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NotVeryCreative16

How do I improve my chances?

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So it's finally time to start preparing for PA school. I've spent the last 3 years post-graduation trying different fields just to make sure medicine was definitely what I wanted to do. I taught high school math for a year, ran a youth wrestling club, took control of marketing/sales for a small business and have spent the last year in inside sales. I definitely loved teaching and would love to be a PA program instructor in the future. With that being said, here is my info and stats. Please let me know what you think my chances are and how I can better my application. I know I need to improve HCE and LORs. Any help is appreciated. I included some stuff that maybe I shouldn't, so let me know if anything is irrelevant.

Degree: B.A. Biology w/ Pre-Med Concentration

cGPA: 3.33 (I did not take my first two years very seriously)

sGPA: 3.56

Last 45/60: 3.88/3.84

Upper level science courses: A&P 1+2, Organic Chem 1+2, Biochem, Micro, Plant Pathology, Kinesiology (This was taken in PE dept, I assume doesn't count towards sGPA. Please correct me if I'm wrong.), Genetics

GRE: 320 - 168 Q 152 V 4.0 W

PCE: 50 hours - "shadowed" DPT; in reality, I ended up taking vitals and applying e-stim as well as hot/cold compresses to patients. He also allowed me to take many patients through their PT and even do a few passive stretching exercises with patients under his supervision.

100+ hours - I took a practical nursing program in high school with the end goal of CNA cert. I ended up going to college and not testing for certification at the end, but spent over 100 hours doing clinicals in a nursing home. I'm not sure if I should exclude this.

****I know this is the area I need the most work with. I have been applying for jobs as a medical scribe and medical assistant.

HCE: none. see above.

Volunteer Hours: 100+ hours of volunteer work over 5 years as member of collegiate wrestling team

200+ hours volunteering for various wrestling programs (collegiate, high school and youth)

Extracurriculars: 3 year varsity captain of NCAA Division 2 wrestling program, NCAA Division 2 Athletic All-American, NCAA Division 2 Academic All-American

Worked as math and science student tutor as work study job my last year.

Shadow: shadowed DPT, but ended up working the whole time. See above.

LOR: Department Head of Biology at my university. Other options include my collegiate wrestling coach, the president of my university (yes, I know him personally), the principal of the high school I worked at, the dept head of the hs I worked at and that's about it.

****Something else I know needs work. I have one very strong letter and potentially a second, but need to work on a third with whatever job I end up getting here soon. Let me know which one of these options above would be best for the 2nd LOR.

When do you plan to apply?: 2020 cycle

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by NotVeryCreative16

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With no time spent with a PA, how do you know this is what you want to do, as opposed to having eliminated some other choices?

Your clinical time for another degree/certification generally doesn't count as PCE. Without patient care experience, how do you know that you want to take care of patients on what is not their best day?

The PA route is good for many, but you need to know that it's for you before you start.

 

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Hi! 

Sounds like you are off to a good start and have a decent idea about some areas needing improvement. 

I would focus most immediately on obtaining PCE. Your CNA training course will not count because schools do not accept training as PCE. Ideally, get a position in a setting where you may interact with doctors or PAs. Try looking at Orthopedic or Derm clinics - they often let pre-med or pre-PA students with BS degrees work in the capacity of a medical assistant. Otherwise, a CNA or patient care tech is a good option. 

 

Focus number two would be shadowing a PA - or, more ideally, several in different specialties. This is something schools will absolutely want to see, and will likely fuel your personal statement as well. I was able to shadow for about 40 hours in 5 different specialties over the course of 6 months. All of the PAs I shadowed I randomly reached out to. Try messaging tons of PAs on LinkedIn! 

Third, work on LORs. I believe you will likely get a good clinical letter by doing the aforementioned, either from a nurse supervisor or a provider. 

Your "numerical" stats in regards to grades are good enough to get in if you apply strategically. However, I doubt most programs would grant an interview until you accrue more patient contact and shadow. Best of luck! Happy to answer any questions.

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15 hours ago, minnesotaprepa said:

Hi! 

Sounds like you are off to a good start and have a decent idea about some areas needing improvement. 

I would focus most immediately on obtaining PCE. Your CNA training course will not count because schools do not accept training as PCE. Ideally, get a position in a setting where you may interact with doctors or PAs. Try looking at Orthopedic or Derm clinics - they often let pre-med or pre-PA students with BS degrees work in the capacity of a medical assistant. Otherwise, a CNA or patient care tech is a good option. 

 

Focus number two would be shadowing a PA - or, more ideally, several in different specialties. This is something schools will absolutely want to see, and will likely fuel your personal statement as well. I was able to shadow for about 40 hours in 5 different specialties over the course of 6 months. All of the PAs I shadowed I randomly reached out to. Try messaging tons of PAs on LinkedIn! 

Third, work on LORs. I believe you will likely get a good clinical letter by doing the aforementioned, either from a nurse supervisor or a provider. 

Your "numerical" stats in regards to grades are good enough to get in if you apply strategically. However, I doubt most programs would grant an interview until you accrue more patient contact and shadow. Best of luck! Happy to answer any questions.

Thanks so much! I didn't even think about using LinkedIn. I was kind of at a lost of how to find a PA to shadow at this point. I have applied to several positions as a scribe and MA and have 2 interviews I'm heading to now. Thanks again!

 

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Let's be clear.  Your time with the DPT was shadowing.  Just because he/she let you do things does not count as PCE.  You weren't really working.  The hours for your CNA cert will not count either (as UGoLong stated, hours as part of a certificate/degree program do not count).

So you have 0 hours of HCE/PCE.  Frankly, I wouldn't plan to apply in 2020.  I'd get a PCE job and plan to apply in 2021 if you still find this to be a route you'd like to make a career.

Your grades are average and that won't compensate for little to no HCE/PCE even if you start a MA/scribe job in the near future and have a few months under your belt when applying.

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