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@nostraadms I would assume that most schools have their own prerequisite GPA that is different than the science GPA listed on the CASPA application-so in essence if that's what the program does, the prerequisite GPA will vary from program to program. The science GPA for CASPA is every science course you've taken at the college level, so your Orgs will be included in that GPA. From our standpoint, our committee thinks performances especially in the upper level chemistries are important and is why we actually include them as a part of our requirements. Other programs may see it different..just depends on their philosophies. I hope this helps!

 

I got straight B's in my upper division chemistry classes and an A in upp. div. Ochem lab (yay!).

 

I have another question. I'm not sure whether or not I should focus on completing my prerequisite classes, as my immediate goal, or start work and go to school at the same time?

I can complete all of the prerequisites (except for Spanish) by the end of summer, but I'll have to take 4 classes in Spring and Microbio during summer, leaving little to no time for work. So do you think my game plan should be get my prerequisites out of the way and then find work or work/school at the same time (this will prolong my prerequisite completion). My fear is that going to school while working may have a negative effect on my grades. As for Fall, I will be doing more PA shadowing and volunteer work.

 

I'm taking medical assistant and phlebotomy classes right now, and plan to work as MA.

What do you think? And thanks for your time and effort.

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@btech Thank you for your questions. I would recommend genetics and organic chemistry I as they are good preparation for PA school and org I is an advanced chem class. All the others they've recommended are good ones so have your pick of things that interest you (pathophysiology). All of them would prepare you well. As long as you've gone back to redo the chem 1 &2 you should be fine. Hope this helps!

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@nostraadms I think securing your plan to complete prerequisites should be your first priority. You definitely don't want to overload yourself to the point where it hurts your grades. If you're able to balance both that's very good, but without the grades being admitted into PA school will be a lot more difficult regardless of how many clinical experience hours you have. Hope this helps!

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Admissions Director,

 

What a fantastic opportunity you have afforded us! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions and offer insights into the process of getting admitted. My question for you has to do my concerns about the GRE and some recent changes that appear to reduce the validity of the scores. I might be completely off base here, but something I discovered while preparing for the test sparked concern. I would love to get your feedback on this issue.

 

According to the GRE website, there is a new option called ScoreSelect. To ensure we are on the same page, here is a link to the ETS website that discusses this new feature: http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/scoreselect. At first, I was a little confused about how the ScoreSelect option works, so I called the ETS Help Center to confirm. I was advised that a test taker can get instant results from the test (except for the essays) and after seeing your score, you can decided whether or not you want to report that score to the schools you have selected. If you don't like how you performed, you can simply opt not to have the score reported. You then have the option of taking the test again after 30 days. Furthermore, the ETS Agent explained that they do not report prior scores, only the score that you want submitted.

 

If my understanding of the new GRE feature is correct, it appears to reduce the validity of the exam since an applicant could conceivably retake the exam multiple times with an unfair advantage. Especially students who have the resources and time to do extra GRE exam prep after their 1st, 2nd or 3rd experience taking the exam. Essentially, they could cherry-pick the best score. Remembering all the way back to elementary school, I can't recall an exam I could take a "mulligan" on. :smile:

 

Thanks again for your time and insights.

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@gobuffs Thank you for your question. The option to be selective about your GRE scores is not something we get too bent out of shape about. Since I haven't heard much chatter or concerns over the option to be selective the below information is just my opinion. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of how any program can know if an applicant has chosen only one set of scores for our program, and if you're meeting the recommended score, that's what we're looking for.

We have a high percentage of applicants who sit for the GRE more than once and in many instances have shown great improvement. Typically, after the 3rd time applicants have probably achieved their max score.

You have to also consider applicants who have to sit for the GRE again because their scores are older than 5 years old. Their old scores are not reported so technically they too are getting a clean slate...but it's not something we can or will hold against the applicant.

Consider yourself fortunate and well prepared if you're able to achieve your desired score in one sitting..if you have to go back and retake it, I don't see that is a mark against you. Hope this helps!

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Thank you so much again paaadmissions for answering these questions!!

I am looking at my transcript and applying to schools and so concerned about my GPA. although my post graduation GPA is really high it does not change my cum. GPA from college. I am now thinking about getting a masters in biology before reapplying to PA school. Would that be a good idea? would schools then look at my masters more or my bachelor GPA more?

