Jump to content
PennState_PA_Program

PENNSYLVANIA: Penn State PA Program 2018-2019 Cycle

Recommended Posts

Greetings from Hershey, PA and to all those who have gotten a jump start on the CASPA cycle for 2018-2019. 

As the Director of Admissions for the program, I'll be on this thread as much as possible to help answer any questions about the 18-19 cycle or share  program updates, as I'm sure some of our alum and current students will also join when they are able.

May is a busy time of year in the program as the 2nd year students graduate, our rising students begin clinical rotations and our incoming class begins...Yes, this all happens in a one week time span in May. We are very proud of our soon-to-be-graduates, excited for the students beginning their clinical rotations, and look forward to welcoming the new students at orientation.

I will do everything I can to provide a detailed and clear understanding of our application process by way of this thread, online information sessions, and email correspondence. 

Good luck with your CASPA and Penn State secondary applications.

Caryn Stopper
Director of Admissions

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, PennState_PA_Program said:

Greetings from Hershey, PA and to all those who have gotten a jump start on the CASPA cycle for 2018-2019. 

As the Director of Admissions for the program, I'll be on this thread as much as possible to help answer any questions about the 18-19 cycle or share  program updates, as I'm sure some of our alum and current students will also join when they are able.

May is a busy time of year in the program as the 2nd year students graduate, our rising students begin clinical rotations and our incoming class begins...Yes, this all happens in a one week time span in May. We are very proud of our soon-to-be-graduates, excited for the students beginning their clinical rotations, and look forward to welcoming the new students at orientation.

I will do everything I can to provide a detailed and clear understanding of our application process by way of this thread, online information sessions, and email correspondence. 

Good luck with your CASPA and Penn State secondary applications.

Caryn Stopper
Director of Admissions

Hello, 

first off thank you for taking the time out to create this forum topic! It seems like you guys are pretty busy this time of year. 

I just have a few questions, would you say penn state takes a more holistic approach when choosing applicants for the incoming program. And also, what advice would you give to someone who may have a low GPA?

 

thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/14/2018 at 5:11 PM, PennState_PA_Program said:

Greetings from Hershey, PA and to all those who have gotten a jump start on the CASPA cycle for 2018-2019. 

As the Director of Admissions for the program, I'll be on this thread as much as possible to help answer any questions about the 18-19 cycle or share  program updates, as I'm sure some of our alum and current students will also join when they are able.

May is a busy time of year in the program as the 2nd year students graduate, our rising students begin clinical rotations and our incoming class begins...Yes, this all happens in a one week time span in May. We are very proud of our soon-to-be-graduates, excited for the students beginning their clinical rotations, and look forward to welcoming the new students at orientation.

I will do everything I can to provide a detailed and clear understanding of our application process by way of this thread, online information sessions, and email correspondence. 

Good luck with your CASPA and Penn State secondary applications.

Caryn Stopper
Director of Admissions

Caryn,

Thank you for taking the time to create this thread to answer all of our questions. The question I have is how honest should we be about our personal circumstances and why we chose this career path over others that are very similar. Two of my biggest concerns are money and family. As someone who grew up in a family that did not always have money, I had to pay for most of my undergraduate degree with loans. I am limited with my choices of schools for this reason. I do not want to have to take out more loans than needed by limiting the cost of additional housing by living at home with my husband. I also want to be close to my family since they are my support system and I believe having them nearby will help me excel in school and eventually the profession as a physician assistant. I was wondering are these valid reasons to discuss in our application and/or interview (if given one). Any feedback is welcomed. 

Thanks,

Miranda

Edited by mlgeyer24

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CASPA Verified 5/14! I have not received confirmation from Penn State yet, any idea when supplemental application will be sent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2018 at 1:50 PM, jadePA2 said:

CASPA Verified 5/14! I have not received confirmation from Penn State yet, any idea when supplemental application will be sent?

 
 

According to the website they send them out in weekly batches based on CASPA application date. I received the secondary today and my application was verified about May 21st. 

Edited by CWell1901

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

I have a question for you all. How early do interviews start for 2019? Also, is there an early admission option? Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/10/2018 at 6:32 PM, alird34 said:

Hello,

I have a question for you all. How early do interviews start for 2019? Also, is there an early admission option? Thanks!

