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Waitlist frustration


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So this is my 3rd year applying. The first year I only applied to 2 schools to get a feel for the process, interviewed at 1, and was rejected. The second year I applied to 7 schools, interviewed at 3, and was waitlisted at 2. This year I applied to 5, interviewed at 3, and was waitlisted at 3. 

I guess I'm just incredibly frustrated. I've done mock interviews and the interviewers say I do great. I've felt like the actual interviews go well and I get waitlisted, which I know is still a huge accomplishment but I just wish I could get that one acceptance. 🙂 plus next year some of my prerequisites are hitting the 5 year expiration mark for one of the programs I have been waitlisted at the last 2 years, so this makes me wonder if I should start retaking these classes to qualify for this program that I have gotten close to getting into on multiple occasions.

Stats: I have a 3.4 cumulative undergrad GPA, 3.25 science GPA, and 3.9 graduate GPA.  Approximately 4000 hours as a mental health therapist, 5000 hours as a behavioral therapist with children with autism spectrum disorders, and 350 hours as a job coach for individuals with disabilities. 

To prep for the next application cycle I am taking a few more upper level science courses to open up more schools I can apply and also going to get my CNA so I am able to get some different health care experience in addition to continuing to work as a mental health therapist.

Is there any other advice anyone can give me to make me a more competitive applicant? (Raising GPA isn't much of an option since I have approximately 160 undergraduate credit hours). I've tried contacting all of the schools I have applied to and they all state that they do not provide individual feedback.

Thank you for your time reading this leangthy post.

Edited by Alm4034
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Honestly, apply to different schools next time.

You've been waitlisted at the same program twice.  You're getting interviews so your application is good enough.  You're not getting out right rejected so you're good enough.  Something about your app just isn't 'great' or 'better than the other applicants'.

Unfortunately your GPAs aren't overwhelmingly great and if you can't improve them, find programs where your stats are more impressive compared to other applicants.

You'll be applying against amazing applicants at every program, every cycle.  It's going to be a numbers game; the more programs you apply to the better chance you have of being chosen over someone else.

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I finally got in my 2nd time applying and after speaking with a future fellow classmate.  She applied the same school 3x.  Got an interview rejected the first time, nothing the 2nd time and finally the 3rd time interviewed and accepted.  She told me that the reason she was rejected the first time was that during her group discussion (3 interview candidates).  Your are given a scenario to discuss among the 3 of you.  She said that she gave one critique (your are asked to critique) and because of that she came across not a team player.  She made sure not to do that the 3rd time.  So the above comments about possibly working on the interview seem to be the direction since your application has gotten you interviews.   Keep your chin up and don't give up 🙂

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I would say just try applying to more schools. My first time I applied to 7, got 3 interviews, waitlisted at 3. This year I applied to about 15 schools and have gotten 9 interview invites so far! I've gotten 1 acceptance, 1 rejection, 2 waitlists, and waiting to hear from the 2 others I've interviewed at so far. I have 2 interviews coming up, and 1 I couldn't attend. 

It's important to show that you are dedicated to pursuing this profession. And to show commitment by improving your application, whether it be retaking classes, volunteering more, networking (something that helped me A LOT this past year), obtaining more patient care hours, etc. I believe that is what has gotten me this many interviews. 

I feel like I've done so much better on my interviews this cycle compared to last cycle. It is just SO competitive, and you just have to find the school that is the right fit for you. 

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37 minutes ago, thehuladancer said:

I would say just try applying to more schools. My first time I applied to 7, got 3 interviews, waitlisted at 3. This year I applied to about 15 schools and have gotten 9 interview invites so far! I've gotten 1 acceptance, 1 rejection, 2 waitlists, and waiting to hear from the 2 others I've interviewed at so far. I have 2 interviews coming up, and 1 I couldn't attend. 

It's important to show that you are dedicated to pursuing this profession. And to show commitment by improving your application, whether it be retaking classes, volunteering more, networking (something that helped me A LOT this past year), obtaining more patient care hours, etc. I believe that is what has gotten me this many interviews. 

I feel like I've done so much better on my interviews this cycle compared to last cycle. It is just SO competitive, and you just have to find the school that is the right fit for you. 

Hi do you mind if I ask what your stats are?

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After 2 waitlists and 1 rejection post interview I just got accepted to my top choice ,and honestly from that I’ve gathered it’s more about fit than anything. I said the same stuff in the same way pretty much at every interview (eh maybe not the first that was a little rocky lol) and I believe the reason I was finally accepted is because my values perfectly aligned with what the school also valued. 

Because of that I agree with the previous advice of trying out new schools. Really take the time to think about what you want to get out of your PA education and how you want to practice medicine. A lot of your experience seems to be related to helping others learn how to help themselves and counseling and empowerment, so maybe try to find a school that values patient centered care and becoming a compassionate provider. I think that your work experience sets you apart from other applicants so I would really play that up!

Best of luck to you!!! 

Edited by Tnlewis
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8 minutes ago, Tnlewis said:

After 2 waitlists and 1 rejection post interview I just got accepted to my top choice ,and honestly from that I’ve gathered it’s more about fit than anything. I said the same stuff in the same way pretty much at every interview (eh maybe not the first that was a little rocky lol) and I believe the reason I was finally accepted is because my values perfectly aligned with what the school also valued. 

Because of that I agree with the previous advice of trying out new schools. Really take the time to think about what you want to get out of your PA education and how you want to practice medicine. A lot of your experience seems to be related to helping others learn how to help themselves and counseling and empowerment, so maybe try to find a school that values patient centered care and becoming a compassionate provider. I think that your work experience sets you apart from other applicants so I would really play that up!

Best of luck to you!!! 

Thank you for your kind words and advice. I am definitely going to get some more prerequisites done so I can apply to a few more schools. Unfortunately I cant apply too far from home since I'm trying to avoid uprooting my kids and want to stay within easy driving distance so my husband and kids can easily come visit if they dont move with me. 

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I'm sorry to hear your struggles and I can imagine how frustrating it is to keep getting wait listed. The fact that you're getting wait listed means you're doing SOMETHING right. I also think you should try to apply to more schools so take more prereqs or whatever else the local schools require.

Honestly, I also feel like you can maybe improve on getting more hands on patient care hours. Again, your hours and application do look great, which is why you are getting interviews. But based on my own experience at interviewing, the fact that I had hours as an EMT and ED Tech, where I could talk about the different experiences I have had giving hands on patient care, I feel allowed the interviewers to see that I have built a really good foundation of knowledge and experiences that I can now continue to build on as a PA. 

Since most of your experience is focused on mental/behavioral health, maybe becoming certified/ finding a job that is more on the clinical side would help you out.

Goodluck! And I really do hope you get an acceptance this time around!

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