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Preparing for Residency when beginning PA School


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Hi all.  I will be beginning PA school in August, and am planning on trying to pursue a surgical residency after graduation.  I know it's early and my plans may very well change, but regardless, I think I will try and get a residency spot in whatever specialty I may choose.  My program requires every student be involved in the student government group in the program in some capacity, whether it be as an officer or just serving on a committee.  My thinking is that I will try and do the least I can outside of my schoolwork as far as time commitments go (in this case, only being on a committee).... I held several positions in my undergrad years and I know it can be distracting from studies. I know everyone says to focus on your GPA if wanting to pursue a residency, but at the same time I want to make sure that this would be the better decision over trying to hold an officer position.  Advice?

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You don't need to have a 3.8 GPA to get the interviews, mine was a 3.24 gpa at time of applying to residencies and have gotten multiple interviews. Make sure you have good letters of rec from your faculty and whoever has worked with you. A good personal statement, as well as a CV/Resume.

A heads up though, residencies are getting more and more competitive and increasingly popular. You will have tons of people apply, then you will have a good 10-12 people interviewing for 1-2 spots. 

I volunteered to be a t-shirt chair and had to handle designs, purchasing, logistics, selling, money, etc. but it was doable. As far as being class president or VP, now that can be time consuming but those in my class who are were still able to maintain very good grades. 

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Hi Dottie!

I was in the same mindset before I began PA school and am now graduating in less than a week! I had interviews from 5 surgical residencies and had offers from all that I did not decline first. I tell you this because I was very active in PA school and was also worried about GPA, but ended up being a much more well-rounded candidate at the end of the day. I ended up with a very good GPA, but I think my involvement in other things helped a lot. So what I did, was I founded a PA Surgery Club since the med school's surgery interest group was not at convenient times and catered their workshop attendance to med students.  Me and a classmate ran the club and held meetings 1-2 times a month, at lunch, and presented relevant content for our members. We had our own classmates/members do all the presentations - their research, a surgical topic, case studies, etc. We also worked very closely with our Pre-PA club, did volunteer events, did fundraising, and held suture and procedure clinics. Yes, it was a lot of work to start, and the second year was much easier, but it was a highlight on my CV because it was unique (we are the only PA student club available) and it also served our community. We also started a surgery shadowing program, which got those involved a chance to network with our surgical staff at the hospital. This personally paid off in dividends for me. 

Another thing I did before school started, was to contact AASPA (American Assoc. of Surgical PA's) and we launched a student liaison program together (which I encourage you to look into becoming a liaison!) so that we could give PA students an opportunity to represent AASPA and talk to classmates about our organization and all that we offer. I then became the Asst Student Representative (a Board position) and am now the national Student Rep. My point with all this is, if you are going to get involved I would try and make it surgically related, if at all possible, to show your commitment. You will be competing with other students who decide at the last minute to apply to a residency and your consistency will shine through.  Any officer position will look good, but surgical positions and surgical opportunities will look great! I also became a member of two other PA surgically related national organizations and attended two conferences while i was a student. 

I hope all of this helps and best of luck! Feel free to DM with any specific questions or concerns you may have!

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/14/2020 at 10:16 AM, JD2012 said:

You don't need to have a 3.8 GPA to get the interviews, mine was a 3.24 gpa at time of applying to residencies and have gotten multiple interviews. Make sure you have good letters of rec from your faculty and whoever has worked with you. A good personal statement, as well as a CV/Resume.

A heads up though, residencies are getting more and more competitive and increasingly popular. You will have tons of people apply, then you will have a good 10-12 people interviewing for 1-2 spots. 

I volunteered to be a t-shirt chair and had to handle designs, purchasing, logistics, selling, money, etc. but it was doable. As far as being class president or VP, now that can be time consuming but those in my class who are were still able to maintain very good grades. 

Hey JD2012, 

 

Thank you for your feedback. Hope you don't mind if I ask you a few questions. So I'm thinking of applying to a residency in urology and I just have a few concerns. I just graduated from PA school and passed my boards. I've been actively looking for jobs but I'm also interested in doing a residency. For context into my background, my GPA in PA school was roughly a 3.6, my school didn't offer honors or rank us by GPA so I can't say where I compare with the rest of the class. Prior to PA school, I worked in dialysis for 2 years as a technician, a CNA in home healthcare agency, a medical assistant for an urgent care and internal medicine, and a research assistant for a children's specialty hospital where I co-wrote a research article for cerebral palsy patients. I also participated in many volunteer experiences during school, including a medical mission trip to Belize.

I did elective rotations in nephrology, derm, and urology. My urology rotation was cut short due to COVID, so I wasn't able to spend enough time to warrant a LOR. I did get a lot of experience in the OR and saw many procedures and outpatient consults, so the exposure gave me the interest and passion to want to pursue this as a career. 

As a new grad, I know that I don't have PA experience but my clinical experience is full and expansive, so I that could be in my favor. What I'm concerned about is being competitive in the process. Does the fact that I'm a new grad hinder my chances of getting in? Is my GPA of a 3.6 a problem? 

What do you think helped you stand out in your application to get an interview?

Thanks!

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I had a GPA of 3.26 when I got my interviews.  

I applied to surgery, ER, and Oncology residencies. I had 1yr of surgery shadowing prior to PA school, did a special ER rotation that was 12wks and chosen as one of 4 students in my class through an application and interview process, and have an elective rotation in peds oncology, so the interest in either of those were apparent in my resume. 

Also, I had good letters of rec, as well as a very good personal statement and made sure to mention I always wanted to do a residency wayyy before my acceptance to PA School. 

Your rotations will definitely help showing great interest in Urology. Now you just have to get some good letters of rec and write a good personal statement. 

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