You need to retake your GRE at least, and aim for the 70-85 percentile in those subjects to counter that GPA, especially if youre hesitant about spending another 2 years in grad school. I applied with a low GPA, but during interviews, i had one lady tell me that although my GPA was not very competitive, my GRE was extremely competitive and to her that showed I had the intelligence to succeed in PA school even though my GPA may say differently.

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My science GPA is higher than my BCP GPA because alot of my science classes are outside the BCP categories.I do agree GRE is my first step at the least. It seems from the majority of your comments that I'm looking at 3+ years before I could be competitive enough to apply again...which is very disappointing

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Where did you apply? Your GPA is quite low compared to the usual accepted students. Certainly applying early isn't your issue. Most likely your GPA and average HCE. 1800 HCE isn't amazing. It's okay. You can improve your GPA or your HCE. There are tons of applicants on this forum who got accepted with 3.0 GPAs, however, they tend to have far more HCE. 

 

You said you're a B student. You were only able to get Bs in undergrad. How are you so sure you can manage PA school which is far more rigorous? In some programs they only allow you to have 2 Cs and then you're done for. My program require a 3.0 GPA to stay in the program.

 

The worst thing that could happen to an applicant isn't failing to get accepted into PA school. It's getting accepted and then failing out. 

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I applied to these following schools:

Arizona School of Health Sciences

South university- west palm and tampa

barry university

wake forest

UT southwestern

university of washington

university of utah

Tufts

USA

University of texas

University of charleston

Touro- California and Nevada

Texas Tech

Stony University

St. Ambrose 

Penn state

Rosalind

Quinniapac

Nova- Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale

Northwestern

Midwestern

MCPHS

James Madison

Albany Medical College

 

In college I was balancing 18 plus credit hours and a full time job, and I think I will do better in PA school because I wont be working and can focus more on studying and I wont have all the distractions I had in college. 

 

My worst grades are in 

Orgo Lab- C

physics -C+

A&P 2- C

Genetics- C

Biochemistry- C+

Survery of Human Diseases- C

Foundations of global health- C

 

Taking A&P2, Micro, and Genetics in the same semester with two other classes was my biggest mistake!

 

Everything else is a B- and above

 

Also my BCP GPA is brought down significantly by a D in Micro, but I retook it and received an A-

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I just feel like there is such a huge rush for some reason.

 

Is there a typical reason why you are rushing or feel like there is a huge rush to pursue grad/PA school?

 

When I was a junior I was experiencing this...but I tuned it out and decided not to apply until my senior year so I have a gap year to work on my application. Comparing my JR year stats to my SR years...I am glad I waited and took my time.

 

The application process is time and money consuming. Applying to 29 schools sounds excessive. Focus on your overall candidacy, choose 6~10 schools you are really interested in and try to match or exceed their class profiles. Shot gunning it will be a waste.

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I applied to these following schools:

Arizona School of Health Sciences

South university- west palm and tampa

barry university

wake forest

UT southwestern

university of washington

university of utah

Tufts

USA

University of texas

University of charleston

Touro- California and Nevada

Texas Tech

Stony University

St. Ambrose 

Penn state

Rosalind

Quinniapac

Nova- Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale

Northwestern

Midwestern

MCPHS

James Madison

Albany Medical College

 

In college I was balancing 18 plus credit hours and a full time job, and I think I will do better in PA school because I wont be working and can focus more on studying and I wont have all the distractions I had in college. 

 

My worst grades are in 

Orgo Lab- C

physics -C+

A&P 2- C

Genetics- C

Biochemistry- C+

Survery of Human Diseases- C

Foundations of global health- C

 

Taking A&P2, Micro, and Genetics in the same semester with two other classes was my biggest mistake!

 

Everything else is a B- and above

 

Also my BCP GPA is brought down significantly by a D in Micro, but I retook it and received an A-

 

You need to take a look at program websites and see where they post matriculating student stats.  Unfortunately some of those programs are tops in the country and your stats just didn't stand a chance.  You need to find programs where your GPA, HCE, GRE are in line with students that are accepted.  

 

As an aside - PA school is more intense than taking A&P2 + genetics + micro + 2 other classes every. single. semester.  Most programs have you in class 30-40 hrs per week then you're spending your 'free' time studying everything because you probably have an exam a week plus countless other things to complete.  Not to deter you, but just be prepared.

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Just from looking at your list i can tell you wake forest, U of Wash, U of Utah, Tufts, Penn state, Rosy frank, Northwestern, Midwestern, MCPHS, James Madison are high GPA/more competitive schools. All PA programs are competitive but there are some that are less competitive. You should try to target those with your current app status. 

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In college I was balancing 18 plus credit hours and a full time job, and I think I will do better in PA school because I wont be working and can focus more on studying and I wont have all the distractions I had in college. 

 

My worst grades are in 

Orgo Lab- C

physics -C+

A&P 2- C

Genetics- C

Biochemistry- C+

Survery of Human Diseases- C

Foundations of global health- C

 

 

 

^that is probably the reason you got those grades. I don't really know a lot of people going to get A's working full time with 18credits. Thats not really a smart decision IMO. I worked full time overnight, Never more than 16 credits at a time, I don't care how easy the class is. The only way 18credits makes sense to me is if you're not working. 

 

My suggestion: Go through another BS degree. Something in Health Sciences. Thats exactly what I did. I'm from another country though, so it was a different decision making process for me. but thats the only thing I can think of. Especially since you're young, I don't see what the rush is about.

