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PENNSYLVANIA: Penn State PA Program 2018-2019 Cycle

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16 hours ago, MelissaRNtoPA said:

I just received an email to interview either October 18 or 19!

Congrats! Mind me asking when you submitted your secondary app?

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On 10/3/2018 at 10:01 AM, MelissaRNtoPA said:

I received the confirmation of secondary app email on July 17!

That’s awesome!  Thanks for posting!  Good Luck!

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Hi all!

Hope this finds you well and staying motivated and focused on your goal to be a PA!  Speaking of being motivated, check out what our current students accomplished last week!   So much fun for an even better cause!

https://pennstatehealthnews.org/2018/10/physician-assistant-program-students-lead-effort-to-send-meals-to-families-in-need/

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If we submitted our applications in May and haven't heard anything, is it appropriate to update Penn State on any additional hours/beneficial experiences? And if so, would it be advised to call or email? 

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12 hours ago, pblitz said:

If we submitted our applications in May and haven't heard anything, is it appropriate to update Penn State on any additional hours/beneficial experiences? And if so, would it be advised to call or email? 

I submitted early as well and haven’t heard anything but have been updating my hours every month or two months via email.

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50 minutes ago, amt5672 said:

I submitted early as well and haven’t heard anything but have been updating my hours every month or two months via email.

do you get a response when you email?

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On 10/31/2018 at 9:59 PM, pblitz said:

If we submitted our applications in May and haven't heard anything, is it appropriate to update Penn State on any additional hours/beneficial experiences? And if so, would it be advised to call or email? 

Only Caryn, our addmission’s director, can speak to when and how to provide the program with updates to your application (ie shadowing/work/volunteer hours, successful completion of pre-reqs if not still in undergrad, improved GRE scores, etc).   I would venture a guess that email is best.  However, please keep in mind that, if you are not getting a response, there are 160 applicants for every 1 seat in the PA program (compared to 72 applicants for every 1 seat in the MD program based on 2018 entering class profiles) which means individual replies are likely difficult.  You will certainly be contacted for additional information, if additional information is needed, to fairly review your application.  This is assuming that you received confirmation of receipt of your secondary application.   If you submitted your secondary application and did not receive confirmation, you should contact the program directly to verify receipt.   

 

Hope this helps.  Continued best of luck to all!

- Sue, PA-C, PSU Class of 2017

Edited by ST@PSU
clarify detail

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2 hours ago, ST@PSU said:

Only Caryn, our addmission’s director, can speak to when and how to provide the program with updates to your application (ie shadowing/work/volunteer hours, successful completion of pre-reqs if not still in undergrad, improved GRE scores, etc).   I would venture a guess that email is best.  However, please keep in mind that, if you are not getting a response, there are 160 applicants for every 1 seat in the PA program (compared to 72 applicants for every 1 seat in the MD program based on 2018 entering class profiles) which means individual replies are likely difficult.  You will certainly be contacted for additional information, if additional information is needed, to fairly review your application.  This is assuming that you received confirmation of receipt of your secondary application.   If you submitted your secondary application and did not receive confirmation, you should contact the program directly to verify receipt.   

 

Hope this helps.  Continued best of luck to all!

- Sue, PA-C, PSU Class of 2017

That is what I figured, I just wanted to make sure! Thank you for the advice! 

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45 minutes ago, pblitz said:

That is what I figured, I just wanted to make sure! Thank you for the advice! 

“Want to update Penn State? If you have an update to submit regarding newly completed coursework or newly accrued hours, email the program directly at psupaprogram@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. Inquiries regarding admissions status are unable to be returned.  “

 

This is directly from my confirmation email of my secondary app!

 

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Hi all,

I recently received some questions about what to expect on interview day, specifically with regards to the standardized patient and “group presentation” portions of the day.

First, I will again remind everyone that I am a 2017 alum and, therefore, was interviewed during the 2014-15 and 2013-14 cycles (if you refer to earlier posts and previous threads, you will see that I was a twice waitlisted applicant).  I was also involved with interview days while a student, mostly during my didactic year.  Although I remain quite active with the program today, as an alum and preceptor, and believe interview day is still similar to what it has been in the past, I can only speak to my experiences.  Also keep in mind that, as a member of only the second class, I was interviewing when there were either no current students or only students in their first year.  Consequently, some aspects of what interview day includes now (such as lunch with current first and second year students) were not a part of my interview days (I interviewed twice, once each in 2 separate cycles).

