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spartan14

College senior recently deciding to apply to PA school

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Hello! Long story short, I am a senior at a university studying dietetics and have recently decided that I want to become a PA and not follow through with my current route to become a registered dietitian. With that being said, I have become overwhelmed and extremely stressed about making this switch possible before applying in the Fall of 2018! 

I will be taking an additional year ("fifth year") after I graduate in order to fulfill prerequisite classes required for the PA schools I want to apply to. On top of that, I now have to take my GRE, obtain 500-1000 healthcare experience hours, and fill out the rest of CASPA.  

My stats thus far:

cGPA: 3.89

sGPA: 4.0

Volunteer hours: (due to my dietetics major) 100 hours volunteering for various clinical dietitians 

Advice I am looking for:

1. Quickest path to take in order to obtain direct patient care hours

2. Resume builders 

3. Am I at a disadvantage for having a major in dietetics? 

4. How possible is it to basically start from where I am and still apply (and get accepted) in the Fall 2018 cycle?! 

I am a very ambitious, hard working, studious person and am determined to do this! 

 

 

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Welcome!

1. Quickest path to take in order to obtain direct patient care hours

There are several threads about this topic. I would recommend looking into CNA or EMT-B certification so you can get the job (EMT, ED tech, CNA, etc) you need for PCE and income.

2. Resume builders 

Continue volunteering! If you are a strong believer in a healthy diet you could definitely make that a part of your application. Also start shadowing PAs in various fields of medicine.

3. Am I at a disadvantage for having a major in dietetics? 

No. You have a stellar GPA and if you do well in your pre-requisites you will not have any problems academically as an applicant.

4. How possible is it to basically start from where I am and still apply (and get accepted) in the Fall 2018 cycle?!

How many pre-requisite courses do you need to take?

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Realistically, the challenging part will be to get hands on patient care hours prior to submitting your application.  It will be helpful for panels to see that you are getting patient care hours, have great grades, and are working hard to get into PA school.  Dietetics may be an advantage for you because there are a lot of applicants with exercise science, Bio, chem, and AT backgrounds.

I would also recommend shadowing a few PA's in different settings.  A letter of recommendation from a PA is key and you should try to spend more than half a day shadowing one before asking them for a letter.

Consider this... PA schools accept 3-5% of applicants and most students have over a year of experience in a healthcare setting.  Look at demographics and you'll see that they are usually ethnically diverse and female dominated.  The key to PA school is persistence.  You may not get get in on the first try since you still have a lot to do, but programs love to see hard work and those who don't give up.  I tell you this just to be realistic, hopefully it does not come off as pessimistic.

Good luck with everything.

 

 

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Advice you didn't ask for but might need to hear: Don't put too much on your plate trying to rush and get everything done. I did it, and it was unbearable dealing with that kind of stress and I wouldn't wish that on someone who just came out of 4+ years of college: take some time to relax and handle a few of these things at a time. You seem to have a good start, but just meeting minimum requirements doesn't do much to help you stand out as an applicant and for many of us it takes some extra time to get those experiences to help us accomplish just that. Don't sweat if you end up pushing your application back a year or two. It's expensive to apply so I'd wait until you are absolutely confident you can impress schools and not just check the boxes they ask for because 99% of applicants can also check those boxes. I always thought I'd go in straight out of undergrad or just 1 year after, but it took 3 years to get here and I am so glad I took that time. Go above and beyond, take time to breathe, and work on getting it all done. You'll get there, Good luck!

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