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Nervous Second-Time Applicant


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Hey everyone,

I know that it takes most applicants several tries to be accepted into PA school, but I am nervous, as this is my second time applying (With an additional gap year from my last time applying). 

I first applied straight out of undergrad (with a plan of taking one gap year), and applied to 17 schools with a cumulative gpa of 3.4 and sgpa of 3.1. I also took the GRE, got average scores, and had 1,000 hours of healthcare experience as an EMT. I got rejected from all 17 without an interview.

I have since taken another 2 years off, retook some classes (especially chemistry) at community college, and received A's in all of them. I'm predicting my new cumulative gpa to be around a 3.5/3.6 with an sgpa of around a 3.4. Additionally, I have been working as a medical scribe in the ED, and have since been promoted to chief scribe (I manage the scribe program as well as working clinically. I am also only applying to schools which accept scribe as direct patient contact hours). I have also been volunteering as a medical assistant at a free clinic for the uninsured, as well as participating as a clinical research associate. 

In total, I will have approximately 4,500 hours of HCE at the time if the next cycle.

I also plan on retaking the GRE to improve my score so I can be more than just "average."

I am hoping that these experiences will have been enough to beef up my application, but I am still nervous, as I know people who have greater credentials than me are still getting declined. Does anyone have any advice to let me know how competitive I would be this upcoming cycle? I really do not want to have another pile of rejection letters this upcoming summer. 

Thank you so much!

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Based on what little you've said about your stats, the biggest issue was a lower sGPA than cGPA, but you appear to have closed the gap somewhat.  I would actually run the numbers, and see how you compare to the 'typical' student at your target schools.

17 schools is too many.  Pick 4-8 that seem to be a great match for you, focus on knowing exactly why each is a good fit for who you are, or who you want to become.

You've got a few months before the cycle opens, but as was said above... apply early!

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I think you're a shoe in.  You did some incredible changes and improvements especially becoming a chief scribe and managing the program; make sure to mention this somewhere in your application or personal statement. There are some schools that will ask in the supplemental portion of CASPA where if you are an applicant describe what you have improved.

If your LORs, personal statement are great, you apply early, and sell yourself on your application without sounding cocky, I think you will definitely be getting those interviews. 

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Applying early will help, seems like you have a good plan in place. I would talk about changes you've made in between cycles. Make sure to apply to schools within your range and schools that you would actually go to if accepted. Don't make the mistake of applying to schools with 120,000 tuition just because you're anxious. 

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I would think that with that improvement you should get yourself a couple of interviews. Make sure you also focus and prepare the soft portions of your application as well. By this I mean the personal statement, LOR's and the interview. These are often times just as important if not more important than the hard numbers portions of your application. Those are your opportunity to let the adcoms know who you are, and as has been said apply early.

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Thank you so much everyone! As of now, I am currently taking my second semester of biology (one last prerequisite I needed for some schools) and then I plan on submitting the application once that grade is in - around mid May. I have also re-written my personal statement, and am in the process of editing it.

Fingers crossed I will get at least an interview this cycle! 

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Have everything ready to start the application. If your final grade is the only thing you will be waiting for, have LORs ready and already in CASPA. Transcript entry, PS, and every field in CASPA filled. That way as soon as the grades are in, send in that last transcript and get the application verified. The sooner the better. And send off your application to the rolling admissions schools first. Good luck. I hope you hear better news this cycle. 

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4 hours ago, FuturePA888 said:

Thanks for the advice! I will be sure to get on that application right away! 

Also - is it possible to submit supplemental application materials prior to having all of your transcripts in?

This depends on the school, but many programs will let you submit any supplemental stuff through CASPA and their individual supplemental application before they even receive your CASPA.

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