With all of that stated, I was privileged enough to participate in the standardized patient interview which is pretty unique to our program and is always a highlight of most interviewees’ days. During this portion of the interview, you will meet one-on-one with a real patient (keep in mind that we are ALL real patients!).  Usually, this is one of our program director’s private clinic patients.  The interview will take place in a regular office or conference room- it is not set up as, or meant to be, an actually medical encounter or assessment.   It is simply an opportunity for someone who accesses medical care, and who represents all patients in a general sense, to engage you in conversation and provide his or her perspective on your “people skills” as a potential future provider.  Absolutely no medical knowledge is necessary (nor will help) and there is nothing special to do to prepare.  Just go in relaxed and be yourself.  (Note: If you are fortunate enough to be accepted, you will sometimes have the chance to meet again the standardized patient who interviewed you- it’s a special moment!  For me, not only did I reunite with my patient interviewer at a reception shortly after the start of classes, I actually cared for her as a patient during one of my clinical rotations!).  If you are not familiar with the mission, vision, and ideals of the Penn State College of Medicine, researching its long-standing focus on humanism in medicine may help you to better understand why the standardized patient is not only a part of the interview but a very valued component.

As for the “group presentation” portion of the day, I will have to make a guess that the person who posed this question was referring to the TBL (or Team Based Learning) session.  Again, this is also typically a favorite part of interview day.  I did not get to participate in TBL as an interviewee simply because the inagural class had not matriculated and/or because it was not possible to coordinate interview schedules with TBL sessions in those first few years.  However, I did, of course, have TBL as big part of my didactic year curriculum and prospective future students did participate with us.  If you have never heard of TBL, I encourage you to read about it in advance so you know a little bit about how it works.  I have posted articles about it previously in this and other PSU PA Program threads.  While the current students will be required to prepare for the session, no preparation is required on the part of the interviewees and no specific medical knowledge is needed (yet!).  It’s also important to remember that participation in the TBL session is for the benefit of the APPLICANT.  It is NOT an evaluated part of the interview. These sessions usually occur at or near the end of the day and give prospective students the opportunity to see what TBL really is and if this style of learning is right for them.  The majority of classes in our didactic year curriculum include TBL sessions/components and are also sometimes incorporated into clinical year call-back days.

I hope you find this helpful.  Feel free to continue to post your questions.  

- Sue, PSU PA Class of 2017

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24 minutes ago, mcginnisshan said:

If we are wait listed, what is the best way to go about updating the program? And what is the program looking to be updated with specifically? Thank you!

I would refer you to the last few posts on this topic shared by other applicants with the difference being that you are looking to provide updates following an interview rather than in advance of one.  Assuming you have already completed your undergraduate degree, things of interest about a waitlisted candidate usually include completion of additional course work and clinical hours.  Certainly, if you have been waitlisted prior to meeting all pre-requisites and clinical hours, these would be very pertanent updates as you complete them.  If you are still finishing your undergrad degree, however, there is no need to provide information regarding individual courses which will be part of your final degree that you indicated as “planned” or “in progress” on your application.  

Hope this helps. And, from one waitlisted candidate to another- stay positive!!  It CAN happen!!

- Sue

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19 hours ago, amt5672 said:

Anyone know how often interviews are conducted and/or how many interviewees per session?

Please refer to my recent post regarding my perspective when answering questions about the current interview process.  You may also find earlier posts in this thread have gone into this, and similar questions, in more detail so you may find them helpful as well.  

 

On average, there are 2 interview sessions per month from August through February with approximately 6-10 candidates invited to each.  Again, please see earlier posts in this thread where I believe I have already broken down the math for how this allows for approximately 110-120 candidates, or approximately 3% of the entire applicant pool, to be interviewed over the course of the application cycle.  Only candidates who have applied prior to the mid-January deadline will be considered for interviews after the deadline.  Regardless of the interview you are invited to (ie an August interview vs a January or February interview), you WILL be vying for at least one open seat (not automatically the waitlist).  Once again, I refer you to previous posts where I explain why this is the case and how this means applicants can be accepted, declined, or waitlist at any point during the interview process.  

Hope this helps.

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

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1 hour ago, ST@PSU said:

Please refer to my recent post regarding my perspective when answering questions about the current interview process.  You may also find earlier posts in this thread have gone into this, and similar questions, in more detail so you may find them helpful as well.  

 

On average, there are 2 interview sessions per month from August through February with approximately 6-10 candidates invited to each.  Again, please see earlier posts in this thread where I believe I have already broken down the math for how this allows for approximately 110-120 candidates, or approximately 3% of the entire applicant pool, to be interviewed over the course of the application cycle.  Only candidates who have applied prior to the mid-January deadline will be considered for interviews after the deadline.  Regardless of the interview you are invited to (ie an August interview vs a January or February interview), you WILL be vying for at least one open seat (not automatically the waitlist).  Once again, I refer you to previous posts where I explain why this is the case and how this means applicants can be accepted, declined, or waitlist at any point during the interview process.  

Hope this helps.

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

Thanks so much!! Very helpful!

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On 11/4/2018 at 1:50 AM, ST@PSU said:

Hi all,

I recently received some questions about what to expect on interview day, specifically with regards to the standardized patient and “group presentation” portions of the day.

