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I have some questions;

For students who crammed throughout college and kept a very high gpa (as a science major) how did your habits change in PA school? For instance obviously studying is going to become a reality, but how much did you feel the need to study vs before and how much different is an upper level A/P at Uni vs what is taught in the grad programs, or biochemistry (if its even taught) etc?

What should you look for in a program outside of modular vs traditional and price? For example how do you determine if the clinical rotations are better at program a vs program b? Also for those of you who are already PA's typically what would you have done differently while looking for a program?

Also, being interested in research as well, does anyone think it would be worthwhile or detrimental to enroll in a masters program while waiting and working towards getting into PA school? I ask because the application times are variable, I have a great gpa and science bg but my PCE is only around 300 hrs and I feel like that makes me a very weak applicant. I also don't want to waste valuable time waiting to get into a program while I could be learning more and making advances, I feel like if I have to wait a year or two to get my PCE up it might be worthwhile to do another program locally while I make my application stronger.

 

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1 hour ago, vinnybaby said:

I, I feel like if I have to wait a year or two to get my PCE up it might be worthwhile to do another program locally while I make my application stronger.

 

yup, this is exactly what you need to do. 300 hrs is less than 2 months. you will be competing against folks with years of experience and gpa will only get you so far. don't even consider applying with less than 1000 hrs of pce, preferably > 2000. 

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2 hours ago, vinnybaby said:

For students who crammed throughout college and kept a very high gpa (as a science major) how did your habits change in PA school? For instance obviously studying is going to become a reality, but how much did you feel the need to study vs before and how much different is an upper level A/P at Uni vs what is taught in the grad programs, or biochemistry (if its even taught) etc?

I didn't have a high GPA because I did not study, I played video games instead.  Took some undergraduate courses for post-bacc and studied somewhat and got As.  Studied an insane amount to get 2 A-s for summer semester PA school only 12 credits in 10 weeks.  Lets just say undergraduate does not compare and you have to spend a lot more time with the books.  Upper level A&P at undergraduate level is very easy with minimal dissection and minimal things to remember with a lot more time.  In PA school had a week and a half to learn, lets say, pelvis and lower limb muscles, vasculature and nerve innervations.  Spending 3-4 hours, 4 days a week in lab...learn functions of the muscles... various pathologies etc with a lot more that I just don't want to type up. 

3 hours ago, vinnybaby said:

Also, being interested in research as well, does anyone think it would be worthwhile or detrimental to enroll in a masters program while waiting and working towards getting into PA school?

If you have the GPA why do research when you can just get the hours and some moolah.  I get that research is interesting, but seems like a waste of money, unless you are loaded and have the time.  If not, why have two swords of damocles hanging over your wallet when you can have just one ? It's not like getting dPCE hours is just waiting around.  Take some language classes or something if you are bored.  Another language is always a skill worth having.  

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13 hours ago, vinnybaby said:

I have some questions;

For students who crammed throughout college and kept a very high gpa (as a science major) how did your habits change in PA school? For instance obviously studying is going to become a reality, but how much did you feel the need to study vs before and how much different is an upper level A/P at Uni vs what is taught in the grad programs, or biochemistry (if its even taught) etc?

What should you look for in a program outside of modular vs traditional and price? For example how do you determine if the clinical rotations are better at program a vs program b? Also for those of you who are already PA's typically what would you have done differently while looking for a program?

Also, being interested in research as well, does anyone think it would be worthwhile or detrimental to enroll in a masters program while waiting and working towards getting into PA school? I ask because the application times are variable, I have a great gpa and science bg but my PCE is only around 300 hrs and I feel like that makes me a very weak applicant. I also don't want to waste valuable time waiting to get into a program while I could be learning more and making advances, I feel like if I have to wait a year or two to get my PCE up it might be worthwhile to do another program locally while I make my application stronger.

 

Following.  These are excellent questions.  

Regarding your last series of  questions, the decision to pursue a masters all comes down to how much your'e willing to spend and the expected return on your investment.  Pursuing this now could benefit you some and strengthen your app but it could also very well mean nothing and leave you with more student debt.  If you want to strengthen your app, consider working towards gaining more PCE or healthcare experience. 

On a side note, this might sound a little disloyal but your stats and interests seems more geared toward med school--good gpa, research interests, lower PCE, desire to pursue graduate degree...if you just scored decent on the MCAT you could be looking at a decent med school application.   

