SDZayas

Advice on my Pre-PA Action Plan -- Help Appreciated!

7 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,

I have been going through the topics for some time now, and I think I need some tailored advice for my situation. It's a little long, but I would appreciate some help. The primary points are this: I am in undergrad, have a bad GPA, and want to be a PA. Regarding my GPA, I have acknowledged and recognized WHY, and have eliminated all of those negative factors from my life -- this is an important step in both improving, AND in offering an explanation to a PA school application committee. I also want to preface that I'll be offering some of the causal factors involved in my poor academic performance, but I won't be using them as "excuses".

First, my background. I started undegrad about 6 years ago, with the intention to pursue something vaguely healthcare-related. I had poor guidance, with no knowledge of where to get advice, and under-performed as a result. About a year and a half in, I got pressured into going for a BioEngineering degree, and got beat up by Physics and Math classes for which I had insufficient interest in to spur good performance. 

I recognized that my lack of interest in BioEngineering was partly to blame for my poor performance. I determined I would go into healthcare as a PA, when I learned about the profession from a work colleague, as this interested me greatly. When I started down the route for the PA pre-requisites, I started doing better, and found I had a much greater interest in my courses. The only major detriment was Organic Chemistry 1, which was a definite pre-req for PA, as well as for my Biology degree. This class was just so unlike anything I had ever taken, although I eventually passed. I have also worked throughout my entire time as a student, and had a few "house life" issues, although none of those are "excuses"; they're simply obstacles that made it more difficult for me to perform optimally. 

After that, I knew I had to re-structure myself, and completely turned over a new leaf. Since then, for the past year and a half, I have gotten nothing but A's, taking upper-level advanced science courses and writing-intensives to boost myself. I got a better job, with better pay and better scheduling, and am exhibiting the upward trend that can help lighten poor early academic performance. I put 110% into all of my classwork, I am always one of the top students in the class, have gotten on good terms with all of my professors, and even got a great Letter of Recommendation from one in order to volunteer in the ER at a local hospital (for which I can attain a maximum of 150 Patient Care Hours). 

My GPA is 2.7. I understand that this is well below the minimum for PA schools, not even mentioning being competitive. I know the reality of the situation -- I would like advice on how I can FIX it. 

My current Plan of Action is this:

-Finish my last two PA-pre-reqs (A&P 1 + 2), and continue taking upper level science courses and getting A's to raise my GPA.

-Continue volunteering as much as possible, including shadowing.

-Train for and become an EMT-B, in order to meet AND exceed the Patient Care Hours for most PA schools.

-Continue obtaining glowing Letters of Recommendation, and write an outstanding Personal Statement/Letter

-Eventually apply to MANY PA schools

 

So, there it is. I already went through the period where I felt like trash about my academic performance; I am now focused on fixing it. I am willing to do whatever it takes. Help is greatly appreciated.

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Sounds like you are on the right track and being very proactive about improving your chances in the areas that are in your control: getting A's, volunteering, working, etc. The great thing about the PA application process is it is very HOLISTIC. That is why it is not JUST the GPA, but also all the other things that you are actively working on. 

Hopefully you can get a few more A's to curve your cumulative/science closer to 3.0 or a bit above. If the rest of your application is glowing than you might get a chance. Something I have told myself and I will share with you as well...

"Character is proven in adversity" You've proven that...keep grinding.

Good luck!

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Good plan. You've got quite a way to go to put a GPA up to at least a 3.0 after an undergrad degree. Some programs look at your last 60 credits or so, so you might tailor your approach to them.

Best of luck!

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18 hours ago, majetito said:

Sounds like you are on the right track and being very proactive about improving your chances in the areas that are in your control: getting A's, volunteering, working, etc. The great thing about the PA application process is it is very HOLISTIC. That is why it is not JUST the GPA, but also all the other things that you are actively working on. 

Hopefully you can get a few more A's to curve your cumulative/science closer to 3.0 or a bit above. If the rest of your application is glowing than you might get a chance. Something I have told myself and I will share with you as well...

"Character is proven in adversity" You've proven that...keep grinding.

Good luck!

Thank you for the vote of support; I am glad to be reminded that the PA application process is not as laser-focused on GPA as it could be. It's tough, because the GPA is the only factor out of everything that can't just be fixed by "trying again". That stuff weighs you down for life, like a disease you caught with no cure.

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GPA definitely isn't everything, but you definitely want to push yourself to get over the 3.0 hump. You can do this by retaking science classes you did poorly in or by taking upper level science classes such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, nutrition etc. Other classes you may consider taking are medical terminology, biochem and Spanish 1 and 2. Those are all very helpful for PA school and will help raise your GPA. Good luck!!

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35 minutes ago, eliam22 said:

GPA definitely isn't everything, but you definitely want to push yourself to get over the 3.0 hump. You can do this by retaking science classes you did poorly in or by taking upper level science classes such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, nutrition etc. Other classes you may consider taking are medical terminology, biochem and Spanish 1 and 2. Those are all very helpful for PA school and will help raise your GPA. Good luck!!

Thanks so much for the reply. Yes, I have been wolfing down these advanced bio courses: Genetics, Cellular Biology, Microbiology, Evolution (writing intensive), Bioinformatics (writing intensive), Neurology, to name a few. I'm taking Behavioral Neuroendocrinology , Cancer Bio, and AP 1 right now, and I'm pretty much just going down the list of the advanced bio courses and taking them by priority of interest. I also have considered taking Spanish 1 & 2, since a second language, Spanish in particular, is massively helpful in the field. 

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You have a solid plan in place, and you seem very determined. It'll take some years of hard work, but you have the capability to do it. I was in a similar boat; I had a 2.6 GPA that I rose to 3.3 overall (3.6 with grade forgiveness) and was accepted into my first-choice school in my first application cycle. PA programs definitely appreciate the upward trend of grades. From here on out, you should continue to aim for nothing but straight A's. Your biggest hindrance right now is the auto-rejection that some programs have if your GPA is below 3.0. Your short-term goal should be to overcome this 3.0 hump, and your long-term academic goal should be to hit around a 3.2-3.3 if possible. By this point, you should have plenty of hours as an EMT-B to offset your slightly lower GPA. Certain schools like to separate your GPA into cumulative, science, and prerequiste categories. If you want to be strategic, retake classes that will boost your GPA in multiple categories. For example, if you got a C in general chemistry, retaking that and getting an A would boost your GPA in all 3 categories since gen chem is a prerequisite science course for most schools.

It'll probably take 2-3 years of consistent grades to get to where you want to be, but if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it. From your post alone, I can sense your desire to accomplish all of these goals. Good luck!

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