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@paadmissions - thank you for the reply - I've been working hard, but hope my past immaturity and unreadiness for college long ago doesn't hamper my future. Hoping to apply to Methodist this next cycle as well. Thank you again.

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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.

 

Thank you for your quick response! With that said, I am interested in pursuing an MPH, especially since there are some PA programs that offer it as a dual degree. Would you recommend this type of degree even if it is not necessarily a science subject? I can only think of the epidemiology concentration to be very science. Thanks for your time.

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I'm currently a Firefighter / Paramedic and a part time Transport Service Paramedic ( That occassionally transports a critical patient on a vent). I currently have no undergrad, I am planning to go back and start in the spring semester.

 

My question ( since I'm not in a position to apply for a PA program yet ) is more leaning towards my criminal record. I have 2 misdemeanors ( 1 for theft, a Class A misdemeanor. I pumped gas into my vehicle and drove off. And the other is a Class B misdemeanor for a wreckless driving, plead down from a DUI.) and I am wondering how this will affect my chances for entrance to a PA program when I'm in a position to apply?

 

Jourdan.

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My undergrad cumulative GPA is about a 2.7 and my science GPA is probably around a 2.0. I've taken half the prerequisites at my university and have received Cs in all but chemistry 2, where I got a D. Since I am majoring in psychology, the department is preventing me from taking any more science courses. My question is what is the best way for me to raise my GPA and complete my prerequisites? My GPA is too low for any master's or post bac programs. Non-degree status at any other public state universities here in Florida will not let me qualify for financial aid. . I think my best option so far is to attend a community college for financial reasons, but I'm hesitant because I'm not sure how most PA schools will view me re-taking all my sciences at a community college.

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Hi paadmissions,

 

I interviewed at my first two schools back in september and still have not heard back! One of them this was expected since they aren't rolling admissions, but the other is. Is it common to wait months to hear back? At what point should I contact the school to check-up on my status? Maybe I am just getting antsy but it seems like a long time to wait.

 

Thanks!

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@Jourdan I would recommend contacting the medical board in the state you want to practice in to see if there would be any problems with you obtaining a license once you graduate from a PA school. You may also want to see if the programs you're applying to would have an issue with getting you into clinical facilities. Thanks!

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@cmt2013 Thank you for your questions. I'm not really sure how competitive you would be for any PA program because of your science GPA. From our program's standpoint classes at a cc would not be the route I would recommend although I understand the financial reasons for that decision. Contact the programs that interest you to see if you retaking the classes would be worth your time and money. Should you move forward with the classes make sure you're taking the courses that are required for the programs you're applying to. Again, I'm hesitant to say PA school would be an option for you, but contact the programs to get a second opinion. Thanks!

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@ajkasch I would call those programs to see when you are supposed to hear back. I would hope they would've provided that information on your interview day. Our program gives our decision within 1-2 weeks of the interview. It doesnt hurt to call or email their admissions person to get more information. Hope this helps and my fingers are crossed you had a successful interview.

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Hi, my name is Corey. I am currently a paramedic student in Montgomery County Maryland. I have been an EMT for the past 10 years and recently decided to become a paramedic. While spending time doing my clinical rotation I have worked along side of some of the PA's and have been having an amazing time doing so. I wanted to know what would be required for me to do to become a PA one day. I don't have a college degree and understand I would be starting from the ground up, but I was hoping to get some direction.

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Hi, my name is Corey. I am currently a paramedic student in Montgomery County Maryland. I have been an EMT for the past 10 years and recently decided to become a paramedic. While spending time doing my clinical rotation I have worked along side of some of the PA's and have been having an amazing time doing so. I wanted to know what would be required for me to do to become a PA one day. I don't have a college degree and understand I would be starting from the ground up, but I was hoping to get some direction.

 

I am sure we know each other, I worked there from 2000-2007. Same thing, no degree, now in my clinical year of PA school. Drop me a note if you would like and maybe I can help you out with some ideas...working classes around 24/48 shift, kellies, all that can be tough.

 

Steve

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@EMT P EVANS Thank you for your questions and it looks like you have others willing to help besides me! Thats great! I would recommend for you to start exploring ways to complete your bachelor's degree unless you can find a program that is at the bachelor's level. There are some out there, but most are masters degrees. I recommend, if PA school is an ultimate goal for you, to major in biology or chemistry..either one should help you meet the majority of prerequisites for PA schools without you having to take too many additional courses outside of your course of study. Also, continue working as an EMT to get those hours needed for any program. Finally, you will eventually need to sit for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) probably in between your sophomore and jr. years. That's a basic start for you, but if you have any further questions feel free to respond! Best wishes!

