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Dear person interested in the PA career field,


Here's some quick advice for people new to the professions and the forum. This post doesn't supersede any of the rules (green linked at the top), but attempts to summarize a few of the most relevant ones, as well as expectations and norms of these forums. If you read nothing else before posting, please read this.


Post only once


There are a ton of different places you can post. Pick the most appropriate one, and ask your question there. Don't post in multiple areas.


Post based on who you are, not who you want to answer


You're a Pre-PA until you've been admitted to a program, and then you're a student until you graduate. While anyone can appropriately participate in any thread on the site, as a Pre-PA you should generally start new threads in the "Pre-PA" forum and its subforums, rather than PA Student or Professional PA forums and subforums. PA Students and PAs who want to help folks like you review those forums regularly.


If you must ask "What are my chances?", please give us enough info to help you

Here's what you can tell us that will help assess your competitiveness for PA school:

* Cumulative undergraduate GPA (cGPA) Measured on a 0.0 - 4.0 scale. It includes every undergraduate class you've ever taken, no matter when, no matter at what school, and no matter if your school had "grade forgiveness". If you re-took a class and got a better grade, both attempts will figure in to your GPA.

* Undergraduate science GPA (sGPA) Just like the above, but only science classes: biology, chemistry, physics, and a few other select areas.

* Direct Patient Care Experience (HCE "health care experience") this is time (in clock hours of work, not in calendar time you were employed) that you have been responsible for the direct care of patients. Time as a nurse, nursing assistant, paramedic/EMT, (whatever) therapist or therapist assistant, medical assistant, and several other fields are universally regarded as HCE. The official CASPA definition of this is "experiences in which the applicant is directly responsible for a patient's care; for example: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, working on patients as an active EMT, etc."

* Other Health Care Experience. This is anything health-care related that DOES NOT involve hands on or direct interaction with patients, again in clock hours of work vs. calendar time employed. The official CASPA definition is "defined as roles in which the applicant is working in the health or a health-related field but is not directly responsible for a patient's care; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patient rooms, working as “candy-striper,” etc."

* GRE scores, if you have them. Some of us don't speak the new GRE scoring system, so it will also be helpful if you post your percentiles, and not just raw scores.


Those are the minimum things we need to help you. Additional info that is relevant includes non-English language and international experience; non-healthcare leadership, work, or volunteering experience; shadowing of any health care provider, not just PAs; and any awards, scholarship, or research.

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