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kcb01

Concerned boyfriend

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Hi, I am writing this post as my girlfriend is on the road to getting accepted in to a PA school and is hitting a few speed bumps.  I personally work in finance so I am a little out of touch in terms of support, and my suggestions to "keep pushing" are becoming more and more patronizing with every denial email she receives.  My question for this forum is why?  What is it that has caused 8 schools to say no to her application so far, without even an interview.

Some info on her:

GRE: 312

GPA- (cumulative including undergrad) : 3.2

GPA science: 3.6

Undergraduate degree- Language studies (Japanese) - (She's half Japanese).

Work experience: 2.5 years as a physiotherapist assistant, 1/2 years to current as a medical scribe at a pediatric clinic.

Along with this she has volunteer work and strong application letters.

It's very difficult for me to watch the rejection letters come in one after another without an offer for an interview.  I know if she received one she would do great as her interpersonal skills and bedside manner are so strong. 

Can anyone offer any advice as I am trying to help her through what I assume are familiar feelings of self doubt.

Thanks in advance!

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Which schools rejected her? Is she sure she met all of the prerequisites?

Also, it doesn't hurt to reach out to the schools which rejected her and ask why she was rejected/what she can do to improve her application.

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It's unclear from this why she is being denied. Agree with the above and contact the schools for more information on that. That many non-interviews with those stats I suspect incomplete application (lacks certain prereq class or didn't turn in everything), very poor personal statement, or she is only shooting for ivy league (or that type) of school. Recommend some safety schools. 

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Guest blee100

did she apply early? I see people with a good application on this site like your gf but they applied late and received rejections. Late is classified as after July I believe. Also, you're a wonderful boyfriend for trying to assist her through this journey!!!

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What does she do as a physiotherapy assistant? could be that programs aren't counting this as hands on experience, depending on her duties which could affect her application. Is she articulating why she wants to be a PA well? If not, automatic rejection. Does she have experience working/shadowing PAs?

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The only thing I can see is the 3.2 gpa. This is at the lower end of average for sure, but still not horrible. It may be that the school she is looking at are super competitive and that gpa is holding her back, it might be her personal statement.

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A mediocre, damnation-by-faint-praise, or worse letter of recommendation could also have that effect.  Other than that, yes, a 3.2 GPA is meh, but with a compelling personal statement and a good match between her profile and target programs she ought to be getting some interviews.

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I agree with the others; it's hard to say what specifically may be holding her back, but she will likely have to revamp things in her application for the next cycle. Her sGPA is not bad, and her GRE is fine, but her cGPA is on the lower end of the spectrum, so she will need to make other parts of her application stand out to make up for it. Like Rev said, her letters of recommendation could be a weak link; she should ask for LORs from people who know her well and who she can trust to write a strong recommendation for her. If she hasn't done much (or any) PA shadowing, she should make sure she does; it looks good and is a good way to get one on one time with a PA that can potentially write a recommendation down the road. 

Also, she should carefully select the schools she applies to, ensuring not only that she meets every stated prerequisite (in classes, PCE hours, etc), but also that they apply a holistic approach to applications; she should also look up statistics on recently accepted students (most schools post these on their website from recent entering classes) and apply to programs that have a history of accepting students with stats similar to hers. It's also a good idea to contact schools that have rejected her with the question of how she can improve her application (even if she doesn't reapply to those specific schools, that information could be very valuable coming from an adcom who has reviewed her application). 

As LT_Oneal said, it is important to apply broadly as well; a couple of reach schools is fine, but variety is key here, and she should carefully research the schools she submits applications to. US News rankings and name recognition shouldn't even be on her radar. 

She needs to take the time to write a very strong personal statement as well (she should probably rewrite it to ensure it wasn't the thing holding her back); this is probably one of the most important things she can do since it can help her stand out among candidates who otherwise may be more competitive than her. There are plenty of resources on line for tips on how to approach this, but she should start early (well before the next application cycle), and allow it to go through multiple drafts with trusted individuals reading and critiquing it along the way.

Finally, she should also plan to apply early in the cycle to ensure her application is reviewed early on, since this increases her chances of getting an interview before the schools have tons of applications to review (with potentially more qualified candidates where they can be more and more selective of who they invite).

I know this can be a tough process, but if she approaches this as a learning experience and revamps any weak points in her application, there is no reason she shouldn't be able to get interviews (and acceptances) next time around. 

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Wow! first of all thank you so much for taking the time to respond. There is a lot of great info here.  I will make sure to share the suggestions with her as there are a lot of consistencies with the recommendations. 

hmmmm3- The schools she applied to were mostly along the west coast, specifically in northern California which is where we live and along the coast line north and south, some of the more sought after schools, so broadening her apps may be a good idea. She is currently reaching out to the schools for feedback- which I think is going to be a huge help. thx

LT_Oneal_PAC - She checked all the pre-req's so i think she is good there, but yes I think a lot of the schools she applied to may be some of the most competitive which likely is not helping her so much, ill recommend some safety schools thx

PA-SGuy: her role at a physio assistant included prepping patients who are receiving PT support, stimulation, icing, helping with range of motion. Support role for the PT but facing patients and communicating with them.  Her letters are strong but ill recommend ensuring that they are as inspiring as possible. Aslo she has shadowed some PA's though I think only about 10 hours- This PA was one of her letter of rec which was also very strong- thx]

blee100- She applied at the end of August.  But she is now applying early for the next round of apps. One denial so far :S  Thanks for the kind word. thx

PACrankset- Her CGPA is for sure her biggest worry, as that is hard to change at this point.  She is concerned it's the trump card in this process and something that schools wont be able to be okay with, regardless of what she offsets it with on her apps. thx

rev ronin: I will speak to her about the letters of rec and advise that she explains the importance of the strength of those letters to those who wrote them. That's solid advise.

ProSpectre: Thanks so much for all the solid advice and encouraging words.

Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts and encouragement.  I think getting so many relevant perspectives on the situation goes a long way and I will make sure to share them with her as I think she'll find it to be a great help.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LT_Oneal_PAC

LT_Oneal_PAC

 

 

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I have a 3.26 cGPA according to caspa and got in to 3 schools. Trying to get any and all pre-reqs to an A will help and show she is serious. Otherwise I agree with everything else that has been said above. Joining this forum might also be beneficial for her. It took me 3 cycles to get accepted if that helps her. If she wants it, she has to fight for it.

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PCE sounds pretty weak. Consider getting better hands on experience. That will help offset the low GPA and make her a more rounded applicant. Good luck!

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Hi , Melissa Gutierrez-Perez recent Certified Physician Assistant from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. I love that you are concerned a huge part of her success in PA school will be having a good support system. 

I have learned a huge determining factor is the personal statement. Out of the whole application this is the only section where they get to know the person . Sometimes we give weak personal statements, many of us will include that we are passionate about helping people and the medical field ( truth is they already know that ) they want to know WHY you're passionate about this. What in your life made you realize helping others was your calling. 

I've helped people apply to my university and I word with them on improving their personal statement and I've seen that once we improve that many of them got interviews. 

Hope it helps

 

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