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@totuu8999 I do think a masters degree is a good idea and Biology is certainly a smart route to take. You may also want to consider physiology, public health, or any other science route if you change your mind. I don't think a good performance at the master's level will completely wipe away your undergrad work, but it will help prove to the committee that you've succeeded at a higher level and are capable of doing well in a post-bac program. Going the science route and proving your success should help you tremendously as long as your performance on the GRE (if applicable) is solid and you have quality health care experience. I hope this helps and best wishes!

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Do you think Organic chemistry, calculus and physics will help or not affect our knowledge to perform well at PA school ?

 

Also, do most people get accepted on their first attempt, or does it now take several attempts before acceptance?And do your chances of being accepted increase as the number of attempts increase (disregarding the increase of hce hours)?

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PA Admissions,

 

Thank you for this opportunity, I have a question regarding HCE. Currently I work as a collecotr/biller. Although I sit behind a computer and talk on the phone, I think this job exposed me to many different procedures which go on in a provider's office and gave me a unique perspective on healthcare; the financial aspect. I try to help patients with their insurance and work hand in hand with doctors to help their cpt procedures get covered. Do you think this particular job is beneficial for applying to PA school and how would they look at it? I mean I look at patient's histories everyday.

 

 

On the other, I am thinking of getting a phlebotomy and EKG certification next month so I can work as a phlebotomist/EKG technician or try to obtain a medical assistant position. With the medical biller/collecotor experience, EKG/phlebotomy certification (apply these to a medical assistant position hopefully), hospital volunteering, shadowed 8 PA's and 2 MD. Do you think this list of HCE/activities would suffice for PA school? What position besides medical assistant would you suggest I do conisdering I have a little more than a year before PA school applications. Thank you so much again.

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Thank you for this thread!

 

I have a question, I started out undergrad with a 3.5 gpa. To be brief, my junior year I was diagnosed with a mental illness and spent some years battling it. It was so bad that I ended up homeless. My gpa dropped to a 2.6 so I moved home and took a year off from college to get myself together and become stable. I came back and finished the last two years with a 3.9 but my cumulative is low due to the F's I recieved while back in at my first college. My question is should I even bother applying because my cumulative isn't a 3.0? How would an adcom look at my situation? I have ample volunteer and shadowing hours. Also, I work as phlebotomist. Does this hurt my chances?

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I began taking the necessary pre-req classes this past Spring semester and have decided to take half at my local CC and the other half at a nearby 4 year university. My situation is such that I am attempting to improve my GPA while taking the pre-reqs and also plan on taking several upper level courses to prove my academic ability.

 

So far I have completed Bio I (4 year), A&P I (CC), Gen Psych (CC), and EMT class (CC) all with A's. My question is if you think there are specific classes that should be taken at the 4 year as opposed to the CC? My original plan was to take Gen Bio, Gen Chem, Organic, and upper level classes at 4 year but I am starting to lean towards doing more at the CC and just taking upper level classes like Genetics, Biochemistry, etc. at the university. Also, I took several chemistry classes during underground earning B's and C's but did not take any bio classes. The reason for wanting to take classes at CC is financial but I want to give myself the best opportunity for acceptance. I have contacted several of the programs that I will eventually be applying to and all stated that they do not care where you take the prereqs.

 

Basically, do you think my plan of taking several upper level classes at the four year university will prove that I can handle PA school? Assume that I would continue to make all A's at both the CC and 4 year schools. My cGPA after taking all of the classes that I intend to take will be around 3.16 with the last 70+ hours (post bacc) being 4.0.

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@paadmissions: Hi again. So I posted not too long ago and had a related question about something I had previously asked. Here was my previous statement/dilemna:

 

"In gaining more shadowing experience this year, I had it set up through a friend's husband (an MD) who said he had a friend who was a PA that I could shadow...only on my first night of shadowing I walk in and come to find that he's actually and NP. I did continue to shadow him regardless occasionally along with his co-workers during the shift, who happened to be PAs themselves. Would the fact that the majority of that time that I spent shadowing an NP look bad to schools I apply to? All I know is that the entire team of that NP and the rest of the PAs provided great patient care..."

 

I had failed to ask: would it be not recommended that I include my shadowing experience of the NP in my personal statment? In one particular paragraph in which I talk about shadowing, I mention both the PA I've been shadowing and this particular NP. I don't make a clear distinction between the two in that paragraph, but in a later pargraph, I do talk about why I prefer to be a PA (without bashing NP's, of course).

 

Should I just exclude my shadowing experience with the NP or keep it in? I'll mention too that while shadowing him, there were other PA's on hand that I also shadowed once or twice. Should I mention that instead/additionally?

