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Tips for a more competitive application?

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Hi everyone, my name is Gesselle, I'm 20, and currently a senior graduating this Spring with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. I realized I wanted to go the PA route a little over a year ago from my original plan of being a Pharmacist. It is quite different but my reasons for wanting to go to Pharmacy school were ill-conceived and PA is much more in line with my goals and values. I'm planning to apply this upcoming cycle around May and I just wanted some input from everyone on things I could work on in these couple of months!

Overall GPA: 3.5 

Science GPA: 3.4 (hoping to increase both of these numbers in my last semester)

HCE: Pharmacy technician, roughly 1300 hours 

PCE: I just got some interviews for a PCT position in the hospital that I hope to start soon, my goal is to reach about 500 hours before applying 

I have very minimal volunteering experience and no shadowing experience which I know weakens my application, I have been trying to call offices but many places here have suspended both shadowing and volunteering. 😞 

As for GRE, I plan on taking that around March! With my stats, what number should I be shooting for to make up for my weak spots?

Thank you so much for your time and thoughts!!!!

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You are definitely on the right track and you seem to know what is important for your app. When it comes to volunteering, I know it is hard right now to get responses from anyone. Covid-19 will definitely slow your progress in multiple areas, unfortunately. But remember that volunteering can be anything and you definitely do not need to limit yourself to healthcare related volunteering. I actually bonded with an interviewer over my love of animals and me having done about 4750 hours volunteering with animal rescues.

My recommendation is to just do what you can currently. You are young and have lots of time. I think the average age to apply to PA school is 26, and I know multiple people who got accepted much much older than that. So if it takes you some time to build up your grades and your PCE, do not panic. And it is totally understandable right now. You are so limited in stuff like shadowing and PA programs will understand that.

As for the GRE, I believe 300+ combined score is usually the minimum schools like to see, and anything above 310+ is usually considered very good.

Feel free to shoot me a message if you want me to help you more or clarify anything. I just got accepted, but I can completely relate to how nerve wracking the application process can be!

Edited by Laybunny
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I wouldn't sweat the volunteering so much but do put some emphasis on shadowing, even if it's with PAs who are doing telemedicine.

I think it's important to know what a PA does and what their lives are like, not just to make your application look better, but so you know what you're getting in to.

There is nothing wrong with changing your goals like you did when you switched from pharmacy. And you may switch again at any time in your life. You just owe it to yourself to be armed with some knowledge to make an informed decision. I'd try for at least 2 PAs in two different areas and at least a few days with each at a minimum.

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