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... all of the programs I applied to have Biology listed as a pre-req but I didn't know how detrimental it would be for me to not have it...

 

 

Prerequisites are not optional. 

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Hello PA admissions, 

 

I have just found this forum and I am so trilled at all the information I have gained from your responses. I am currently an undergrad sophomore and I am barely going to begin all my science classes this coming August. I am a Biology major with a current 3.4 GPA and a estimated 3.1 sGPA. I used a science GPA calculator I found on google to try and estimate this. I only have two math classes in that sGPA, College Algebra - C and Precalculus - A, I was not really focused on school at the time I was taking that college algebra course but I am determined now to increase my sGPA. I am currently an Advanced-EMT with approx. 1000 pt contact hours already (accumulated over the course of 1 year). I am looking into finding some PA's to shadow and maybe get an ER tech job. I also am fluent in English and Spanish and I am working on my third language (French). I am volunteering as a mentor for underprivileged children in my community. I am also planning a Medical Relief trip to Nicaragua (my homeland) to spice up my application and increase my volunteer hours. My question to you is, since I am so early on in my Pre-PA studies, is there any courses you recommend me take as an undergrad to make me stand out, and what my chances look like with my HCE (I've heard EMT's are favorable), if I take the GRE multiple times will that reflect poorly on my application, and any other general advice you may have? Thank you so much for your time! 

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In the "Experiences" section in CASPA, should we list all experiences that we've had, or the ones that are relevant to PA school. I feel that non-relevant experiences would be distracting from my application, though would explain any time gaps. 

 

For example, I was a food server at my college for a semester and a secretary for an insurance group for a summer. I also tried this one research opportunity for 3 months part-time and quit because I didn't like it, but it was so short and I learned so little, I feel that it would be a minus instead of a plus on my application.

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Hello!

 

I am a first time applicant and just wanted to see what my chances are of gaining admissions to a program! I have a 3.69 overall, and a 3.59 science gpa, I have about 800 hours mixed between volunteer and paid in various areas (EMT, PT aide, Med tech, Care giver and Research associate). I played a college sport during my undergrad and worked two jobs on campus (lab assistant and tutor). I am nervous just because I am so young I'm barely 21. A lot of schools want maturity and I am just nervous about the age situation. I would really appreciate feedback, thank you again so much!

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Hello,

 

I will be applying to PA school in the 2017 cycle, and recently I've been feeling a lot of anxiety towards the process. Any support/advice as to my experience and stats would be greatly appreciated!

 

Undergrad: University of Michigan Neuroscience 2016

cGPA: ~3.3/3.4

sGPA: ~3.3/3.4

pGPA: ~3.75

 

Experience:

Home-health aide/Lead HHA/Live-in HHA: ~1000hrs

CNA in memory/rehabiltation facility: ~500

Volunteer medical assistant in cardiology office: 175

Nurse technician on cardiology unit of hospital: ~500+counting

 

Shadowing;

MD: 10hrs

PA: 20 hrs

 

 

Extracurriculars:

volunteering with Ronald McDonald, Blood drives, relay for life, food kitchens, etc with my school's Pre-PA Club

volunteered in a club where I educated peers on different health related topics

volunteered in a school for students with severe, mentally compromising disabilities

 

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Admissions Director - 1st thank you for your time!  I have a undergraduate GPA of 3.59, Science GPA of 3.61, graduate degree GPA of 4.0 and honors thesis, a lot of my experience is in research, some of which includes testing blood and saliva of animals, some is teaching a physiology lab and taking measurements, weights and blood pressure, fitness supervisor with minimal pressure and weights, volunteering at a medical clinic where I helped with blood pressure, weight, intake questions, etc.  Is this considered patient health care or just health care experience?

 

Also, my GRE scores is unfortunately a 291.  I've only taken the test once my junior year of undergrad without looking at any material.  Will this keep me from being accepted into a program?  How much weight is put on the GRE?  I do plan to re-take it, just not before 2 of the deadlines.

 

Thank you in advance!!

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Hello,

 

Does the admissions committee deny students that have a misdemeanor.. I got a careless driving about a year ago. I took care of everything on the legal and driving side of things, and i can assure any school that it would never happen again. 

