Hello, everyone. I know it may seem like this would be a bit of a biased place to ask for an opinion on this, but this forum seems really open-minded and overall really respectful with people asking these sort of questions compared to *cough* SDN *cough* other websites. I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I know ultimately this is only a choice I can make myself, but I'd like to get some opinions from others who are ahead of me on their medical journies as a little guidance.
I'm 29 years old and a graduate of Arizona State University, where I majored in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I always wanted to go the PA route, but the closer I am to finishing my undergrad, the more I'm concerned about possibly regretting the decision to not go ahead and commit to becoming a doctor. One of my biggest concerns with med schools is that I completed my degree online, although I did all my science labs in-person by flying out to the ASU campus. Long story short, I still think I have a good chance at med schools that accept online credits, but I'm unsure if it's what I should do. A quick rundown of my stats:
- Non-traditional, white male, 29 years old
- 3.91 GPA, 3.85 sGPA
- 510 MCAT
- 650+ hours volunteering for a suicidal hotline company. 200+ volunteer hours as a phlebotomist (mostly school blood donating events), and donated $2,000+ in crowd-funded scholarships to students throughout the state with a small company I started in 2015.
- 3,000+ hours as a Certified Surgical Technician at an orthopedic surgery center
- Strong LOR's from 2 orthopedic surgeons, a CRNA, a very well-respected professor, and 2 more from my volunteer coaches
- 40 hours shadowing an Anesthesiologist and CRNA
I feel as if I'm a strong candidate for med school and PA programs, but I'm older. I'm 29 now. I used to work in construction, then aviation, and even ended up leaving a Fortune 500 company (that paid extremely well) to pursue a career in medicine. I made a lot of sacrifices, but it was all worth it. I love my patients and couldn't imagine myself doing anything else in life.
I also want to marry my long-time girlfriend. She's 25, so by the time I'm actually a doctor, she would be around 33. I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA, suffered from depression for years, considered suicide many times, etc. I went through a lot (as I'm sure a lot of people have) and another one of my main goals is to write books about my experiences and to help motivate others. If I can graduate high school with a 2.3 and go on to become a doctor, I think it would be an awesome story in terms of my writings and would help a lot of people, outside from my patients.
With all this being said, I think the career of being a PA will still satisfy my wants to help people in medicine. My biggest concern so far is that I'd regret not going to med school, but I hear a lot of horror stories about divorces, not being able to see your kids as much when they're younger, residency stories, and etc. The debt is also a big concern, because I would be 37-ish before I could really start paying my loans off. I don't know if it's worth it for me and my age, although I'm not that old. I just want to ask openly - if you were in my shoes, what would you do personally? I know everyone is different, but I'm just looking for some insights from different perspectives. Thanks for the read and sorry to type out so much.
I apologize if this seems like a fairly obvious question, but I just want to double check before I consider pursuing it.
I understand that PA schools do not necessarily care if you have a degree in Microbiology or Art Appreciation, as long as you have the academic prerequisites completed in addition to the appropriate GPA (among all the other requirements). My husband and I are moving a lot recently, and I am not able to complete a full science degree (my degree of choice) at a brick and mortar school in a decent amount of time, but I am able to complete a BA online, as well as complete my prereqs at a local community college. My question is: does it matter if my prereqs come from a different school other than where my degree was completed from? Is this going to cause any issues?
I need some input on which online course I should take at Doane vs UNE? If you have complete biochem at either school, please share your experience: pros, cons, difficult, content, tests and etc.
thanks to everyone in advance!
Hi, everyone. I’m going to attempt becoming a PA and need some advice. I have a good idea on what I’ll be doing to attempt getting into programs, so I’ll go ahead and give you my estimated credentials when applying to a program, sometime in the next 4 years.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Health Sciences from Arizona State University.
Standard GRE scores (haven’t taken any yet, but to play it safe, I’ll just say I’ve hypothetically scored average or slightly above average)
Surgical Technician degree from a local technical college with ~ 2,000 hours clinical experience with ~ 500 hours of volunteer hospital-related work.
Seeking to become a Surgical Physician Assistant.
My main concern is that I’ll be attending ASU Online. I live in Georgia, so I’m sure the topic will be brought up and if I moved here, took online classes, etc. I’m completely content with online classes and don’t think they’ll harm my chances. I’ve inquired to PA programs near me, and they have all said they accept online programs like I’m pursuing, but that doesn’t let me know if someone would be deemed more competitive if they had similar credentials as me but in a physical campus. For my labs (required for PA program acceptance), I will actually have to fly out of state and attend those in person in an accelerated fashion specifically designed for out of state online students, so I’m still getting that physical lab presence, and it’s from a highly respected university.
With all that being said, I currently have a job in aviation with a Fortune 500 company - I know, totally different world. My point is that I make really good money for my age. I’m 24 and made a little over $60,000 last year, which is very good in Georgia. So I don’t want to leave my current job to pursue school in a more traditional sense. I’m actually attending two colleges simultaneously - the local tech college for my Surgical Technician degree and ASU.
I’ve just started on my ST program, which will take about 18 months. In this time, I can continue to go to ASU Online, work towards my bachelor’s, and save up as much money as possible from my job. After I complete the ST program, I’ll leave my current job to gain some clinical experience. I’ll have about 2-3 years left for me to finish my bachelors, which will give me plenty of time to rack up those required clinical hours.
Sorry to rant, but I just wanted to get everything out there in a single post. Do you guys think I’m on the right track? How do you feel about me getting an online degree from ASU while simultaneously working for clinical experience? Does getting a degree part-time look less competitive than someone who’s going to college full time? How do you feel about my credentials?
Answers to any questions are highly appreciated! Thanks again.
Is it necessary to take ochem and biochem lab as pre-req for PA school? At my college, ochem lab and biochem lab are separated course, you have to pass ochem lab in order to take biochem lab. I barely survived ochem and I'm not good at doing lab work at all so I don't know if i should take the lab. My science GPA is really low already so I do not want to bring it down. Thanks!