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NickFala

PA School admission chances

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Hello all, I've been wandering around this website for quite some time reading peoples' posts and finally decided to try and make my own and have some people who have similar stats as me shed some light.

I graduated from the University of Central Florida in August 2018 and I'm retaking A&P 1 & 2 since my university only offered Anatomy and Physiology as separate courses. I did unfortunately get C's in both Anatomy and Physio, however retaking A&P 1 and 2, I received an A in A&P 1 and will most likely receive an A in A&P 2.

 

My cumulative GPA averaged out to about a 3.2 and sGPA of about 3.0-3.1 somewhere in that general area. I got a 297 on the GRE, with my writing section being in about the 95th percentile (not sure if that really matters or not). I also do have a LOR from my A&P professor, I have around 50+ shadowing hours, shadowing a transplant surgeon and psychiatrist. I also currently have been working as a scribe in the Emergency department with not only physicians but PA's as well. I have been a scribe for about 2 years so I'd say more than 1,000 hours and I've contacted some schools who consider it has PCE hours, with that being said I've definitely learned a LOT being a scribe and being exposed to everything and anything in the ER. I also have a letter recommendation who is a PA-C and he's also a faculty member for a universitys PA program as well. So I was wondering, will my GPA ruin my chances of getting in PA school? I really didn't wanna have to take a bunch of science classes if I didn't need to but I've been unfortunately comparing myself to a lot of applicants and I feel like the short end of the stick. Thanks to everyone and anyone who responds, all criticism is welcome. Just please try not to be too rude :)

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I think you already know the answer to this.

You barely meet minimums for GPA.  Your GRE might not pass muster (colloquially a 300 is sort of an unstated minimum).  Your HCE/PCE definitely doesn't compensate for your low stats.

Meeting the minimums won't get you an interview, probably anywhere.  You likely don't meet average accepted student stats for most programs.  

I certainly wouldn't attempt to apply this cycle if I were you as it's probably throwing money away.  That said, you CAN do work on your app.  It will require taking science classes and getting A's.  It will require working to get more PCE hours.  As long as programs accept scribe I wouldn't stress too much over that.  It's obviously not the best PCE but plenty of students get accepted with it.

You know you have work to do.  So put in the time and do it and don't apply until you have a strong application.

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@MT2PA

 

So would you just recommend taking another year off and just taking science courses? This was my second GRE attempt and I scored about 5 points higher than last time. Not sure if I can pull off anymore than that

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You can certainly try to apply this year I just don't foresee it being very successful for you.

Browse the forum.  Plenty of people delay applying to strengthen their apps or apply multiple cycles until they get in.  It is NOT common for applicants to get in right after undergrad.  Most programs list the average age of matriculating students.

Wanting to get in isn't enough.  You have to have the stats to back it up.  There are plenty of threads around here of what people have done to bolster their apps regarding low GPA, low G RE, low PCE etc.  Only you can decide if you're willing to do the work and take the time to make your application competitive; unfortunately it just isn't right now.

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First, addressing your GPA, I'll begin by saying that plenty of people have gotten in with a GPA in the range of 3.0-3.2 from countless accepted posts that I've read. Granted, they had something else spectacular in their application, usually lots and lots of high quality patient care experience hours. 

Your GRE is pretty average as well, if not below average. I'd re-take it and get over a 300. 

Like you already know, scribing is not accepted by all PA schools, so you're limiting yourself to a select number of schools. However, if you'd be happy going to any of them, then your PCE is fine. 

All in all, my recommendation would be to 1)re-take any science classes you did really bad in and take a few upper level science classes that may possibly bump your science GPA, which is the weakest part of your app and 2) re-take the GRE

I think you could possibly have a shot for next year's cycle, if you are able to strengthen your application. This cycle, it will be very hard, if you do choose to apply.

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3 minutes ago, HopeToBePAC said:

First, addressing your GPA, I'll begin by saying that plenty of people have gotten in with a GPA in the range of 3.0-3.2 from countless accepted posts that I've read. Granted, they had something else spectacular in their application, usually lots and lots of high quality patient care experience hours. 

Your GRE is pretty average as well, if not below average. I'd re-take it and get over a 300. 

Like you already know, scribing is not accepted by all PA schools, so you're limiting yourself to a select number of schools. However, if you'd be happy going to any of them, then your PCE is fine. 

