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Hello everyone,

I have been following this forum for a little over a month now and have obtained some very insightful information! However, I have yet to find the answers to a few of my questions. I came across the military thread but felt like my post would be more appropriate for the Pre-PA section. A little background information before I begin asking my questions, I will be transitioning out of the military in may of this year, I have already been accepted to the number one school on my list for my undergrad in exercise science. I have obtained some college credits throughout my military career and have also taken two general courses at a local community college. I have yet to receive my transfer credit evaluation but I can guesstimate that I will have around 18-24 credits total.

  • I will be utilizing my post 9-11 GI bill educational benefit for school, This benefit covers up to 36 months total. Would you recommend I pay out of pocket for a year or two of my undergrad in order to have PA school covered by my education benefit?
  • Does being a veteran heighten the chances of being selected when it comes to applying to PA school? 
  • Although I am not actively involved in the medical field as a corpsman or field medic in the military, The physician on my base has said with the approval of my leadership, he will allow me to work on patients with him and will write a letter stating the different activities and procedures I performed while working under him. Now would this technically be considered Paid Direct patient care? And could I use this for hours in my application process?
  • The school I am attending has a policy where if you have obtained your undergrad at the institution, you are guaranteed an interview for their PA program (As long as you meet the minimum requirements). Should I keep my eyes set on getting into this program once I'm finished with my undergrad or should I still take the initiative to apply to other schools as well?

Thank you all for your time!

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The first thing that jumps out for me is your projected medical experience.  This sounds like it will be a volunteer-type gig and while you can list it as patient care on your AMCAS application (later on down the road), it will be a stretchto label it PAID patient care.  consider scribe work or some sort of part time paid healthcare job that involves routine patient interaction.

As for your GI bill, best strategy here is to complete your undergrad relatively quickly.  I say this because imo, id want to minimize debt as much as possible before getting into PA school.  Although you may have a guaranteed interview, being accepted to the program is another story.  You could be left with some student loans to pay off if you borrow for your undergrad and have to take a gap year because you weren't accepted right away.  GI bill pays according to months you are in school full time, not credits, so if you can handle it, consider remaining above full time.

Being a vet MAY help depending on the program but usually it is the medical expertise gained during military service that is more desirable.

Reconsider your final question when you are approaching the end of your undergrad.  If you are not very competitive (GPA, GRE scores, healthcare experience) then I would consider applying to a many more programs.  This one is tough for me as I only applied to two programs :/

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- How long is it going to take for you to complete your undergraduate? Are you going to have disability rating when you get discharged? And what percentage? Depending on these you will have some benefits. Check with the local VocRehab to see if you would qualify for having your tuition paid for undergraduate. Also, if you can save money now for the undergraduate tuition do it now. Because I would recommend saving the Post 9-11 GI Bill for PA school. 

- Being a veteran helps but you need to have relevant experience to show your worth to the schools. Don't count the schools to give you priority just because you were a veteran. 

- I don't think it would count as a Paid Patient Care but I think it would definitely be Health Care Experience. This you'd have to ask the school directly to find out. I would recommend planning to work while in undergraduate to get that definitive paid experience. I was recently told that PCE hours doesn't necessarily mean you have to get paid for it so again check with your school. 

- Like SephONE mentioned, guaranteed interview doesn't mean guaranteed acceptance. Always have back up plan. Definitely have some schools on your list to apply to. Do everything you can to make yourself stand out not just for one school but for multiple schools that way you have options later on. 

Get any certifications you can get while in the military. Research all the benefits you can get as a veteran. Check if the undergrad school you are applying to have a veteran resource center and get in touch with them. 

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. 

Good luck. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎2‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 1:36 PM, moleashish said:

- How long is it going to take for you to complete your undergraduate? Are you going to have disability rating when you get discharged? And what percentage? Depending on these you will have some benefits. Check with the local VocRehab to see if you would qualify for having your tuition paid for undergraduate. Also, if you can save money now for the undergraduate tuition do it now. Because I would recommend saving the Post 9-11 GI Bill for PA school. 

- Being a veteran helps but you need to have relevant experience to show your worth to the schools. Don't count the schools to give you priority just because you were a veteran. 

- I don't think it would count as a Paid Patient Care but I think it would definitely be Health Care Experience. This you'd have to ask the school directly to find out. I would recommend planning to work while in undergraduate to get that definitive paid experience. I was recently told that PCE hours doesn't necessarily mean you have to get paid for it so again check with your school. 

- Like SephONE mentioned, guaranteed interview doesn't mean guaranteed acceptance. Always have back up plan. Definitely have some schools on your list to apply to. Do everything you can to make yourself stand out not just for one school but for multiple schools that way you have options later on. 

Get any certifications you can get while in the military. Research all the benefits you can get as a veteran. Check if the undergrad school you are applying to have a veteran resource center and get in touch with them. 

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. 

Good luck. 

It will take a total of 3 years to complete my undergraduate, I am on an accelerated track. I will be receiving disability, as for the percentage amount I am not too certain yet.. Just waiting for a return on my paperwork. As for the PCE, I was told by my current school that It needs to be paid patient care. Thank you for the reply its much appreciated!

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On 2/28/2018 at 11:51 AM, PAthleticism said:
  • I will be utilizing my post 9-11 GI bill educational benefit for school, This benefit covers up to 36 months total. Would you recommend I pay out of pocket for a year or two of my undergrad in order to have PA school covered by my education benefit?
    • I used my GI bill for undergrad and took loans for PA school. If I had it to do over again, I would have done loans for undergrad and GI bill for PA school. PA school was more costly than my undergrad, and I had extra time to work in undergrad to make up the difference whereas PA school is a beast and I had little free time. 
  • Does being a veteran heighten the chances of being selected when it comes to applying to PA school?
    • Some programs are more pro-military than others. That said, you don't have any guarantees. There are posts on this forum about some of the more pro-military PA programs, so definitely browse those and add them to your potential schools you apply to 
  • Although I am not actively involved in the medical field as a corpsman or field medic in the military, The physician on my base has said with the approval of my leadership, he will allow me to work on patients with him and will write a letter stating the different activities and procedures I performed while working under him. Now would this technically be considered Paid Direct patient care? And could I use this for hours in my application process?
    • This may make for one interesting bullet on your CASPA, but you're going to have to do a lot better than this overall. You're going to need to rack up a healthy amount of paid contact hours once you exit the military. There are posts about what gigs work well for this, and you should have no problem obtaining these certifications in as little as a semester. A PAEA study done a few years ago showed the average applicant had nearly 7,000 hours of paid contact hours. Your miles may vary.
  • The school I am attending has a policy where if you have obtained your undergrad at the institution, you are guaranteed an interview for their PA program (As long as you meet the minimum requirements). Should I keep my eyes set on getting into this program once I'm finished with my undergrad or should I still take the initiative to apply to other schools as well?
    • You absolutely should apply to as many schools as feasible. PA school admissions is incredibly competitive, why would you gamble on only one school after years of preparing your application? Don't put all of your eggs in one basket type of scenario.

 

 

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