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Thank you, I'm so glad this thread exists! I have a 3.6 GPA both overall and prereqs, a combined GRE of 323, with 157 QR, 166 VR, and 5.5 AW. I have almost 1500 of HCE as a CNA at a nursing home. I don't have any shadowing hours yet but I hope to remedy that soon so I can talk about it if I get an interview. I've volunteered with a hospice, and also with a program that appoints advocates for children in foster care and family court, which I am very passionate about. I feel like my application is competitive, but I have a possible red flag im concerned about.

 

 

 

I majored in bio with the intention of either going a healthcare route, such as doctor or nurse, or getting a masters/phd and doing research. I chose the healthcare route without being entirely sure of which path to pursue. I applied for medical school and and was rejected, but I decided not to reapply because I had already switched focus to PA school, and decided I wanted to become a PA instead of a doctor. I did report my MCAT to CASPA and I don't want to lie about applying to med school or try to hide it if I get an interview, but id they never bring it up, is it okay to just not talk about it? If it does cone up, how can I spin it to make it clear that im committed to the PA profession?

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@stephanielynn Thank you for your question. The best advice I can give is to be able to communicate why the PA profession is more attractive to you rather than being a physician. Volunteering the information that you did not make it into medical school is not a bad thing, and I've seen some applicants bring it up and some do not. It's really a personal preference and not something a committee would be aware of unless you wrote about it in your personal statement or made reference to it in your interview. We've had applicants who did not get into med school be accepted to our program and they shared their medical school rejection with the committee. It's all about communicating that change in mentality to committee that would shed light on the advantages of being a PA vs MD. Things to consider elaborating on:

- Obviously, the time in education will be shorter and allow you to begin your life earlier than spending longer in medical school.

- The ability to work in all fields of medicine, rather than specializing (in most instances)

- The ability to work as a team, but to also practice autonomously.

- Being able to know your role within the medical team (i.e being comfortable taking directives from the physician and being able to work collaboratively)

 

Those are things you need to think about and be comfortable with as a PA. I hope this helps and remember to be confident in your decision to pursue the PA field.

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Hi,

I appreciate you taking the time to do this!

I initially wanted to be a PA after my freshman year in college. I ended up taking Ochem 1, and my hopes were dashed, as I performed pretty poorly (C+). I then decided to stick with my major of Speech Pathology. I am graduating in December with a 3.47 overall and a 3.6 in my major. I took a CNA course but never certified myself as I didn't think I would continue with PA school. I am now a newborn hearing screener, working with healthy babies and babies in the NICU by performing auditory brainstem response testing on them. I also educate the parents about how the test works. I wondered if this would be considered as direct patient contact? I also wondered that because I am graduating and have not completed all of the pre-reqs yet, would taking the rest of the pre-reqs at a community college hurt me?

Thanks!

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@lauraashley Thank you for your question. Our program would count the speech therapy hours for our hour requirements and would recommend that you take the remaining deficiencies at a 4-year institution if they are biology and chemistry requirements. If the classes are math, psychology or medical terminology type classes I don't see a problem with a cc level. Hope this helps!

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@lauraashley Thank you for your question. Our program would count the speech therapy hours for our hour requirements and would recommend that you take the remaining deficiencies at a 4-year institution if they are biology and chemistry requirements. If the classes are math, psychology or medical terminology type classes I don't see a problem with a cc level. Hope this helps!

 

Thanks for your reply...just to clarify, I am not a speech pathologist since I haven't attended grad school. My undergrad is in speech pathology.

The job I have is titled "Newborn hearing screener." Does this change your answer?

Thanks again

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I noticed in a previous thread a mention to, and am personally aware through self-research that, a 4 year institution is highly preferred if not required by PA programs for prerequisite coursework. When I was planning out my 2012 fall schedule I had a different career track and did not discover the PA profession until shortly after the onset of the fall semester. I have enrolled in chemistry at a private 4 year institution and biology at community college.

 

My question is, knowing a 4 year institution is preferred, would it be advisable to take my biology II at a 4 year or would it not be recommended to switch institutions between? Would a student be more competitive by switching?

 

Also, are distance learning courses for psychology and medical terminology generally acceptable or would a candidate be more competitive taking a traditional course (not online)?

 

 

Your help is greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to answer all our questions!

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@lauraashley Although you don't have a graduate degree in speech pathology if your duties listed on your application have the patient contact we would count it. It's all about how you list your duties on your application that will allow us to see you patient contact. Thank you.

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@JCS525 Thank you for your questions. In my opinion I think it's fine to take Bio II at the cc level because Bio I and II are typically within a college transfer program-meaning it would transfer into most 4 year institutions at the same level. Your plan to take the chemistries at a 4 year school is a wise one and will be better preparation. I usually don't see an issue with distance courses for psychology and medical terminology. Just make sure the school you're taking them through is regionally accredited. I hope this helps and best wishes!

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Hi, my question is if stuedent has low gpa (blow 3.0) what would be the best thing to do for that student to becoming a more competitive applicant? Should they just take 2 semesters of upper level science course to boost up their gpa, or get a masters degree in the science feild where they did well(gpa in those courses were 3.5+) in graduated courses? Thanks and looking forward for your respones.

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@chowdhury.t Thank you for your questions. It all depends, in my opinion, on the other pieces of the application (i.e. prerequisite GPA, GRE scores and HCE) before I make a recommendation for people to seek a masters degree. However, if you're far off the mark of being competitive a masters degree in a science subject is a wise idea. It proves to the committee your ability to handle graduate work in a difficult subject and works in your favor. I hope this helps and let me know if you need further clarification.

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The reason I ask is because I am currently a senior, and i am expecting to graduate with a gpa of 2.8-3.1 (I am going to make an effort to do better) so was wondering what should my next step to make my gpa competitive.

