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Which schools are less competitive to apply to?


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Happy 4th. Just out of curiosity, which schools are considered less competitive to apply to and get in? I am mainly interested in the West and Midwest. But may apply to a Florida school too. I just want to do my 2 years and practice. I am not in it for the name of the school at all. As long as I am prepared to practice, that is all it matters to me. The cheaper the tuition the better obviously. If I had a chance to apply to South Dakota, I would! I am guessing the schools on probation or newer are easier to get into? I don't have that much money to spend so I will choose 3 easy schools and 2 medium schools to apply to. Thanks!

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The best advice I can personally give you is to look up every school and see their class profile. Apply to schools where your stats match theirs. 

Some schools that may seem "easy" look for different things you may not have. For example, your gpa may be much higher than their class average but they highly value PCE and want 1,000s of hours. So, it's really hard to say what schools are "easy." 

Some new schools want to play it safe and have their whole class pass the PANCE so they only accept high gpa applicants. Others are much more lenient because they don't have many applications. I would not really go for schools that are on probation since you never know if they'll be shut down and you're scrambling to get into another school.

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It's all relative.  There are no 'less competitive' programs per say.  Most schools get between 20+ applications per available seat and interview around 8-10 students per available seat.  If you're just playing a numbers game, they are all competitive.  It all depends on who you are up against that year at that program.  If they get all EMT applicants and 1 RN, that RN might have a better shot just for diversity sake, and vice versa.  But that changes every cycle (and truthfully is quite the exaggeration). 

If you have some outstanding, amazing application with near perfect grades, tens of thousands of hours of GOOD HCE, and out of this world LORs and personal statement, sure, some schools might be considered less hard to get into.  

FWIW I actually had better results at programs that nationally would be considered more difficult to get into than the programs I applied to as my 'just in case I guess if I have no other options' schools.  There are no rules in the PA school application game.

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I'd like to echo was MT2PA said: "there are no rules in the PA school application game". PA school, like many schools for medical education, are one of the few examples of graduate admissions in which one can be rejected from a state school without even an interview but be swept up by Harvard (hyperbole, but you get the idea). 

Look at your application and then look at the LORs you are going to be getting. Then look at the profiles of the schools you're looking at. Compare all of this information and strategically determine which schools you think your application is really going to resonate at. Perhaps the school has a religious affiliation, or favors a class with a high GPA (and thus might be willing to sacrifice some HCE), etc. 

At the end of the day, I do think there's a bit of good fortune involved as well. I won't get into how "lucky" I think I got getting into my first choice school, but I definitely think there was some good fortune there. After being accepted relatively quickly, I looked up the bio of the PA that interviewed me. It was like looking in a mirror. 

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When I was applying to PA programs, I was rejected from PA SCHOOL #1 and a high ranking faculty member explained that they can't afford to take a chance on me (low GPA) that year as they were on probation at the time. They didn't want to have to explain why a low GPA accepted student failed out of their program. I applied because it was a new program and I thought I had a better shot.

I was rejected from PA SCHOOL #2 that's not even ranked in the usnews PA school ranking (arbitrary, I know). This program also has a terrible reputation in the region, even from multiple alumni. I applied because it wasn't a highly regarded program and I thought I had a better shot.

The school I was accepted into is nationally recognized, and regarded as one of the best programs in the east coast and the country. I applied purely based on proximity and thought I had no shot.

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Thanks for the replies anyway most of you. Karebear, I already looked at those too and it's probably the more sensible answer. I found an old post from 2014 which kind of aligned with my thoughts of applying to programs competitive to you and not waste money on ones you have a low shot at. It recommended applying to schools in the south which looks at more recent coursework, etc., versus your first 4 years in college. I'll begin there.

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I also agree what everyone else is saying on here. I was not the ideal applicant when it came to my GPA, but had good PCE and extracurriculars working with underserved populations so I applied mostly to schools that accepted those kind of students. In my eyes my GPA and extracurriculars were exactly what they were looking for, but did not have any luck with them. Instead I was accepted by a good school that favors applicants with higher GPAs and lower PCE/extracurriculars. It is really all a gamble and a bit of luck in my mind. 

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