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I was wondering how important it is to have a PA LOR writer. I currently have 4 (2 professors- 1 physical science and 1 social science; 2 volunteer coordinators- 1 in teaching and 1 in health care). Should I have waited to get a PA LOR? I'm shadowing a PA, but I was afraid that it would be too soon to ask her and her letter would not have been as strong. 

 

I'd appreciate any input, thanks! 

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I wouldn’t be worried about having a PA LOR as much as having a strong clinical letter. Ideally more than one. Some schools prefer or even require that a clinical letter comes from a provider (MD/DO/PA/NP), but this varies across programs. You will have to look at the requirements for the schools you’re applying to and see. 

Why don’t you have a letter from your paid PCE? Or is it all volunteer? 

Do you work directly with your “health care” volunteer coordinator in a clinical setting? Do they see you interact with patients? Can they speak to your clinical strengths? Did they use their letter to get across these kinds of ideas?

Edited by hmtpnw
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24 minutes ago, hmtpnw said:

I wouldn’t be worried about having a PA LOR as much as having a strong clinical letter. Ideally more than one. Some schools prefer or even require that a clinical letter comes from a provider (MD/DO/PA/NP), but this varies across programs. You will have to look at the requirements for the schools you’re applying to and see. 

Why don’t you have a letter from your paid PCE? Or is it all volunteer? 

Do you work directly with your “health care” volunteer coordinator in a clinical setting? Do they see you interact with patients? Can they speak to your clinical strengths? Did they use their letter to get across these kinds of ideas?

I was hoping that my health care volunteer coordinator was enough! It was part of my volunteer PCE and he saw me in the capacity of being with the patients. I'm pretty confident in the strength of his letter, but I was more worried about the job title since he is a "volunteer coordinator" rather than MD/DO/PA/NP. 

 

Most of the schools I'm applying to recommends a LOR from a "health care professional"... Hopefully that includes him? 

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13 minutes ago, homieimjusttrynagetin said:

I was hoping that my health care volunteer coordinator was enough! It was part of my volunteer PCE and he saw me in the capacity of being with the patients. I'm pretty confident in the strength of his letter, but I was more worried about the job title since he is a "volunteer coordinator" rather than MD/DO/PA/NP. 

 

Most of the schools I'm applying to recommends a LOR from a "health care professional"... Hopefully that includes him? 

To me, a health care professional could be many different things. A provider of course, but also an EMT, paramedic, RN, etc. Essentially someone who is respeonsible for caring for patients. To speak to someone’s clinical skills I feel like you kind of need to have some yourself. That’s how I interpret “health care professional.”

Is your coordinator someone who works in healthcare? Or is he a coordinator in the sense that he organizes the volunteers and assists in scheduling, taking care of more office type work?

If it’s the latter I wouldn’t personally consider him a health care professional. That doesn’t mean the letter isn’t still valuable, it just may mean that you don’t have a true clinical letter. 

You could always contact schools directly to be sure. 

Edited by hmtpnw
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Might it hurt you for not having a PA LOR?  Possibly. 

The quality of your LOR's may make up for the lack of a PA LOR, especially if these LOR's speak highly of you within a clinical setting.  Some of the schools I researched prefer an LOR from a clinical supervisor who can give the ADCOM an idea about what kind of employee you are in a clinical setting. If you can get a glowing LOR for that type of setting than it MIGHT make up for the lack of a PA LOR. 

At the end of the day we don't know 100% exactly what ADCOMs are looking for. But, I would check with programs to see how much they weigh having or not having a PA LOR.  My personal belief is if you are lacking in one aspect of your app, you need to make up for it in the rest of your app.  You are going up against some tough competition that have all the requirement and then some, so keep that in mind.

 

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