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I'm a non-traditional student, went to college for about two years before joining the USMC. I was active duty for 9 years (1998-2007) and attended college classes as work would allow, finishing my Associates while on active duty in 2003. I started a continuing education night school for my paramedic in 2006, have been working as a medic ever since.

My time in college before I went into the Marines is not something to brag about, I left with few credits/transferable courses but I know what is there will hurt my cumulative GPA badly. I have been working on my B.S. in Biology full-time and have been getting mostly As/Bs (I travel to school over an hour each way, have a family, and still work as a medic) Cum GPA without old scores 3.3. Are the grades I received in 1996-1998 going to be a career breaking for me?

Thank you for your time and offering your help.

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@kerryc Thank you for your question. From our program's standpoint we have had some applicants in your situation and have accepted them knowing their performance many many years ago was poor. What we focused on was their recent work, HCE, life experience and GRE scores. All of these factors, especially recent coursework and GRE scores, were on par with the applicant pool. If you are maintaining 3.3 and higher and have met other selection factors it's my hope other programs will look at how you've improved yourself as an applicant. I would encourage you to visit the programs you're interested in to see if you would be considered further. I hope this helps.

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I am planning on applying this coming spring with hopes of being accepted into a program straight out of undergrad. I am a D1 college athlete that will letter for 4 years while also maintaining a 3.87 gpa (science gpa is 3.9). I have not taken the GRE yet, but am confident that I will get an above average score. My LOR will come from a MD, clinical supervisor, and the last one is still unknown. The part of my application that is lacking will be my HCE hours due to the large time commitment that college athletics entails. I will hopefully have about 500 hours of HCE at the time of applying, and these hours come from being a Medical Assistant at a urology office part-time(minimal hours per week). Do you think that the benefits of playing college sports (teamwork, communication, dedication, time management) will be seen as positive aspects of my application by PA programs, or is the minimal HCE all that they will look at? Also, would a LOR from a coach or athletic director (could give information about my character, work ethic, etc.) be good or is it not relevant enough to PA school? One last question, in my personal statement would it be a good idea to discuss how college athletics has instilled many valuable qualities that will help me in a medical career? As an admissions director, any advice from you would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

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I was wondering if it would concern the Admissions Committee if students took their pre-requisite courses through an accelerated science program. Each science course takes one to two months to complete.

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@bajorgen Thank you for your questions. I and many of our committee members believe college athletes bring a lot to a program and sometimes puts you in a different category especially if you've maintained the academics like you have. For that last LOR I would recommend a professor within the science department who can really talk about your performance in the classroom. More than likely, he/she knows you're an athlete and they can make reference to your ability to handle a demanding curriculum while playing sports at the college level. I don't see a problem with a coach writing a letter on your behalf, but would probably use that as an additional letter, outside of your application and one that can be mailed separately from your CASPA application. I also think it is important you make reference to being an athlete in your personal statement because you understand the importance of team work, communication, understanding your role, adaptability, etc. Some of our best students in our program have been athletes in college and they bring a lot to the table besides their academics. Best wishes!

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@optimus Thank you for your question. I don't see a problem with you taking an accelerated science course, but in my opinion, I would want to make sure you're taking the courses at a 4 year institution and not at a community college level. If you're taking maybe a night class or a summer course for biology and chemistry courses I would 100% recommend them to be taken in the classroom and at a university level. I hope this helps!

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I've heard that postbaccs don't really raise the GPA of science majors. Is it better to pursue a master's program or keep taking extra classes/look into postbaccs? Applied this cycle but I'm preparing for the worst. Thanks!

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Hi paadmissions,

 

Thanks for answering all of these questions. I did my best to check that this wasn't answered already. I was recently accepted into one of my top choice PA schools and have until early next week to respond with a verbal yes/no. Within the next two weeks a deposit of several hundred dollars is due to financially secure my spot in the class. I am very excited about this program and feel it would be a great fit. That being said, it was my first and only official tour and interview so far.

 

Additionally, I have an interview this Friday with my other top choice school. Ideally, I would like to be able to hear back (either way) from the second school, and if I was lucky enough to get in to the second, to consider my options based on my experience and visits at both schools.

 

However, with the deadline(s) for the first school coming up quick, I'm afraid I won't be able to do that. Are these type of deposit deadlines flexible at all, or would I really be grinding some people's gears if I asked for more time in order to be able to hear back from the second school? I do want to be considerate to other students being considered for admission at both schools and not be the cause of a "log-jam" in the overall process. Am I borrowing trouble here or is this a reasonable thought/request?

 

Thank you!

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@jflandez Thank you for your question. Keep in mind it is very difficult to raise an overall GPA and it is discouraging for some applicants to see that successful work in post-bacc classes doesn't always show with an overall GPA . That being said, I recommend pursuing a master's degree in a science subject. Although it may not raise the overall GPA significantly, it, in my opinion, demonstrates success at a graduate level, in a difficult subject and in at least 30-36 hours.

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@sharktank Congrats on your acceptance and consider it a nice problem to have that 2 of your top programs have given you a fair shake at contributing to their mission. My best advice is to contact the program that has the deadline set for Monday and see if there is any way they could extend their deadline maybe 2 weeks or see how they can work with you. Our program has done that for some applicants. I would hope they would allow you to make sure you're attending the program that is the best fit for you, but also keep in mind they too are up against deadlines especially if they have a spring start date so don't take it personally if they don't have any further options. I would encourage you to not wait any longer to contact them because you don't want it to be a last minute type of conversation. Your intentions could be perceived differently. You may also want to contact the program you're interviewing tomorrow, today and/or before you call the other program to see how long it will take them to respond with their decision. That way you may be able to offer a realistic and more accurate suggested extension. I hope this helps and best of luck.

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