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@sungsam..Interesting question and probably a very difficult one to answer. I would imagine most programs want to see what you can bring to the program as far as your background, your work ethic, ability to work with others and maybe a particular interest in a field of medicine that is in line with the mission of the program (i.e. primary care, if that is an interest of yours). You don't want to be perceived as over confident that you're the best person who's ever interviewed with that particular program, but do line up your answer with the mission/vision of the program. I hope this helps a little.

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@aquaporin Thank you for your question. Yes, it is very difficult to raise an overall GPA and at least from our program's standpoint, we do look at an upward and look at your most recent 30-60 hours. My opinion I would hope other schools may consider the upward trend, your prerequisite GPA and all the other factors that you've listed above. That being said, you may want to consider setting up an appointment with those programs to see if you should apply. I think since you've retaken a lot of classes it should improve your chances, but check with them first. I hope this helps.

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Hello. I have a cumm GPA of 3.23 and Sci GPA of 2.88. GRE scores are 143 Quant and 145 Verb (I will retake this May). I had struggled in mostly Chemistry classes (getting C's in Gen. Chem II, O.Chem I and II as well as Bio II and Biochem). Im afraid of how my grades would look to the admissions committee. I have been trying hard to pull those grades up but unfortunately recently made a C in Biochem. Is it wise for me to take basically any Science classes to boost my science GPA? Do I seem like a potential candidate? Thanks for your time!

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Hello,

 

I'm a recent grad RRT, GPA of 3.6 from my program, 3.5 before that. I'm working on getting in to PA school in the next few years after I finish all the prerequisites at my local CC. I need a bachelors to get in to all the local programs, so I wish to get my BSRT through an online bridge program (either Boise State or UNC Charlotte).

 

My question is, will taking CC sciences and having on online Bachelors make my application look poor? I'll have >8,000 hours in critical-care HCE and my GPA should be in the 3.5 or greater range, I just can't help but be worried about the "untraditional" nature of my education.

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@makeithappen Thank you for your question. I would recommend you hold off on applying until you're able to retake the chemistry courses. From our program's standpoint, you would not be a competitive applicant with several Cs in your chemistry courses. If you have other Cs in Biology requirements you should also consider retaking those to make yourself a more competitive applicant. I would not recommend taking random science courses just to boost the science GPA without focusing on retaking coursework requirements (i.e. chemistries) first. I hope this helps and best wishes.

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@RCPtoPA Thank you for your question. I would highly recommend taking courses at a 4 year institution, rather than a CC, if you are dead set on doing an online degree program. I'm personally not a fan of online degrees, but UNCC and Boise St. are reputable schools and I would not compare them to some schools that stay in business because of their online degree programs (I'll refrain from mentioning those specific institutions). If possible, do your best to get in the classroom and at a 4 year school. Although you're GPA is competitive I always tell students getting into PA school is one thing, but being prepared to be successful is another. I think 4 year schools and actual class time is critical to fulfilling that preparation.

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Hi,

 

I am currently a post bacc student at the University of Pennsylvania and am working on completing all of my pre-reqs in the next year and a half or so. I was an Economics major at another Ivy League for my undergrad, and unfortunately did not take many science classes during my time there so I'm trying to crunch them in now in time for the 2014 application cycle. I also work full time as a clinical research coordinator at the University's medical school and I'm wondering - can I consider this as HCE hours? Between almost a full-time course load and my full-time job and shadowing PA's and physicians during my in between time, I'm not sure how else I'll be able to get HCE hours otherwise. What is your opinion on this, or do you have any advice?

 

Thank you for your time!

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Hello paadmissions,

 

First of all, I just want to thank you for all the time you invest into helping us aspiring physician assistants! We surely have a ton of questions but I truly do appreciate your help.

 

My question has to do with the personal statement. I am in the midst of composing it for my CASPA application for the upcoming cycle and after consulting various sources, I have found that it is encouraged to share specific things about oneself that have had a great impact, and also things which distinguish one from others. In a nutshell, my issue is whether or not there is anything that one SHOULD NOT talk about in the personal statement.

 

To be more concrete, I will share two examples. Firstly, I am a dedicated Christian and I feel that beyond all else, my faith has shaped me into the person that I am today. Although I do not have issues with people of other religions nor do I consider myself better than anybody else, I am unsure as to whether religion is a topic that might "rock the boat" and thus be considered a no-go in personal statements and/or interview discussions.

