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Dmurphe18

2.6 gpa realistic to get in?

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Hello, I am currently working as a custom orthotic fitter and retaking classes trying to apply for the 2018 year, I fit orthotic equipment like back knee and ankle braces with patients 1 on1 as well as regularly collaborate with doctors about patient best interest. would this count as good patient contact experience? I don't want to waste my time if this will not help me in the long run. I have over100 hours shadowing a PA and good letters of rec. I also have a very low gpa of 2.6 and a 2.5 bio gpa. my degree is in cell and molecular biology and I'm taking anatomy 1 and anatomy 2 this summer.I plan to retake classes like organic 1 and 2 I got Cs in. Would that be my best option? Are my chances realistic for being a pa? Any feedback is very appreciated thank you!

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You need to get the GPA up to at least a 3.0.  You don't say how many hours of HCE you have, but unless it's north of 5,000 or so, I doubt any of the schools that look at <3.0 GPA are interested in you.  To raise the GPA, take appropriate science classes and get 4.0's in them, ideally while continuing to accrue HCE.

 

The issue isn't whether or not your chances are realistic, but how many years (!) you're willing to dedicate to getting there.  It can seriously take years of part-time classes to raise a GPA enough from that level, but there are plenty of forum members here who have done just that.  If you're dedicated, it's possible.  If not... well, not.

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Thank you for the feedback! Do you recommend retaking classes with Cs like organic chemistry 1 and 2 or new upper level biology/chem? I have taken a lot of upper level classes but mostly with B and C grades. I'm taking anatomy 2 for the first time but have a c + in anatomy

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In my opinion, you could start retaking the classes you previously did not do as well in and you must achieve A's in them. You will also need to take some more upper division science courses like immunology, genetics, cell biology, pathophysiology and microbiology courses and achieve A's in those.

 

Since you already have a science undergrad degree, it is likely you already have a lot of science credits so it will take a lot of classes to combat that GPA you already have. Keep in mind how CASPA will calculate your GPA. If you got a C in anatomy 1 and you retake it and get an A, CASPA will average that out to be a B. That makes the GPA battle more difficult.

 

As you retake and take new classes, keep in mind that you must do very well and show an upward trend. If you do that, there are some programs that will focus on your last 60 credits. These are the schools you will have a better chance at.

 

Your patient care hours really should count but it will depend on how many hours you have doing that. The more patient care hours you have, the more of a chance you have with having a lower GPA. Taking the GRE and doing very well could be another way to combat a lower GPA.

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Hello, I am currently working as a custom orthotic fitter and retaking classes trying to apply for the 2018 year, I fit orthotic equipment like back knee and ankle braces with patients 1 on1 as well as regularly collaborate with doctors about patient best interest. would this count as good patient contact experience? I don't want to waste my time if this will not help me in the long run. I have over100 hours shadowing a PA and good letters of rec. I also have a very low gpa of 2.6 and a 2.5 bio gpa. my degree is in cell and molecular biology and I'm taking anatomy 1 and anatomy 2 this summer.I plan to retake classes like organic 1 and 2 I got Cs in. Would that be my best option? Are my chances realistic for being a pa? Any feedback is very appreciated thank you!

One of the very first considerations a selection board looks at is do you have the academic chops to do well in a difficult program with a high academic demand. That GPA would, IMHO, be a non starter. It is a competitive selection process and I suspect you would fall out very early. As others suggested go back and improve the grades you have and get some As stacked up in relevant course work like A&P and such. Good luck!

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Understood.again I appreciate the feedback. I took the GRE and got 298 overall, not sure about writing I'll have to look. But I'll have ober 2500 hours when I apply next year. Is that gre descent enough or should I consider retaking that as well?

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Again, this is just my two cents.

I would retake the GRE and try to score above the 50% percentile on all sections with a cumulative score of above 300. I used magoosh and it was a great way to study for it!

2,500 patient care hours is average but depends on the program you apply to. Some programs these days only suggest patient care hours and don't have a minimum requirement but then those programs sometimes accept higher GPA applicants. And then you have places like the University of Utah who's average applicant has 8,000 hours or more. It will be important for you to choose wisely which programs to apply to when that time comes. Hopefully that makes sense.

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I wouldn't want to rain on anyone's dream. Yes: you could make it, but it will be a slog. 