I really am nervous this will affect me getting in, even I have worked so incredibly hard for the past few years to get the best GPA, experience, and everything required to apply. 

Everyone makes mistakes, and that happened to be mine, unfortunately. Live and learn. 

 

Thanks.

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Am I in over my head thinking I can apply for the 2016-2017 cycle? 
 

I will be graduating this Spring 2017, and plan on applying around May-June in order to get as many patient care hours as possible. 

 

Undergrad Ed School: IU Bloomington, Neuroscience B.S. Minor: Medical Studies 

Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.5
Science Undergrad. GPA: 3.6

Age at application time : I'll be 22

1st GRE: taking it this summer

Direct Patient Care : (type & hours) ~100 as CNA. Currently training for Rehab Therapy Technician at my local hospital (hoping this gets me to 500-600 hours by June 2017)

 

Employment: 
Chemistry Library Attendant ~15 hours/week

Rare Book Library Assistant ~10 hours/week 

 

Extracurricular/Research Activities:

100 Hours volunteering with Hospice.

President of our Physician Assistant Club.

50 Hours at Riley Children's Hospital NICU (Putting on family Baby Showers).

100 Hours IU Dance Marathon.

50 Hours with Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity. 

100+ Hours shadowing NPs, MDs, & PAs. 

60 hour Internship in Hospital Virgen De La Luz in Cuenca, Spain. 

10 hours English Tutoring Spanish Physicians.

 

 

Although I'm lacking in the PCE hours, I feel I'm a well-rounded student. I'm nervous that I will put in a lot of money for this round of interviews, only to not be accepted and have to take another year off of college. I pay for my schooling/housing alone and getting into PA program right away would be ideal, but I don't won't to waste my time. 

 

With a 300+ GRE score, more PCE hours, and a solid interview, is this worth my time?

Any opinions are welcome! 

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Am I in over my head thinking I can apply for the 2016-2017 cycle? 

 

I will be graduating this Spring 2017, and plan on applying around May-June in order to get as many patient care hours as possible. 

 

Undergrad Ed School: IU Bloomington, Neuroscience B.S. Minor: Medical Studies 

Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.5

Science Undergrad. GPA: 3.6

 

Age at application time : I'll be 22

 

1st GRE: taking it this summer

 

Direct Patient Care : (type & hours) ~100 as CNA. Currently training for Rehab Therapy Technician at my local hospital (hoping this gets me to 500-600 hours by June 2017)

 

Employment: 

Chemistry Library Attendant ~15 hours/week

Rare Book Library Assistant ~10 hours/week 

 

Extracurricular/Research Activities:

100 Hours volunteering with Hospice.

President of our Physician Assistant Club.

50 Hours at Riley Children's Hospital NICU (Putting on family Baby Showers).

100 Hours IU Dance Marathon.

50 Hours with Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity. 

100+ Hours shadowing NPs, MDs, & PAs. 

60 hour Internship in Hospital Virgen De La Luz in Cuenca, Spain. 

10 hours English Tutoring Spanish Physicians.

 

 

Although I'm lacking in the PCE hours, I feel I'm a well-rounded student. I'm nervous that I will put in a lot of money for this round of interviews, only to not be accepted and have to take another year off of college. I pay for my schooling/housing alone and getting into PA program right away would be ideal, but I don't won't to waste my time. 

 

With a 300+ GRE score, more PCE hours, and a solid interview, is this worth my time?

Any opinions are welcome! 

As someone who had about those same stats when I was 22, I would say apply. Although I didn't get it, I found it beneficial to apple to a few places so that I could better understand how the application process when you apply in the next cycle. After many rejections over the years, I was better able to realize what my strong points are, as well as my weaknesses, which not only makes be a better applicant, but will make me a better PA in the future. I hope this helps!

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@neurobics My sincerest apologies for the delay..summer is rather busy for us! We hold our interviews during the week and some programs do it on the weekends. It all depends. I would encourage you to speak with your supervisors to let them know that it is possible you may have to travel during the week for an interview. We don't host online interviews so it would be a requirement for you to come to campus if chosen for an interview. Thanks!

@paadmissions

 

Are interviews scheduled for weekends? I work weekdays and I foresee it being a pain to my phlebotomy supervisors in the near future if I will have to tell them I need to call out in order to fly to and attend PA school interviews. I work in a small health center.

