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I will be applying to PA school this coming cycle and I am trying to finish organizing my experiences. 

I had a couple of questions and would appreciate any advice you have.


1. I am currently enrolled in a phlebotomy course to receive my national certification. I will be mentioning this briefly in my statement, but was wondering if there was a way to add this into experiences. (we do have a given number of clinical hours we must meet).


2. I have heard different individuals say that for the experiences section it's best to include any and every experience that you can, but I have also heard it is better to limit what you include to the experiences that make an applicant more favorable. 


Thank you!

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Basically the experience hours in CASPA are broken down into two categories: healthcare experience (HCE) and patient care experience (PCE).  HCE can be anything involved within the health field and PCE is direct PT care.  It will ask you to list your different experiences, give a summary of duties, if it was PCE or HCE, and whether it was for pay or volunteer.  I would say include everything both PCE and HCE as it will only strengthen your application.

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In addition to Patient Care and Health Care experiences, the Experiences section in CASPA also allows for Employment (not health care related), Shadowing, Volunteer, and Research hours.  


As the CASPA FAQ states, begin at the collegiate level (generally - at this point, your high school activities aren't going to impress anyone unless it was something truly one of a kind!), but do consider that your application is your opportunity to make the AdComm want to MEET you.  

  • Don't be one-dimensional -- very few people (if any!) "live and breathe" nothing but pre-PA activities, and the AdComms already know that.  
  • Don't attempt to just include the information you THINK the AdComm will be impressed by; that's very limiting, and you're more likely to miss the mark than not.   

If you worked some mundane job that had nothing to do with health care, but it paid your bills and made you self-supporting (or semi-self-supporting), that's admirable; if it gave you an opportunity to take on more responsibility in some way, or demonstrate leadership, that's admirable.  If you have work or volunteer experiences in something that you are ALSO passionate about, that's demonstrating that that you have varied interests.


If you've got the experiences, give them more reasons to WANT to MEET you - get the interview.  


P.S. Read the CASPA FAQs.  Then read them AGAIN.  Answers to procedural questions are best found there (as they do change year to year), and they do include nuances about how to optimally include things in your application that you want to share.  Also, read ALL of the FAQs.  The answers to your questions may not be where you expect to find them.  


Now, specifically, no, you can't include experiences you have planned in the experiences section of your application.  You can, however, add experiences after you have applied/submitted.  Programs where you've applied will be notified that your application has been updated and they can retrieve it if they so choose.  

This is covered in the FAQs:  https://portal.caspaonline.org/caspaHelpPages/frequently-asked-questions/additional-information/work-and-volunteer-experience/index.html.

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