Jump to content

Feel like I am punished for my GPA, need help!

Recommended Posts

Hello all, this will be my third time applying to PA school (first time was a trial run really with only 5 schools to test the waters). I was previously applying to PT school but always had second thoughts about it since I switched from pre-med/PA to prePT and then made the decision to go back. I was waitlisted for a number of PT schools when I applied and have been waitlisted at a few PA schools like Elon, Gardner Webb, St. Scholastica (only the 1 year of the accreditation fiasco and I am a CSS alum). So here are some stats and I am wondering what else to do. I had 1 interview last year at Campbell and they requested I switch jobs from being a Cert Pharm Tech to something like scribe, cna, cma, emt. I switched at the end of 2016 and have been scribing at a private clinic since. Aside from doing the charting for my MD, I am also included in on minor procedures, looking at the Xrays, EKG's, interpreting lab work (this has been so far an AMAZING learning experience).


So here are my stats: Age 26

Undergrad cGPA:3.37--have retaken some classes at community college after graduation in 2012.


Chem 1:A

Chem 2: B+

Anat/Phys 1:A

Anat/Phys 2: A-

Gen Bio 1:A

Gen Bio 2:B+


Physics 1:A

Physics 2:B

Ochem 1: lecture C+, Lab A

Ochem 2: lecture B, Lab B+ (took both of these in summer 2015-am considering retaking the Ochem 1 over again if schedule and finances allow)

Stats: A

Psych: A

Sociology: A

Microbio: A

Biochem: still need to take depending on program


Also studied abroad in Ireland for 1 semester.


GRE: 151 quant, 151 verbal, 4.0 writing


In college I took a hit due to my fathers terminal illness, after his passing my senior year I had an upward trend in my GPA as this helped me not focus on his passing. I do acknowledge this in my PS and how I have overcome this.


Have well over 200 hours volunteering (PT required this) and current volunteer experience is with hospice where I assist in direct pt cares for the past year, also medical tent volunteering at major races, tutoring elementary school kids, active on campus with sports and student senate during undergrad years.

HCE: over 7000 hours as lead cert pharm tech (in one of my locations we got to swab pt's for strep as we helped the minute clinic through our hospital), and currently work full time as a Scribe (and 2 other jobs).


I have tried to contact Campbell to inquire what else to make myself more competitive and I have not heard from them at all (emailed them once in Feb, and again two weeks ago) and am a little concerned about this since last year they emailed me back right away concerning my PS. Any ideas on what else I can improve on?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would guess that your job as a pharmacy tech has been holding you back. I know that the programs I am looking to apply for do not count that position as patient care experience. However, the rest of your stats look good to me. I would retake Organic Chem I to show that you are doing everything possible to improve your application. Apart from any of this advice - it really depends on the programs you are applying to and what they consider a solid candidate. 


I hope this helps and good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everything you posted looks pretty good, but there is something else going on here. What are the classes that you did poorly in that are pulling your GPA down? Are your references writing glowing references to get you into PA school or did they send the same letter that they wrote you for PT programs (you may think this is a dumb question, but it is not- writing letters is a pain and they may not have edited much to make it applicable to an entirely different kind of program)? Is your PS solid and showcases your strengths and potential? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a C+ in pre calc, calc, and Physics 2.  while at CSS during my first two years. lowest grade other wise was B's. First semester was 3.5, second semester 3.3, and averaged 3.4 for sophomore year. Last semester of undergrad was 3.7.


I have different references from when I was applying to PT. I have my pharm in charge as she knows my clinical work, my current MD whom I scribe for, I have bounced between my bio professor and my kineso professor as they both know me very well, since some of the school request an academic.


I am currently rewriting the PS to state how I have grown and am ready for the challenges PA school will provide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I applied to 9 last year, with most submitted before middle of May (except EVMS I will know in June if I have an interview this July since their deadline was March and they do not do rolling admins), interviewed at 1, placed on alternate list at 2, and still waiting for South college, ad EVMS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on if the program adds in all classes including the ones I had to retake or not. Undergrad was 3.37 and then I took classes at the community college and the public 4 year in to save on cost. Averaging in that I had two C-'s for physics ( that professor and I did not see eye to eye) retook them with the other professor to get the A ( and I was her TA after that) and went to UMD for physics 2 and got a B (their program was also on probation for failing too many students). I don't think CASPA looked favorably on my sGPA since it calculates EVERYTHING, and does not omit the originals if you retook them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Learn to take blood pressures and ask you MD if you can start taking vital signs, change your title to patient care tech, and there you go! The bottom line is that you're working under your physician, so that means you do not need a certification to take a BP/Vital signs. Furthermore, becoming certified as an EMT gives you a scope that is defined by the County/State EMS medical director. You DO NOT need to be certified to be a patient care tech. Also, don't waste time being a medical assistant.



Please don't include in your description that you interpret lab data, that is a NO NO and maybe an application killer..... only physicians assistants, NP's, MD's and DO's can do that. Don't make your experience look like something it isn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I interpreted lab data as an MA prior to PA school. I had a list of appropriate norms that the physician I worked with had created as well as certain protocols to initiate (if Vitamin D is less than X, start on Y, etc). I don't think it's out of left field to include your exposure to lab values if you've done something similar as an MA. Shows admissions members you have at least heard of some of the lab terms that you'll hear again in lectures as a PA student.


I agree with the above about asking the physician you work with to do more hands on patient care so that it counts towards HCE. Pharm tech isn't applicable and scribe experience is hit or miss depending on the program. Your GPA is middle of the road. If you don't get interview invites after making some of the above changes that were recommended by other posters, your next step would be to pursue graduate level course work to prove to the admissions folks, as well as yourself, that you have what it takes to succeed in graduate level courses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest HanSolo

Titles vary from experience to experience. Some folks with General Experience X (Scribing, MA, Patient Care Tech, etc.) will do nothing but answer phones. Others will spend time with the patients, gathering histories, taking vitals, etc. Others will do more procedures or maybe "specialize" in just one procedure.


The main point is that you need to thoroughly explain what you do in the description box on CASPA. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More