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@vpoca My sincerest apologies for the delay..summer is rather busy for us. That's a good question and I would encourage you to speak with the programs you're applying to to make sure you would be eligible. I know from our standpoint, we would have to discuss it as a committee, but it is not a felony, only a misdemeanor. We do not accept students who have a felony. As you've done here, you should provide this explanation on your application so that there are no surprises if you're unable to get the charge expunged before you apply. Hope this helps.

Hello I have a question regarding admissions with a misdemeanor. In 2012 I was working as a cashier and intentionally didn't charge someone, this was the only time I ever did it and I was caught. I was fired and convicted of a misdemeanor for embezzlement. At the time I was an EMT, my state license was revoked. I payed a big price for my wrongdoing and I deeply regret my actions. I was able to continue working in the healthcare field as an uncertified medical assistant. I have experience working for a cardiology office, dermatology, primary care, pediatrics, industrial care and urgent care. I am in the process of getting the misdemeanor expunged. My actions were ethically wrong and I have learned from them. I know that my actions can have major consequences which is my I will never act unlawfully again.
My question to you is, do you think I have a chance of being accepted to a school with this history?

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@pzawifetoPA My sincerest apologies for the delay..summer is rather busy for us. Yes, most programs require additional biology courses outside of maybe A&P and Micro. Our program, for example, requires 8 additional hours of biology outside of these courses. We would count an A&P II, cell biology, medical micro, intro to biology, etc. Typically, nursing courses do not fulfill those requirements, but if given a course description we may consider it if is a biology course, but has a NUR prefix in the course number. That said, many of our nursing applicants have taken the basic bios as those are prerequisites for entering into A&P, etc. I would contact the programs you're applying to to see what they recommend. I'm assuming if an Intro class is required that you'll need to have a plan in place to take it. Hope this helps!

Hello paadmissions, 

I am wondering how important it is to most programs to have taken Biology w/lab as a pre-requisite?  I have a BSN in Nursing and Biology was not a required course for my program.  I am applying to 7 programs and all have Biology as a prerequisite course; on my CASPA application I used my NUR classes which include a clinical portion to serve as the lab to go with it.  Can you give me some insight on whether schools will give this as credit while taking into consideration by HCE.  I have 16 years experience (over 20,000 hours) working in healthcare (10 years in a nonclinical leadership position developing and overseeing a pathology and patient services department; working with patients giving pathology results, scheduling follow-up and surgeries appointments as well as processing pathology specimens, completing path reports, and billing and 5 years in the clinical setting as a Medical Assistant and after completing my Associate's Degree in Nursing working as an RN working directly with the Physicians/PAs & NPs).  I have looked at some options to take two biology classes by Spring of next year prior to matriculation but do not want to spend money that is not necessary.  Thanks for any feedback you can offer.

PzawifetoPA

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@lilthxp My sincerest apologies for the delay..summer is rather busy for us! Your clinical experience seems fine as an EMT. I would encourage you to continue you that as it is good prep for PA school. Since you're just starting your science courses, the biggest advice I can give you is to do well in them so you're not having to retake them later on. In comparison to some programs in our state (NC), our program tends to require more coursework than some programs. Therefore, I think every applicant taking what we require is beneficial (of course ;)). For example, there are some programs that don't require organic chemistry I and II, possibly Biochemistry, Medical Terminology, etc. I usually recommend the organics and especially Biochemistry because that's a very good prep class for PA school. These are difficult courses that, if you do well, shows potential, in my opinion. You need to aim for your prerequisite/science GPA to be 3.4 or higher. Hope this helps and best wishes!

