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I went through the entire post list but did not find this comparison so I thought I would  post about it. I was recently accepted into both programs and am struggling to make a decision. Does anyone have any insights and advice? Anything is appreciated!

From my understanding:

Western is cheaper but bigger class size, while MBKU is more expensive but there is more of a family feel. 

I am also very curious as to the reputation and job prospects of the alumni from both programs, if any current PA-C and preceptors could speak on that, it would be greatly appreciated. 

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I’m about to graduate from Western. Honestly, I’m not happy with the program. But that doesn’t mean I would be happy with MBK either. Yes, we do have a large class size. That’s definitely a negative. But, we do get to pick our rotations ahead of time. I learned from MBK students I worked with on a few of my rotations (along with other programs) that their rotations are scheduled on the fly. Students have zero input as to where they go and usually won’t find out their next rotation until 2 weeks before it starts. To me that’s horrible. Western doesn’t have the most extensive preceptors to choose from but at least there is some level of choice and preparedness. At the end of our first year (via a lottery) We got to plan our rotation sites as well as choose our 2 elective rotations. I’ve had my entire clinical year planned out and I know where and with whom I’ll be with. I didn’t realize this was not a common thing amongst programs (quite a few operate this way). On another note The students I’ve worked with from MBK seem just as prepared as western students so I think the academic quality is equal. As for job prospects? Well, unless you go to USC I think you’re no better off with western or MBK. The PA job market in Cali is becoming saturated and is now very competitive because of an influx of PA graduates from all the new programs. A few years ago there were only a handful of programs in SoCal. Now there are several. Couple that with covid (most offices have reduced their hours significantly) and you will find less jobs and more people to compete with. As for reputation? I think both schools have good reputations and from what I’ve experienced one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both are established. It’s the newer programs that are riskier in terms of reputation. I would point out that even if MBK is a smaller class size it’s still not a “small” class size. I’m not sure how much of a family feel you will find there. The students I’ve met didn’t seem to comment here or there on it. The “family feel” needs to really come from the faculty. Don’t expect that from western. But you’ll make friends. Go with the school that is cheapest and most convenient. I have yet to meet a student from any program  (Aside from my friend who graduated USC 4 years ago) that is totally happy with their program. They all have pros and cons.  A good friend in my class has been offered a job from one of her rotation sites but that’s rare. If you don’t speak a second language start to learn one. That’s really going to be your advantage in the job market (at least in SoCal). I hope this helps. 

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18 hours ago, KFRRose said:

I’m about to graduate from Western. Honestly, I’m not happy with the program. But that doesn’t mean I would be happy with MBK either. Yes, we do have a large class size. That’s definitely a negative. But, we do get to pick our rotations ahead of time. I learned from MBK students I worked with on a few of my rotations (along with other programs) that their rotations are scheduled on the fly. Students have zero input as to where they go and usually won’t find out their next rotation until 2 weeks before it starts. To me that’s horrible. Western doesn’t have the most extensive preceptors to choose from but at least there is some level of choice and preparedness. At the end of our first year (via a lottery) We got to plan our rotation sites as well as choose our 2 elective rotations. I’ve had my entire clinical year planned out and I know where and with whom I’ll be with. I didn’t realize this was not a common thing amongst programs (quite a few operate this way). On another note The students I’ve worked with from MBK seem just as prepared as western students so I think the academic quality is equal. As for job prospects? Well, unless you go to USC I think you’re no better off with western or MBK. The PA job market in Cali is becoming saturated and is now very competitive because of an influx of PA graduates from all the new programs. A few years ago there were only a handful of programs in SoCal. Now there are several. Couple that with covid (most offices have reduced their hours significantly) and you will find less jobs and more people to compete with. As for reputation? I think both schools have good reputations and from what I’ve experienced one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both are established. It’s the newer programs that are riskier in terms of reputation. I would point out that even if MBK is a smaller class size it’s still not a “small” class size. I’m not sure how much of a family feel you will find there. The students I’ve met didn’t seem to comment here or there on it. The “family feel” needs to really come from the faculty. Don’t expect that from western. But you’ll make friends. Go with the school that is cheapest and most convenient. I have yet to meet a student from any program  (Aside from my friend who graduated USC 4 years ago) that is totally happy with their program. They all have pros and cons.  A good friend in my class has been offered a job from one of her rotation sites but that’s rare. If you don’t speak a second language start to learn one. That’s really going to be your advantage in the job market (at least in SoCal). I hope this helps. 

Hi, thank you so much for all these information, they have been super helpful and I really appreciate you being real about your experience.

Can I ask what is it about the program at Western that you did not like? Also would you say a majority of your class from Western were able to find employment after graduating? If so, were they immediately after graduating or after a long time?

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On 3/14/2021 at 10:16 PM, MindbodyPA said:

Hi, thank you so much for all these information, they have been super helpful and I really appreciate you being real about your experience.

Can I ask what is it about the program at Western that you did not like? Also would you say a majority of your class from Western were able to find employment after graduating? If so, were they immediately after graduating or after a long time?

I don’t like how impersonal and chaotic it can be. I’m not entirely sure that’s unique to western but many of my classmates are just fed up with not having much support. If you’re worried about academic support I can’t really comment. But I’ll be honest, academically PA school is rough. Imo tutoring isn’t going to drastically help you. If you are the type to want to get A’s all the time I would just relax about this standard. Firstly, you don’t need to get A’s in everything. Unless you want to graduate with mega honors. This isn’t undergrad. I can’t emphasize it enough. You will be so burned out if you stress about having a great gpa. You will take so many tests on so much material in such a short period of time. Focus on the learning aspect, not the memorizing/top scoring aspect. I didn’t like how the faculty seemed to only acknowledge/favor those who scored well on every test during the first year. Imo it sends the wrong message as to what constitutes a good practitioner in real life. This is prevalent in the first year, and once second year rolls around many of those same students aren’t doing nearly as well because real life medicine isn’t a book or MC test. Western has strict enough gpa standards in place. If you are passing you’ll be fine. Saying that, we did lose 5 people in our class cause they couldn’t cut it grade wise. You’ll know immediately if you can hang or not. If you want hand holding I don’t think you’ll get it. But there is also only so much hand holding they can do. I don’t necessarily fault western. When I meant impersonal I was referring to how uncaring they can be if you have an emergency or illness or just anything else that might interrupt your schooling (however briefly). They aren’t flexible and don’t really treat you as an individual. Don’t ever get sick on a day you have to take a test. Lol. As for employment? Well we aren’t yet finished so no one has procured employment yet. One of my friends is probably going to be hired from one of her rotations but that’s rare. Covid and the saturation of the Pa job market in SoCal has changed employability quite a bit. Imo only USC grads have an edge because of their extensive alumni hookups that preferentially choose their graduates. Other than that your chances of getting a job are kind of the same no matter where you go. It is better if you do graduate from an established program. So western does help in that regard. From what I know, the majority of people who graduated in the class above me have found jobs, but for some it took many months. Unfortunately covid has put a major wrench in all Pa (or Md and Do) programs. Hopefully by next year it will be better. 

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