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I’m a recent December graduate with a bachelors in biology and 22. My GPA is 3.38 and my science is about 3.2. I know I want to do something in medicine, but i’m exploring all my options as my recent attempt at MD/DO programs was unsuccessful. My mcat was 495 which I know is not quite competitive. I recently discovered PA and am wondering if this could be a better fit and if I have a better chance in getting into a PA program? I’m also accepted into a masters program in biomedical sciences so I could improvemy gpa for md/do schools, but am wondering if I would need it going the pa route? Finally, i’m consideringtaking a year or more off to gain healthcare experience, such as amedical scribe job i’m applying for and wondering if this would be good for the PA route and what programs acceptmedical scribe jobs as experience.Thank you for any help and advice as i’m a struggling graduate trying to explore all my options.

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31 minutes ago, HollywoodHorse said:

 I recently discovered PA and am wondering if this could be a better fit and if I have a better chance in getting into a PA program? I’m also accepted into a masters program in biomedical sciences so I could improvemy gpa for md/do schools, but am wondering if I would need it going the pa route? Finally, i’m consideringtaking a year or more off to gain healthcare experience, such as amedical scribe job i’m applying for and wondering if this would be good for the PA route and what programs acceptmedical scribe jobs as experience.

In a word, yes you might find it to be a better fit.  PA is medicine hard and fast in school, and we get nearly everything relevant to practice in a small fraction of the time.  But we have one single national board exam, and that's it. 

MD/DO programs are for people who are really good at studying basic sciences in considerable depth over several years and taking high-pressure exams that determine their fate. It wasn't for me, either. 

My feeling is that for PA, your BioMed Masters is overkill, and it isn't going to help your scores for MD school.  Waste of money and time.  Your GPA is about average for applicants so you are okay there.  

If I was you, and around 2010 I pretty much was,  I'd consider something like this.  Get yourself some part time HCE jobs - at least one where you touch patients.  While you are doing that, take a couple of classes to bolster your GPA a little and show that you are still interested.  Your local community college system should have something you haven't taken yet, even with a Bio degree.  (Ev Bio?  Genetics?)  If you haven't taken A+P 1 and 2, you will need those - PA schools, unlike medical schools, require it.  

A scribe job is great - I did it - and a few schools (just a guess, maybe a third or less) do accept it, some enthusiastically.  A fantastic one - two punch is a scribe job and a real touch the patient job.  There are certified MA schools online that you can knock out in a couple of weeks.  You can also find compressed EMT or CNA / LPN training, that by the way count toward your GPA.  

This is what I did, and it worked.  My degree is in something unrelated to medicine so I had to take more classes, but it was a similar experience.  Best of luck and let us know what happens. 

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I was a medical scribe for 1.5 years and when I finally decided on PA, my PA school of interest did not accept scribe hours my first application cycle.  So, I had minimal HCE experience, something to consider when applying.  If you are looking for work where you actually touch patients, hemodialysis is a good one if you want to work and take classes at a community college.  The hours are intense (12-17 hour shifts), but if you get a part-time dialysis job you can go to school.  If you really need the money, like I did, you can manage full-time and part-time/full-time school and still have somewhat of a life.  Hemodialysis patients are typically seen three times a week, so that is MWF or TTS.  I work MWF so I took TTS classes.  You will do a lot on the job and it can be hard at times, but you learn a lot and are taking care of very sick people.  Pressure on the floor can be very high during a turnover period (first shift to second shift patients, etc).  That is when patients are nearing the end of their treatment and depending on how much you as a technician (it is not the nurses doing this despite what they say) decided for the fluid removal goals, may or may not have patients cramping or becoming hypotensive and have to react to them all the while managing your other 3 patients, cleaning machines, cannulating your turnovers or dealing with a bleeder.  You do not need a certificate (not until 18 months) or long periods in class before you work on the floor.  Divita Dialysis and Fresenius Medical Care, for example, have structured classes you go to some days and then the next you are on the floor utilizing what you talked about in the orientation classes.  If you do not need to take many classes, you could do shadowing to get a feel for PA/MD/DO on your days off as well.

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I decided on PA school fall semester of my junior year of college which didn’t really give me that much time to figure out how to accumulate PCE. I worked at a chiro office as a rehab aide for around 200 hours before I graduated. This past summer I received an offer as a patient care tech at a local hospital. I thought this was the cheapest and most efficient way to gain PCE before I apply. What I’m trying to get at is, you don’t have to break your wallet or your schedule to land a job that will count toward PCE but you definitely want to find something ASAP. Im currently working full time and taking one class/studying for the GRE again. It can be done but it will be stressful. It helps that I live with my parents because honestly my job’s pay sucks, but it’ll only be temporary.

 

Before you apply, you really want to fully understand a PA’s scope of practice and how they function in healthcare and the medical model. I have around 70 hours of PA shadowing, but don’t fully understand the profession since there are so many different specialties and derivatives in medical practice, you’ll want to learn as much as you can while shadowing. You’ll quickly learn that it’s not apples to apples even within the same specialty. Good luck!