Hello PA admissions, 

 

I have just found this forum and I am so trilled at all the information I have gained from your responses. I am currently an undergrad sophomore and I am barely going to begin all my science classes this coming August. I am a Biology major with a current 3.4 GPA and a estimated 3.1 sGPA. I used a science GPA calculator I found on google to try and estimate this. I only have two math classes in that sGPA, College Algebra - C and Precalculus - A, I was not really focused on school at the time I was taking that college algebra course but I am determined now to increase my sGPA. I am currently an Advanced-EMT with approx. 1000 pt contact hours already (accumulated over the course of 1 year). I am looking into finding some PA's to shadow and maybe get an ER tech job. I also am fluent in English and Spanish and I am working on my third language (French). I am volunteering as a mentor for underprivileged children in my community. I am also planning a Medical Relief trip to Nicaragua (my homeland) to spice up my application and increase my volunteer hours. My question to you is, since I am so early on in my Pre-PA studies, is there any courses you recommend me take as an undergrad to make me stand out, and what my chances look like with my HCE (I've heard EMT's are favorable), if I take the GRE multiple times will that reflect poorly on my application, and any other general advice you may have? Thank you so much for your time! 

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@sushuthefish Sorry for the delay. I usually would prefer to see relevant experiences for student that are related to direct patient care, health related hours, work experience and shadowing hours. Hope this helps!

In the "Experiences" section in CASPA, should we list all experiences that we've had, or the ones that are relevant to PA school. I feel that non-relevant experiences would be distracting from my application, though would explain any time gaps. 

 

For example, I was a food server at my college for a semester and a secretary for an insurance group for a summer. I also tried this one research opportunity for 3 months part-time and quit because I didn't like it, but it was so short and I learned so little, I feel that it would be a minus instead of a plus on my application.

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@runnergirl22 Thank you for your question and sorry for the delay. Maturity will be assessed through your application and interview. I think more maturity will be demonstrated through obtaining your direct patient contact in one, rather than several, positions as you've noted in  your post. That's just an observation and assumption that the 800 hours were split between the positions you've listed. Hope this helps!

Hello!

I am a first time applicant and just wanted to see what my chances are of gaining admissions to a program! I have a 3.69 overall, and a 3.59 science gpa, I have about 800 hours mixed between volunteer and paid in various areas (EMT, PT aide, Med tech, Care giver and Research associate). I played a college sport during my undergrad and worked two jobs on campus (lab assistant and tutor). I am nervous just because I am so young I'm barely 21. A lot of schools want maturity and I am just nervous about the age situation. I would really appreciate feedback, thank you again so much!

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@britrae Sorry for the delay. I'm assuming you'd fairly competitive based on hours and GPAs. Our program would also consider GRE scores as well. typically 50% in each section will be a solid score for most programs. I would encourage you to continue the health care experience position and find some more time to shadow a PA or two. I hope this helps.

Hello, I will be applying to PA school in the 2017 cycle, and recently I've been feeling a lot of anxiety towards the process. Any support/advice as to my experience and stats would be greatly appreciated! Undergrad: University of Michigan Neuroscience 2016 cGPA: ~3.3/3.4 sGPA: ~3.3/3.4 pGPA: ~3.75 Experience: Home-health aide/Lead HHA/Live-in HHA: ~1000hrs CNA in memory/rehabiltation facility: ~500 Volunteer medical assistant in cardiology office: 175 Nurse technician on cardiology unit of hospital: ~500+counting Shadowing; MD: 10hrs PA: 20 hrs Extracurriculars: volunteering with Ronald McDonald, Blood drives, relay for life, food kitchens, etc with my school's Pre-PA Club volunteered in a club where I educated peers on different health related topics volunteered in a school for students with severe, mentally compromising disabilities

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@maryfred Thank you for your question. I'm unsure of if your hours you've explained would count..maybe the medical clinic hours would count, but some programs like to see paid positions. I would encourage you to seek opportunities to find a position that allows for patient contact and one that you can be utilized in a full or part time way. From our program's standpoint, you would need to retake the GRE. I'm sure that with more preparation that score would increase. I hope this is helpful!

Admissions Director - 1st thank you for your time!  I have a undergraduate GPA of 3.59, Science GPA of 3.61, graduate degree GPA of 4.0 and honors thesis, a lot of my experience is in research, some of which includes testing blood and saliva of animals, some is teaching a physiology lab and taking measurements, weights and blood pressure, fitness supervisor with minimal pressure and weights, volunteering at a medical clinic where I helped with blood pressure, weight, intake questions, etc.  Is this considered patient health care or just health care experience?