First, I will again remind everyone that I am a 2017 alum and, therefore, was interviewed during the 2014-15 and 2013-14 cycles (if you refer to earlier posts and previous threads, you will see that I was a twice waitlisted applicant).  I was also involved with interview days while a student, mostly during my didactic year.  Although I remain quite active with the program today, as an alum and preceptor, and believe interview day is still similar to what it has been in the past, I can only speak to my experiences.  Also keep in mind that, as a member of only the second class, I was interviewing when there were either no current students or only students in their first year.  Consequently, some aspects of what interview day includes now (such as lunch with current first and second year students) were not a part of my interview days (I interviewed twice, once each in 2 separate cycles).

With all of that stated, I was privileged enough to participate in the standardized patient interview which is pretty unique to our program and is always a highlight of most interviewees’ days. During this portion of the interview, you will meet one-on-one with a real patient (keep in mind that we are ALL real patients!).  Usually, this is one of our program director’s private clinic patients.  The interview will take place in a regular office or conference room- it is not set up as, or meant to be, an actually medical encounter or assessment.   It is simply an opportunity for someone who accesses medical care, and who represents all patients in a general sense, to engage you in conversation and provide his or her perspective on your “people skills” as a potential future provider.  Absolutely no medical knowledge is necessary (nor will help) and there is nothing special to do to prepare.  Just go in relaxed and be yourself.  (Note: If you are fortunate enough to be accepted, you will sometimes have the chance to meet again the standardized patient who interviewed you- it’s a special moment!  For me, not only did I reunite with my patient interviewer at a reception shortly after the start of classes, I actually cared for her as a patient during one of my clinical rotations!).  If you are not familiar with the mission, vision, and ideals of the Penn State College of Medicine, researching its long-standing focus on humanism in medicine may help you to better understand why the standardized patient is not only a part of the interview but a very valued component.

As for the “group presentation” portion of the day, I will have to make a guess that the person who posed this question was referring to the TBL (or Team Based Learning) session.  Again, this is also typically a favorite part of interview day.  I did not get to participate in TBL as an interviewee simply because the inagural class had not matriculated and/or because it was not possible to coordinate interview schedules with TBL sessions in those first few years.  However, I did, of course, have TBL as big part of my didactic year curriculum and prospective future students did participate with us.  If you have never heard of TBL, I encourage you to read about it in advance so you know a little bit about how it works.  I have posted articles about it previously in this and other PSU PA Program threads.  While the current students will be required to prepare for the session, no preparation is required on the part of the interviewees and no specific medical knowledge is needed (yet!).  It’s also important to remember that participation in the TBL session is for the benefit of the APPLICANT.  It is NOT an evaluated part of the interview. These sessions usually occur at or near the end of the day and give prospective students the opportunity to see what TBL really is and if this style of learning is right for them.  The majority of classes in our didactic year curriculum include TBL sessions/components and are also sometimes incorporated into clinical year call-back days.

I hope you find this helpful.  Feel free to continue to post your questions.  

- Sue, PSU PA Class of 2017

Thank you for taking the time to detail all of this out for us!

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9 hours ago, Contigo75 said:

Hi all,

I just wanted to confirm. Is there a minimum grade to be achieved in the pre-requisite courses? I could not find anything.

Hi,

If I had to guess, it’s AT LEAST a C, although I cannot remember if it might depend on whether it was an undergrad or grad level course.  You can never go wrong with As and Bs 😊. Certainly, the GPAs, as indicated, must be 3.0 or higher.  I will defer to Caryn on this.  You can reach her through the program email address:

PSUPAProgram@pennstatehealth.psu.edu

Good Luck!

- Sue, PA-C, PSU Class of 2017

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I am surprised this hasn't been brought up yet. There seems to be a real lack of diversity in the program, since the program began several years ago. I understand the program is in central Pennsylvania (a heavy white demographic) but I'm sure there are great applicants who are non-white/POC out of nearly 3-5,000 who apply each year to add diversity to your class. I also understand that the program adds diversity in terms of disadvantaged backgrounds (economically, educationally, first generation in college, etc.) but, again, it seems that they prefer this in white applicants (the class picture that I've seen every year seems to point to this).

I really hope the program lives up to its desire of "attracting a diverse study body" and works towards this goal in the coming years. It is quite disappointing. It is also discouraging for many of my POC Pre-PA peers who have also brought up the program's blatant lack of diversity. They feel as if they have no chance even though they are competitive. They should not feel as if their race/ethnicity will hinder them from becoming a PA and, when I see that majority of the class in this program and others are primarily white even when they claim "we love diversity", I can't help but agree and sympathize with them. The program also seems to cap asian students to about 3 per year? I would really like to hear more from the program's perspective as to why there is this lack of diversity. 

The PA profession needs more non-white, POC professionals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4874816/ (focusing on race/ethnicity) this was published a few years ago and while the numbers might be slightly different today, they still apply. 

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