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Hi all I was hoping to get some help.  I was accepted to a couple PA programs and I am trying to decide between them.  Any suggested questions I should ask each program to better make a decision? I have some concerns as one school does not have a cadaver lab and I'm not sure I will be prepared well for my surgical rotation.  Thank you all 

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28 minutes ago, LindsayGartman said:

Hi all I was hoping to get some help.  I was accepted to a couple PA programs and I am trying to decide between them.  Any suggested questions I should ask each program to better make a decision? I have some concerns as one school does not have a cadaver lab and I'm not sure I will be prepared well for my surgical rotation.  Thank you all 

PANCE pass rate and cost. Go to the school that is the cheapest with the best pass rates. 

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22 hours ago, LindsayGartman said:

The school that is cheaper is fairly new and only has two current classes right now so they haven't taken their PANCE test yet. Any suggestions on what questions I can ask in order to guess how prepared students will feel for the test?

Ehh that's a gamble, if they have a stellar med school then you are probably in good hands, if they don't have a good med school or no med school at all, "buyer beware."

I know the cadaver lab is not a necessity, and it doesn't make the difference between good practitioners or bad ones, but there is no way I would turn that down. It could also be argued that it is an indication of their overall investment in their PA students, but that is an argument, not a fact.

Other questions that would be good to ask are about rotations, if they have any trouble placing students, if you have to find some of your own, are they affiliated with hospitals or practices in the area.

PANCE isn't a big deal to me unless you are a mediocre student, the worst pass rates I saw were in the 80's, and I don't like to think of myself as in the bottom 20th percentile. But like the cadaver lab, it could be argued that it is an indication of a program's overall quality, but that isn't necessarily a fact. 

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Hello,

 

I will be graduating in 2018 and was faced with a similar dilemma so perhaps I can help a little bit. I was accepted to both well established programs and new programs. The newer programs were in my home state so I felt inclined to accept their offer and stay. I unfortunately decided to stay in my home state and attend the newer school who was on their 2nd cohort (me). I will definitely say it's a tough decision and it's hard... the programs are still transitioning between faculty, different lectures, teaching styles as well as rotation sites. As with any new program, it does take a few years for everything to be consistent between cohorts. I can say now that the program I am attending is still shifting and changing a few things. I also did not have a cadaver lab and so I personally did feel like I was "cut short" of the PA school experience slightly. I was fortunate to have had a cadaver in undergrad so I was at least exposed.

Another important thing to note is that starting a new program is so incredibly difficult and the faculty are very busy. During my didactic year, I as well as a few other students did feel that we were not given as much attention perhaps due to the fact that they were so busy.

In hindsight now, if I were to be able to do it again, I may have picked the more established, well known and stable program. If you have no geographical ties and no restrictions, I would tell you to go where you think you would get the best education and resources. 2 years is a incredibly short time and in this time, you will be taught what you need so you can hopefully go out there in the world to practice! Due to the fact that it's such a short time, I believe the time we do spend learning is extremely crucial. However, this is just my 0.02. 

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5 hours ago, LindsayGartman said:

Hi all I was hoping to get some help.  I was accepted to a couple PA programs and I am trying to decide between them.  Any suggested questions I should ask each program to better make a decision? I have some concerns as one school does not have a cadaver lab and I'm not sure I will be prepared well for my surgical rotation.  Thank you all 

Your surgery rotation will consist of suturing, not dissecting.  If you need to spend hours upon hours cutting through layers of fat to learn anatomy, have at it.  Personally my time was better spent elsewhere.

 

As others have said: cost, PANCE pass rate, quality of clinical rotations.  Outside of that - are any in areas you want to practice in (you'll make connections during clinical year)?  Did you like the faculty/facilities/students you met at your interview?  Will you be happy in that town for 2 years?  

As for the school that hasn't taken PANCE yet - there aren't really any questions you can ask.  It will all be speculation until the first cohort takes it.

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