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Move home after undergrad with less job opportunities or stay in my college town during my gap year and work?


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Hi everyone, 

I wanted to ask the opinions of current PA students or practicing PAs as to what I should do once I graduate in May. I am a senior in college applying to PA schools this cycles and I don't know what to do during the time between applying and potentially entering school. This time period would be anywhere from 6-18 months depending on which school I go to if I get in anywhere.  

My options are:

  1. Move back home with my parents (suburban Massachusetts) and try to work at the community hospital that I worked at last summer and save money until I (hopefully) start PA school. 
  2. Stay in my college town (urban Pennsylvania) and work here where I already have a job offer at a dermatology office and other interviews lined up.

Pros of choice 1: 

  • No rent/utilities which means I can save so much more money and pay off my undergrad loans ($17K) while trying to save up for PA school
  • Work in the same environment I worked before
  • Support of my parents during the application/interview process
  • In the same state as some of the schools I am applying to (Tufts, Northeastern, MGH)
  • Being close to the beach

Cons of choice 1:

  • Less job opportunities in general in my hometown
  • Not guaranteed the same position I had last year (it was a summer position)
  • Lack of social life
  • Long distance relationship with my boyfriend of 3+ years

Pros of choice 2:

  • more job opportunities and higher paying roles (clinical research jobs at major hospitals and universities)
  • Proximity to several PA schools I am applying to (Jefferson, Drexel, Arcadia, PCOM, Salus)
  • Several friends in the area
  • Connection to my university resources and events
  • Close to my boyfriend

Cons of choice 2:

  • I would be responsible for my rent, utilities, car insurance, food, misc. purchases on top of trying to save money and pay off student loans
  • Distance from family support 
  • I don't like the area as much

 I would really appreciate any insight anyone has on this issue. I know that each option has different benefits and challenges. Thank you for reading please ask about any information I might have forgotten to add! 

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Freaking blows but I had the swallow the pill and move home for 8 months. If you get in - you don't want to be stuck in a lease and have even more of a financial burden. Moving home is the right decision. It will keep you focused on nailing the application and keep your schedule open to attend any interviews. I will be able to save between 15-20k prior to starting school in this July from moving home.

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9 minutes ago, mchilds2 said:

Given the insane cost of some of the programs I am interested in, it is probably smarter to work on making a little nest egg for living expenses. Especially when pretty much all patient care jobs are low paying. Thanks for your advice! 

Tufts also starts in January so I'd be willing to be bet you'd be stuck right in the middle of a lease.

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I also moved home in between graduation and school. The program I was accepted to doesn't start until August, so I will have been at home for a year once I start school. BUT, I'm saving a lot of money living with my parents. Rent, groceries, etc. And I have a really nice corporate job that is allowing me to put away quite a bit for living expenses in PA school. Living at home sucks. Long distance boyfriend of 3 years, also sucks. Currently living through both. Goodluck :)

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1 minute ago, KPayne said:

I also moved home in between graduation and school. The program I was accepted to doesn't start until August, so I will have been at home for a year once I start school. BUT, I'm saving a lot of money living with my parents. Rent, groceries, etc. And I have a really nice corporate job that is allowing me to put away quite a bit for living expenses in PA school. Living at home sucks. Long distance boyfriend of 3 years, also sucks. Currently living through both. Goodluck :)

Do you and your boyfriend plan on moving to the same place once you start school? My boyfriend will be in Pennsylvania for another two years once I graduate because he is getting a second degree. I would prefer to be long distance for one year as opposed to three...guess it all just depends! Thanks for your help! 

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My situation is a little different than post. My bf is currently in pilot training with the Air Force. He finishes up in May. He won't be living with my the entire didactic portion of school, but he will have some time off in between trainings and such where he will live with me (better than nothing, so I'll take it!). He will be done around the time I begin clinicals & my school lets us chose the location of clinicals, so at that point we would probably get an apartment together :) That's the plan at least. But yes, just compare how much $ you'd save between living at home vs. staying in your college town. If it's a hugeeeee difference, then that would definitely influence. But if they are about the same amount, stay with your bf and friends :)

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Another thing to consider is if you are able to apply for residency in Penn State which may lower your cost of attendance to more schools in that state in comparison to moving back home to Mass and then paying out-of-state costs if you do get accepted to a PA state program. Then again, if those programs in PA are private institutions, then most likely their tuition rates are the same for out-of-state and in-state students. I would be in favor of moving back home simply to pay off your debt for school, but really evaluate your current financial situation and see how much you can set aside in both scenarios. Is it possible to move in with a room mate or even your boyfriend to decrease costs in PA? Another perspective is that you will not have much time for loved ones once school starts, so maybe you might want to be around family during the stressful application season. Definitely a hard choice to make, but either one is the right one. 

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