Jump to content

After 3 years of rejection letters, should I consider getting my MPH before applying again?

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

Third time applicant here. I’m desperate for some feedback from you all. I’ll try to make it short and sweet..

I have an incredibly low undergraduate GPA, a 2.9 to be exact. I did horribly in large lectures (general courses), but as I got into the upper level bio courses, I got As and B+s. After graduating, I re-took a few courses and took a few new ones as well to “boost” my GPA. (Hint: doing this does not boost your GPA as much as you think it well due to the way that CASPA calculates GPAs). Regardless, I got As in those courses. I have well over 10,000 hours of direct patient care (EMT, patient care technician, chief medical scribe, and now medical assistant but not certified MA). I have around 600 hours of shadowing PAs. I am certified in ACLS and also have an EKG Interpretation & Analysis course under my belt. I feel that I am so deserving of a seat in one of these programs, but my GPA is clearly holding me down. I’ve solicited feedback on my applications from the schools that would offer it, and the few people that I spoke with said that I was a very strong candidate even with my GPA (they take into consideration your last 60 credit hours and I technically have a 3.6 for just those hours). I’ll be 5 years out from undergrad come May 2019. Some of my pre-reqs (the ones I did the most poorly in, actually) are or will expire soon for some schools. On a rejection letter I received today, it said that I was a strong candidate for their MPH program and would be given priority consideration if I were to apply. Is this something I should seriously look into? I’m tired of thinking “ok just maybe take 1 or 2 more classes and get A’s, then they’ll see that you’re capable”, because at this point I don’t think it’s going to do much for me. I know it doesn’t mean much, but every MD, PA, NP, RN I have worked with has said that I would make an incredible and successful PA, which I believe as well. I think my patients would say the same, again not that it matters at this point in time.

 

I lied, that ended up being a long story long- but I felt I had to include the details. Please give me your honest opinion! Thank you so much. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get an MPH unless you are 100% sure that you are going to use it (coming from an accepted applicant this cycle who has their MPH degree). No point in getting yourself into more debt if you want to be a PA and not a PA/MPH. I'd suggest you just take more classes to boost your GPA (to at least a 3.0) and apply to more schools. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @scankidofhell. I am also a 3rd year applicant with the same undergrad GPA as you and I went back for a masters in biology and got a 3.57. While it helped me be a better student, it did not push my overall GPA over a 3.0 and I am sitting knee deep in rejections again this year. I feel like really hitting that 3.0 mark is the most convincing thing you can do. Now, if getting an MPH is something you're actually interested in, then that could be a way to get that 3.0 but if you aren't passionate about it, you can continue to piece together classes to help boost you up. Hope some part of my rambling helps at all haha

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate it. 

I've done a bit more research and this seems to be the majority answer. 

Regarding the schools I'm applying to, I feel like I'm applying to schools that are middle of the bunch for the most part. One school in particular is brand new and not even accredited yet and I got rejected. That was a whoooooooole deal because I literally have stalked them since 2016 when they first started thinking about starting a PA program at the University. I even went and spoke with the program director, did everything she asked me to do, applied twice and got rejected both times. I have pestered them a total of 20 times over the last few years to meet with me in person or over the phone to discuss my candidacy. I spoke with the director of didactic education, who said that I was an excellent candidate and asked that I keep in touch with him via email so he could "remember my name and speak highly" of me during my application review. I didn't end up getting an interview and I am in the process of pestering them to discuss my application once again. 

I just feel so stagnant at this point and am wondering if I am doing the right thing by continuing to take these classes to "boost" my GPA. 

This is super hard and embarrassing for me because I know that these values do not reflect the type of student I am, but here are the GPA calculations from CASPA:

Biology, chemistry, physics GPA: 2.54
Cumulative undergrad GPA: 2.92
Post-bacc GPA: 3.68
Baccalaureate science GPA: 2.51
Post-bacc science GPA: 3.56
Cumulative undergrad science GPA: 2.68
Overall science GPA: 2.68 

Pre-reqs: 
(post-bacc) Retook A&P I, II: A, A
(post-bacc) Retook orgo I w/lab: B/A
(post-bacc) Med terminology: A
(post-bacc) Biochem w/ lab: B
Micro w/lab: A-
Ethics: A
(post-bacc) Human development: A
Nutrition: B
Stats: A-
Intro Psych: B
Cell bio: B+ 
Genetics: C+

