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HELP. first time applicant in need of your WISDOM.


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Some background on me before I ask my question…

 

Undergrad Ed School: Ursinus College (Outside Philadelphia)

Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.88

Major: Neuroscience and Psychology (double major)

 

Age at application time: 26

 

GRE: 164 V, 162 Q, 5.0 AW

Direct Patient Care: NONE

Shadowing:
8 hrs    - ENT PA

12 hrs  - Derm PA
16 hrs  - Vascular Surgery PA

8 hrs    - Neurology PA

8 hrs    - GI PA

8 hrs    - Orthopedic PA

8 hrs    - FP PA

 

Experiences

- Founded and Grew Local Test Prep Company

- Published best-selling test prep book

- U.S. Dept of State Fulbright Scholar

- Summer Research Fellow @ Duke University

- RA for 3 years in college

- Volunteered as ESL teacher to college cleaning staff

- Volunteered as a mentor at young entrepreneur program

- Chemistry classroom tutor in college

Schools I’m applying to:
Desales
LSU Shreveport
Keiser University
Penn State
Baylor College of Medicine
Wichita State University
Des Moines University
Rutgers U

Shenandoah University

Thomas Jefferson University

Drexel University

Slippery Rock

Arcadia

University of Texas Medical Branch

Lockhaven University

Butler University

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Mercyhurst University

Western University

 

Here’s my $64,000 question (and yes, I know I’m too young to know what that is…): My original plan was to submit my applications on May 17th. However, I am currently waiting to hear back from a local hospital about volunteering there. The hospital has just changed ownership, so they can’t hire anymore volunteers until their new owners give them the updated protocol. This could happen next week, it could happen 4 weeks from now, I just don’t know.

Do I apply on May 17th? Or do I wait until a week later for the possibility of getting 15-30 volunteer hours at the local hospital, and then apply May 24th?

Does the benefit of 15-30 volunteer hours offset waiting a week to apply to rolling admissions schools? Or is my application strong enough that I should apply on May 17th? I'm a little worried that I won't have any HCE.

Any guidance is GREATLY appreciated :). Thank you!

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Guest HanSolo

If you take away the volunteering aspect - it probably wouldn't matter if you submitted on May 17th or May 24th. So if you have something else you really want to add, then add. It's just a week. 

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You can always add more experiences after you submit your application.

 

 

I'd apply earlier. Really in the grand scheme of things, any May application is still early so they should both be fine. But you can always add experiences after you submit. So if I were you, I'd submit early and then once my transcript is verified, I'd add the volunteering hours.

 

I didn't realize that. That makes a strong case for applying at the earlier date.

 

Thank you both!

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  • Moderator

ACADEMICALLY you are fine.

you have ZERO paid HCE, which is a nonstarter for many schools. My honest advice is to wait out this cycle, get a job in health care, and rack up 2000 hrs of HCE prior to application. then you can apply as a strong candidate to ANY school, not just those that don't value HCE.

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Desales, Penn State, Arcadia, and both Jefferson's require around 500 HCE hours before matriculation. The rest of the schools I'm applying to don't require HCE hours. That's what my list is based on.

So here's the plan: take 3 remaining summer classes (I took physiology in college, but didn't take anatomy, so now I have to take AP 1 and AP II), get EMT-B in the fall, and rack up paid patient care hours before matriculation.

Any other thoughts now that you've got the full plan?


 

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Desales, Penn State, Arcadia, and both Jefferson's require around 500 HCE hours before matriculation. The rest of the schools I'm applying to don't require HCE hours. That's what my list is based on.

 

So here's the plan: take 3 remaining summer classes (I took physiology in college, but didn't take anatomy, so now I have to take AP 1 and AP II), get EMT-B in the fall, and rack up paid patient care hours before matriculation.

 

Any other thoughts now that you've got the full plan?