The interview cycle at Penn State will begin in July 2018 for our May 2019 program start. Admission decisions are ongoing through next year with more than 20 interview dates scheduled between July 2019 through February 2019. We do not have an early admission option at this time. Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2018 at 9:13 AM, BrethePA said:

Hello, 

first off thank you for taking the time out to create this forum topic! It seems like you guys are pretty busy this time of year. 

I just have a few questions, would you say penn state takes a more holistic approach when choosing applicants for the incoming program. And also, what advice would you give to someone who may have a low GPA?

 

thanks!

Hi BrethePA, 

Penn State utilizes a holistic admissions review. For a candidate who may have a lower GPA (keeping in mind that a minimum of 3.0 GPA is required for CASPA-calculated overall science and overall cumulative GPA) my advice is to present an application that is very strong in the many other areas of our holistic review. Hopefully your transcripts would show an upward trend in grades but if not, an explanation would assist the committee in understanding the lower grades (space is allotted for this on the secondary application). From an academic standpoint, strength should come from a solid GRE score to offset a lower GPA. Having very strong direct patient care experiences would help offset the lower GPA as well, along with showing a commitment to service in any number of ways, and demonstrating leadership during undergraduate and beyond are all additional ways to strengthen your application. 

Best wishes,

Caryn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone struggle to find the school ID code on the secondary application?  I found the school I got my degree from, but the other two schools I have used to take prerequisites courses are proving very difficult to find.  Any suggestions?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, angelabea said:

Did anyone struggle to find the school ID code on the secondary application?  I found the school I got my degree from, but the other two schools I have used to take prerequisites courses are proving very difficult to find.  Any suggestions?  

If you click the magnifying glass next to the School ID field and search by state abbreviation of the school (i.e. NJ), you can sort by state. Hope that helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, sjleach said:

If you click the magnifying glass next to the School ID field and search by state abbreviation of the school (i.e. NJ), you can sort by state. Hope that helps!

I tried that, but still am unable to find the school ? is it possible the schools don't have these ID's? Thank you for responding! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Everyone!

First, it is so exciting to once again see so many interested in Penn State and already participating in the forum!  This is my fourth year as a forum member and I am so happy with many of the improvements that have been made in the platform.  At your convenience, I encourage you to check out threads from past admissions’ cycles as well as my profile page where you can access and read previous content I have posted.  Hopefully doing so will answer many of your questions right from the start!

Second, allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Sue and I am an alumna of the Penn State Physician Assistant Class of 2017.  I grew up in the Hershey area and continue to live within 30 minutes of campus.  Since graduating, I work as a Hospitalist for Penn State Health at our St Joseph campus in Reading which is also a site of many clinical year rotations (including Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Peds, and Women’s Health).  I love my patients as well as staying involved with the Program and students!

For some additional background, I was a non-traditional PA student, having worked clinically for 15 years as an exercise physiologist in several cardiac rehab centers prior to returning for my MPAS.  I have 2 children who were 9 and 3 when I started the program.  I was also a waitlisted candidate- I applied to PSU two consecutive cycles, was waitlisted during both, and ultimately was accepted just 2 days before the start of class in May 2015!  PSU was always my first choice school and, in fact, was the only school to which I applied my first time through CASPA.  Certainly I liked Penn State because it was close to home.    I also grew up in a Penn State College of Medicine family.  But even more than that, I was drawn to Penn State for its commitment to the higest levels of academic excellence, innovative learning opportunities, and largest alumni network in the country.  Additionally, I truly believe you will never find a better blend of academic and community medicine, and all of the opportunities afforded by both, as you will at Penn State in Central Pennsylvania.

Whether you are new to the journey of becoming a PA or are already well on your way, I hope you find the forum as valuable a resource as I did when applying.  Feel free to post or message your questions.  As my time allows, I respond to questions publicly to maintain the values of transparency and equity which serve as the foundation to PSU PA program.  Wishing you all the best!!

- Sue, MPAS, PA-C, PSU Class of 2017

Edited by ST@PSU
clarification of detail
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My apologies to those of you having difficulty finding your school ID in our secondary application. My advice is to follow these steps:

1) Follow steps 10 & 11 at https://psu.box.com/v/pa-application-help ; in particular leaving the search as broad as possible. By listing the State Abbreviation only will pull what schools are in the system. 