 

For each of your total GPA and your science GPA (two separate calculations):

 

Get your GPA in each category, along with the number of credit hours earned. Then use the equation below to figure out how many new credits of "A"s you would need to average out to a 3.0:

 

(3 - old GPA) times old credits earned = number of new credits of "A"s needed

 

So, if you have already taken 100 credits and got a 2.6, then you would need 40 new credits of "A"s to have have your GPA average out to a 3.0.

 

(New "B"s wouldn't help very much; much smaller lever arm between a B and your current GPA.)

 

(Also, this assumes that an "A" in your school is the top grade you can get and that it's worth a 4.0.)

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Having gone through this myself, I'll give you the advice I've given to others in the same spot:

 

Find out your CASPA GPA by adding up all your grade points and quality points in a running total including courses you've retaken. Find your GPA that way. Now figure out how many units at a 4.0 you need to raise your GPAs to a 3.0.

 

You'll find out it'll probably be around 60-100units more or less. Now is the time you need to figure out what is better for you, do you want to get a degree that can give you a back up in case you don't get in to PA school right away? Or do you just want to take classes without a backup plan in addition to your PA prerequisites.

 

Know at this point, 2018 is not realistic, however, 2019 sounds more promising.

 

Creat a plan / timeline putting milestones and goals that you need to achieve before you can move on to the next task. While you're working on your GPA, make sure to also increase your HCE and volunteer hours. Take classes and get certifications along the way to increase your clinical knowledge and increase your scope of practice as a pre-PA.

 

Check out programs where you meet the minimum requirements and are close to the average accepted student stats and then be selective and strategic as to where you're applying.

 

This topic has been discussed multiple times on this forum and I've give more detailed advice in these other threads. Feel free to use the search function for "low GPA" and I'm sure you'll find more insight and guidance as to your next step.

 

Good luck!

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What do you mean by a back up degree,like enroll in a master's of biology program? I thought about doing that or a post-bacc but money is tight ( as it probably is for everyone) but if it leads to a separate degree it may be worth it

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What do you mean by a back up degree,like enroll in a master's of biology program? I thought about doing that or a post-bacc but money is tight ( as it probably is for everyone) but if it leads to a separate degree it may be worth it

 

I think 'back up degree' here is meant to be 'something that will give you a career path in case you never make it into PA school'.  You have a degree in cell/molecular bio - which is a little disjointed from an orthotics fitter.  

 

Like others have mentioned, if money is tight, don't plan on applying next year - your odds are so low it's likely that your money would be better spent taking classes.  Even if money isn't tight, you don't have a great chance next year.  That's not to say that eventually in the future you wouldn't have a chance - just that 2018 isn't realistic.  But right now with a GPA (cumulative and science) < 3.0 and a GRE < 300 and a....unique HCE that doesn't impressively compensate for your academic shortcomings....it's not looking good for 2018.

 

If you're going to spend the money to take classes, the sentiment of 'back up degree' is something that will perhaps more concretely give you a career plan in case PA doesn't work out.  Biology is so generic that unless you know what you want to do with it, it provides little direction.

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Would a PA school value a research job over the patient contact I'm getting now? I considered getting a lab job through lab support but was told that the patient experience would be valued over lab work

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You need to be touching patients for PA school. There is just no way around it. It just give you the foundation you need to be more successful out of school versus having limited patient contact hours.

 

In regards to backup degree, it's exactly what MT2PA means. There's a chance you don't get in to PA school, if that happens, then what are you going to do? I have a friend who I went to undergrad with (back in 1998-2002) who went RN after not getting accepted to PA school. Makes good money now and is happy with his scope of practice and still has the option to go to PA school if he chooses at a later time but for now is living a comfortable life with his wife and children.

 

It's of my observation that getting a degree in premed, public health, molecular biology and etc doesn't typically end up in solid healthcare jobs. You might get a job doing sales or in administration or something like that down the line.. but the degree by itself doesn't typically result in clinical jobs.

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A better way to say it is a quote from Top Gun which I tell myself all the time.  

 

"You need to be doing it better and cleaner than the other guy".  

 

If you have some issues, then you need to go all crazy in other areas to make up for it.  Low GPA?  Get huge amounts and variety of quality HCE and other work and make SURE your PS and interview game is #1, the best in the group.  Make them go - "okay there's this little thing but look at all this other stuff."

