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Creating a School List + Chances


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Hi everyone!

I am getting ready to submit to programs and am working on a final school list. Hoping to get some feedback and maybe some input on if I should apply to additional programs. Also wondering if anyone has ideas of schools that would be a good fit that maybe I'm not considering. 

  • Mid 20's female, Oregon resident, first generation college student 
  • Degree in neuroscience with a psychology minor
  • cGPA: 3.85 with strong upward trend (3.95+ over last 45 credits)
  • sGPA: 3.95, all prerequisites completed
  • Lots of upper level science courses including organic chemistry, biochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, cellular neurobiology, etc. 
  • Taking GRE 6/2 - On two most recent practice tests, ETS and Manhattan Prep, I scored 320 and 319
  • Clinical experience: About 1400 hours scribing in ED, peds ED, urgent care and fast track settings. 300+ hours as a physical therapy aide. 350+ hours as rehabilitation aide at functional neurology clinic. (All programs I am applying for accept scribing as experience).
  • About 100 volunteer hours providing foot care, wound care and basic first aid to those experiencing homelessness
  • Shadowing: 10 hours ER PA, 10 hours hospitalist PA, worked with both PAs and physicians while scribing
  • LORs: 1 science professor, 2 MDs, all I feel know me well and I expect these to be strong
  • Applying to some programs 1st week of June, those with 2,000 hour count will apply 1st week of July
  • Awards/accomplishments:  2017 - 2018 academic award for outstanding neuroscience student of the year, graduated summa cum laude, president's honor role every term over the last two years, dean's list/president's list/honor's list all other terms, recipient of multiple scholarships and grants
  • Other notable things: About 100 hours of research in auditory neuroscience lab, writer for school newspaper, involved in student leadership organization, 10 years of experience working in food service with multiple management positions, worked while taking full time course load (sometimes more than 1 job)

Schools I am planning to apply to, in order of preference:

  1. OHSU
  2. Pacific University in Oregon
  3. UW Seattle and Tacoma (long shot, they like more hours but I have family in the area)
  4. University of Colorado 

Considering adding:

  • University of Utah
  • Duke
  • Emory

Basically my goal is to stay in the pacific northwest. After attending Pacific's open house I feel like I'm a good fit for the program as they strongly prefer high GPA applicants, although I would love to go to OHSU. Would also be stoked to go to UW but it's a super long shot as they go for less traditional applicants with significant PCE, I'm not expecting an interview. For the other programs I'm considering I essentially picked top schools in places I could see myself living.

Overall I am wondering if there is anything I can do to strengthen my application or if there are other programs to consider that would be a better fit? 

Edited by hmtpnw
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11 minutes ago, EMEDPA said:

you would likely get in everywhere on your list except UW medex. You have a typical profile for an accepted student at OHSU. I am certain you will get in somewhere given your profile. Good job.

Thank you so much for your feedback! I have worked really hard to get here so I appreciate it a lot.

Do you think it would be reasonable to just apply to 5 schools? My top 4 plus Utah? I see so many people applying broadly and I don't want to assume that I don't have to just because I have a strong GPA. I would really only go to Emory or Duke if I didn't get in anywhere else. 

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I would apply to all those schools listed. Your stats are very strong, however with your low HCE amount MEDEX and Utah are a stretch. These schools typically like large amounts of HCE (the average applicant interviewed at Utah has 4000+ hrs). University of Colorado is a good shot as are the other four you mentioned, I would guess you get interviews everywhere but Utah and MEDEX but you never know.

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5 hours ago, PACrankset said:

I would apply to all those schools listed. Your stats are very strong, however with your low HCE amount MEDEX and Utah are a stretch. These schools typically like large amounts of HCE (the average applicant interviewed at Utah has 4000+ hrs). University of Colorado is a good shot as are the other four you mentioned, I would guess you get interviews everywhere but Utah and MEDEX but you never know.

Thanks for your feedback!

I didn’t realize Utah had a strong preference for hours. I’ve only recently added it to my list. I may just skip applying there and find another program that would be a better fit.

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7 hours ago, hmtpnw said:

Thanks for your feedback!

I didn’t realize Utah had a strong preference for hours. I’ve only recently added it to my list. I may just skip applying there and find another program that would be a better fit.

It is a fantastic program from what I know about it and the staff are great. Just some food for thought on the hours thing.

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I have very similar stats to yours, though I have about 7,000 hours of PCE and I am applying to about 16 programs. Though maybe I am applying to too many schools? Only time will tell I guess! You could always see how many interviews you start to get offered and then apply to extra schools with later deadlines if you are concerned about your chances!  I may be under confident but the statistics of getting in are just so daunting! I also think you have a great shot at OHSU especially considering you are from that area!