 

Also, my GRE scores is unfortunately a 291.  I've only taken the test once my junior year of undergrad without looking at any material.  Will this keep me from being accepted into a program?  How much weight is put on the GRE?  I do plan to re-take it, just not before 2 of the deadlines.

 

Thank you in advance!!

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@prepa091 Thanks for your question. I doubt that should hinder your chances of being considered for a program. I would encourage you to provide an explanation on your application so that it's not a surprise when a background check is run. Honesty is the best approach and if all other factors are competitive, the hard work will pay off. Hope this helps!

Hello,

 

Does the admissions committee deny students that have a misdemeanor.. I got a careless driving about a year ago. I took care of everything on the legal and driving side of things, and i can assure any school that it would never happen again. 

I really am nervous this will affect me getting in, even I have worked so incredibly hard for the past few years to get the best GPA, experience, and everything required to apply. 

Everyone makes mistakes, and that happened to be mine, unfortunately. Live and learn. 

 

Thanks.

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@sarahbellum Thank you for your question. I would recommended delaying this cycle to accumulate more patient contact hours especially if you're considering applying to programs that require healthcare experience hours. Even if some of them don't require hours, I think it will be to your benefit to accumulate as much hands-on experience as possible as it will better prepare you for PA school. Hope this helps!

Am I in over my head thinking I can apply for the 2016-2017 cycle? 
 

I will be graduating this Spring 2017, and plan on applying around May-June in order to get as many patient care hours as possible. 

 

Undergrad Ed School: IU Bloomington, Neuroscience B.S. Minor: Medical Studies 

Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.5
Science Undergrad. GPA: 3.6

Age at application time : I'll be 22

1st GRE: taking it this summer

Direct Patient Care : (type & hours) ~100 as CNA. Currently training for Rehab Therapy Technician at my local hospital (hoping this gets me to 500-600 hours by June 2017)

 

Employment: 
Chemistry Library Attendant ~15 hours/week

Rare Book Library Assistant ~10 hours/week 

 

Extracurricular/Research Activities:

100 Hours volunteering with Hospice.

President of our Physician Assistant Club.

50 Hours at Riley Children's Hospital NICU (Putting on family Baby Showers).

100 Hours IU Dance Marathon.

50 Hours with Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Fraternity. 

100+ Hours shadowing NPs, MDs, & PAs. 

60 hour Internship in Hospital Virgen De La Luz in Cuenca, Spain. 

10 hours English Tutoring Spanish Physicians.

 

 

Although I'm lacking in the PCE hours, I feel I'm a well-rounded student. I'm nervous that I will put in a lot of money for this round of interviews, only to not be accepted and have to take another year off of college. I pay for my schooling/housing alone and getting into PA program right away would be ideal, but I don't won't to waste my time. 

 

With a 300+ GRE score, more PCE hours, and a solid interview, is this worth my time?

Any opinions are welcome! 

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Hello paadmissions,

 

quick questions, I am trying to plan out my next year of classes and I've been having a hard time with the whole term to semester conversion and if one term class would be enough. So here is my conundrum, my school is on terms and I don't know if I should take one term of orgo or two.

 

Option 1) The benefit of one term would be that I could also take biochem and genetics. Although most schools don't require them I'd strengthen my application. The con that I'm battling is I don't know whether one term of orgo would be enough for admissions since terms are 10 weeks and semesters are 15 weeks.

 

Option 2) Taking two terms of orgo and then either biochem or genetics (in this case which would you recommend?).

 

Thanks in advance!

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@sarahbellum Thank you for your question. I would recommended delaying this cycle to accumulate more patient contact hours especially if you're considering applying to programs that require healthcare experience hours. Even if some of them don't require hours, I think it will be to your benefit to accumulate as much hands-on experience as possible as it will better prepare you for PA school. Hope this helps!

 

  @paadmissions,

I realized I was confused in which application cycle I was discussing, but will be applying in April 2017, for the 2017-2018 cycle. With these stats, will it then be worth my time?

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@pzawifetoPA My sincerest apologies for the delay..summer is rather busy for us. Yes, most programs require additional biology courses outside of maybe A&P and Micro. Our program, for example, requires 8 additional hours of biology outside of these courses. We would count an A&P II, cell biology, medical micro, intro to biology, etc. Typically, nursing courses do not fulfill those requirements, but if given a course description we may consider it if is a biology course, but has a NUR prefix in the course number. That said, many of our nursing applicants have taken the basic bios as those are prerequisites for entering into A&P, etc. I would contact the programs you're applying to to see what they recommend. I'm assuming if an Intro class is required that you'll need to have a plan in place to take it. Hope this helps!

