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HELP - Start PA School in 3 weeks or take a year off


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Last cycle I applied to 3 schools, interviewed at all of them, and ended up getting rejected at all three. Then one of the schools ended up adding me to their waitlist, but I still didn't plan on getting in. Fast forward to yesterday, they call me and offer me a seat for their program that begins in 3 weeks in a completely new city. However, I am so confused on what to do. I graduate on April 27th and I was so extremely ready and excited to take a year off and work. Especially after this semester, I have been so burned out and in need of a break. I am also in need of money as I have been barely working... I know people might say I'd be an idiot to not accept, but I do not think I would be happy taking it. I feel that a break would be so beneficial to me at this point in my life and starting PA school in three weeks honestly sounds awful. It was my least preferred choice as well.

I talked to an advisor at my top school and she said if I just practice my interview more, she thinks I can get in next year for sure. I currently have a 3.98 overall GPA and a 4.0 Science GPA and around 3500 hours. I obviously can't guarantee that I will get in somewhere next year, but I'm hoping that if I practice my interviews (which I didn't prepare for last cycle), I can get a spot somewhere and I will be much more ready to start such a rigorous program. I just need advice on whether it would be completely ridiculous to not accept this seat, or that if taking an honestly needed year off would be a smart idea. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Mdc99 said:

but I do not think I would be happy taking it. I feel that a break would be so beneficial to me at this point in my life and starting PA school in three weeks honestly sounds awful. It was my least preferred choice as well.

I think you answered your own question in my opinion. Let the program that recently accepted you know you want to gain clinical experience for the next year but look forward to applying again in the next admissions cycle. Of course a bird in hand is worth two in the bush and an acceptance this year doesn't guarantee acceptance next year but your stats look great pending your patient contact hours, LORs and personal statement. That said, internet strangers won't be able to weigh in much in terms of what is your best choice. 

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Agreed - I think you already know in your heart what you want to do, but as someone who desperately wanted to get in right after school but ended up taking two, "gap years," this pains me a little bit. Then again, you've earned your GPA and PCE, and deserve to take care of your mental/emotional/physical/spiritual self.

Theoretically, your application will only get better so maybe it could even be an opportunity to expand your horizons, apply to more schools, and give yourself more options down the road.

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If you think you'd benefit from a gap year, then you should do it. I took one official gap year (which turned into two because of applying/interviewing) and I would not have had it any other way. I pretty much had my life planned out but then I went into existential crisis mode before I graduated undergrad, so I knew I wasn't going to apply straight out of college. I did my own thing during the gap years, worked, traveled and had adventures, and overall gained life experience. One of the adcoms told me during one of my interviews that my life experiences reflected my responses and overall showed wisdom and maturity at a young age. It can be the same for you. If you're also feeling burnt out from school, take the gap year. With your stats and already accrued hours, I think you should be fine for next year. Best of luck!

Edited by aba51
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Personally, I wish I would have gone back to school sooner. It’s harder to get back into the swing of things after working and being out in the “real world.” Then again, you may enjoy the break if you’re already feeling burnt out. PA school is a lot more difficult than undergrad, mostly because of the pace and sheer volume. 

However, If you don’t take this, and you don’t get in next cycle, would you be upset for turning down the opportunity? How did you like the program when you interviewed?

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On 4/18/2019 at 3:41 PM, Bubbles said:

Personally, I wish I would have gone back to school sooner. It’s harder to get back into the swing of things after working and being out in the “real world.” Then again, you may enjoy the break if you’re already feeling burnt out. PA school is a lot more difficult than undergrad, mostly because of the pace and sheer volume. 

However, If you don’t take this, and you don’t get in next cycle, would you be upset for turning down the opportunity? How did you like the program when you interviewed?

The program was alright. The building where the classes were held was not the best...hard to see myself being there for 8 hours a day. But then again PA school is PA school. And yeah, the only reason Im so on the fence is because of the chance i won’t get in next year. I do feel like I have a good chance, but nothing is 100%. 

Edited by Mdc99
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There are no prizes awarded for speeding through life, nor guarantees that options available today will be available tomorrow, or that you will still want them anyway. 

Run your own race. More often than not, I've found that things have a way of working out in the end.

Good luck!

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I got accepted into two schools this cycle and your stats are far above mine if we're just looking at numbers. You did for sure answer your own question. Go take that year off 🙂 you should be mentally ready before beginning PA school, and it seems you will be more than ready next cycle 😄

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