 

I'm a fan of variety of HCE, by the way, more lines on the resume.  I think that three variety jobs of 200 hours is as powerful, if not more, than 1000 of just one thing.  Like hey, this guy was a PT aide, scribe AND EMT for a few hundred hours each - this other guy, well, he punched a clock as LPN for 2000...

 

My opinion ONLY and it's worth every dollar you paid me for it...but that is what worked for me...

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I think south is spot on. Diversity is excellent on a resume. It demonstrates an interest in medicine as a whole. 

 

Not to beat a dead horse here, but your GPA will keep you out and your PCE isn't of the highest of quality. You would be lucky to get an interview. I'd strongly consider that "backup" degree if healthcare truly is your calling.  

 

Also a note on program PCE averages as that was brought up. My advice: don't read too much into it. It's just an average and can be skewed significantly by outliers. The median is a much better indicator. 

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I appreciate the honestly, in 2012 I spent my school year at a hospital shadowing every position in a hospital as well as class work, I also shadowed a pa for a few summers adding up to almost 300 hours and worked in medical transport for non ambulatory patients and sat in on their appointment, that accounts for almost 300 hours as well. I know that's not the strongest contact but I'm hoping these different types of contact will count for something. Any suggestions about how to gain better experience is appreciated. Should I continue to shadow a pa when I can? Or is there a type of patient contact I can do on weekends? Working 40 hours a week limits my options a little

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I appreciate the honestly, in 2012 I spent my school year at a hospital shadowing every position in a hospital as well as class work, I also shadowed a pa for a few summers adding up to almost 300 hours and worked in medical transport for non ambulatory patients and sat in on their appointment, that accounts for almost 300 hours as well. I know that's not the strongest contact but I'm hoping these different types of contact will count for something. Any suggestions about how to gain better experience is appreciated. Should I continue to shadow a pa when I can? Or is there a type of patient contact I can do on weekends? Working 40 hours a week limits my options a little

 

Hi there, 

 

I would suggest getting certified as an EMT, CNA, scribe, X-ray technician, paramedic, etc. and working while you take more classes to bring up your GPA. Shadowing isn't considered "patient contact"; its considered shadowing. Every applicant you're up against will have similar shadowing experiences. That's just the applicant pool you're going against. It's extremely competitive. 

 

When you apply on CASPA, I'm pretty sure you have to divide all of your hours on CASPA based on "shadowing", "volunteering", "employment", "patient contact", etc. I applied last year, so feel free to correct me if those aren't the right labels, but that's what I can recall, so just be prepared to have a lot of experience in all of those areas. Patient contact obviously worth the most, especially over research. Research shows them you're smart, but patient contact shows them you have medical experience, you're capable of taking care of patients (i.e. what you're applying to do). 

 

As for your GRE question, over 300 is preferred to get your application looked at. There are some schools that don't take GRE if you wanna try applying to those or you can retake it. Its easier to bring it up the second time, as I took the GRE three times :) 

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Don't try to tackle everything at once in a rush, unfortunately (as others have said) this is going to be a long road to get that GPA up. To be brutally honest, none of the other stuff will matter if you can't even get to the minimum GPA cut offs for schools.

 

First, focus on the GPA the best you can. Once that is done, try to work on everything else. One step at a time. The last thing you want to do is to overload yourself while you start taking classes again and having too much on your plate while trying to get A's in every class you take.

Like others have suggested, it might be a good idea to get another useful degree in that process. 

 

Also, I commend you for being able to take a look at your situation and to receive the tough but realistic feedback that we have given you so far.

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As others have mentioned, you've got quite an uphill battle on your hands. If you want it bad enough, there are things you're able to do as were outlined above. One of the things you need to do is obtain rockstar grades in difficult courses. If you have an interest in being in medicine, gaining valuable healthcare experience as an RN would be a great launching point for you. If your journey doesn't find you in PA school in the next few years, you'd still have a rewarding and good paying job to fall back on. Additionally, you may find that training to become an NP after working as an RN for a few years is more your bag.

 

Unfortunately for the application portions you've shared with us, there isn't anything that pops off the page. Your HCE is one that isn't seen often, for better or for worse, and your GPA is a red flag to the admissions committee in terms of will you be able to handle the difficulties of didactic year. My advice to you is to piece apart your strategy and give each portion of it your all until the sum of your application is as stellar as possible. You need a minimum of 3.0 cumulative and science and many hours of high quality HCE to have a dog in the fight. Others before you have done it, some that come to mind have commented on your thread already.