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1 hour ago, Lizli1 said:

I have very similar stats to yours, though I have about 7,000 hours of PCE and I am applying to about 16 programs. Though maybe I am applying to too many schools? Only time will tell I guess! You could always see how many interviews you start to get offered and then apply to extra schools with later deadlines if you are concerned about your chances!  I may be under confident but the statistics of getting in are just so daunting! I also think you have a great shot at OHSU especially considering you are from that area!

I do think that a broad application is key if part of your application is weak. It seems to me though that with good stats and a strong application there are diminishing returns with a large number of applications.

The numbers definitely seem daunting, but realistically many applicants don't even meet the minimum requirements for a program. Even more applicants aren't a good fit for the school's mission or they only meet the very minimum requirements. On top of that many have terrible personal statements/weak letters/etc. I think that schools receive fewer genuinely competitive applications than we think. Pacific alone has confirmed that less than a third of their applications meet their soft GPA cut off of 3.4 and the rest are screened out.

At the end of the day everyone has different priorities. I would only be willing to leave the PNW for a really excellent program in an area I would be happy to live. If I have to reapply next year then that's okay. Though I would be really surprised if I didn't get into any of the 5 or 6 I am applying to because I feel that for the most part I'm a solid fit.

I guess time will tell! OHSU is the dream, so I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed. Good luck this cycle! Sounds like you're a sure thing with your stats and PCE ?

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1 hour ago, PAHunter said:

I am applying to OHSU, Utah and Pacific. I am really hoping for OHSU as well, dream school and wouldn't have to move away and have my wife leave her job. Good luck this year, I definitely don't have your GPA but hoping my LOR and HCE makes up for it. 

Thank you! Good luck to you as well. OHSU likes lots of hours so I’m sure you’ve got a shot. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 5/23/2018 at 10:06 PM, EMEDPA said:

you would likely get in everywhere on your list except UW medex. You have a typical profile for an accepted student at OHSU. I am certain you will get in somewhere given your profile. Good job.

@EMEDPA, to my complete surprise I have been invited to interview for a seat at MEDEX Tacoma. I know that the MEDEX program prioritizes high quality clinical experience, preferring hour counts in the 4,000+ range. Although I am absolutely thrilled to have a chance to interview, I can’t help but feel that I am at a disadvantage interviewing with just over 2,000 hours. Especially considering the majority of my hours are coming from scribing, which is not even close to their preferred experience type.

Seeing your posts over the years, it seems that you’re quite familiar with the program. I’m wondering about your thoughts on all of this... Should I just assume they’re satisfied with my clinical background since I have been offered an interview and not fret over it? Do you feel that I am walking in at a disadvantage?

Thanks for any insight you can offer. 

Edited by hmtpnw
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On 5/24/2018 at 12:53 AM, hmtpnw said:

Hi everyone!

I am getting ready to submit to programs and am working on a final school list. Hoping to get some feedback and maybe some input on if I should apply to additional programs. Also wondering if anyone has ideas of schools that would be a good fit that maybe I'm not considering. 

  • Mid 20's female, Oregon resident, first generation college student 
  • Degree in neuroscience with a psychology minor
  • cGPA: 3.85 with strong upward trend (3.95+ over last 45 credits)
  • sGPA: 3.95, all prerequisites completed
  • Lots of upper level science courses including organic chemistry, biochemistry, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, cellular neurobiology, etc. 
  • Taking GRE 6/2 - On two most recent practice tests, ETS and Manhattan Prep, I scored 320 and 319
  • Clinical experience: About 1400 hours scribing in ED, peds ED, urgent care and fast track settings. 300+ hours as a physical therapy aide. 350+ hours as rehabilitation aide at functional neurology clinic. (All programs I am applying for accept scribing as experience).
  • About 100 volunteer hours providing foot care, wound care and basic first aid to those experiencing homelessness
  • Shadowing: 10 hours ER PA, 10 hours hospitalist PA, worked with both PAs and physicians while scribing
  • LORs: 1 science professor, 2 MDs, all I feel know me well and I expect these to be strong
  • Applying to some programs 1st week of June, those with 2,000 hour count will apply 1st week of July
  • Awards/accomplishments:  2017 - 2018 academic award for outstanding neuroscience student of the year, graduated summa cum laude, president's honor role every term over the last two years, dean's list/president's list/honor's list all other terms, recipient of multiple scholarships and grants
  • Other notable things: About 100 hours of research in auditory neuroscience lab, writer for school newspaper, involved in student leadership organization, 10 years of experience working in food service with multiple management positions, worked while taking full time course load (sometimes more than 1 job)