 

Thanks again in advance!

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@nostraadms I do think calculus and Org I are beneficial to your preparation for the PA curriculum.

We have a big mix of people who have applied once, twice and sometimes 3 or more times. It may be a little more difficult to get into PA school on your first attempt and we see nothing wrong with people reapplying. We had quite a few applicants who are incoming this year and who didn't make it on their first attempt- but made it through on #2. If you're not granted an interview on your first attempt it's best to contact the programs to see how you can improve your application. It may be that the number of applicants outnumbered the limited number of seats, you applied later in the cycle or there were improvements you needed to make in GPAs, GREs, or HCE. If an applicant applied to a program and interviewed, but was denied a seat in the program, usually there were concerns that the applicant wasn't a good fit for the program or profession or just completely blew the interview. I do believe if you're a competitive applicant that the more you apply the more it increases your chances for an interview.

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@btech Thank you for your question. I think your office job is beneficial to your medical/coding knowledge base that will be VERY helpful in PA school and as a PA. However, programs will view those hours as strictly administrative and not hands-on. I would encourage you to stick with your plan to get a certification as a phlebotomist or EKG tech (pick the one that interests you the most or do both). Although you're familiar with the administrative side of things, there is no replacement for being comfortable with touching and working with patients. I think you have an interesting background and all of your experience should be listed on your CASPA application, but in separate sections. There are sections for Direct Health Care Experience, Related HCE, Volunteer, Professional Jobs, and shadowing. All programs should be able to see your experience. Hope this helps!

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@Geek_inthe_Pink Thank you for your questions. I would schedule a time to meet with a representative or talk over the phone with the programs that interest you. If you were to contact our program I would want to review your transcripts to see how you've improved and how you've performed in our prerequisite requirements. Additionally, if the programs require the GRE you should probably have those scores handy so they can get a full picture (I would ask to see those if you were to contact our program). I'm assuming others may do the same.

If this year isn't an option consider doing at 35-50 hours of additional coursework to show your most recent potential. I would also make reference to your JR year in your personal statement (what happened and what you've done to overcome your illness). Programs won't know what happened your JR year if you don't at least make a small reference to it-but keep it brief. Remember we want to get to know you on paper since we can't possibly interview everyone. I think your HCE is solid so at least from our stand point, I wouldn't worry about that aspect of your application.

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@jbird Thank you for your question. The hard part about answering this question is that every program has a different perspective about where you should take your courses. Keep this in mind: Getting into PA school is one thing, but being prepared is another...I'm a strong believer that most (not all) 4 year institutions tend to be better preparation for PA school when it comes to the upper level biology and chemistry courses. I know a lot of times it depends on the professor who is teaching to determine the level of difficulty for the course. But, going back to the programs you've contacted and them not having a preference of where you took the course, I'm assuming you're on track to meet their preferences. I usually recommend the following courses to be taken at a 4 year school:

- A&P

- General Microbiology or Medical Micro

- Gen. Chem I and II

- Org Chem I and II

- Biochem

- Genetics, Cell Biology, etc.

 

I hope this helps and it sounds like you're doing well in your courses, keep it up!

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@allylovesu Welcome back. I don't think you should consider leaving out your shadowing experience with the NP. Although the "identity" of the NP was a mix up in professions I do think it allowed you to reaffirm your desire to enter into the PA profession, and most importantly allowed you to see first hand the differences between a PA and NP. From our program's standpoint, to mention that you've shadowed a NP in your personal statement should not hurt you, but be able to communicate how your time with this person allowed you to see the things I've mentioned above (if that's what you got out of that experience). Although programs may not count NP shadowing hours I would still list it. I hope this helps!

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@paadmissions thank you for helping us hopeful PAs!

 

What do you advise me to do next?

 

GPA:

Undergrad GPA--horrible, I know (Psychology major) 2.55

cGPA (w/ post-bac: BIO 1 +2, GEN CHEM 1, A&P 1 +2 and Medical Terminology) 2.70

 

CERTIFICATIONS:

Phlebotomy

EKG

BLS

 

VOLUNTEER:

ER volunteer: 200 hours

Pediatric volunteer: 25 hours

Simulation actor: 8 hours

Habitat for Humanity: Freshman year

American Red Cross Disaster and Relief

Medical Mission trip to Mexico

+ some others...