All in all, my recommendation would be to 1)re-take any science classes you did really bad in and take a few upper level science classes that may possibly bump your science GPA, which is the weakest part of your app and 2) re-take the GRE

I think you could possibly have a shot for next year's cycle, if you are able to strengthen your application. This cycle, it will be very hard, if you do choose to apply.

Thanks for your response and advice, I really appreciate. I actually just retook my GRE and scored about 5 points higher than my last one, so it's definitely an upward trend just unfortunately not where I want it to be. Most schools that I have considered applying to I have already asked and they do accept scribing as PCE, which makes me kind of glad. 

Fortunately, I have already started retaking courses. I retook Micrbio with the lab and am currently retaking Anatomy 1 and Anatomy 2. I was thinking about maybe taking some other science courses online as well as Biochem since Biochem wasn't a huge requirement when I was look up PA schools pre-reqs, however now I see it is. It was either listed as Biochem or Orgo 1 and Orgo 2. So my plan is to try and take Biochem soon as well

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47 minutes ago, NickFala said:

Thanks for your response and advice, I really appreciate. I actually just retook my GRE and scored about 5 points higher than my last one, so it's definitely an upward trend just unfortunately not where I want it to be. Most schools that I have considered applying to I have already asked and they do accept scribing as PCE, which makes me kind of glad. 

Fortunately, I have already started retaking courses. I retook Micrbio with the lab and am currently retaking Anatomy 1 and Anatomy 2. I was thinking about maybe taking some other science courses online as well as Biochem since Biochem wasn't a huge requirement when I was look up PA schools pre-reqs, however now I see it is. It was either listed as Biochem or Orgo 1 and Orgo 2. So my plan is to try and take Biochem soon as well

No problem! Sounds like a plan to me. If you really don't think you can do better on the GRE, don't bother. Improving your GPA will be better anyways. I haven't taken Biochem yet, but I heard it's beneficial to take for sure. I'm Pre-PA too, just like you, so do keep that in mind.  Regardless, I hope my advice was helpful, and good luck with everything! 

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I got accepted with a lower sGPA. This comment gets it right: "Granted, they had something else spectacular in their application, usually lots and lots of high quality patient care experience hours." 1000 hours of anything isn't "lots and lots" (I'd say 3-4000 hours is a better target) and scribing generally isn't considered high quality, even by schools that accept it as PCE. You may not "really wanna take a bunch of science classes if you don't need to," but you absolutely do need to. (Also, PA school is literally a bunch of science classes - just faster and more in depth than anything in undergrad). MT2PA is absolutely correct - you're going to have to put in a signficant amount of time and work before you're ready to apply. If your GPA just meets the minimum, you'll need to blow the adcoms mind with everything else.

I would target 2 things here. 1) GPA. Biochem and A&P are both good calls. I would also suggest classes like nutrition, cell bio, genetics, immunology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc to get the grades up. 2) Better PCE. A CNA class is generally quick and cheap, and you could start working in a hospital with that. Alternatively, you could check if your ED needs any tech help - I'm an ED tech and schools absolutely love that. You could also look into being an MA. If your community college offers an EMT class, that's a great way to bump your sGPA while getting a solid PCE certification. You want a job where you get your hands dirty with patients.

Best of luck!

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44 minutes ago, nichole96 said:

I got accepted with a lower sGPA. This comment gets it right: "Granted, they had something else spectacular in their application, usually lots and lots of high quality patient care experience hours." 1000 hours of anything isn't "lots and lots" (I'd say 3-4000 hours is a better target) and scribing generally isn't considered high quality, even by schools that accept it as PCE. You may not "really wanna take a bunch of science classes if you don't need to," but you absolutely do need to. (Also, PA school is literally a bunch of science classes - just faster and more in depth than anything in undergrad). MT2PA is absolutely correct - you're going to have to put in a signficant amount of time and work before you're ready to apply. If your GPA just meets the minimum, you'll need to blow the adcoms mind with everything else.

I would target 2 things here. 1) GPA. Biochem and A&P are both good calls. I would also suggest classes like nutrition, cell bio, genetics, immunology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc to get the grades up. 2) Better PCE. A CNA class is generally quick and cheap, and you could start working in a hospital with that. Alternatively, you could check if your ED needs any tech help - I'm an ED tech and schools absolutely love that. You could also look into being an MA. If your community college offers an EMT class, that's a great way to bump your sGPA while getting a solid PCE certification. You want a job where you get your hands dirty with patients.