 

I was planning on taking pathophysiology and a disease & diagnosis course next semester. Patho will contribute to my BCP GPA, and I am hoping that the disease & diagnosis course will too, however after e-mailing CASPA support back and forth 7 times, they still have not given me a straight answer on this one. It is a biology course and mainly deals with patho so I'm hoping it would be included in the BCP GPA. Was also thinking about taking a neuroanatomy course. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ll say this in response to your last post...as hard as it is, you can’t have your heart set on one program. And it is possible that if you have contacted them over and over again as you say, it might’ve made you come across negatively. Maybe not...just my two cents. I went back up and gave the program director at a school a thank you card 10 minutes after our interview concluded and they dismissed us, and I even lost some sleep over whether or not I had seemed a little pushy for doing so. 

Ultimately, I would encourage you to get your cGPA over the 3.0 mark, and apply to lots of schools. This process is incredibly competitive and as frustrating as it is, encouraging words from MD’s, PA’s, or even the admissions people themselves, really don’t mean a thing. I would imagine programs want as many people to apply as possible because it pads their admissions stats (number of applicants vs number accepted), and frankly puts money in their pocket assuming you had to pay a fee for them to even consider your application. It sounds like you have great experience and it really just might be the GPA. I would make that your primary focus for sure. 

I wish you luck, and I hope things turn around for you! 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel you I'm a third time applicant too

Don't fret, i met someone recently that finally got in their 6th time after 70 rejections, accumulated 16,000 direct hce 

He had a 2.67 raised it up to a 3.0 ... 9 years out from graduating and got into duke! 

I've been in your shoes, surprisingly the low and middle tiered schools are harder to get into cause everyone applies... Surprisingly the top tiered schools from my experience are easier to get interviews from.

The challenge about the mph is the debt... But it's an opportunity for you do well in grad level classes but then once you get it it'll eliminate the number of pa schools you can apply too cause some offer dual pa mphs 

Re: caspa - try calling instead of emailing 

Re developing programs: from my experience getting into developing programs for their first class is difficult since they want their numbers to shine for pance pass rates 

Apply more broadly and spend more time on your supplemental apps...  I noticed the ones where I poured out my heart and kept reeditting i got interviewed 

Keep grinding and don't give up if this is what you really want

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lilygirl8 said:

Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate it. 

I've done a bit more research and this seems to be the majority answer. 

Regarding the schools I'm applying to, I feel like I'm applying to schools that are middle of the bunch for the most part. One school in particular is brand new and not even accredited yet and I got rejected. That was a whoooooooole deal because I literally have stalked them since 2016 when they first started thinking about starting a PA program at the University. I even went and spoke with the program director, did everything she asked me to do, applied twice and got rejected both times. I have pestered them a total of 20 times over the last few years to meet with me in person or over the phone to discuss my candidacy. I spoke with the director of didactic education, who said that I was an excellent candidate and asked that I keep in touch with him via email so he could "remember my name and speak highly" of me during my application review. I didn't end up getting an interview and I am in the process of pestering them to discuss my application once again. 

I just feel so stagnant at this point and am wondering if I am doing the right thing by continuing to take these classes to "boost" my GPA. 

This is super hard and embarrassing for me because I know that these values do not reflect the type of student I am, but here are the GPA calculations from CASPA:

Biology, chemistry, physics GPA: 2.54
Cumulative undergrad GPA: 2.92
Post-bacc GPA: 3.68
Baccalaureate science GPA: 2.51
Post-bacc science GPA: 3.56
Cumulative undergrad science GPA: 2.68
Overall science GPA: 2.68 

Pre-reqs: 
(post-bacc) Retook A&P I, II: A, A
(post-bacc) Retook orgo I w/lab: B/A
(post-bacc) Med terminology: A
(post-bacc) Biochem w/ lab: B
Micro w/lab: A-
Ethics: A
(post-bacc) Human development: A
Nutrition: B
Stats: A-
Intro Psych: B
Cell bio: B+ 
Genetics: C+

 

I was planning on taking pathophysiology and a disease & diagnosis course next semester. Patho will contribute to my BCP GPA, and I am hoping that the disease & diagnosis course will too, however after e-mailing CASPA support back and forth 7 times, they still have not given me a straight answer on this one. It is a biology course and mainly deals with patho so I'm hoping it would be included in the BCP GPA. Was also thinking about taking a neuroanatomy course. 