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@ paadmissions- I want to thank you for opening this post, it has been a good help. I have two interviews coming up and I am preparing to expect the normal questions of why PA? Why PA and not MD/DO or NP and what is a PA?...My question is I have been in EMS as an EMT for 4 and a half years now and to me the EMT/Paramedic relationship we have on our ambulance is similar to the PA/MD one; The ability to be autonomous on BLS calls, triage/treat/care for the patient to the hospital all by myself, autonomy. But then there are the big ALS calls, where as a TEAM my Medic, myself, Fire and Police all work together as a team to do whats best for the patient. Would it be appropriate in my answers to explain how I feel I have kinda grasped the same idea in EMS as how a PA/MD work? or would it come off as well if he has that team environment and loves EMS so much why doesnt he just stay there and not do PA? or would it be good to show the interviewees that I understand the role of autonomy/team work regardless of the titles? Thanks in advance!!

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Hi paadmission,

 

My question is I just received a rejection letter and I emailed the admissions director to see if I could set-up an appointment with the program director to find out what I could do next year to be more competitive. The admissions director said the program director won't and that's what she (admissions director) is for. I am sure she can give me valuable info, but this is the 3rd year I have applied and I talked with the admissions director last time. I even added that in my statement of what have I done to improve since last year. So is it common that program directors not to meet with previous applicants? I have learned this year to make sure I waive my right on my LOR, although I did not do that on this years application because by the time I heard how it can hurt you it was to late 2 out 3 I did not waive. I have improved my science GPA although is still low 2.75, my last 45 GPA was 3.46. I received 1 D first time I took general chem, but retook it and received a B and had 1 C in A&P 1 and retook that and received a B. All other science was mostly B's with a few A's. I also have 15 years HCE as a respiratory therapist.

 

I know the science GPA can be even higher so I plan to take physics and some other classes to improve the BCP GPA.

 

Ok I rambled enough. Thank you for your response

 

From my HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network

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Hi Paadmissions,

 

How do schools verify HCE hours? Is it done w/ the background check? I want to put down some work I did a couple years ago however I can't remember the dates (give or take by a month).

 

Also do you think a B- in A&P2 should be repeated or is it acceptable? (other pre-req's are B+/A-)

 

Thanks so much for your time! This is a great thread!

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Hello PAAdmissions,

 

First of all would like to thank you for posting such a great thread with so much information, it's nice to read honest advice from someone on the inside.

I am a recent graduate with a degree in biology and ~4 years HCE as a medical assistant. While my degree required me to take numerous core sciences (physics, organic, genetics, etc), I hit a rough year in college, let my grades slip, and made C's and D's on most of my upper level classes. I managed to graduate, but my GPA was less than mediocre (around 2.8) with an even worse science GPA. That being said, I knew this road was going to be long road for me and I only just started walking it. Becoming a PA is what I've wanted to do my whole life, and I've continued to remain determined despite the pitfall. After graduating I moved home to save money, got another job as a medical assistant, and enrolled in prereqs to start cleaning up this mess. So my question is this: where should I start? I've been taking prereqs this semester and plan on more for the spring, but do you recommend I plan on retaking classes I did poorly in my undergrad as well, such as organic and physics? It's my understanding that my undergrad GPA and my (hopefully much improved) local college GPA will not mix but remain separate; which one do programs/CASPA put more emphasis on? The 3.0 most programs set as their minimum to apply, would this be held against my original GPA from my bachelors or my added on prereqs at home?

 

I anticipate taking 2-3 years to really focus on coursework first before starting any application processes. Thankfully I have the full support from my dad (who is also a PA) to keep this up. I have heard through many that actually applying to the programs I am most interested in, getting rejected, and showing improvement in my next application cycle would be beneficial, but how do you feel about this?

 

Thank you so much for your thoughts and time, I find that my anxiety surrounding my question "What do I do now?" may be one of the bigger things holding me back (as if I needed anything else to do this for me!) :)

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@bradyg007 Thanks for your questions and sorry for the delay in my response. I think your answer is a great way to communicate your ideas about the team concept with PAs and MDs. I know you know this, but you want to be able to communicate that you realize the professions of a PA and MD are at a much higher level and that your desire to increase your medical knowledge and ability to diagnosis patients is what your goal is now. Your ability to work within an EMT/Paramedic setting has taught you to be able to take orders (directives) from your supervisor, but you're confident in your abilities to work alone on calls and feel comfortable giving directives to those who may work below you. Hope this helps and god luck on your interviews!

