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Hello everyone, I am currently in my third year as a biology undergraduate major at the City College of New York. I graduate next year and wanted to ask for opinions on whether or not I should apply to PA programs immediately after graduation. 

At the moment I have a 3.91 GPA, straight As in my science courses, have shadowed one PA for a few hours, and have over 200 hours volunteering at an ENT hospital. However, my plan after graduation is to work as an EMT to gain credible health care experience to put on my application.

In your opinions, are my current credentials sufficient enough for PA programs to consider me as a serious candidate? Or should I take a gap year to focus on obtaining more experience to put on my application? If so, any advice or recommendations? Any responses are much appreciated. Thanks! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

GPA is good. GRE is TBD? Shoot for a 300+, 310+ and you're plenty safe (it is just a filter in most programs, they don't care if you got a 305 or a 315).

Your patient care hours will not be sufficient for consideration for many (most?) programs. Volunteer hours are sometimes counted, sometimes not (check with the specific programs you're applying to, they all have criteria on their websites), and 200 is low either way.

I would plan on working full time until the next cycle. Depending on the state and your situation, EMS, phlebotomy, scribing, MA, and CNA are all popular choices to get PCE. But again, check specific programs, sometimes they weigh those experiences differently. i.e. some count them as full hours or 1/2 hours. 1,000 puts you in the playing field, 2,000 is better, more than that isn't likely to make a big difference. But keep in mind, it has to be "hands on" with patients. Patient transport is often not considered for instance. 

Programs also have different requirements for when their minimums have to be completed. Some by time of application, others by a certain date, and others by matriculation. So, again, check specific programs you plan on applying to.

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