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With my 3.3, i got interviews at wake forest, UTsouthwestern, and Rosalind - these are high-ranked programs that are very competitive, but I still got a chance, again because of my GRE scores and killer personal statement and secondaries. Don't be discouraged, but definitely be realistic. Make sure your personal statement and your secondaries really shine and blow them out of the waters.

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My BCP GPA is probably the only GPA I can significantly improve. I think next semester I am going to take a few science classes at my local community college. I dont think the second bachelor degree will be a good option for me. cost is a big factor for me which is why i cant take more pre-reqs at a university and if i do a second Bachelor they will charge me twice tuition because I would be over 132 credit hours. The biggest thing i am contemplating right now is the Masters Degree. 

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My worst grades are in 

Orgo Lab- C

physics -C+

A&P 2- C

Genetics- C

Biochemistry- C+

Survery of Human Diseases- C

Foundations of global health- C

 

Taking A&P2, Micro, and Genetics in the same semester with two other classes was my biggest mistake!

 

Everything else is a B- and above

 

Also my BCP GPA is brought down significantly by a D in Micro, but I retook it and received an A-

Retake A&P 2, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Survey of Human Diseases. Get B's or better (ideally A's) and then reapply. You should also meet with a PA program director to ask what you could do to make your app more competitive. Follow their advice to a T.

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Don't be discouraged!! I had a 3.14 science GPA  and a 3.43 overall GPA. I was in undergrad for 6 years (transferring and changing my mind in early college set me back a lot). I spent my last three years at a huge university and I really "screwed up" there. I went from a 4.0 student my first three years to a C/B student my last three. I even got a D in Chem II and had to retake it. 

 

My first time applying, I learned so much. I didn't have high expectations to get in due to my GPA and relatively low HCE but I knew that I had to try. I was surprised when I got an invite-only supplemental application to USciences but in the end, I was rejected by all 7 schools... which was definitely discouraging. I used the rest of the year to work on my HCE by becoming an EMT (<< great learning experience!) and working in a doctor's office as a non-certified medical assistant. I also started a new personal statement months in advance, having it reviewed by multiple people. In my statement, I avoided drawing attention to where I was lacking (academics) and focused more on the experiences that led me to want to become a PA, as well as those that have prepared me to succeed as a PA student/practicing PA (especially those that I have accomplished since my first time applying). 

 

I also took my GRE last year with little preparation and did "average". I didn't have time to study and retake them this year so I decided not to include them and only applied to schools that didn't require it. If you have the time, I'd definitely recommend retaking them and getting an above-average score though. 

 

Next year, I'd DEFINITELY also recommend doing your research and branching out to schools that maybe you haven't heard of or areas you wouldn't have normally thought to go. 

 

This year was my second time applying and I applied to every school I could on the East Coast that accepted my GPA and no GRE's. I knew I had a better shot than last year, but I wasn't sure if it was. After attending a couple of interviews, I recently accepted a seat at Marywood University. Before my interview, I attended an open house to the school and fell in love with the program (attending these can also be a bonus to your application if you make yourself standout without being overbearing). This program was one of the last minute ones I added on a whim because I have never heard of it but I'm so glad that I did.

 

 

You don't necessarily have to take additional classes or get a master's to get accepted into a program next year. My advice is to look up schools on this forum, see the stats of previously accepted students to get a feel for the schools and what they look for. Some schools focus more on the "well-rounded student", rather than a high GPA. This means lots of meaningful HCE (some programs are picky with what is acceptable patient-care experience...I know scribing can be considered as shadowing), submitting your application EARLY (within the first week or two of the opening date if possible), and an impressive personal statement. If this is what you truly want to do, don't give up on it. I would have applied 4 more times if that's what it took. If that's the same case for you, show them that passion in your statement, essays, and future interviews.

 

 

Sorry for the long post. I just understand the struggle associated with low GPA and want you to know that there's still plenty of hope! Good luck!

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Hey! 

So I am definitely in the same boat as you as a student who had an equally lower GPA. I took a gap year and retook classes at the local community college that I had not done so well in while attending university. I ended up retaking Gen Chem, Ochem, and Micro to up my B and C grades to solid As. From here, I was able to really connect with some of the professors unlike my undergrad where my classes were around 300 students. Because of my time spent working part-time and taking classes that gap year, I spent time volunteering with a public health care agency and I managed to get three solid LOR (PA, MPH, and chem professor). My experiences with the public health department inspired me to first pursue a public health degree, (which you are probably more than well qualified for) to further my understanding of healthcare and see how that side of the healthcare team works. I definitely recommend this route just because of the tools I have already gained which will help me as I work as a clinician (and the grades will count as science classes for most, also increasing your GPA). I am a first time applicant, but was waitlisted at USC and am still waiting on 5 other school. I received 3 other notices that basically told me I was an intermediate applicant before being rejected. I plan to apply again next cycle assuming I don't get into the other 5 I am waiting on.

My point is, do not be discouraged. I have heard of applicants applying 4 times before finally getting accepted. With each cycle though, try and improve your resume, whether it be GPA, HCE, or volunteer experiences. If you have a low GPA in some of your core science classes, I recommend that you retake those classes though. If you were unsuccessful in your classes, show the admissions committee that you have the capacity to be successful in those classes by retaking them now. Also, if you have a weak understanding of one of those core classes, this will make studying while in PA school that much harder because you will have to go back and fill in those learning gaps. I feel much more confident in those subjects now than I did coming out of undergrad, and now that I am finishing up my masters in public health, I feel more confident in my abilities to educate my patients and act as a resource to helping them get specific healthcare services. 

Sorry this is so long, but I this is just my two cents. Good luck with your applicant process! :)

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