Schools I am planning to apply to, in order of preference:

  1. OHSU
  2. Pacific University in Oregon
  3. UW Seattle and Tacoma (long shot, they like more hours but I have family in the area)
  4. University of Colorado 

Considering adding:

  • University of Utah
  • Duke
  • Emory

Basically my goal is to stay in the pacific northwest. After attending Pacific's open house I feel like I'm a good fit for the program as they strongly prefer high GPA applicants, although I would love to go to OHSU. Would also be stoked to go to UW but it's a super long shot as they go for less traditional applicants with significant PCE, I'm not expecting an interview. For the other programs I'm considering I essentially picked top schools in places I could see myself living.

Overall I am wondering if there is anything I can do to strengthen my application or if there are other programs to consider that would be a better fit? 

@hmtpnw 

I plan on applying to medex next cycle; and it is my top choice. I am curious, besides what is listed on their website, did you contact the program directly or did you speak with current/previous students in regards to what the program prioritizes? Such as a lot of PCE?

After reading your stats, I was surprised to also read that you didn’t think you’d get an interview from them. 

 

Was there anything in particular that you knew they wanted besides high quality PCE?

 

Thank you 

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49 minutes ago, emilymuff said:

@hmtpnw 

I plan on applying to medex next cycle; and it is my top choice. I am curious, besides what is listed on their website, did you contact the program directly or did you speak with current/previous students in regards to what the program prioritizes? Such as a lot of PCE?

After reading your stats, I was surprised to also read that you didn’t think you’d get an interview from them. 

 

Was there anything in particular that you knew they wanted besides high quality PCE?

 

Thank you 

MEDEX is fairly well known for preferring applicants with significant amounts of high quality PCE. They’re an older program that likes veterans, combat medics, nurses, etc. I believe they used to have a 3000 or 4000 hour minimum that they recently dropped to 2000. 

On their website they do mention this preference in different ways and specifically recommend applying with at least 4,000 hours to be competitive.

Another indicator I would say is average age of the class, which is 30. Definitely older than most programs. When this is mentioned on the website they state that “Range in age is related to the total number of clinical experience hours required to meet MEDEX prerequisites.  Students accepted to MEDEX tend to have a significant number of years in paid clinical positions, averaging 5 years in 2018.”

I also inquired about my clinical experience with MEDEX over email prior to applying. They stated that all of my experience would be placed in a “allied health” category, which they consider highly specialized in nature. I was told that because of this specialization my clinical experience may not meet the direct, hands-on patient care requirement. 

Another important factor is that I’m an out of state applicant. Although I have strong regional ties, I am an Oregon resident. MEDEX strongly prefers applicants from the WWAMI region. 

Although I know I am a strong applicant, it felt like there were A LOT of reasons I shouldn’t get an offer to interview at this program specifically. But, here I am!

I thought I was a sure thing for OHSU and I got rejected right out the gate. I was completely shocked. I’ve learned now that this process is impossible to predict. Try to apply wisely and throw in some “reach” schools that you’d love to attend.

Edited by hmtpnw
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On 9/19/2018 at 4:18 PM, hmtpnw said:

MEDEX is fairly well known for preferring applicants with significant amounts of high quality PCE. They’re an older program that likes veterans, combat medics, nurses, etc. I believe they used to have a 3000 or 4000 hour minimum that they recently dropped to 2000. 

On their website they do mention this preference in different ways and specifically recommend applying with at least 4,000 hours to be competitive.

Another indicator I would say is average age of the class, which is 30. Definitely older than most programs. When this is mentioned on the website they state that “Range in age is related to the total number of clinical experience hours required to meet MEDEX prerequisites.  Students accepted to MEDEX tend to have a significant number of years in paid clinical positions, averaging 5 years in 2018.”

I also inquired about my clinical experience with MEDEX over email prior to applying. They stated that all of my experience would be placed in a “allied health” category, which they consider highly specialized in nature. I was told that because of this specialization my clinical experience may not meet the direct, hands-on patient care requirement. 

Another important factor is that I’m an out of state applicant. Although I have strong regional ties, I am an Oregon resident. MEDEX strongly prefers applicants from the WWAMI region. 

Although I know I am a strong applicant, it felt like there were A LOT of reasons I shouldn’t get an offer to interview at this program specifically. But, here I am!

I thought I was a sure thing for OHSU and I got rejected right out the gate. I was completely shocked. I’ve learned now that this process is impossible to predict. Try to apply wisely and throw in some “reach” schools that you’d love to attend.

Okay; great. Thank you for such a thorough response. 

Huge congrats on your interviews ? and good luck!!

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