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GraceMarie

Low GPA and Pre-Med to Pre-PA Switch

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Hi there!

New to the community - I finally decided to make an account after reading through a ton of helpful forum posts ūüôā

Currently struggling with what to do to set myself up in the best way for PA school. I am 23 and just graduated two weeks ago with a B.S. of Health Science and during my final final exam week came to the realization that pursuing MD/DO wasn't the right match for me given my personal aspirations (family, time, etc.).

I started off my freshman¬†year getting 4.0s in every class, then had a drastic drop in my late sophomore/entire junior year GPA. I made the decision to transfer home to reground and refocus on my priorities. Following this, my grades improved significantly.¬†I finished with a overall 3.38 cGPA at my second university, however my prior schooling and repeats of a handful of classes left me with an overall cGPA 2.99 and sGPA of 2.82 -¬†which is obviously making me feel discouragedūüė£

Currently, I am set to be accepted to an 1-year accelerated nursing program starting in May 2019 to become an RN. I also got accepted to Case Western's Medical Physiology master's program and am waiting to hear back on one other MS program. I am leaning toward becoming an RN as I'm thinking this would give me more purpose and satisfaction in work rather than struggling to find a medical job without having any certification until I can further my education/career. I am also not sure how much benefit a general science master's degree would have overall or when applying to PA programs and, with that being said, given the cost of getting a masters...I'm hesitant to commit. The last two bonuses of being an RN, I'd be able to get my finances together and some quality HCE for a couple years before pursuing PA school.

SO, my questions and confusion:

Most important --> 1) What is the best way of raising my GPA and chances for PA school? Taking general or upper level sciences? Technically my GPA would bump up by doing the nursing program, however a few of my PA pre-reqs are low even after a couple repeats so I am concerned about this.

2) Should I repeat my pre-reqs? I noticed some schools say that you have to have taken these classes within 6 years of applying. By the time I apply, some of my pre-reqs will be past this and I would have to retake them anyway if this is the case. Am I not understanding this correctly?

3) What are thoughts on pursuing master's programs in relation to PA school? Benefits? Has anyone done this and would you do it again if you had the choice?

Here are my stats again:

cGPA: 2.99 // sGPA: 2.82 // GRE: v - 154/65th percentile, q - 153/51st percentile, w - 3.5 // Current paid HCE: 432 // Volunteer HCE: 652

I'm sorry this is long, but I am open to any and all words of advice anyone is willing to offer! Hopefully, this will help others as well - I've read a lot of uplifting forums that give me hope that it is still possible to achieve our goals! Thank you to all in advance!

Edited by GraceMarie
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The Ultimate Guide to Getting Into Physician Assistant School, Fourth Edition

You're on the right track, years of experience of working as an rn will open up doors to pa school interviews provide you with solid direct hce and acceptance into a np program. You could try to take community college classes to get you over That 3.0 mark.

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Either Case Western and apply to PA school or RN and work a few years (3-5 years) and apply to PA school. The latter will help you clinical as a PA. Good luck!

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This is largely dependent on cost and your timeline. The ABSN program is 1 year which means you're guaranteed a well-paying job upon graduation in case it takes an extra cycle to get into PA school. You'll gain high-quality PCE and the possibility of having your hospital help contribute towards your PA degree. The Master's program is always a great path because you'll be experiencing the hard sciences which will be a great prep for PA school. Either way, you can't go wrong.

That said, the path you choose should be based on what you want out of your training before PA school. Both are going to be expensive but one definitely provides a better return on investment because it leads to a job. I was faced with the same decision during the 2016-2017 cycle. I applied to 10 PA schools with a 3.54 cGPA and a 3.53 sGPA (per CASPA)and did not get in. I applied to an ABSN program, got in, and haven't looked back. Yes, it's expensive, but I did not want to keep putting my life off while playing Russian roulette.

Edited by Diggy

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On 5/16/2018 at 9:35 AM, ChristineQLe said:

You're on the right track, years of experience of working as an rn will open up doors to pa school interviews provide you with solid direct hce and acceptance into a np program. You could try to take community college classes to get you over That 3.0 mark.

Thanks for the advice everyone! Would it best to take upper level science courses to bump up my sGPA or repeat the prereqs that weren't as high?

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On 5/16/2018 at 12:42 PM, Diggy said:

This is largely dependent on cost and your timeline. The ABSN program is 1 year which means you're guaranteed a well-paying job upon graduation in case it takes an extra cycle to get into PA school. You'll gain high-quality PCE and the possibility of having your hospital help contribute towards your PA degree. The Master's program is always a great path because you'll be experiencing the hard sciences which will be a great prep for PA school. Either way, you can't go wrong.

That said, the path you choose should be based on what you want out of your training before PA school. Both are going to be expensive but one definitely provides a better return on investment because it leads to a job. I was faced with the same decision during the 2016-2017 cycle. I applied to 10 PA schools with a 3.54 cGPA and a 3.53 sGPA (per CASPA)and did not get in. I applied to an ABSN program, got in, and haven't looked back. Yes, it's expensive, but I did not want to keep putting my life off while playing Russian roulette.

I agree, I definitely don't want to keep putting everything off solely for applications. I have really wanted to get more experience in the medical field, but it gets to be difficult without having a certification/license. I think that I would love being a nurse either way because I get to be in the medical field and work with patients directly. The only reason why I see myself looking at PA school rather than pursuing NP is because I have always wanted to get into surgery. I've had the opportunity to be in the OR to see a bunch of surgeries, and I fell in love with every aspect of it!

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