 

SHADOWING:

100+ hours shadowing PAs, MDs, NPs

 

WORK EXPERIENCE:

360 hours: Phlebotomist

1320 hours-to date: Scribe/ medical assistant urgent care (responsibilities include: triage, vitals, taking symptoms, strep testing, collecting and testing urine samples, recording doctors physical findings, blood draw, EKG, INR, glucose testing, would care, splinting, and more)

 

Should I take science classes to raise my gpa to a 3.0? Or apply for a masters program and if so in what? I have been told that even if my masters gpa is strong, I still wouldn't be allowed to apply to those schools with a 3.0 gpa cutoff. I want to take classes like pharmacology, embryology, cell biology, immunology... Etc. Any advice you have would be much appreciated!

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Hi!

 

I'm going to be a sophomore this coming fall for undergrad in Biological Sciences, and I had a few questions about what I should start doing.

 

I'm thinking of becoming a certified phlebotomist or EMT during the next summer, maybe during winter quarter for the phlebotomy since I am currently at UCR. I want to get as many work hours as I can there, but is there anything else you recommend besides paid medical experience? I'm looking around for volunteer opportunites, shadowing, and research on campus as well. I understand that each program has different class requirements, but the gist of it being chemistry, human anatomy/physiology, and microbiology. I've looked up schools in California and have written down the course requirements. Is there anything else you think I should do other than try to get certified as an EMT/Phlebotomist and volunteer/shadow/research. My GPA is good right now, but that's just because I just did my first year, still three more to go haha. But thanks again for your help!

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@jarchie Thank you for your questions. You will need to definitely get the overall GPA as close to 3.0 as possible. Most importantly, the prerequisite/science GPA needs to be over 3.2 (probably closer to 3.4+) to be considered competitive. Of course a masters degree would help you in this situation since the majority of masters degrees require at least 30+ to achieve. I would recommend something in the sciences: Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Public Health, or Genetics.

A master's degree isn't always a guarantee but is a logical approach to improving your chances if you do well. Hope this helps!!

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@monkeyjb123 Thank you for your questions and glad to hear you had a successful first year. You're on the right track to get certified in an area that will suffice for hours for most, if not all, programs. Get certified in something that you think you'll enjoy (EMT is a good one if you're an active person). I would recommend shadowing as another thing to do. Shadowing will allow you observe the PA's role in the medical field and try to spend quality time (ie more than 10 hours) with PAs in different fields. Volunteering at your school and in the community is always a plus. If you're able to hold leadership roles in school I think that's great preparation for any profession and is something programs like to see. Keep up the good work and best wishes!

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My CASPA calculated GPA is 3.07, my science GPA is 2.92. My GRE is 86% below verbal, 35% below quantitative, and 4.0 analytical. I have over 10,000 hours of experience as a CNA and RN, a great personal statement, and 3 excellent LORs (one from a PA, an RN manager, and a DO). In your opinion, will my poor GPA and GRE quantitative score disqualify me?

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@amsenarighi Thank you for your question. What are your actual numbers for the verbal and quantitative sections (I'm guesstimating a combined score of around 297)? The percentages can be fitting for a few scores. If you don't feel comfortable posting the score in a public setting feel free to send a private message or email jmish@methodist.edu.

My opinion for borderline students is that you should try and calculate your prerequisite GPA (prerequisites required for your programs) to see if you are at or above 3.2. If not and you're close to your CASPA science GPA you should consider retaking the prerequisites that you've score Cs in to boost that med core GPA. If you've score several B minuses you may also want to consider retaking a few of those. More than likely, if you're not above 3.0 for your prereqs it will be very difficult to be considered competitive. Just remember the competitiveness of the applicant pool is probably going to be around 3.4 or higher for most GPAs so you want to be as close to that as possible.

 

Thanks!!

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Thank you in advance for answering my question.

 

I am a dental hygienist who is pursuing a career change. I had always considered PA, but for family reasons I chose dental hygiene directly out of high school. Now I have had the opportunity to go back to school to pursue a career outside of clinical hygiene. My current GPA is a 3.6 with a science GPA of 3.45. I have only 1 or 2 prereqs to finish and I will soon have my BS in Dental Hygiene. I am also a practicing hygienist with over 6000 hours of HCE working as a hygienist. Additionally, I have 50+ hours of PA shadowing and 300+ hours of volunteer work in the community. Do you feel with my current credentials that I would be a competitive PA candidate?

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Thank you. Raw scores 161 verbal, 148 quantitative. My prereq GPA is 3.18.

If I don't get admitted this year, I am applying to one NP school (basically to see if I get in and then decide), and will retake my GRE and reapply next cycle

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