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Gabriel

getting into PA school with a low GPA

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Hello everyone, I was looking for some advice. I am 32 years old and am thinking about applying to PA school sometime next year. I got my bachelors degree back in 2010 at a state school (Eastern CT State) in communications with a 2.7 gpa. Two years ago I decided I want to be in the health care field, specifically psychiatry. I started taking all the pre - requisites and so far have completed the following:

 

Biology 1  -  (A-)

Biology 2 -  (B)

Chemistry 1 -  (C)

Statistics -  (B)

Life Span -  (B+)

A & P 2  - (A)

A & P 1 -  (A)

Algebra -  (A)

In the spring I am taking Microbiology and Organic Chem. In the summer I will likely take another class just to try and get my gpa (in the sciences) as high as I can before applying. 

Right around the time I decided to pursue this endeavor I also started working at a psychiatric hospital full time as a technician (The Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital) so I have a good amount of direct patient care experience. I have also been shadowing a PA I work with a few hours a week and have volunteered for about 50 hours at a different hospital in the ED. 

My question is - is it at all possible to realistically get into a program being in this situation? Any recommendations from anyone? I know that the PA path is becoming increasingly competitive and is a scholarly profession...will academic redemption in any way going to count for something here?

Thank you.

 

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One advantage of being older is that you were a different person when you first went to school. Yes, clearly you need to demonstrate you can now hack the work by geating great grades, but what you are doing to build a healthcare career and make contacts who could tell your story in a letter of recommendation. Keep it up!


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Gabriel,

if I were a program director I would have younearer the top of my list. I’m old school and believe the PA model has strayed from its inception and undermined the basic premise of the PA model. PAs receive an intense but short training period. The reason this model was successful is that most, if not all, individuals who entered PA training 20+ years ago were essentially second career individuals with significant prior experience in some medically related field. Today we have universities with “Pre-PA” degree tracts. The individuals complete their undergraduate degree and a summer internship as a scribe in the local ER and are deemed ready for PA school. I disagree with this model and would look for individuals such as yourself with more life experience and maturity.

 

jmo

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Hi Gabriel,

Going to PA school was a career transition for me as well. With the way your grades have been with your pre-requisites I'd be very surprised if you didn't make it to a 3.2 GPA or higher. Applying for PA school is very difficult. It took me 3 rounds to get into a program. I was very far (in terms of what I thought a candidate should look like) from all the other candidates I met. I worked full-time as a PCA in undergrad, graduated with a 3.1, then went straight into the military - where I only spent 2 years after being medically discharged. At that time I began working in bone marrow transplants. I no longer had direct patient care, but gained valuable knowledge for the 5 years I worked for that company. During work, I began taking online classes (medical ethics, etc.) to boost my GPA, and purposely sought out schools that were known to accept older candidates when applying. During my 3rd round, I looked at schools outside of my state (which had 4 PA schools with over 2,500 applicants each) and I found a school that offered a dual degree - public health and PA. I applied and was offered a first round interview. During my interview I learned this particular school was looking for students willing to have the dual degree in order to be a better provider for rural areas as well as have a wider range of knowledge/skills (does not mean you need to stay within a rural area). It adds an additional year of schooling, however I am extremely glad I went that route. Public health has offered me way more learning opportunities than I would have ever had in a sole PA program. Per this school's stats, the students who complete both programs tend to score better in classes as well. Where I am going with this is maybe try considering the dual degree option. Only a select number of schools offer it, but I think it helped me get into PA school and little did I know it would be so beneficial. Don't give up. I know you will get in.

Cheers!

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Just curious if you have schools on your list you are interested in applying to? Some schools are very creative with GPA's and could be very beneficial to you.

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I really appreciate you bringing that up. I'm just starting the process of looking at different programs I want to apply to, mainly ones that I feel might take a more rounded approach to selecting qualified applicants. (Not always placing cumulative gpa at the forefront)

Did you have a few specific schools in mind I should look into?

 

 

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