 

 

 

 

Meeting the bare minimum isn't ideal.  While you may have 500 hrs by matriculation (keep in mind if you DON'T they could rescind an offer) thousands of other applicants will be applying with thousands of hours.  Doesn't help you stack up when you compare yourself to other applicants versus just comparing yourself to the minimum requirements.  Gotta keep that in mind

 

Also having 2 'big hitters' (A&P 1&2) outstanding isn't great.  You can apply with courses outstanding but because those are big ones sometimes programs don't want to take a chance that you'll do poorly in highly relevant courses.  It's just one more thing that sort of leaves you at a disadvantage when comparing applications.

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Drexel requires HCE as well. I am an alum and double checked their site to be sure.

 

I don't know why I wrote Drexel. I had it on my list initially, but took it off once I saw it needed 750 hours before application, not matriculation. So Drexel's a no-go for me.

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Meeting the bare minimum isn't ideal.  While you may have 500 hrs by matriculation (keep in mind if you DON'T they could rescind an offer) thousands of other applicants will be applying with thousands of hours.  Doesn't help you stack up when you compare yourself to other applicants versus just comparing yourself to the minimum requirements.  Gotta keep that in mind

 

Also having 2 'big hitters' (A&P 1&2) outstanding isn't great.  You can apply with courses outstanding but because those are big ones sometimes programs don't want to take a chance that you'll do poorly in highly relevant courses.  It's just one more thing that sort of leaves you at a disadvantage when comparing applications.

 

 

I know having those left isn't ideal. My thinking is the fact I already took Physiology and got an A would help, in addition to the fact that I got A's and A+'s in Chems and Ochems and Genetics, etc. So I would like to think they would assume I can do well in AP 1 and 2.

I guess it's kind of a crapshoot whether I'll get in this cycle, but a year makes a big difference to me, and if I can get in somewhere and not have to wait another year, that's my ideal situation.

 

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I know having those left isn't ideal. My thinking is the fact I already took Physiology and got an A would help, in addition to the fact that I got A's and A+'s in Chems and Ochems and Genetics, etc. So I would like to think they would assume I can do well in AP 1 and 2.

I guess it's kind of a crapshoot whether I'll get in this cycle, but a year makes a big difference to me, and if I can get in somewhere and not have to wait another year, that's my ideal situation.

 

 

You can certainly try.

 

Just keep in mind that programs have been around the block before.  They've seen it all.  They will likely evaluate you based on what they have in front of them, not what might be.  It's more appealing to accept a student who already has 1000 HCE hours and all pre reqs completed than someone who doesn't have those things.  I'm not trying to dissuade you, just pointing out the facts of applying to PA school.  You've got to make yourself more appealing than the next candidate, not more appealing than the minimum requirements. 

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The volunteer hours are not going to make or break your application. Volunteering looks best when it is lots of hours sustained over a long period of time. Meaning you actually have a relationship with a volunteer organization that you care about. 30 hours randomly thrown at a hospital doesn't matter.

 

If you're set on applying with no healthcare experience, I would just do it early and update your application later.

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You can certainly try.

 

Just keep in mind that programs have been around the block before.  They've seen it all.  They will likely evaluate you based on what they have in front of them, not what might be.  It's more appealing to accept a student who already has 1000 HCE hours and all pre reqs completed than someone who doesn't have those things.  I'm not trying to dissuade you, just pointing out the facts of applying to PA school.  You've got to make yourself more appealing than the next candidate, not more appealing than the minimum requirements. 

Fair enough. I appreciate your insight. I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for something this time around.

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The volunteer hours are not going to make or break your application. Volunteering looks best when it is lots of hours sustained over a long period of time. Meaning you actually have a relationship with a volunteer organization that you care about. 30 hours randomly thrown at a hospital doesn't matter.

 

If you're set on applying with no healthcare experience, I would just do it early and update your application later.

That's a great point. I didn't think about it like that before. Welp, looks like I'll be applying early!

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Guest kennypowers

Make sure your schools truly specify HCE and not PCE. I would be surprised if a volunteer gig at a hospital allowed you to acquire PCE.

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