 

 

I think your science GPA is going to hold you back from receiving interviews at nearly all programs. Do the schools you’re applying to not have science GPA minimums? The majority of programs that I’m aware of have a 3.0 sGPA minimum with some having a 2.75 minimum. A sub 2.75 sGPA will get you autorejected from nearly all programs. 

If I were you I would continue taking coursework until both of your GPAs are above a 3.0. Without that you’ll likely be autorejected, regaradless of how strong other parts of your application are.

Also, in reference to the new program you mentioned, these schools tend to take higher GPA applicants with a proven track record of success for their first few classes. They’re more concerned with PANCE pass rate and academic performance. New programs don’t like to gamble on lower GPA applicants. You would be much better off applying to more established programs that prioritize your strong PCE. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ChristineQLe said:

I feel you I'm a third time applicant too

Don't fret, i met someone recently that finally got in their 6th time after 70 rejections, accumulated 16,000 direct hce 

He had a 2.67 raised it up to a 3.0 ... 9 years out from graduating and got into duke! 

I've been in your shoes, surprisingly the low and middle tiered schools are harder to get into cause everyone applies... Surprisingly the top tiered schools from my experience are easier to get interviews from.

The challenge about the mph is the debt... But it's an opportunity for you do well in grad level classes but then once you get it it'll eliminate the number of pa schools you can apply too cause some offer dual pa mphs 

Re: caspa - try calling instead of emailing 

Re developing programs: from my experience getting into developing programs for their first class is difficult since they want their numbers to shine for pance pass rates 

Apply more broadly and spend more time on your supplemental apps...  I noticed the ones where I poured out my heart and kept reeditting i got interviewed 

Keep grinding and don't give up if this is what you really want

That is such a great story about your friend... that is a serious commitment, and I see myself heading in that direction as well. This really is what I want to do with the rest of my life and I'm going to do whatever I can to get there. 

 I also think I should bit the bullet and take the GRE. I just feel nauseated at the thought of re-learning so much math..... 

Re: Caspa -- I have called, too, and she didn't seem to fully understand what I was asking despite explaining it a few times. She apparently finally understood what I was asking, and said that she would e-mail me with an update once she could ask someone else. No reply yet. It is a biology course and mainly falls under the category of pathophysiology so I am hoping that there won't be an issue.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there,

My story is a little different than yours but maybe this could be helpful? Idk.

I was accepted to 2 schools this application cycle, after being rejected from all schools except one last cycle, which I was wait listed at. I'm not sure what changed things this time around, but here's my advice.

I would continue to take courses to boost your GPA, but take upper level courses. One of the schools I applied to last cycle outright rejected me, but over the summer I took organic chem which I got an A in, and biochem this semester (which I currently have an A in) and was interviewed and accepted a few weeks ago. Show them you can do well in UPPER level science courses since graduate level courses are going to just as, and definitely more difficult. I don't necessarily think GPA is the be all, I have an average cGPA at 3.4 and sGPA at 3.3. edit: just saw that you did take orgo...maybe then think about a one year masters program? That way when you apply you can show them you can make it through and do well in graduate coursework.

What about your personal statement? Have you rewrote that? I completely threw out and rewrote my personal statement. I also had many people actually read it this time (I had no one read it last time.) I found it was helpful since not everyone who read it knew my story and helped me construct it in a way that an interviewer could also follow it and understand my story as well. 

Where are your LOR coming from? I had a friend remind me how important it is to have a PA write a  LOR since that is the type of program you are applying to. Have people who know you the best write them. 

Last, what about volunteer hours? I had comments at interviews about how it was nice to have candidates that were "well-rounded." Maybe volunteer somewhere already if you haven't or switch it up and volunteer elsewhere!

I'm not sure if any of these were helpful. Just things I picked up from my own experiences. Good luck and please don't give up!