Edited by StevenBrule
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ty for the replies, I wasn't considering a graduate degree in lets say molecular bio to strengthen my app, I simply just want to learn more and not waste time just "working" I've never just had a job and then a social life or whatever my whole undergrad I worked 50+ hours a week + social life, if I thought about being a PA it would have been great to be doing pce but the PA decision is relatively recent.

I suppose the best advice since I chose this track over med school is to learn a language and just do tons of PCE, which I suppose I'll do.

but as for my second question (paragraph) for instance does anyone have anything to offer as advice? that one is important to me as the surgical pa's I shadowed recently all said they wished they had done more research on their programs for those reasons.

 

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1 hour ago, vinnybaby said:

ty for the replies, I wasn't considering a graduate degree in lets say molecular bio to strengthen my app, I simply just want to learn more and not waste time just "working" I've never just had a job and then a social life or whatever my whole undergrad I worked 50+ hours a week + social life, if I thought about being a PA it would have been great to be doing pce but the PA decision is relatively recent.

I suppose the best advice since I chose this track over med school is to learn a language and just do tons of PCE, which I suppose I'll do.

but as for my second question (paragraph) for instance does anyone have anything to offer as advice? that one is important to me as the surgical pa's I shadowed recently all said they wished they had done more research on their programs for those reasons.

 

As far as researching successful programs and comparing rotations, that's a tough one. I'm sure your answers will vary and I'm genuinely interested to here what others have to say on this topic as well.  I researched prominent faculty CV, PANCE pass rates, clinical rotation sites, school location, and curriculum design to help inform my school choices.

I was never able to learn the details about rotation sites and quality until interview day.  And perhaps this is the normal pattern for the application process--you apply, get the interview, THEN ask your questions about rotations.  In my case one of the schools mentioned partnering with several clinics in surrounding states and IHS.  Not sure if I should say much more than that, but those facts alone peaked my interest and got me excited. 

 

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17 hours ago, vinnybaby said:

I have some questions;

For students who crammed throughout college and kept a very high gpa (as a science major) how did your habits change in PA school? For instance obviously studying is going to become a reality, but how much did you feel the need to study vs before and how much different is an upper level A/P at Uni vs what is taught in the grad programs, or biochemistry (if its even taught) etc?

What should you look for in a program outside of modular vs traditional and price? For example how do you determine if the clinical rotations are better at program a vs program b? Also for those of you who are already PA's typically what would you have done differently while looking for a program?

Also, being interested in research as well, does anyone think it would be worthwhile or detrimental to enroll in a masters program while waiting and working towards getting into PA school? I ask because the application times are variable, I have a great gpa and science bg but my PCE is only around 300 hrs and I feel like that makes me a very weak applicant. I also don't want to waste valuable time waiting to get into a program while I could be learning more and making advances, I feel like if I have to wait a year or two to get my PCE up it might be worthwhile to do another program locally while I make my application stronger.

 

I didnt really worry about grades in undergrad and managed to get a 3.5.  In PA school, I studied every day because basically we had a test every or every other day. 

 

I actually cared about the material and it felt like actual learning. I managed to get a 4.0 to my surprise. I still had time to workout 5 days a week, and go out with classmates 1-2 times per week (in undergrad I went out 4 times a week lol)

 

Its a lot of cramming, by the second block of classes you'll have a routine down

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Like StevenBrule stated, research as much as possible about programs online, but I also wasn't able to find out much about rotation sites until interview day.  My school had a focus on providing primary care to underserved and rural areas as well as choosing students who would remain state to practice.  So this gives you some information, like rotations will primarily be in-state, but not site specific details.

The best thing to do would be to get in contact with current students.  Pre-PA clubs often try to get current students to come and speak about PA school so that may be one way to make connections with students on current rotations.  You could possibly try emailing schools you're interested in and seeing if they can provide you with the class president's email for direct communication.  One of our administrative assistants sent out a survey and/or email about PA school in didactic year that a pre-PA student created, so its not unreasonable, but of course not guaranteed that they will accommodate any such requests.  I could make a few comments about my own school's clinical rotation sites, but the thing is, you will have great rotations and less than stellar ones, so all I can think of is to get in touch with current or recent grads to find out what experiences they had.  When you get to an interview, ask questions about what clinics, hospitals, agencies, etc they might have associations with.  

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