 

 

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My scGPA was about the same my second cycle, coming from a 3.1 my first cycle. I took additional classes to boost my GPA into the 3.2 range.  With a few A's you should be able to get that science GPA into the 3.3 range.

Second, another position that will help with getting direct patient care and not needing a certification is as a physical therapy aide/Rehab tech.  This is what I did for 2 years at the time of my acceptance, and still doing it until school begins.

With a not so hot GPA, in the lower half of the 3.0, make sure to do as best as you can on the GRE.  Make sure to score well above a 300 as your combined score. You'll have to make the rest of your application shine, to make up for the GPA, it isn't horrible but keep in mind there are a ton of people applying with 3.6-4.0 GPA's. So you'll need to find a way to make your application stand out.

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Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2.  

I dunno about a Screener.  It may be accepted but would not be at the top.  If at all possible, get something with as much patient and medicine involvement as you can.  If the EMT job market in your area does not suck horribly, you could do that, because that involves forming an independent diagnosis.   ER tech is excellent, followed by the various patient care tech / MA jobs.  Any of these would work. 

I would have worked the scribe job for free.  Again if you can, consider the combo of scribe and a very hands on position like PCT or MA or EMT.  Deadly combination.

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If I were in your shoes I would think about skipping the masters as it won't help your gpa. A 498 is probably a bigger impediment to medical school admission as most DO schools I've looked into want at the minimum a 502 with compleitive applicants being in the 506+ range. If you are URM that might be different but either way I would definitely retake the mcat if you are set on reapplying 

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I know doing a post-bac or special masters program are options for people to get into medical school with gpa range that you have. However, it is up to you to decide if you want to spend that money into it. I would only choose that route if I had the rest of the application that are outstanding and put extra effort to bump that mcat score to at least 510 range. Final thoughts on this is that choosing the right masters/post-bac program. Ones that have the track record to show that their students have great chance of matriculating to med school. 

Having all said that, of course I would say, PA is a great choice as well. You'll still have some work to do to be a competitive applicant. As advised above, certain classes like Anatomy and Physio needs to be completed. As far as HCE and PCE, medical scribe is a good starter. Remember though, some schools don't count scribe as PCE. EMT, MA, and CNA are usually a good route to gain great PCE hours. 

Final thoughts. I would recommend you shadow few PA before deciding to really pursue PA. You are still very young, and have enough time to improve and become a good candidate for MD/DO programs. It won't be easy (it never is applying to MD/DO/PA schools). But it is doable. 

Hope this is helpful. Good luck. 

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13 hours ago, HollywoodHorse said:

I’m a recent December graduate with a bachelors in biology and 22. My GPA is 3.38 and my science is about 3.2. I know I want to do something in medicine, but i’m exploring all my options as my recent attempt at MD/DO programs was unsuccessful. My mcat was 495 which I know is not quite competitive. I recently discovered PA and am wondering if this could be a better fit and if I have a better chance in getting into a PA program? I’m also accepted into a masters program in biomedical sciences so I could improvemy gpa for md/do schools, but am wondering if I would need it going the pa route? Finally, i’m consideringtaking a year or more off to gain healthcare experience, such as amedical scribe job i’m applying for and wondering if this would be good for the PA route and what programs acceptmedical scribe jobs as experience.Thank you for any help and advice as i’m a struggling graduate trying to explore all my options.

First off, Congrats on graduating!

It looks like to become a competitive applicant for MD/DO schools, you'd need to bring up that MCAT to at least a 505 (And that's pretty much for DO, it'd still be tough for MD). You could squeak by with the GPA, but it'll be tough. It all depends on your other stats - Research, URM, Volunteer, LOR, etc. 

If you're dedicated towards the Idea of MD/DO, I'd say pursue the masters, bring the GPA up and try to get some research experience in there as well.

If you're dedicated towards pursuing PA though, I'd say you're fine with the GPA you have. It's a bit under the averages for most of the programs I've looked at, but you can make up for it in other areas of your application; High GRE, PCE hours, LOR, volunteer hours, Research, etc.  

If you're undecided and can't pinpoint one over the other that you want to pursue, I'd suggest getting into a paid position and shadowing a PA. While I love the idea of a medical scribe, I feel like it's beneficial to have a more hands on experience with patients to understand better what you'll be doing, like an MA or EMT or something along those lines. If you do this, it might be helpful to look at the pre-reqs for PA programs and complete the ones(if any) you haven't taken, as they tend to differ from medical school. 

I think taking the year after undergrad is extremely beneficial though. It lets you get into the field and really see what you'll be doing. I took a year after my undergrad and my experience working with the PAs, and MD/DOs during this time is really what helped to make my decision to switch from MD/DO to PA. 

Regardless of the which way you choose to go, it's going to take time to become a strong applicant for either program, and will be tough either way, but is completely doable for you. 

Hope this helped, and good luck with whichever path you choose to pursue!

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