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lysssuh

What should I focus on for improvement?

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I know my GPA is an eyesore but I have a significant upward trend. I’ve had a 4.0 in post-grad while taking pre-reqs/retaking classes from undergrad, I even made the Dean’s List one semester while balancing working full time, volunteering, and working as a freelance artist as well. I attended Johns Hopkins University for my undergrad and I don’t believe that will help my application in any way but my family is convinced it will be taken into consideration when looking at my GPA. I sincerely doubt it but if anyone has any thoughts on that I’d love to hear it. I was placed on academic probation after my Sophomore year in 2013. I wasn’t balancing my studies well while also working two jobs and my Grandpa passed during that time and I felt like asking for help made me weak. I made sure to explain that this adverse experience helped me to grow and manifest in better time management, new study habits, and most importantly it taught me that reaching out for help, whether academically or personally, is a sign of strength, not weakness. Recently, I completed three classes after I submitted my CASPA app so that should help but overall it still doesn’t make a significant difference in my cGPA. I only applied to four schools within an hour of me (I know, I need to cast a bigger net next cycle!) and I have been rejected from two of them so far. I believe the other two have finished up their interviews so I’m not confident I will be offered interviews this cycle.
 
I’m still holding on hope but I wanted to tentatively make a game plan on how to improve for next cycle just in case. I plan on applying to way more schools next cycle, including out of state, and also I will be focusing on schools that emphasize the last few credits (40-60) and that take a more holistic approach. I just want to see if anyone has any comments or recommendations on what to improve for the next cycle. I am involved with surgical procedures and work hands on with patients every shift at the ICU where I currently work so I believe I have good quality PCE and a good bit of hours that set me apart. Thank you for taking the time to hear me out and I appreciate any and all suggestions! Here are my stats:
 
PCE
ICU Cardiac Monitor Technician/Nurse Aide: 5300
Rehabilitation Technician (PT): 1600
Student Assistant Athletic Trainer: 960
Total PCE hours: 7860
 
Shadowing hours: 48
 
Research
Research Assistant for a telemedicine project for patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Total Research hours: 300
 
Volunteer
Volunteer Medical Assistant for three trips to Haiti (2010-2013): 240
Child Life Volunteer Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology: 120
Volunteer at Children’s House at Johns Hopkins: 80
Total volunteer hours: 440
 
Leadership
Public Relations Chair (Phi Mu): 1300 hours
Program Coordinator (After School Program/Compensated): 570 hours
 
GPA
cGPA: 3.08
sGPA: 2.84
**Post-grad GPA: 4.00
 
GRE (307)
Quantitative: 150 (38%)
Verbal: 157 (76%)
Writing: 5.0 (92%)
Edited by lysssuh
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Your GPA is probably the biggest thing. As I'm sure you know, schools with "hard" GPA cut offs would not consider your sGPA competitive. Your experience is solid, your GRE score is above what is expected, and you also have volunteering, which many applicants mistakenly don't include when they apply. It may be useful to look into schools that only look at the last X (30-60-90) number of credits. It would be helpful to get a lot more shadowing hours as well-48 is on the lower end. You didn't mention your LORs- hopefully you have one from a practicing PA. If not, that will  help you next cycle. I think your strategy to apply more broadly is a good idea. Good luck!

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On 10/4/2019 at 10:28 AM, lysssuh said:
I know my GPA is an eyesore but I have a significant upward trend. I’ve had a 4.0 in post-grad while taking pre-reqs/retaking classes from undergrad, I even made the Dean’s List one semester while balancing working full time, volunteering, and working as a freelance artist as well. I attended Johns Hopkins University for my undergrad and I don’t believe that will help my application in any way but my family is convinced it will be taken into consideration when looking at my GPA. I sincerely doubt it but if anyone has any thoughts on that I’d love to hear it. I was placed on academic probation after my Sophomore year in 2013. I wasn’t balancing my studies well while also working two jobs and my Grandpa passed during that time and I felt like asking for help made me weak. I made sure to explain that this adverse experience helped me to grow and manifest in better time management, new study habits, and most importantly it taught me that reaching out for help, whether academically or personally, is a sign of strength, not weakness. Recently, I completed three classes after I submitted my CASPA app so that should help but overall it still doesn’t make a significant difference in my cGPA. I only applied to four schools within an hour of me (I know, I need to cast a bigger net next cycle!) and I have been rejected from two of them so far. I believe the other two have finished up their interviews so I’m not confident I will be offered interviews this cycle.
 
I’m still holding on hope but I wanted to tentatively make a game plan on how to improve for next cycle just in case. I plan on applying to way more schools next cycle, including out of state, and also I will be focusing on schools that emphasize the last few credits (40-60) and that take a more holistic approach. I just want to see if anyone has any comments or recommendations on what to improve for the next cycle. I am involved with surgical procedures and work hands on with patients every shift at the ICU where I currently work so I believe I have good quality PCE and a good bit of hours that set me apart. Thank you for taking the time to hear me out and I appreciate any and all suggestions! Here are my stats:
 
PCE
ICU Cardiac Monitor Technician/Nurse Aide: 5300
Rehabilitation Technician (PT): 1600
Student Assistant Athletic Trainer: 960
Total PCE hours: 7860
 
Shadowing hours: 48
 
Research
Research Assistant for a telemedicine project for patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Total Research hours: 300
 
Volunteer
Volunteer Medical Assistant for three trips to Haiti (2010-2013): 240
Child Life Volunteer Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology: 120
Volunteer at Children’s House at Johns Hopkins: 80
Total volunteer hours: 440
 
Leadership
Public Relations Chair (Phi Mu): 1300 hours
Program Coordinator (After School Program/Compensated): 570 hours
 
GPA
cGPA: 3.08
sGPA: 2.84
**Post-grad GPA: 4.00
 
GRE (307)
Quantitative: 150 (38%)
Verbal: 157 (76%)
Writing: 5.0 (92%)

Hope my PM helps 

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On 10/14/2019 at 3:40 PM, CGM717 said:

Your GPA is probably the biggest thing. As I'm sure you know, schools with "hard" GPA cut offs would not consider your sGPA competitive. Your experience is solid, your GRE score is above what is expected, and you also have volunteering, which many applicants mistakenly don't include when they apply. It may be useful to look into schools that only look at the last X (30-60-90) number of credits. It would be helpful to get a lot more shadowing hours as well-48 is on the lower end. You didn't mention your LORs- hopefully you have one from a practicing PA. If not, that will  help you next cycle. I think your strategy to apply more broadly is a good idea. Good luck!

Makes sense, thank you so much for your input I sincerely appreciate it! After research I found schools that focus on the last few credits and will be focusing on them next year so thank you for that suggestion. I'll be adding more to my shadowing experience too, I did think it was low but wasn't sure if it was worth bolstering. Also I did have a letter from a PA and a MD whom I have solid relationships with so I'm confident they wrote me good LoRs!

Thanks again for your response! It's very helpful 🙂 

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I am of the opinion that shadowing hours are for you and not for school applications.  You meet the shadowing requirements for a vast majority of schools and unless the schools you choose require more, do not make it a focus.

The purpose of shadowing is exposure, so that schools know that you know what your getting yourself into. It would be more beneficial for you to work on your essay showing that you know the challenges involved with PA school and that you are capable of succeeding rather than adding more hours standing behind a PA in silence.

Your GPA is your challenge and it sounds like you have a solid plan on how to approach the obstacle. The list at the top of this forum for schools who accept low GPA's is what you need the most. Good luck. 

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