Thanks for the response paadmissions! Summer is quickly coming to an end and Fall is my favorite season, hope things calm down a bit for you! :-)  I am looking into Biology courses to start in a few weeks, I really want to be a PA so if Biology is what I need to get there than Biology it shall be. 

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Hi! This post was very helpful although I would like to hear your input on something that worries me right now as a senior who's preparing to apply for PA programs as soon as I feel ready. Currently I'm a Cell Bio Major with a GPA of 2.92 (Science GPA of 2.82) not including the semester courses I'm currently taking since I'll be graduating in December I'm hopeful that I can boost my GPA if I do well this last semester. I'm working as a CNA and so far have 250 hours but I'm hoping to accumulate 500 by graduation. My question is that even if I get a GPA of 3.0 once I graduate, what do you recommend I do in order to become a more competitive applicant for programs?

 

Thank you in advance!

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@gb_Atc I'm sorry for the extended delay. Our busy time of year has begun. Our program requires 2 semesters of Org Chemistry, but a lot of programs do not require both Org 1 &2. At minimum I would go with Org 1 and Biochemistry-both are good prep courses for PA school.. It never hurts to take both organics, it shows potential, so to me option 2 with Biochemistry is the way I would go. Again, sorry for the delay. 

Hello paadmissions,

 

quick questions, I am trying to plan out my next year of classes and I've been having a hard time with the whole term to semester conversion and if one term class would be enough. So here is my conundrum, my school is on terms and I don't know if I should take one term of orgo or two.

 

Option 1) The benefit of one term would be that I could also take biochem and genetics. Although most schools don't require them I'd strengthen my application. The con that I'm battling is I don't know whether one term of orgo would be enough for admissions since terms are 10 weeks and semesters are 15 weeks.

 

Option 2) Taking two terms of orgo and then either biochem or genetics (in this case which would you recommend?).

 

Thanks in advance!

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@hopefulNCPA Thank you for your question. I would recommend evaluating your performance in the prerequisite courses before moving forward with applying. I'm assuming the prerequisite GPA may be close to what your overall may be. If that is the case, I usually recommend the following options

  • Post Bacc program-these type of programs usually allow you to take prerequisite courses over, but offer a heavy course load and you do them within a calendar year.  I like post bacc programs because it provides good insight as to how applicants handle a rigorous course load in a short amount of time (similar to PA school). I'm assuming, based on your handle, that you're in NC? If that's the case, check out Meredith College's and UNCG's post bacc programs. 
  • Masters program in a science field (i.e. anatomy, physiology, biology)- these types of programs, especially anatomy or physiology, are rigorous curriculums and can show your potential in grad school.If you're from NC check out NC State's Master of Physiology program. It's a good one and students who have come from there to our program have been successful. They also allow you to take prerequisites during that time, if I'm not mistaken.
  • Retaking prereq courses- You may be able to just get away with retaking prerequisite courses, and not enrolling in an official program.  If that is the case, I would encourage you to challenge yourself as if you were in a post bacc program. You do this by taking as many courses as you can at one time and taking them at the university level. 

In regards to your hours, keep working on them so you're exceeding what most programs are saying is their minimum. Although we require 500 hours, most of our incoming students have over 1,000 hours of patient care.  I hope these suggestions are helpful and let me know if you have any further questions. 

Hi! This post was very helpful although I would like to hear your input on something that worries me right now as a senior who's preparing to apply for PA programs as soon as I feel ready. Currently I'm a Cell Bio Major with a GPA of 2.92 (Science GPA of 2.82) not including the semester courses I'm currently taking since I'll be graduating in December I'm hopeful that I can boost my GPA if I do well this last semester. I'm working as a CNA and so far have 250 hours but I'm hoping to accumulate 500 by graduation. My question is that even if I get a GPA of 3.0 once I graduate, what do you recommend I do in order to become a more competitive applicant for programs?

Thank you in advance!

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