 

Another topic that I was considering discussing was my journey to achieve residency status in this country. For the past few years I have lived as an undocumented immigrant in America (I am currently 21 years of age but was brought to America as a minor), and as one can imagine this experience has had a major hand in determining the person I am today and the benefits I have been able to receive. Fortunately, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a four-year institution due to a full academic scholarship and I recently was able to obtain permanent resident status. However, for the past few years I have been unable to obtain a job nor become certified in any field in order to garner healthcare experience. These are topics I would like to touch upon in my personal statement; however, I am unsure whether such a disclosure on my part would cause an admissions committee look down upon me.

 

Of course, I am aware that each Ad-Com (and each member within an Ad-Com) is different, so you as an individual cannot speak on behalf of each and every Ad-Com member of all PA schools that I might apply to. However, I believe that your experience as an Ad-Com member might give you some insight as to which topics are "okay" to be discussed and which ought to be avoided. And apart from that, I would greatly appreciate your personal opinion as to which direction you think I should take my personal statement.

 

Thanks for your help!

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I am a non-traditional student, in my mid 50's, who has applied the past 2 years for admission to various PA programs. I have received interviews, and am currently on an alternate list. I am struggling to decide whether or not to apply again this year as I am concerned that by the time I graduate I will be in my late 50's and am unsure whether potential employers will see me as a strong potential employee since I likely would work only ten years or so. I appreciate any feedback you can give.

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Once again here I am back with a question, so thank you for the time you have dedicated to this thread. I say it has been invaluable.

 

I would like to know the best way to handle the "What is your greatest weakness?" question. I have consulted some books on the matter, but am wondering what your personal view is on it.

 

Is it more of a stress question to see how you would react?

 

Also, I feel one of my weaknesses is my listening skills, and am worried that might be the kiss of death because it is so important to the profession. I am not a HORRIBLE listener I am just more a of a talker. I have done work to help me get better. If I can express to the interviewers my continual progress with examples. How would this go over okay? I do feel this is the most honest answer, but do I need to be this honest?

 

Obviously, I am not perfect, so I have some backup weaknesses too.

 

Thanks so much.

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I am a Veterinary Technician in Florida. I have 10 years experience and I wanted to know if this experience would be accepted as HCE. I am also doing PA shadowing.Thanks

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@smithie2011 Thank you for your questions. I would recommend contacting the programs that you're interested in to see if they count the Clinical Research Coordinating position as HCE. Our program would count them along with your shadowing. if they don't count your only other option is to explore another route like CNA, medical assisting, etc. to get these hours maybe on the weekends if you're not going to quit your job and if possible.

I hope this helps and best wishes!

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Hi I have a question for you. I plan on going to PA school within the next year or two. I received my A.A. from Faulkner State Community College and I will receive my bachelor (Health Adminstration and management) next semester. My overall GPA is a 3.28 and my science is a 3.5. I currently work as a Neuropsychometrician. My main concern is whether this healthcare job benefits me towards having experience. My thoughts lead me to believe it may not because the job is not actual hands on medical care. I do gain patient care experience but not the same as being a nurse/EMT. I'm just worried I may be wasting time with this type of job.

Edited by Jamisonblayne

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@sto27 Thank you for your questions. I think the personal statement should encompass how your clinical experience has helped shape your desire to enter the profession, how you feel your background/life experiences will help you contribute to the profession, and your understanding of the role of the PA. I personally don't think mentioning your faith is a negative thing in your personal statement as our school is a liberal arts institution, but to be safe make sure your statement isn't all about it. There is a way, in my opinion, that an applicant can tactfully put that their faith has lead them to help others, and it should be put simply and succinctly. In regards to your other situation, I tell applicants to be very transparent when you have situations that could impact finding a job and ultimately obtaining a license. You may want to consult the medical board in the state you're planning to practice in to make sure you can get a license at the end of PA school. If your current resident status would allow you get a job after PA school you should be fine, but to avoid a committee assuming things about your situation it's best to forthcoming with your information. I hope this helps and best wishes.

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@goldendog Thank you for your questions. I try to emphasize as much as possible to non-traditional students that age should not hurt you in as far as being admitted or finding a job. We have had older applicants in our program who have been successful when job hunting so I'm hoping for the same outcome in your case. I'm not one to say yes or no to reapplying, but can recommend you make sure it's best for your current situation to reapply. Hope this helps.

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@lbs431 Welcome back. I like that you have found an actual weakness in yourself and that is what, in my opinion, committees are looking for. Recognizing your weaknesses is not a bad thing and it should not hurt you in the interview if you approach it in the right way. What we want to see is how you recognized your weakness, what you've done to improve your weakness and how important you think improving on that weakness is when you're in PA school and working as a PA. As a talker be sure to keep from rambling on in your interviews, that can really hurt some applicants sometimes. Be sure to allow time for the committee to ask questions ;) Hope this helps!