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@RTtoPA1974 Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately, I believe you will find that many PDs do not meet with applicants and the admissions person is usually the person with whom you will communicate . My opinion about the decision of the committee probably isn't due to your academics, but your interview. Usually, if you've been invited for the interview your academics are there and the interview is to evaluate those non-cognitive traits (personality, understanding of the role of the PA, interpersonal skills, etc) that are important for good class moral, a good provider and traits that are befitting to the profession . If the admissions director is willing to provide feedback on if the decision was based on academics or mostly the interview, that could guide you in where you need to improve. Sometimes feedback is provided, sometimes its not. Note, these are just my opinions and I would contact the admissions person to get that program's feedback. I hope this helps!

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@jarchie Thank you for your questions. I'm fairly confident that most programs don't ask for documentation of your hours if they are all on the application. For example, our program will go off what you put on your CASPA application. However, if you update hours outside of your application we would ask your supervisor to verify additional hours via email. I would guesstimate to the best of your ability the dates for the hours you can't remember. Make sure your research the policies for contact hours with the programs you're applying to just be safe.

Also, I probably wouldn't recommend a retake with A&P II if everything are As and high Bs. Hope this helps and best wishes.

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@jasper Thank you for your questions. I think you're on the right track to start improving your academic profile. I would definitely recommend you retake not only the prerequisites, but also the upper level chemistries and physics. These upper level classes show your ability to handle difficult courses, which will be good preparation for PA school and the demanding curriculum. I always recommend these courses be taken at a 4 year institution if you're able to and to ensure you're taking them at the highest level possible. A lot of programs focus on your last 60 hours of coursework to see performance improvements and how many courses you've taken at one time is also considered... so kind of keep that in mind as your retake classes. If you're working, going to school and are successful, you'll have a lot of fans.

I'm not a fan of the idea that some applicants are doing (applying, then getting rejected just to show improvement). Its a waste of time and money in my opinion. I hope this helps and best wishes!!

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Hello, and thanks for allowing us to ask you questions! I am in my second cycle of applications (last year, I applied FAR too late in the cycle, only received one interview, and was subsequently rejected). I have a BS in Biology and my MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology. I have a 3.1 science GPA and a 3.27 overall GPA, and an 1190 on my GRE's. I've worked in clinical research for the past 2 years, am certified in phlebotomy, have shadowed a PA for 387 hours, physicians for 125 hours, and have accumulated well over 1000 hours of patient contact through my phlebotomy/research coordinator activities. I applied much earlier this year and have only received one interview invitation thus far, as well as a handful of rejections. I am attributing this to my low GPA, which is frustrating because my graduate GPA is a 3.7, but due to the fact that it was in a "professional masters" program, the programs do not take it into consideration (so I've been told).

 

I am thinking that this might not be my cycle either, so I am trying to decide what to do next to improve my application. I am not eligible to do most post-bacc programs, as I have technically already taken all of the classes. I am contemplating doing an MS degree in either Biology or Pharmacology/Toxicology. Since these are MS degrees in a science, are they looked upon more favorably than an MPH? If so, would a general MS in Bio be preferred, or one in Pharm/Tox? I am more interested in the Pharm/Tox degree, but my true end-goal is to be a PA, so I want to do what makes the most sense in that regard.

 

Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts on the matter!

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@Simply_A_ thank you for your questions. Interesting scenario for me to consider. I would like to think the other programs would view a MPH degree as favorably as another master's degree, but if that's what you've been told I guess that's their philosophy on advanced degrees of that nature. Have you spoken with the programs that have sent you rejection letters and if you have completed your first interview, how did that go? Before pursing another master's degree I would ask for feedback from these programs...would they recommend retaking courses or getting an advanced degree. I would look at possibly retaking some of the prerequisites that may be required for the programs you're applying to. At least for our program, we extract our specific courses and weigh the medical core or prerequisite GPA. This track may be a better option, but all programs have different philosophies. I hope this helps some and respond if you have any further questions.

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Hello PA Director,

I would like to thank you for answering a lot of the questions here as they have been beyond helpful. I had a few questions myself I hope that's ok.

 

1.I am currently doing my prerequisites and and my bachelor at the same time. My question, does if matter if my B.S. is in Health Care Management, if I fulled all my prerequisites?

2.My HCE, I have been an X-ray tech for 12years, yet left the clinical floor about 5years to work in Clinical Research as a Clinical PM. I never renewed my boards, does that matter? I have worked in the ER, OR, Portables, MRI and CT. So my experience is extensive. Will my no longer being certified matter?

 

I thank you in advance for answering my questions and all the answers you have provided for my fellow forum mates.

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@shanihr Thank you for your questions and sorry for the delay in my response. I think I'm safe by saying no program has a degree requirement for their program as long as you're completing a bachelor's degree and also the prerequisites-- so you should be fine. Also, your HCE is solid so I would not consider it a bad thing if you did not renew your boards in one particular field. I hope this helps and best wishes.

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