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Tips for High School Student


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Hello everyone! 

I am a senior in high school currently and I have been researching the PA profession since my sophomore year when i first found out about it! I have learned so much, and I am extremely confident that this is something I want to pursue. I have enrolled  at The Univeristy of Akron as a Biomedical Science major. I have already started looking at PA school prerequisites and will make sure I take all of the required classes. I was hoping some Pre-PA, PA students, and PA-C could give me some tips about what I can do to prepare for PA school so I have the best shot of getting in ! I know this is far away but I like to plan ahead. Also, what kind of jobs should I be searching for in order to gain HCE hours? 

Thanks! 

Mason

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I would recommend researching some programs you are interested in going to so that you know their specific requirements (classes, LOR writers, volunteer, patient care hours etc)

Start shadowing some PAs, you will want a letter of recommendation from one (or more) when you apply. Start volunteering, doesn’t have to be medically related, but most schools look for that. Get a job with direct patient care exposure (CNA, phlebotomy, MA, EMT etc) and start working or volunteering so you can accrue hours by the time you apply.

You can also create a CASPA (application site) account for free and start looking around/getting familiar with how it works so applying will be easier for you. If you want to avoid a gap year you will want to apply in April of your Junior year.

Best of luck!


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5 minutes ago, Natalie2018 said:

I would recommend researching some programs you are interested in going to so that you know their specific requirements (classes, LOR writers, volunteer, patient care hours etc)

Start shadowing some PAs, you will want a letter of recommendation from one (or more) when you apply. Start volunteering, doesn’t have to be medically related, but most schools look for that. Get a job with direct patient care exposure (CNA, phlebotomy, MA, EMT etc) and start working or volunteering so you can accrue hours by the time you apply.

You can also create a CASPA (application site) account for free and start looking around/getting familiar with how it works so applying will be easier for you. If you want to avoid a gap year you will want to apply in April of your Junior year.

Best of luck!


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Thank you so much ! That is extremely helpful, It seemed counterproductive to be doing nothing so i will definatly start looking for volunteer opportunities and a possible job in a hospital once im 18! I already have some volunteer hours, but certainly could use much more. 

Thanks again! 

 

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Really seriously consider getting your EMT and then Paramedic. This experience is some of the best you can get and it will provide some steady income. It also opens up volunteer options at sporting events etc to you. In terms of school make sure you take the needed classes and enjoy it. Don’t stress out about pa school you will have plenty of time for that.

As for the aforementioned scribing, it may offer some benefits but it isn’t universally accepted as HCE. For this reason it is not the best bang for your buck. EMT, Medic, MA, CNA, RT or RN are all vastly better options and are accepted at every school.

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You're a high school student: don't rule out going to medical school.  It's designed for smart, young, malleable people.  The problem with aggressive, smart early 20's PAs is that many will end up bored before they're retirement age, so the choice is to leave medicine, or face a horrid ceiling on responsibility.

So, go pre-med, take all the prerequisites for both PA and med school, and defer making a decision until you've gotten a really good feel for what *actually* goes into PA school vs. Medical school and residency.  Too many people make career choices based on demonstrably false assumptions, like PAs having more time or better work/life balance than MDs.

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18 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

You're a high school student: don't rule out going to medical school.  It's designed for smart, young, malleable people.  The problem with aggressive, smart early 20's PAs is that many will end up bored before they're retirement age, so the choice is to leave medicine, or face a horrid ceiling on responsibility.

So, go pre-med, take all the prerequisites for both PA and med school, and defer making a decision until you've gotten a really good feel for what *actually* goes into PA school vs. Medical school and residency.  Too many people make career choices based on demonstrably false assumptions, like PAs having more time or better work/life balance than MDs.

this. agree 100%. I am happy today as a PA, but it took a long time to get here with lots of bad jobs and lots of disrespect along the way. not going to medschool will probably go down as the worst mistake of my professional life.

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Another vote for med school. Any applicant under 30 needs to have a really pressing reason why they want to be a PA in my opinion. Put all of your eggs in the MD/DO basket. If at the end of your undergraduate journey you're still hard pressed on PA, you will have fulfilled all of the requirements anyway. Shadow a few PAs as well as some MD/DOs to gain a better sense for what you see yourself doing as a profession.

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8 hours ago, PACrankset said:

Really seriously consider getting your EMT and then Paramedic. This experience is some of the best you can get and it will provide some steady income. It also opens up volunteer options at sporting events etc to you. In terms of school make sure you take the needed classes and enjoy it. Don’t stress out about pa school you will have plenty of time for that.

As for the aforementioned scribing, it may offer some benefits but it isn’t universally accepted as HCE. For this reason it is not the best bang for your buck. EMT, Medic, MA, CNA, RT or RN are all vastly better options and are accepted at every school.

Thank you! My cousin recently became a EMT. I will talk to him about that, and maybe he could give me some info! 

Thanks again ! 

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@rev ronin @EMEDPA @beattie228

Thanks for the advice! I just looked at one local Med School and the prerequisites are almost identical to most PA schools near me ! The main difference is Inorganic Chemistry. As for the reason I wanted to purse PA over MD. I liked the autonomy that PA’s have in the hospital while still being able to consult with their supervising physician if needed- I understand that is not the case for everyone as it depends on the hospital,specialty and physician in charge. As of now I want to work in a hospital not a private practice,   and I wouldn’t mind working on call/ long hours ( at least not when i’m young). I realized I ruled out Med school too fast so thank you for opening my eyes to it again ! I’ve heard horror stories about doctors who have tons of student loans and malpractice insurance, that is the main reason I pushed med school to the side. Also, I like the PA community much more because everyone on here seems to be so open to teaching and explaing things to young students. I didn’t getting that feeling while looking at a popular Student Doctor forum.