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@akhan36 Thank you for your questions. Unfortunately, vet tech hours would not count for our program, only the shadowing. I'm not too familiar with many programs that count vet tech hours. Thanks!

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@Jamisonblayne Thank you for your question. I'm leaning more towards saying that the hours probably would not be at the level most programs would want. It seems to be more administrative driven, rather than patient care driven and may not offer the desired exposure to PAs that most programs are looking for. That being said, I would encourage you to speak with the specific programs that you want to attend to see if you should pursue a different path to get hours. Hope this helps.

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Hi,

 

First off I would like to say, thank you for doing this thread this is some very valuable information. Secondly I was wondering if you might be able to give me some advice. I was wondering if I should apply for this cycle or wait until the next one given my current stats. I recently graduated cum laude from my university and have been doing a post bacc to get the pre reqs I need for PA school. According to CASPA my current overall GPA stands at 3.24 and my overall science GPA stands at 3.27 while my post bacc (most recent 30 hours which includes a majority of my prereq courses as well) GPA is at 3.92 and my Pre-req GPA ranges from 3.5 to 3.84 depending on the PA school and what their specific pre-reqs are. I have not taken the GRE's as of yet but plan on doing so in the next couple of months. I have 1000+ HCE hours including volunteering at a free clinic as a medical assistant (I take vitals, perform blood glucose tests and urinalysis tests etc.), volunteering at two different hospitals (helping patients and doctors as well as being able to observe doctors on rounds) and shadowing a couple of doctors. I also am planning on shadowing several PA's very soon. My sister recently graduated as a PA from Jefferson College of Health Sciences so I am well acquainted with the field. I am still in the process of completing a few pre reqs and will be finished with them by August of this year. So my question is, with my current situation as it stands, should I apply for PA schools in this cycle or wait for the 2014 cycle when I will have acquired more HCE (including paid HCE) and shadowing hours (or will my application be strong enough for this cycle)?

 

Also is there any chance that there might be a new standardized test required (such as an mcat but for PA's) by next cycle (I have heard rumors that it is under consideration).

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my question.

Edited by fakhan

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Hello,

 

I Recently applied this year to 12 PA Programs and were declined from all of them. My stats were as follows:

 

 

at time of application

 

 

PCT on a neurosurgical unit at a hospital 1400 hours working full time of 36 hours per week

BA Psychology to be completed on Dec 2012

1 in progress course for prerequisite in Organic 1

cumulative GPA 3.34

science3.26

GRE: 295

 

 

biology 1:B

A&P 1:B

A&P 2: B

Microbiology:A

Chem 1: B

Chem 2:B

 

 

i also had around 35 hours of PA shadowing

LOR from 2 PA's and my ANM.

And about 40 hours of community service

 

 

Since then, I have completed my bachelors degree in Psychology which all my upper level courses for that degree have a GPA of a 3.77 combined.

 

 

Summer 2012

 

 

Biology 2:A

 

 

Fall 2012 Semester

 

 

Organic 1 Lecture : B+

Organic 1 Lab:A

Politics in Africa : A

Experimental Cognitive Psychology: A

 

 

i now have 2,300 hours as a PCT and still work full time

I am back at my university as a post bacc working towards a degree in Biology with a concentration in biomed. I am currently taking Biology 3 and Algebra based Physics 1 this Semester.

 

 

I will be reapplying this summer and retaking the GRE as well and taking Genetics over the summer.

 

 

I tried setting up an appointment to met with an advisor at UF to see what else I should be doing but they don't do walk ins of appointments.

 

 

Do you have any advice as to how I should improve my chances this time around. I really want to get in this time around.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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@frakhan Thank you for your questions. It would be easier to tell you to apply or not if I knew your GRE scores, which I know you're going to take soon. That being said, if the programs you're applying to extract the prerequisite GPA I would say you're a competitive applicant. However, if they don't you many want to consider retaking more sciences to up that science GPA. The applicant pool we've experienced this year is very competitive in all GPAs, but before you make your decision please make sure to contact the programs you're interested in to make sure you would be ok to apply. If you're GRE is solid I think you may have a shot for the next cycle, but it depends on the program. Hope this helps.

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@JK101 Thank you for your question. I do think you need to improve your GRE scores to at least 297-300. All programs are competitive and I know the larger institutions receive a lot more applicants than some smaller programs. Although more applications doesn't necessarily the applicant pool is any more competitive, but to be competitive I'm sure that GRE needs to be 300 or higher. Other than that I think overall you're competitive in the other areas. Make sure to apply early for the next cycle. CASPA opens on 4/17/2013. Hope this helps!

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