Edited by Jazz2018
misread
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you should do an MPH graduate degree. Only do something that is going to benefit you and that you will use! Otherwise, it's just more debt and a waste of time honestly. Your background is really good, but your GPA is low. If you want to get a second degree, have you considered an accelerated BSN? They have accelerated BSN programs for students who already have a bachelor's. It takes 12-18 months. Not only would you have a second bachelor's for them to consider, but you can have a good-paying career that will be beneficial to your PA journey. Being an RN is probably the best type of patient experience you can get for PA school. I'd recommend it

Edited by Potatolife
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alternatively, consider another health care degree at the associates level: ADN/RN, Paramedic, Resp Therapy. Probably less expense than a 2nd degree bsn. Nurses with associates degrees do not have problems finding jobs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If some of your classes are expiring, have you considered doing maybe a Master's in Biomedical Science or something similar? A lot of those programs can be done within a year, and many schools will replace a graduate GPA over the undergraduate GPA.   If you don't mind the extra debt.  

 

Have you applied to any of the South colleges? They have three locations, and their minimum is as follows: ov

Overall college cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, completion of all prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75, and completion of all science prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75.  They are still taking applications as well until March of next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, props to you guys who kept at it for multiple years before getting accepted. I caved in after 1 cycle. 

The advice I give everyone who endured multiple cycles and is thinking of applying to MPH or an MS in a non-clinical field is to seriously think about an accelerated BSN. The pros are; a well-paying job (new grads are making up to 75K/year - 80-85K easily if you're an overtime wh*re), it can take anywhere from 11-16 months to complete, top-tier patient care experience and more opportunities to advance in a provider type role (PA or NP).

As @EMEDPA stated, ADN programs are also another option. WAY cheaper than an ABSN or BSN in general, however, some hospitals prefer BSN graduates due to their magnet status...or bragging reasons "90% of our staff nurses are BSN educated". Here in the Philadelphia region, ADNs are being passed over for BSN grads because you know, there is a nursing school on every street lol.

Edited by Diggy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PA is definitely the only thing I want to do with my life. I have definitely considered going to get my BSN a million times. It's kind of like... I keep thinking "just go do it", but then I get so hopeful about PA school and convince myself to keep driving towards that because that's really what I want to do.. I would consider a masters in biology or something else as well to help me out. 

Thanks everyone for your input it's very much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, 907142955pavel said:

I got accepted this year after 8 years of application cycles. You will get in if you do not give up. Your circumstances are different from mine but I didn't want to do anything else but become a PA. Good luck.

 

On 12/18/2018 at 4:19 PM, Phoenixfire24 said:

If some of your classes are expiring, have you considered doing maybe a Master's in Biomedical Science or something similar? A lot of those programs can be done within a year, and many schools will replace a graduate GPA over the undergraduate GPA.   If you don't mind the extra debt.  

 

Have you applied to any of the South colleges? They have three locations, and their minimum is as follows: ov

Overall college cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, completion of all prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75, and completion of all science prerequisite coursework with a cumulative GPA of a minimum of 2.75.  They are still taking applications as well until March of next year.

The info that I'm finding for most South programs require an overall GPA as well as a BCP GPA of 3.0 as calculated by CASPA. Where did you find this information?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, Lilygirl8 said:

 

The info that I'm finding for most South programs require an overall GPA as well as a BCP GPA of 3.0 as calculated by CASPA. Where did you find this information?

It is South College not South University. 

https://www.south.edu/academics/programs/master-health-science-physician-assistant-studies/

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lilygirl8 said:

PA is definitely the only thing I want to do with my life. I have definitely considered going to get my BSN a million times. It's kind of like... I keep thinking "just go do it", but then I get so hopeful about PA school and convince myself to keep driving towards that because that's really what I want to do.. I would consider a masters in biology or something else as well to help me out. 

Thanks everyone for your input it's very much appreciated!

2

Completely understandable but my view on this is why take out another loan for another degree that doesn't guarantee a well-paying job upon graduation and passing their respective boards? Even with a BSN, you can still become a PA, becoming an RN doesn't stop you from progressing. A masters degree in biology sounds great and all but then you're taking out another loan in order to get into PA school (and even then it's not guaranteed). RN isn't the only option (but the fastest and best return on investment) - respiratory therapy, radiation therapy, paramedic, etc. Ace whatever program, get a well-paying job, pay off some loans, gain amazing experience (a biology degree doesn't do this), re-apply to PA school.