2) If you still cannot locate your school by state only, there is a strong probability the school is not listed. If this is the case, please leave the school ID blank and complete the remainder of the Academic Review (Section III). 

As a reminder, what you are providing in the academic review is a starting point for our committee to review your pre-requisites. We understand there are some limitations to this section (ie school ID, quarter vs. semester credit, etc). 

Complete it to the fullest extent possible to assist us in the review process. 

Thank you,

Caryn Stopper
Director of Admissions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello! I just was curious about the pre-requisite information needed for the supplemental application. For chemistry, I have take intro to chem 1, as well as intro to chem 2. Which grade are we supposed to place in that area? Do we choose the overall highest grade or should I use the first grade? Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pblitz said:

Hello! I just was curious about the pre-requisite information needed for the supplemental application. For chemistry, I have take intro to chem 1, as well as intro to chem 2. Which grade are we supposed to place in that area? Do we choose the overall highest grade or should I use the first grade? Any help would be appreciated, thank you!

Hi,

I cannot directly answer your question, however, I would first make sure that both chemistries were lab courses.  Only Caryn can clarify for sure, but usually only sciences (such as chem, bio, microbio, etc) that have a lab component count towards prerequisites.  Often “intro” courses do not include labs.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, thank you for getting back to me! I realized I miss spoke. They were General Chem 1 and Genderal Chem 2, not intro. Both of them included labs. I’m not sure if this makes anything clearer or not! 

Edited by pblitz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, pblitz said:

Hello, thank you for getting back to me! I realized I miss spoke. They were General Chem 1 and Genderal Chem 2, not intro. Both of them included labs. I’m not sure if this makes anything clearer or not! 

Hi pblitz!

We require a minimum of one semester of each pre-req listed on our website-this and other pieces are explained at http://med.psu.edu/physician-assistant/prerequisites under the 'Detailed Prerequisites' section. Therefore the course you should list on our secondary is is Gen Chem 1 regardless if Gen Chem 2 had the higher grade. Note that as an applicant to our program, we have full access to all transcripts via CASPA and complete a thorough review. With the applicant's help, the secondary application serves as a starting point for our program to review the pre-reqs - we do look at more than just pre-requisite coursework as overall cumulative GPA and overall science GPA are core components to the academic section of our holistic review. 

The webpage also states that science labs are strongly recommended. Another way for me to explain this is that science labs though strongly recommended are not a requirement. My advice is this, if an applicant or future applicant to Penn State has yet to complete a science pre-req, then our program would strongly urge you complete this course with the lab component. It will be of benefit on a number of levels. 

However, let's say that an applicant to Penn State completed a 'lecture only' science pre-req a few years back during undergrad - Penn State would not require that applicant to repeat the course just so a lab is included nor would we ask the applicant to take the 'lab only' component. 

Hope this helps -
Caryn

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received an email on July 3rd confirming my supplemental application was received, but haven't heard anything since... anyone else in the same boat?  The waiting game is killer! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, angelabea said:

I received an email on July 3rd confirming my supplemental application was received, but haven't heard anything since... anyone else in the same boat?  The waiting game is killer! 

angelabea - now comes the hard part...We understand having to 'wait it out' is difficult as we know how hard applicants work to make their application as strong as possible. If you heard from us on July 3rd confirming receipt, then you are in good shape at this point. There is nothing additional needed for our committee to review. It can take long...longer than long. And when you think it's been long, it might take even longer. We are doing everything we can to expedite decisions while remaining true to how we approach the admissions review process. 

Best of luck - 

Caryn Stopper
Director of Admissions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, 

I applied and have been confirmed since late June. I know it's the waiting game now, but I was wondering if it's a rolling acceptance? I read that it said interviews begin in July, seeing as I haven't had one in July yet I'm assuming it will be later. Are we at a disadvantage when given the interview slots later as opposed to earlier? I know for some schools this is the case, and I was just wondering! 

Thanks! Cassandra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2018 at 9:37 AM, cgold13 said:

Hello, 

I applied and have been confirmed since late June. I know it's the waiting game now, but I was wondering if it's a rolling acceptance? I read that it said interviews begin in July, seeing as I haven't had one in July yet I'm assuming it will be later. Are we at a disadvantage when given the interview slots later as opposed to earlier? I know for some schools this is the case, and I was just wondering! 

