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Confused on when to apply?


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So my graduation date is slowly approaching, and I have been looking into becoming a PA for the past year or so and I have decided I want to go for it. My question is not about classes or GPA but just about the timeline in general about how and when to apply. 

I am graduating Fall 2018, so my main question is, should I wait to apply until I have actually physically graduated and apply for the 2019 cycle? Or can I begin applying next year in 2018 since I only have one semester left? I remember in high school, we can start applying for universities during our last year of high school, so I am wondering if it works the same way for this? I have searched everywhere, and all I get is general deadlines, nothing as specific as my question. 

ANYTHING HELPS! Thanks!

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Application cycles open up around April of every year and stay open until the following March.. most people will have their apps ready to go and sent in by end of May or early June. 

You can definitely apply the year before you graduate for admittance of the fall after graduation (they would just need proof of your degree when you do graduate), or you can wait a year to apply which I think is better since you get a break between undergrad and grad school/time to breath/time for yourself. Do you have healthcare experience? Actual experience taking care of patients, directly? Most students after college take a year or two off to build up these hours as the average is about 1000 hours for acceptance to a program.

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On October 26, 2017 at 5:28 PM, modernlily16 said:

Application cycles open up around April of every year and stay open until the following March.. most people will have their apps ready to go and sent in by end of May or early June. 

You can definitely apply the year before you graduate for admittance of the fall after graduation (they would just need proof of your degree when you do graduate), or you can wait a year to apply which I think is better since you get a break between undergrad and grad school/time to breath/time for yourself. Do you have healthcare experience? Actual experience taking care of patients, directly? Most students after college take a year or two off to build up these hours as the average is about 1000 hours for acceptance to a program.

Well my original plan was MD so I have been working on my healthcare experience already. I have been working as a medical assistant for a little over a year now, and the doctor I work with knows my school plans and he's been very accommodating to making sure I get lots of interaction with patients, so luckily I have plenty of hours. I have also already started to get some shadowing hours in. I would say I'm ready to go, I just need to take the GRE and graduate. I do like the sound of a break though...

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I would say if you have a strong application you should apply in April 2018. But if you think you have a less than strong app, it might be beneficial to have the degree complete so that admins don't have to guess about the rest of your GPA and apply April 2019 could be better.

Just keep in mind, if you apply April 2018 you might have to juggle attending interviews while finishing up your last semester. On the plus side, most programs for the 2018 cycle would matriculate in summer/fall time of 2019 so you would still have a 6-9ish month break before starting PA school. Whereas if you apply April 2019 you will matriculate in 2020 which is more lost income and a much longer break (could be too long of a break).

Also, if you apply in 2018 and don't get in, you will can also apply in 2019 which won't push your dates out too far. Compared to just waiting to apply in 2019 and then don't get in that would really push your matriculation start time much later. 

My .02 :)

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