I had the same mentality during my first undergrad that I never saw myself as an RN and was gung-ho about becoming a PA. Nurses also get a bad rap so that's why I had a hard time convincing myself I'll be okay.  I didn't get into PA school with a 3.5 cGPA 3.5 sGPA and it was a reality check about the competitiveness about the field..now with a 3.67 BSN I'm pretty sure if I re-apply I would have better chances. But after some serious consideration, I'm going to stick to this role for a few years and enjoy my new tax bracket while paying off some loans and improve my confidence level (and knowledge base) before contemplating going into 100-150K in debt for a 25K increase in pay.

But again, everyone has a different perspective and I wish you nothing but good luck in whatever you decide to do 🙂

Edited by Diggy
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Diggy said:

As @EMEDPA stated, ADN programs are also another option. WAY cheaper than an ABSN or BSN in general, however, some hospitals prefer BSN graduates due to their magnet status...or bragging reasons "90% of our staff nurses are BSN educated". Here in the Philadelphia region, ADNs are being passed over for BSN grads because you know, there is a nursing school on every street lol.

there are many fully online , self-paced adn to bsn programs like at western governors university that can be done in a year or less while working full time. I have several friends doing these now. Their jobs pay for them to attend and give them a raise when done.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest HopeToBePAC

I'd say >90% of schools have a 3.0 cGPA and 3.0 sGPA minimum. Since you aren't meeting those minimums, you are probably getting auto-rejected, meaning they don't even look at your whole application. My advice would be to apply to schools that don't have that 3.0 minimum mark (although there's only a few), and/or schools that look at your last 60 credit hours. Also, since you're quite close to a 3.0, calculate how many courses you would need to take and get As in to get a 3.0, and that will open up more schools you would actually qualify for.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/19/2018 at 7:39 PM, Lilygirl8 said:

Hi all,

Third time applicant here. I’m desperate for some feedback from you all. I’ll try to make it short and sweet..

I have an incredibly low undergraduate GPA, a 2.9 to be exact. I did horribly in large lectures (general courses), but as I got into the upper level bio courses, I got As and B+s. After graduating, I re-took a few courses and took a few new ones as well to “boost” my GPA. (Hint: doing this does not boost your GPA as much as you think it well due to the way that CASPA calculates GPAs). Regardless, I got As in those courses. I have well over 10,000 hours of direct patient care (EMT, patient care technician, chief medical scribe, and now medical assistant but not certified MA). I have around 600 hours of shadowing PAs. I am certified in ACLS and also have an EKG Interpretation & Analysis course under my belt. I feel that I am so deserving of a seat in one of these programs, but my GPA is clearly holding me down. I’ve solicited feedback on my applications from the schools that would offer it, and the few people that I spoke with said that I was a very strong candidate even with my GPA (they take into consideration your last 60 credit hours and I technically have a 3.6 for just those hours). I’ll be 5 years out from undergrad come May 2019. Some of my pre-reqs (the ones I did the most poorly in, actually) are or will expire soon for some schools. On a rejection letter I received today, it said that I was a strong candidate for their MPH program and would be given priority consideration if I were to apply. Is this something I should seriously look into? I’m tired of thinking “ok just maybe take 1 or 2 more classes and get A’s, then they’ll see that you’re capable”, because at this point I don’t think it’s going to do much for me. I know it doesn’t mean much, but every MD, PA, NP, RN I have worked with has said that I would make an incredible and successful PA, which I believe as well. I think my patients would say the same, again not that it matters at this point in time.

 

I lied, that ended up being a long story long- but I felt I had to include the details. Please give me your honest opinion! Thank you so much. 

Hi,  this is my second time applying as well. I have thousands of hours in direct patient care, but my science GPA is at the minimum still, like 3.03 and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 I think, maybe slightly higher. However, I feel that my grades are the reason why I'm not receiving interview invitations, and it's very hard to increase my GPA. I only went for one interview but they rejected my application, so it was very disappointing. I feel it's getting harder and harder trying to get into PA school, but I'll keep trying until they say yes! Wish you luck and don't get discouraged! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More