 

Thank you all for your help, I will keep my options open a research both careers while working on my bachelors. Have a good day ! 

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Guest blee100
48 minutes ago, mmerton said:

@rev ronin @EMEDPA @beattie228

Thanks for the advice! I just looked at one local Med School and the prerequisites are almost identical to most PA schools near me ! The main difference is Inorganic Chemistry. As for the reason I wanted to purse PA over MD. I liked the autonomy that PA’s have in the hospital while still being able to consult with their supervising physician if needed- I understand that is not the case for everyone as it depends on the hospital,specialty and physician in charge. As of now I want to work in a hospital not a private practice,   and I wouldn’t mind working on call/ long hours ( at least not when i’m young). I realized I ruled out Med school too fast so thank you for opening my eyes to it again ! I’ve heard horror stories about doctors who have tons of student loans and malpractice insurance, that is the main reason I pushed med school to the side. Also, I like the PA community much more because everyone on here seems to be so open to teaching and explaing things to young students. I didn’t getting that feeling while looking at a popular Student Doctor forum.

 

Thank you all for your help, I will keep my options open a research both careers while working on my bachelors. Have a good day ! 

Hi @mmerton I wish I was getting mentally prepared in high school like u and found this website as well. As someone who is 20, I also pushed MD to the side. I've shadowed about 5 PAs in different specialties. Each one is extremely happy and love being apart of the PA community. I noticed while shadowing PAs compared to MDs is that they are so much more social with patients and have a great connection with their patients. Every PA that I've met I honestly can say I can relate to them on so many levels. They love teaching and their happy to have you shadow cause they truly want more people to join the PA community.  One of my favorite PAs is in dermatology. Here some insight of how her job set up is she has her own office and two of her own medical assistant. Out of the 6 times, I've seen her I've never seen an MD hovering over her. Her patients love her and some have even left their MDs just to see her. Good luck on your journey.Start shadowing soon and see which one you like best!

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1 hour ago, mmerton said:

Also, I like the PA community much more because everyone on here seems to be so open to teaching and explaing things to young students. I didn’t getting that feeling while looking at a popular Student Doctor forum.

 

Thank you all for your help, I will keep my options open a research both careers while working on my bachelors. Have a good day ! 

Don't let SDN paint a picture for you in terms of how the MD community is. Pre-meds and the vast majority of posters on SDN don't represent the typical physicians I've encountered, both in my profession and personal lives. It sounds like you're getting great exposure to clinicians in your current job. Let them be the ones who fill you in on the pros and cons of the various fields. Kudos to you for thinking this far ahead. Continue to build up your application, study hard and enjoy your undergrad years.

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3 hours ago, blee100 said:

Hi @mmerton I wish I was getting mentally prepared in high school like u and found this website as well. As someone who is 20, I also pushed MD to the side. I've shadowed about 5 PAs in different specialties. Each one is extremely happy and love being apart of the PA community. I noticed while shadowing PAs compared to MDs is that they are so much more social with patients and have a great connection with their patients. Every PA that I've met I honestly can say I can relate to them on so many levels. They love teaching and their happy to have you shadow cause they truly want more people to join the PA community.  One of my favorite PAs is in dermatology. Here some insight of how her job set up is she has her own office and two of her own medical assistant. Out of the 6 times, I've seen her I've never seen an MD hovering over her. Her patients love her and some have even left their MDs just to see her. Good luck on your journey.Start shadowing soon and see which one you like best!

Thanks for the info! I am excited to start shadowing so I can learn more about both professions! 

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3 hours ago, beattie228 said:

Don't let SDN paint a picture for you in terms of how the MD community is. Pre-meds and the vast majority of posters on SDN don't represent the typical physicians I've encountered, both in my profession and personal lives. It sounds like you're getting great exposure to clinicians in your current job. Let them be the ones who fill you in on the pros and cons of the various fields. Kudos to you for thinking this far ahead. Continue to build up your application, study hard and enjoy your undergrad years.

Thanks for the help and opening my eyes back up to the Med School route. I will keep my options open ! 

 

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@mmerton Definitely look into getting a CNA/MA/EMT certification this summer! Personally, I would even recommend looking at majoring in Nursing BSN. You can knock out some pre-reqs for both med school and PA school even NP school. That way when you graduate you can make some serious $$$ if you decide to take a gap year. Also, while you further your education even in the rigorous programs you can find a contingent job as a RN work one day a week and be self sufficient i.e NOT depend on loans.  

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1 hour ago, OneDayPA-C said:

@mmerton Definitely look into getting a CNA/MA/EMT certification this summer! Personally, I would even recommend looking at majoring in Nursing BSN. You can knock out some pre-reqs for both med school and PA school even NP school. That way when you graduate you can make some serious $$$ if you decide to take a gap year. Also, while you further your education even in the rigorous programs you can find a contingent job as a RN work one day a week and be self sufficient i.e NOT depend on loans.  

I would love to get certified as a MA or CNA! Thanks for the advice, my dad is actually a nurse and he has been trying to get me to get my bachelors in Nursing. Thanks again, have a good day! 

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8 hours ago, majetito said:

You are in high school and are mature beyond your years! Seeking wisdom and being teachable is a missing ingredient with many people your age. I have no doubt you will be on the right track.

When I was your age I was more concerned about beating all my challengers on the Street Fighter 2 arcade game.

Thank you !

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My bits of advice: study hard but for Gods sake enjoy undergrad so your not burned out even before PA school starts. Secondly explore all healthcare fields and make darn sure PA is what you want. Shadow people in the obvious fields like MD/DO but don't forget about others like podiatrist, dentist, optometrist.  Even if you don't like them the shadowing experience will look good and you can honestly answer the question all PA programs will ask "why PA?"  

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