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GPA vs. Health Care Experience for PA school?

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Hey Everyone,


I've been researching this for a while, and have been going back and forth in between my head - but when I found this forum, I figured I'd ask you guys what you thought.


I'm currently a senior at my university, graduating with two degrees (sociology and public health science). My GPA is very low (by low, I mean approximately a 2.5, which I am assuming my science GPA is around as well). This semester, I am hoping that my grades will slightly increase, as I am already doing better than past semesters - although that obviously doesn't say much yet. I am hoping to end the semester with a 2.8.


On the other hand, I've been certified as an EMT and have been involved with EMS on my college campus for almost 3 years. I recently also completed a one and a half year program which bumped me up to an EMT-Critical Care (very similar to a paramedic certification - but 1 or 2 less things you can do independently). I've moved up in my ambulance company as well, and am a certified emergency vehicle operator, as well as a primary patient care leader. I've been shadowing two doctors for approximately a year at the hospital near my university. Lastly, I am doing a Global Medical Brigades program this winter where we go to the Honduras for a week and help create a sustainable water system for them. Not sure if it counts, but I've also held part-time jobs all throughout college.

My issue was always that I chose the opportunity to get healthcare experience which was readily available to me over going to sit in a classroom. I would cut classes to respond to EMS calls. The opportunity to respond to a 911 seemed more appealing than sitting in an organic chemistry class. Hence, the low GPA. Stupid, I know. But at this point I have probably accumulated at least 3000+ hours of EMS, if not more. This is not counting my shadowing, or my time spent in EMT-CC class on rotations, etc.


My question is....I know my GPA is extremely low, and is a major red flag on my application. I'm not saying my healthcare experience is superb, but I figure it should count for something, if anything at all. Should I even bother applying to PA school at this point? Or should I focus on getting either a masters or post-bacc in order to increase my GPA? Would me getting a good GRE score change anything?


Any advice you could give would be really appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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Your GPA is not a red flag. The word you're actually looking for is "showstopper". You need to get that up to 3.0, while continuing to accumulate direct patient care hours, then you might have a chance. All your other bells and whistles don't matter at all unless you can get your GPA up to the point where you will even be considered by programs.

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