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First time application anxiety!

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Hi All,


I will be applying this upcoming cycle and I am really nervous about the process. Here are my stats:


A.) Degree: Human Bio B.S. in 2014 from UCSD

B.) Science GPA: 3.78

C.) Pre req Grades:

1.) Anatomy + lab - A

2.) Physiology + lab - A

3.) Genetics - A

4.) Biochemistry - A

5.) General Chemistry - A-

6.) Organic Chemistry - A-

7.) Statistics - A

8.) Microbiology - tbd

D.) Healthcare hours (>1000 hours)

1.) Medical assistant at an orthopedic/spinal practice

2.) Per diem CNA at a hospital

E.) Shadowing - at least 30 hours of observing 3 PAs in hematology, cardiology and orthopedics. Considering more hours.

F.) Volunteering (kind of lacking)

1.) Medical externship to China (4 weeks)

2.) Muscular Dystrophy camp counselor (1 week per summer for the last 2 years)

3.) Any other volunteering ideas? Definitely not at a hospital since I work at one.



So, I think my GPA, grades and HCE are suffient but my shadowing/volunteering experience are lacking! Any current admits and students have similar stats upon your application or admission to PA programs?


Thank you :)!

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I had pretty much the same stats as you and I got interviews this year as a first time applicant! Just make sure you submit as early as possible, I would say before June 1st since most places do rolling admissions. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. I would see if you could try and get 20-40 or so more volunteer health experience before CASPA opens! Good luck and PM if you have any more specific questions!

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You can never shadow too much so if you feel the need to shadow more, go for it! Same goes for volunteering. Your stats/grades are great, so don't be so nervous!  I volunteered with hospice for a few years (it required a little bit of training but it didn't take long) and it was really great exposure working with a very sensitive and specific patient population. Blood drives are a great way to volunteer too. It really doesn't even have to be healthcare-related volunteer experience, schools mostly want to know you care about helping people and being involved in your community but it looks nice if it's relevant to your PA career. Lots of people do medical mission trips too, but that can be pricey paying for travel costs.

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Your GPA great and you have some HCE so you shouldn't be stressing. You can always easily add more shadowing hours. People that should be stressing are ones that have poor grades even if it's 10 years ago, CASPA factors everything. My GPA was an average of 3.2 on caspa but in reality my transcripts said 3.7 so you have to know your CASPA GPA because it's different. Anyways, I got accepted during my first interview. Grades don't matter. Just do well on your interview



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Get your letters and stuff set now so that you're not waiting on people when the clock starts ticking. Ideally they'll have your letter saved and can upload it to caspa within a day or so of your email. Also use this time to polish your personal statement.


As was already said, apply early. Ideally before July 1. I'm sure a good chunk of my interviews were because of that.


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