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Quarter Unit Conversion Frustration


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I just heard back from two of the schools that I applied to and both rejected me on the basis that I did not meet the unit requirements for the programs. Since I graduated from a University that implement quarter system, all/most of my courses were completed at 4 units. However, most PA schools uses the semester unit metrics so they required that all the prerequisite be 3 semester units. I looked up and 4 quarter units is equivalent to 2.66 semester units. I have discussed this problem with my friends who went to the same institution and got into Med, DO, Dental, and Pharm schools. All my friends told me that most of their programs are very understanding and that they did not encounter any problem regarding quarter to semester conversion. However, after checking up with the schools that rejected me, they both gave me the same response that my 4 unit courses did not their criteria. This is such a devastating news as that would mean retaking everything that I have worked so hard for. My overall GPA is 3.77, sGPA is 3.64, my PS was told to be very well written by many of the PA that I’ve shadowed, I got long proven records of diverse and consistent volunteering and leadership experience since Freshman year in Highschool all the way to now (10 years and still going), and I had accumulated over 4k hours in back office medical assistant and roughly 1k hrs as a medical scribe. I am so disappointed that everything that Ive done is all being blindsided by something so minor such as unit conversion. At this point I really don't know what else to do. Am I supposed to go back and spend 1-2 years retaking everything that Ive already doing ok/well in just because all my prerequisites are only 0.34 units less than required? I was also told that I shouldnt be taking too many prereq at a cc because it will look poorly on application. Many programs told me in the past that I should only retake about 2 courses at a cc which I was fortunate enough not having to worry about in the past. But thats seems to be the exact problem now, I have to retake ALL prereq and I really cant afford to go back to a university for 1-2 years of prereq. My family was struggling a lot financially in order to get me through 4 years of college. I am still paying off my debts with my low paying job  that I have been working at to gain patient care experience. I have tried contacting the programs to explain my situations but none of the school wanted to waive the unit requirement. At this point, I am very lost on how to get back up and turn the table around. Any insights into this would be appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by abc135
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I've heard other applicants mention that prerequisites taken at a CC are not preferred by PA programs, but I haven't run into this problem myself.  I took 6 prerequisites at my local CC (some that I had never taken in undergrad + others that were >7 years old and had "expired"), and was accepted to PA school on my first try.  It took me about a year and a half to knock out all 6 prereqs while working full-time.  My program was pretty clear that they didn't care where we took our prereqs, just that we took them.  Perhaps you can look for schools with the same flexibility?  I would imagine that if the rest of your application package is impressive, an admissions committee wouldn't really care.  Or you could continue searching for schools that will accept the quarter unit courses you've already completed.  My program required a minimum number of units for each prereq (e.g. at least 8 units of A&P), but didn't specify whether they had to be quarter or semester units; in fact, I don't remember any of the other programs I researched here in CA with such specifications.  Good luck!

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I am sorry to hear you arent having luck with some of the schools you applied to, it may be time to expand your search. I did a quick search for pa school prereqs on Google and found several schools that either have no credit requirements and simply ask that you have completed the course and others that require only 4 quarter units. Good luck!

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1: They don't know you from Adam (or Eve, whichever)
2: They have, on average 10-20 applicants for every spot.
3: They have no incentive to waive requirements

Do not forget that while you may be important to you, your family, and your loved ones... a school's job is to weed out people very quickly and objectively. The last 3/4ths of your post are irrelevant and come across as narcissistic: if you can't meet both the stated minimums (and the "hidden" criteria, which are often substantially higher--look at the stats of students accepted to the  school)you're just wasting your time and theirs.  A lot of people sacrificed a lot more to be PAs.  You have a family to support you through undergrad? Know that many PAs didn't have that--they worked, took their prerequisites, and did this for years to get into school. None of this means that you're not a worthwhile person and quite possibly an awesome PA someday... it's not the PA program's job to help you get there.  It's their job to stuff their class with people who will 1) pay, 2) not quit, and 3) pass PANCE.

Now, as far as what you CAN do...
- Take a quickie online class to get an A and expand the credit hours in a specific deficit or two.  You may sit out a year, but lots of great PAs did not make it in on their first cycle.
- Apply to schools that look at the sum total of credit hours in an area, vs. just the length of individual classes.
- Next time, read more closely.  Every program's acceptance criteria are posted online.  Quarter to semester hour conversion is straightforward math, 3 for 2, 4 for 2.66, 5 for 3.33.  If you didn't know that you didn't meet prerequisites, that's on you.  There are scores of other PA programs who have slightly different requirements, ones which you likely would have met.  CASPA per-school application fees, let alone supplemental app fees, are too expensive to not closely read the fine print. 😞

Best wishes for whatever steps come next!

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