 

Kudos to you for asking for help and having the thick skin necessary to hear news that is less than favorable. It shows maturity and dedication to joining this beloved profession.

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At this point I am very committed to doing what it takes so I want to take the right steps I'd rather hear it now then 2 years down the road, I'm not sure how I'd take classes like ochem1 and 2 and anatomy and get a second degree, my plan was to take those classes and then more upper level biology classes, with a molecular bio degree right now is there another degree i can get while still taking required classes and not some kind of health administration? Like I said I'm pretty much all in for PA

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There is a 16 month nursing program offered at a community college near me,after hearing this it sounds like a good idea and I'll look into that, thank you all!

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There is a 16 month nursing program offered at a community college near me,after hearing this it sounds like a good idea and I'll look into that, thank you all!

Sounds like a great start! :) 

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There is a 16 month nursing program offered at a community college near me,after hearing this it sounds like a good idea and I'll look into that, thank you all!

 

I'm confident that everything will work out for you with that dedication and maturity! Good luck!

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I don't mean to tap in so late in the thread, but I can understand your struggle with having a low overall GPA. I am facing the same issue. Although every other aspect of my application is in tip top shape, I was tossed from every program right off the bat. I know you are smart, your grades from long ago are not true indicators of how well of a student you can and will be in such a rigorous program. 

 

I was presented with the opportunity to complete an accelerated nursing program as well. Although my GPA is a tad higher than yours, I would consider truly going for the BSN because it would give you a clean slate with a new bachelor's degree GPA (and this GPA will be used by programs because it is most recent). To add, you can always continue on to be an NP. Not that I am steering you away from the PA profession at all. It would be an easier path because of the circumstance. 

 

BUT, you can complete the nursing program, gain a year or so of clinical experience as an RN, then reapply to PA school. I know numerous RNs that I work with who are on this path. They got into PA school almost immediately with their work experience.  This would make you a FANTASTIC candidate. You will definitely be ahead of the game then your classmates with a strong clinical nursing background! 

 

All in all, if you decide to NOT start the nursing program, I recommend taking upper-level biomedical courses and achieving EXTREMELY high marks in them. This is what I did. However, it took a long while to see a hike; and the hike wasn't THAT steep. 

 

To put things into perspective, I graduated with my bachelor's with a 3.01. In CASPA, my GPA dropped to around a 2.8 due to the averaging of retake courses while in undergrad. I spent the following 2 years completing those higher biomedical courses. I took about 12-16 credits a semester while working full time (YES, I WAS DRAINED). But the total was worth about 50-60 credits total. My GPA went up to a 3.11. 

 

I did not get offered any interviews this last cycle. But I am continuing to take more classes, gain more patient care hours, and leadership roles. After another round of classes, I am up to a 3.2/3.3 overall GPA. Science is about a 3.3/3.4. My post bachelor's GPA is a 3.89 (worth about 78 credits). 

 

Another option is to complete master's program of some sort. I know PA students who have completed one in biomedical science, public health, and other science related. Most can be completed in a year or so. Which is great while you're waiting in a gap year for the application cycle to open. However, I would reach out to the programs you are considering to inquiry if they will give you extra points for completing a master's program. Some can still be stickler's and just prefer that overall undergraduate GPA. 

 

People have said this numerous of times: if one area of your application lacks, make sure the rest outshines it! But first, you really do need to bring that GPA up because it is a minimum requirement, to begin with. With your patient care experience and volunteer hours, I truly feel that if you get it up to AT LEAST a 3.1, you should score some interviews. From that point on, just make sure you have great interpersonal skills, are charismatic, and show you have a strong passion for the PA profession. 

 

I am still struggling, but I hope you can learn from my experiences and advice. I know you can make a strong turnaround. I wish you the best!!!

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Another thing that doesn't always get mentioned is that you need to target schools appropriately, and to do that, you often have to look outside of your state/region. Look at their accepted statistics and you can get an idea of what they look for in an applicant. Some schools prefer quality HCE over GPA, others only require 50 hours of HCE and want people with 3.8+ GPAs only. Some prefer students with high GRE's, some don't even require it. Also, important to note that some schools don't like certain types of HCE.

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