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Another rerun episode of "What're my chances?!"


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Hi guys!

3rd time applicant here. 

I graduated in 2015 with my psychology degree and a 3.3 GPA. My science GPA is around a 3.0 the last time I checked. 

HCE: 2,000+ hours as a medical scribe with leadership experience as a scribe manager 

Shadowing: 100+ hours (give or take) 

Volunteer: Several years volunteering in several emergency departments 

LOR: aiming for 3: one from a PA, one from my boss, and one from another PA or doc. 

Unfortunately, I haven't gained any more hours since I last applied last year since I was promoted within my company from a scribe to a corporate position. I know it's a good thing that I was promoted, but I'm not sure what admissions will think of it since I'm not gaining more HCE.

Last year I struggled a lot to save money for the application, supplemental fees, etc. This year I'm trying to save more and have an idea of which programs I want to apply to so that I can get my application in a lot earlier, hopefully by early May. I know a lot of it is going to be banking on how well my SOP is received.

I don't know if anyone will be honest enough with me to tell me if I'm wasting my time or if I should just pursue another career. I've wanted this for a while, but it's been tough overcoming the fear of being rejected again especially after all the time and money spent on the whole process. 

Thanks in advance!

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I had a few questions after reading the post.

  1. Have you been taking classes since graduating in 2015?
  2. How many changes overall to your application was there between the first and second cycles?
  3. Have you considered a more direct patient care role?
  4. Have you been getting interviews?
  5. How many schools are you applying to?

I had a GPA similar to yours and had to take a bunch of classes while working to be considered.  I use to be a medical scribe as well, the experience was important, but is not considered direct patient care experience.  For many programs it is ranked lower as HCE overall compared to other types of work like EMT-B.  

3 hours ago, Alfrid said:

I don't know if anyone will be honest enough with me to tell me if I'm wasting my time or if I should just pursue another career. I've wanted this for a while, but it's been tough overcoming the fear of being rejected again especially after all the time and money spent on the whole process. 

Only you can really answer this question.  If you want to get into school you have to make changes since what you are currently doing is not working.  Likely that would be showing improvements in every aspect of the application rather than just HCE (which you said you did not improve since last application cycle anyway).  When I was in your shoes (was sitting around a cGPA of 3.21 and sGPA of 3.01) I got another job for direct patient care hours and took 11 science courses between cycles and got only As.  

If you are struggling to save money to apply for school perhaps making more cuts in things that you spend money on now would help.  I had to stop paying for TV (roommates agreed cable TV was not worth the money), stopped paying for and playing video games, limited how many meals I bought and increased how many I made.  If I needed new shoes or clothes I went to the Goodwill.  I saved hundreds of dollars this way, especially with clothes.  I never had problems with rent money because I always lived with multiple people and we split rent, now spend 400 a month on rent.

The application cycle is coming up quickly here.  CASPA opens up in May I believe?  Classes at many community colleges have already started and it would be difficult to get into some and then take for the academic side.  Also getting direct patient care hours would require you to get another job.  Doing these things before May would be extremely difficult.  However, starting these things would be a plus for application updates during the process.  

Spending money like a squirrel and having no life because all you do is school and work sucks, but is worth it.  For me, I now can chill the few months I have before school starts in May.  

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Hey Ket, 

Thanks for taking the time to respond. 

To answer your questions: 

1. I did retake college algebra (which I hadn't done so well in the first time), and an additional med term class. I'm going to start a stats class next week and a microbio class in the fall if I can find one that fits my hours since i'm currently working FT M-F 8-5. 

2. Between the first and second cycle I gained more healthcare experience since I continued working as a scribe and got promoted to a manager position (but still scribing.) Had 5 recommendation letters that time as opposed to 2-3 previously as well as my med term/algebra classes which I finished up at the end of August. 

3. I had considered EMT, but haven't been able to find any classes in my area that would fit my work schedule. Wish I had done it before already.

4. Nope. I almost got one with Wingate (according to them) and was on an interview waitlist with Baylor the first cycle.

5. This round probably ~10+ that I'm selecting a little more carefully this time. 

Some great ideas on ways to save money! I'm trying to put a little away each paycheck and cut my food/fun spending (I've been bad) so hopefully that'll help. I think this cycle I'm also going to put in some applications to RT programs as well. I figure if that doesn't work out for me, RT school could still give me experience if I still have the desire to be a PA in the future.

