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FuturePA55

Should I attend a first year program?

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I've been lucky enough so far to be accepted to a couple schools. One is a brand new program that seems to have pretty qualified faculty are very nice. Obviously they will be very interested in helping the students because they want to have good PANCE rates and reach continued accreditation. It will be pretty cheap and I already live right by the school, close to my wife's families which will be good for her since I'll be so busy, and it starts in January rather than the fall so I could get going as soon as possible. 

The other program has been around longer, has 3 years of 100% first time pass rate on the PANCE, great new facilities, and the faculty also seems great. It's across the country so support system wise it would be a bit harder, but it's more of a guarantee as far as a quality education goes. 

How wary should I be of a first year program? It seems like the didactic year would probably be fine but should I be worried about quality of clinical rotations in a first year program? Any one else attended a first year program and have a good or bad experience?

Any thoughts would be extremely helpful! Thank you! 

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I attended an established program which already had an excellent culture, good rotations, supportive alumni, and didn't regret it in the least.

I've heard from others that if you're looking at a first year program, you're going to have to be prepared for a lot of things to change along the way--mostly for the better, but not always.  How well do you handle change?

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When I started we were the third class but the first hadn't graduated yet. It worked out but I think the key was that we had great faculty, especially a director who had not only run a program elsewhere for many years (almost anyone can do it for just a year or two), but was also very active nationally in PA education. They also ran a professional shop in finding and booking good rotations.

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Is the tuition price the same or different? Location better or worse? Which program had a better “feel”? I chose a newer program (provisionally accredited), and I believe we are the 3rd class to go through the program. There will always a bit of a “learning curve” with new programs as they choose professors, rotations, etc. However, I’m very happy with my choice. The program started in January (vs Fall), and the faculty are very invested in the program, and I feel that I am getting a good education. 

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Nothing wrong with choosing a new program, but there are disadvantages. In my opinion, the clinical rotations will not be as robust. A new program wont have tried and true rotations that will give you quality clinical experience. For example, in OBGYN, some will give you opportunities to deliver, some will only have clinic, and some will only have you Shadow the whole rotation. Each setting has its own pros and cons but a established program have options and also has weeded out the rotations that just aren't very beneficial to students. 

Another issue is, unless you run through some or several years, there will be kinks and hurdles the program hits and needs to reassess the curriculum. New programs will have way more of these as they go through the growing pains. Mind you, even the oldest programs have these due to standards changing and credentialing needs to stay up to date, but again an established program will be able to manage those hurdles a little more smoothly.

this is my opinion and im not saying you wont get a good education at a new program but just know that there are disadvantages to a program that hasn't gone through several classes to see what they put together actually plays out the way they want. 

Good luck. I graduate next month and im excited to practice medicine. You will too.  

 

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On 8/18/2019 at 3:02 PM, lccalbert said:

Nothing wrong with choosing a new program, but there are disadvantages. In my opinion, the clinical rotations will not be as robust. A new program wont have tried and true rotations that will give you quality clinical experience. For example, in OBGYN, some will give you opportunities to deliver, some will only have clinic, and some will only have you Shadow the whole rotation. Each setting has its own pros and cons but a established program have options and also has weeded out the rotations that just aren't very beneficial to students. 

Another issue is, unless you run through some or several years, there will be kinks and hurdles the program hits and needs to reassess the curriculum. New programs will have way more of these as they go through the growing pains. Mind you, even the oldest programs have these due to standards changing and credentialing needs to stay up to date, but again an established program will be able to manage those hurdles a little more smoothly.

this is my opinion and im not saying you wont get a good education at a new program but just know that there are disadvantages to a program that hasn't gone through several classes to see what they put together actually plays out the way they want. 

Good luck. I graduate next month and im excited to practice medicine. You will too.  

 

 

On 8/18/2019 at 12:32 PM, Bubbles said:

Is the tuition price the same or different? Location better or worse? Which program had a better “feel”? I chose a newer program (provisionally accredited), and I believe we are the 3rd class to go through the program. There will always a bit of a “learning curve” with new programs as they choose professors, rotations, etc. However, I’m very happy with my choice. The program started in January (vs Fall), and the faculty are very invested in the program, and I feel that I am getting a good education. 

I appreciate everyone's input. The new programs tuition is only 62k vs 90k for the other program. Some people have told me go the cheaper route since you will be a PA no matter what and some have said it's better to play it safe and ensure a quality education. I'm not too worried about the didactic year because it seems like the faculty they have is pretty experienced and have all taught/directed other programs. At this point my number one concern is the rotations. I feel like that will be the most important part of being prepared to practice. The director of clinical education doesn't have any experience working with PA programs (to my knowledge anyways) so I'm wondering if that will also affect the quality of rotations. This new program is local and I wouldn't have to move and the other would be a cross country move but a more guaranteed education. I'll just have to keep thinking and see what feel best!!

Edited by FuturePA55

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Personally, I'd go with the less expensive program. I'm a firm believer in "you get out of it what you put into it" as far as quality of rotations go, regardless of how long your program has been around. I chose to attend a brand new PA program to avoid paying out-of-state tuition and I have absolutely no regrets. Yes, there were "growing pains," but ultimately being part of a PA program's inaugural class was a really cool and unique experience. Some of my rotations were better than others (this will be the case anywhere you go) but I did not run into any serious issues and the majority of them were pretty fantastic. I came out of my clinical year with 1,625 patient encounters and over 250 procedures. Received multiple job offers and fellowship interviews. Passed boards with flying colors. Best of all, I came out of PA school debt-free. If I had to do it all over again, I'd pick the new program every time. 

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