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Hi all, 

I currently work full time as a medical assistant supporting the two PAs at a primary care practice. I am applying to PA school for this upcoming cycle and have been thinking about the LORs I will be asking for.  Originally, I was planning on asking for a recommendation from a supervisor from my other job where I’ve gotten close to 1500 hours of PCE, one of my professors for my capstone senior project, and then one of them PAs from my practice. The two PAs I support are equally wonderful and are both very supportive and excited at the prospect of me becoming a PA. Would it be overkill to ask for a recommendation from each of them when it would be based on my experiences with them at the same practice? Or would it be better to have my recommendations more balanced with an academic reference and the two references from the two experiences I got my PCE hours from (1 PA and 1 supervisor). And how would it work if I had 4 recommendations on CASPA when all of the schools I am applying to require 3? Would schools only see the first three recommendations that were submitted or would I get to select which recommendations go to each school?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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1 - All letters are available to all CASPA schools is my understanding, 3 is normally a "minimum." How a program picks which 3 to read if there are 4, I do not know, or if they read all 4 anyway; so make them all count. 

2 - During my first application cycle I had some academic references and was basically told in a rejection email (a very nice and helpful one btw) that they didn't care what my professors thought, and they they were really only interested in clinical references. Round 2 application, 3 clinical references, 2 from the same practice, and I have been accepted.

So I would say ask both PAs and your medical supervisor, clinical > academic; your GPA is your academic reference.

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The importance comes in the quality not quantitiy! If you are sure that both PAs will write you amazing letters then absolutely do it! And I agree that some schools value a medical/clinical over professors, but look VERY closely at the requirements! My school requires a science professor's recommendation!!

 

Best of luck :)

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I had a nurse who was a clinical supervisor, my chem professor, a PA and a NP. Some schools will weigh clinically relevant evals more than others. I would suggest getting at least one PA eval, but your overall goal should be to get them from people who can write an honest, glowing review for you. My chem professor wrote an eval strong enough that it was mentioned during an interview to a school that didn’t weigh academic evals very highly.

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