Thanks! Cassandra

Hi Cassandra,

Those are great questions.  PSU does not technically use a rolling admissions process; however, applicants are admitted throughout the application cycle.  To try and explain it better, at the beginning of each interview season (July) there are 30 seats for which applicants are interviewing.  There are usually/typically 2 interview sessions each month with usually/typically no more than 8 applicants per session (for a totally number of applicants interviewed per cycle of approximately 110-120, approximately 2-3% of the total applicant pool).  At regular, but not specific, intervals, the committee offers acceptances AND WAITLIST offers along the way (yes, it is important to understand that one can be waitlisted even before all 30 seats are filled).  This allows the program to stay true to its promise of keeping seats available until all interviews have been conducted (usually end of February) while at the same time not leave everyone waiting until the end so that, as an applicant, you can make decisions also.  In other words, if you are selected for an interview- whether that be in July or January- rest assured you will be interviewing for an actual seat in the matriculating class of 2019 and not just the waitlist. 

With all of that stated, certainly there are more seats available in the beginning of the cycle then the end.  So if you are a strong applicant at the beginning of the cycle, that is probably the best time to apply.  However, if you are still working on things (improving GRE scores, taking classes that will positively impact your GPA, etc), you may want to consider waiting until later in the cycle to apply when you can include those things which will make you a stronger candidate and actually increase your chances of an interview invite.

PSU understands that its interview and acceptance process is pretty unique.  So it is also understandable that the process may be confusing at first.  The goal is to be able to give equal and fair consideration to all applicants while at the same time creating an incoming class that is diverse, balanced in their experiences/strengths, and overall well-rounded.

I hope this helps.  I went through the waiting game TWICE, both as a waitlisted candidate, so I COMPLETELY understand what everyone is going through.  The second time, I interviewed in August, was waitlisted in September, and only got accepted in May!  So hang in there!  No matter if you end up at PSU or another PA school, trust me when I say the wait will all be worth it!

