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Taking Courses Beyond the Pre-reqs v. Accumulating HCE

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Hey everyone,

The first half of the interview cycle for 2017-2018 is winding down, and I'm wondering how I can make myself a more competitive applicant during the next CASPA cycle on the off chance that I don't get accepted anywhere this year. I've already met the pre-reqs for my schools of interest, but I'm not sure whether or not I should continue to take additional upper division science courses or simply focus on acquiring more HCE and volunteer experience.

Currently, I have  3.98 GPA, a 4.0 science GPA, an MA in Cultural Anthropology, 600+ volunteer hours (many of which were overseas), and approximately 2300 HCE hours as an EMT. I've been waitlisted at 1 school and have yet to receive any additional interviews (most likely due to the fact that I didn't submit my apps until the end of August/mid-September).

During the next semester, I could enroll in O Chem II and Developmental Psych while working 36-48 hours per week and volunteering occasionally, however, this course of action would require that I take out additional student loans. On the other hand, I could simply acquire more HCE hours and volunteer at free clinics in my area. Any thoughts on which course of action would look better to PA school adcoms?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

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Your GPA is a no-brianer. I don't think there is a need to take any extra classes.

What is your GRE score?

Volunteer hours are good, but 2300 hours as EMT is good but still could use more.  

Were you able to read your LOR's?  There must be something holding you back with your stats, in case you are not accepted this cycle.  

With everything else being good, you should be okay just applying earlier and accruing more hours.  As always though, it is very tough as to what ADCOMs are looking for.  It almost seems random.

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Thanks for the response. GRE score is Verbal Reasoning 164 Quant 151 Analytical Writing 4.5. Also, shadowing hours are only 50 at this point.

I wasn't able to read my LORs, but I have one from an MD, one from a PA, and two from former professors.

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On paper you look good, obviously more paid HCE will impove your chances, but I’d critically analyze your interview skills.  Is there something you could do to improve your interview?  

Also, how many schools did you apply to?

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23 minutes ago, MCHAD said:

On paper you look good, obviously more paid HCE will impove your chances, but I’d critically analyze your interview skills.  Is there something you could do to improve your interview?  

Also, how many schools did you apply to?

I feel like that's always true. I've actually gone through some mock interviews and been told that my interview skills are on point. I've also reviewed, peer-edited, and even revisited my essays, and while a bit of tweaking can always improve one's writing the feedback I've received has been really positive.

I applied to 6 programs: Duke, Emory, Touro California, Samuel Merritt, USC, and CUNY. I was wait-listed at Emory during their last interview session, and there was some pretty steep competition. Plus, due to an administrative snafu on their end I didn't know about the interview until a few days beforehand. Hopefully, with that in mind my next few interviews will be much more successful. Both USC and Duke are in the process of scheduling their final interviews during January over the next 2-3 weeks. My other programs are either just starting to schedule interviews, somewhere in the middle of their cycle, or haven't even begun evaluating candidates.

I still have a chance at some of these places, but I want to have a plan in place so that I'm actively working towards improving myself in the best way possible for next cycle just in case. 

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