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A third time applicant should realistically have nearly 6000 hrs of HCE.  While yes, being promoted is wonderful, it may not have been in line with your goal of applying to PA school.

You also should have been taking many more courses the last 3 cycles to improve your GPA.  I'm not sure statistics is worth your time unless it's a prereq for schools you want to apply to.  You would be much better served by science courses that will raise your sGPA.

Make sure you are applying to schools where you'd be competitive.  Low HCE and lower GPA is not going to stand out at programs that get 2000 applicants and they interview  the ones with 3.7 GPAs.

You also technically haven't gotten interviews - so you're either not applying to the right schools OR you need to improve your statement and/or LORs.

Frankly there is a lot of room for improvement in your app, however it's not hopeless.  If you put the time and effort into getting back into a PCE job and taking courses, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.  Perhaps it would be in your interest to take a year off applying, use that money for courses, and then apply next year with a better application.

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11 hours ago, Alfrid said:

Hey Ket, 

Thanks for taking the time to respond. 

To answer your questions: 

1. I did retake college algebra (which I hadn't done so well in the first time), and an additional med term class. I'm going to start a stats class next week and a microbio class in the fall if I can find one that fits my hours since i'm currently working FT M-F 8-5. 

2. Between the first and second cycle I gained more healthcare experience since I continued working as a scribe and got promoted to a manager position (but still scribing.) Had 5 recommendation letters that time as opposed to 2-3 previously as well as my med term/algebra classes which I finished up at the end of August. 

3. I had considered EMT, but haven't been able to find any classes in my area that would fit my work schedule. Wish I had done it before already.

4. Nope. I almost got one with Wingate (according to them) and was on an interview waitlist with Baylor the first cycle.

5. This round probably ~10+ that I'm selecting a little more carefully this time. 

Some great ideas on ways to save money! I'm trying to put a little away each paycheck and cut my food/fun spending (I've been bad) so hopefully that'll help. I think this cycle I'm also going to put in some applications to RT programs as well. I figure if that doesn't work out for me, RT school could still give me experience if I still have the desire to be a PA in the future.

I agree with the above comments. While the corporate job might be appealing money wise it is not helping your cause. Also on the EMT topic sometimes you may need to sacrifice some time and money to put yourself in a position to get in.

My advice take a cycle off get a job that you accumulate HCE, take 3-4 additional classes to boost your GPA and then apply next cycle. You should have significant improvement by then. Applying this coming cycle is a bit futile as you have little to no improvement. You might get lucky but the odds are not in your favor.

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Thanks for all the advice guys. As much as it sucks, I think based on what y'all have said, I'll probably abstain from reapplying this round and instead I'll be submitting some applications to some cardiovascular tech/respiratory therapy programs near me. I figure they'll still be viable career options while also still giving me what I'll need to apply to PA school again in the future.

Thanks again!

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1 hour ago, Alfrid said:

Thanks for all the advice guys. As much as it sucks, I think based on what y'all have said, I'll probably abstain from reapplying this round and instead I'll be submitting some applications to some cardiovascular tech/respiratory therapy programs near me. I figure they'll still be viable career options while also still giving me what I'll need to apply to PA school again in the future.

Thanks again!

Just keep in mind that those are typically two year programs and you can't use your rotations in school as HCE if and or when you decide to apply to PA programs. Your application isn't that far off, you just need a couple classes and some solid HCE which you can get in a year or less.

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18 minutes ago, PACrankset said:

Just keep in mind that those are typically two year programs and you can't use your rotations in school as HCE if and or when you decide to apply to PA programs. Your application isn't that far off, you just need a couple classes and some solid HCE which you can get in a year or less.

That's good to know. Do you happen to know if EMT courses will go towards my science GPA/cGPA at all? It would be through a training academy rather than through a community college, I think.

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3 hours ago, Alfrid said:

That's good to know. Do you happen to know if EMT courses will go towards my science GPA/cGPA at all? It would be through a training academy rather than through a community college, I think.

Well the answer is typically yes they do. Most have some affiliation with a community college, but would be a good question to ask somebody at the academy in question. It is normally around 10 credits so if you get an A it can boost things significantly. It typically does not count as a science class.

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