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sunrise230

Question on Francis Marion PA program

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Hi!  I'm very interested in Francis Marion, but I feel their website doesn't provide much information about what makes their program unique.  Were you able to find out anything about this?  Thanks!

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Hi Future PA.  I emailed and called, with questions in general and specifically about what makes their program unique.  They told me a few things, but it wasn't much: new program, state of the art facilities, dedicated faculty and staff.  That was it.  Good luck!

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I am about to graduate from FMU's PA program. I can answer any questions you may have. A few things off the top of my head that make our program unique:

-Most affordable public university in South Carolina (I chose this program for the low tuition) 

-Focus on primary care, rural medicine, and medically underserved populations

-No gross anatomy lab. People are very split on whether this is a pro vs. con, personally I am very glad we didn't have to suffer through that. 🙂 There was not a single time during my clinical year where I wished we'd had this - not even during surgery. As a result, our 1st semester anatomy curriculum (at least when I took it in fall 2016) has a much stronger radiographic emphasis, which is way more clinically applicable than identifying gross anatomical structures. 

-Majority of clinical rotation sites are not at academic centers, which is also a plus. This means you are unlikely to be paired with a resident, intern, medical students, etc. - more often than not, it's just you and a PA or you and an attending. Generally speaking, the more rural your rotation sites are, the more you'll get to do. While I was able to log over 200 procedures over the course of my clinical year, including advanced procedures such as thoracentesis/paracentesis, hysteroscopies, intubations, etc., my friends who were PA students doing rotations at large academic/tertiary care centers were struggling to be able to even see what was going on while standing behind all of the other learners, let alone perform or first assist in many procedures. 

-Low cost of living. Florence, SC is very affordable. 

-Small class size (32 students) 

-Fair admissions process. Can't reveal too much but there is more to it than GPA and test scores. Admitted students from all ages have all kinds of majors, healthcare backgrounds, test scores, and long-term goals. They do give preference to students who demonstrate intent to remain in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, but beyond that there is no "typical profile" they are looking for. 

Hope this helps! 

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Karebear - 

Congratulations on (almost) being at the end of the program!  I know it's a lot of work, so I give you a lot of credit for finishing.

The information you've provided is invaluable.  I've already submitted my application, but if I get an interview, this will be very good to know.  I am interested in primary care and working with the underserved, so it's great to hear they focus on that.  Did you do community outreach volunteering in either the first or second year?

And I like what you said about the clinical rotations.  You had a lot of opportunities, and that's so important.

I know the application deadline is January 1.  Do you know when they start inviting students to interview?  And in what time frame they conduct the interviews?

Karebear, thank you again.

sunrise230

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Thank you! Glad I could help! 

We participated in community outreach projects throughout the duration of the program. One of our student council positions is a community outreach chairperson, and ours did an exceptional job of finding ways for us to become involved with various local organizations. Examples include providing diabetes education, helping with local high school sports physicals, giving tours of the facility to junior high/high school students from STEM programs at local schools (designed to boost their interest in healthcare fields), hosting blood drives, working at food banks, visiting children at the local hospital during Halloween and Christmas, and helping with activities for disabled children at a local summer camp.

I am not sure exactly when you will be notified, but last year interviews were held in March. I believe all of the interviews were conducted within a 2-week period. Of course, being a new program, this is subject to change. 

Best of luck! 

Edited by karebear12892

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Hi karebear,

Your class did a lot of great outreach / community programs!  This is important to me, and I'm thrilled to hear how many different things you were able to do.

And thanks for the information on when you interviewed.  This gives me a window into the future.

Good luck as you finish your degree - 

sunrise230

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Yes, we were fortunate to have a faculty that was supportive of us finding ways to get involved with the community. I'm sure the organizations and activities will vary among cohorts depending on class interest. Best of luck to you and feel free to PM me with questions! I had so much help from others on my journey to PA school and I'm always happy to pay it forward. 🙂

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I am planning on applying to the program but wanted to wait until I finished my organic chemistry class; which is this Saturday. Do you all think that I should wait or go ahead and submit the application and then subsequently submit the grade once it is finished? 

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Hi CCCorson,

That's a tough question (and congrat's on surviving O Chem!).  In general, it's better to get your app in sooner v. later, but without your final grade, I don't know if they'd start looking at it.  What is their thinking of how they want applicants to handle classes in progress?

Good luck - 

Sunrise230

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Haha yeah I'll be happy when it's over! But as far as in progress classes I'm not sure because there is nothing listed on their website regarding this topic. 

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Hey CCCorson - Yes, O Chem being over is a great feeling!

As for what you should do, that's really tough.  I'd reach out to the school to see what they say.  If they don't want classes in progress, you'll have your answer

Surnise230

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Not sure if things have changed, but when I applied in spring 2015, I had not yet taken organic chemistry. My acceptance letter (arrived in spring 2016 after being waitlisted over the winter) said my admission was contingent upon completing organic chemistry prior to the program's start date.  

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