Best,

Sue, PA-C, PSU PA Class of 2017

Edited by ST@PSU
addition of clarifying detail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By pursuitofPA
      I am currently finishing up my didactic portion of PA school and considering the amount of loan debt I will have, I am considering enlisting into the airforce or navy after completing PA school in 12/2020.  I was previously an Occupational Therapist though I am not sure if that will matter regarding pay etc. If anyone has advice regarding this process and details on loan repayment, I would greatly appreciate it.
    • By taecson
      I don't really comfortable speaking this frankly to my colleagues. None of my close friends or family are in the medical field so they don't truly understand.  I am still a somewhat new PA and I am already considering a new career path. I went to PA school 2 years after graduating college, so I don't have any experience in any other fields besides healthcare. But I've been having serious thoughts about quitting my job and quitting the medical field altogether. A little background about me, I am in my late 20s and I have been a practicing PA for about 4 years. During this time I have been at the same practice, a specialty and internal medicine office. There are several physicians, but I am employed by one. I see patients in the clinic, in several acute care hospitals, and at nursing homes. Although I like the variety and the types of patients I see are very interesting to me, there are downsides to the job that just become more apparent every day. I work M-F 9-5 and 2 weekends per month. I have to take round at the hospitals and take calls on those 2 weekends, plus take calls 3 weekdays out of the week. I often work 3 weekends a month, and occasionally even 4 when my contract technically says 2. 
      My supervising physician is retirement age and he refuses to retire and instead delegates more and more tasks to me. For example, sometimes if he is too tired / lazy he will tell the staff to just transfer patient appointments to my schedule. Patients are understandably upset when they made an appointment with the doctor they've known for years and get switched to the schedule of a PA they don't know. I feel like "as the PA", and an employee of the doctor, I pretty much get saddled with all the grunt work and undesirable tasks that he doesn't want to do. I know in other settings PAs are treated with a little more respect and not just given the busy work to do. There are some upsides, I do like my SP, we work well together, and I feel like I can honestly and freely discuss patients with him without judgment. I also know that he may retire in a few years so this job won't be permanent either. I don't know if getting a new job will help.
      I applied for two separate jobs that I did not get. One was a family practice M-F with no call/weekends and the other was an allergy practice M-F with no call/weekends. Getting rejected for both of those jobs really discouraged me and made me feel trapped at this job. It won't be easy to find a new position.
      I get frustrated with patients too. It just feels like there are so many patients who are med seeking. Some providers in my area were recently sentenced to prison time for overprescribing narcotics. They were reckless with their prescribing and I am quite careful, but the fact that jail time is in the realm of possibility for our profession constantly looms over my head. 
      Patients also often want to be on disability when they clearly do not need to. There are so many patients wanting DMV disability placards and getting irate when I tell them they don't qualify. In addition, patients whose licenses get revoked want me to sign off on them being safe to drive when there was a clear reason the licenses were revoked. Again, I am on the receiving end of the brunt of their frustration and anger when I say they need a specialist clearance. There is just so much liability in our career field and so much stress involved. Liability is always there medically too. YOUR decision can affect whether a patient LIVES or DIES and it's so much stress that I have actually developed my own health issues secondary to the stress. 
      I have had a patient stalk me and become obsessed with me. He wrote me unhinged letters and made many calls to the office describing my car, etc. We had to get the police involved and I considered filing a legal restraining order. I know this is possible in any profession, but it feels like healthcare can be personal and intimate and patients can get the wrong idea. I again contemplated quitting the profession at this time.
      I have looked into other careers such as being a pharmaceutical representative, working in research, being an accountant, ANYTHING other than this. I have contemplated quitting and just living off my savings until I figure it out. I have talked to some colleagues to an extent, many are much older and have been PAs longer than me. I sometimes question if I'm just being an entitled millennial who wants life-work balance early on in their career until I realize that it's not normal or common to work 24-25 days in a row. It's not normal to only get 4 days off a month (if that. Some days I would get 2 days off a month.) I actually finally told my SP I was considering leaving because I was too burnt out. He trivialized my concerns and said "Why are you burnt out? You're young. I have been doing this for 40 years." Which is true, but this wasn't the life I envisioned for myself. After talking, he did acknowledge my concerns, and he hired an NP who can help me with the workload and guaranteed that I will only have to work the 2 weekends a month as outlined in my contract and I did get a raise. (I still feel like I'm underpaid which is a whole separate story.)
      Sorry for the essay, I just really needed somewhere to air out my frustrations with other people in my career field. Thanks in advance for reading.
    • By Lifeline10
      New program pending accreditation. Good luck to all the prospects that are applying!
    • By aksidoti
      Hi everyone! I knew that Duke's supplemental application would be a beast, but I was just curious if anyone had experience with the patient care and shadowing tabs? Here is what I am struggling with: 
      - PATIENT CARE: can the description be the same as on my CASPA? And what exactly should I be putting for the agreeable and disagreeable aspects of my responsibilities? 
      - Shadowing: can I put the same descriptions as my CASPA? 
      Thanks guys! Best of luck to everyone!
    • By Habb31719
      I wanted to know if anyone could add any input on this; 
      I had requested a PA for a letter of evaluation. He was happy to agree to give one. I also had sent him a copy of my resume just because I thought that was the appropriate thing to do. 
      last week at work him had mentioned two things... he had brought it up to me that I didn't have my GPA posted on my resume and asked if if I was planning to put it on my resume. he also started asking me things like "do you want me to just not address GPA at all then?". So, for the copy of the resume I had sent to her, I didn't put my GPA in because I didn't think it was going to be helpful (my undergrad is a 3.35 which is not competitive) The whole purpose of sending him a 1 page resume was so that he could know a little more of what I have done in undergrad; like, have a little more amount of information of who I am outside of scribing. (I've been a scribe for about 9 months; about 5 of those months have been heavily involved with this particular PA, so although we haven't had many conversations personally its not like I am a stranger to him 
      The other thing that he requested is if I had personal statement finished. I will sincerely admit, I am quite behind on the application process as my personal statement still has work to do; I told him it's still being written. He asked if she should have a summary of it or something like that so he has more details to flesh out his evaluation letter. 
      I told her I would email her about the GPA issue and the personal statement summary because he was asking out loud in front of the other doctors and employees in the nurses station and I was a little shy to answer. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting him to ask those questions.
      So here is what I was asking: 
      1. Should I have 3.35 on my resume at all? (I was a public health major)
      2. Is giving a personal statement/summary super necessary for you LOR evaluators? Because I really have alot more to do on my PS so I'm not sure how I can make a good summary in a short amount of time to give him; as well as the other evaluators.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More