Best of luck!

Hey there, thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it. I’ve been a scribe for about 2 years now so I’ve accumulated I’d say much more over 1,000 hours. I just haven’t calculated it yet but that was just me being safe for now. 

I was thinking of doing something like CNA or EMT, however it has come to my attention that a lot of my coworkers and even through browsing this forum I’ve seen people who are ED scribes have really high success rates getting in schools just based on their experience. Now, I believe it’s different for every individual program and how that program values medical scribe experience as. In terms of classes to retake I have taken Patho 1 (B+), Patho 2 (C+), Immuno (B), and Genetics (B+). I do plan to take Bio 2, Biochem, and finish A&P 2 and hopefully get A’s in those courses. Unfortunately my grades are so lackluster due to many personal issues/mental breaks I’ve had to take due to my mental health. With that being said I’ve looked into multiple programs that accept scribing as valuable experience and have tallied those schools down as ones I’ll apply too. Believe it or not there’s a large amount of them!

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I haven't seen a significant number of ED scribes with really high success rates based on their experience - the accepted scribes I met have high GPAs. In my experience, low GPA candidates need bulletproof PCE (thousands of hours of EMS, respiratory therapy, patient care tech, etc). But if you have a school list that works for you and highly values scribing, I hope you're successful!

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10 minutes ago, nichole96 said:

I haven't seen a significant number of ED scribes with really high success rates based on their experience - the accepted scribes I met have high GPAs. In my experience, low GPA candidates need bulletproof PCE (thousands of hours of EMS, respiratory therapy, patient care tech, etc). But if you have a school list that works for you and highly values scribing, I hope you're successful!

I guess to make up for my lackluster GPA, you’re more than likely correct. However, I’m still going to try to get more shadowing hours/volunteering hours and retake some science courses that I got C’s in, as well as some upper level science courses as well and try for next cycle. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I think that if there are schools that do value scribing my GPA is more than anything holding me back which will take some work to increase. If you do know, do PA programs usually give you a reason as to why you were not accepted if they reject you so you get a better understanding of what to improve next cycle?

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1 hour ago, nichole96 said:

I haven't seen a significant number of ED scribes with really high success rates based on their experience - the accepted scribes I met have high GPAs. In my experience, low GPA candidates need bulletproof PCE (thousands of hours of EMS, respiratory therapy, patient care tech, etc). But if you have a school list that works for you and highly values scribing, I hope you're successful!

This^

Most of the scribes that I have seen accepted, or even interviewing, had strong academic backgrounds (bio major >3.5 gpa, etc.). 

Given your gpa I would think adding a couple thousand hours of hands on pce would be your best shot, in addition to taking more science classes to bolster the gpa. EMT is probably seen as the highest quality pce that can be gotten into quickly (1 semester, or some accelerated courses are even shorter).

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6 hours ago, nichole96 said:

I got accepted with a lower sGPA. This comment gets it right: "Granted, they had something else spectacular in their application, usually lots and lots of high quality patient care experience hours." 1000 hours of anything isn't "lots and lots" (I'd say 3-4000 hours is a better target) and scribing generally isn't considered high quality, even by schools that accept it as PCE. You may not "really wanna take a bunch of science classes if you don't need to," but you absolutely do need to. (Also, PA school is literally a bunch of science classes - just faster and more in depth than anything in undergrad). MT2PA is absolutely correct - you're going to have to put in a signficant amount of time and work before you're ready to apply. If your GPA just meets the minimum, you'll need to blow the adcoms mind with everything else.

I would target 2 things here. 1) GPA. Biochem and A&P are both good calls. I would also suggest classes like nutrition, cell bio, genetics, immunology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc to get the grades up. 2) Better PCE. A CNA class is generally quick and cheap, and you could start working in a hospital with that. Alternatively, you could check if your ED needs any tech help - I'm an ED tech and schools absolutely love that. You could also look into being an MA. If your community college offers an EMT class, that's a great way to bump your sGPA while getting a solid PCE certification. You want a job where you get your hands dirty with patients.

Best of luck!

hi Nichole96, thanks for sharing your experience and congrats on your acceptance. If it is ok, would you mind sharing your stats and the schools that you applied, interviewed and accepted please? thank you!

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