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Will I Stand A Chance If I Apply Next Cycle?

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Hi everyone, I just discovered this site and am looking for a little bit of advice from students who have applied to and/or have been accepted to PA programs. I would like to know if I would have a chance applying next year, given the following information.


I am currently in my last year at my university. I did not apply to any PA programs this cycle, as I plan to take a year off to gain more health care experience and work, but I am hoping to begin applying for the following year next spring. I am a tad worried about how competitive of an applicant I will be, however. I spent my first two undergraduate years at a different university than the one I am attending now, where I had a cumulative GPA of 3.369. I decided to transfer for a number of reasons, one of them being to save money so I could commute to school, but I had a very rough time adjusting. I transferred from a small college to a huge state school, began commuting a very long distance (thanks to consistent traffic), and was working many hours as a waitress outside of class. Needless to say, I admit that I overextended myself and my grades suffered. I used the guidelines on the CASPA website to calculate my GPA by year and these are the statistics:


Freshman Non-Science GPA: 3.80

Freshman Science GPA: 3.33

Sophomore Non-Science GPA: 3.40

Sophomore Science GPA: 3.00

Junior Non-Science GPA: 1.00 (The only non-science courses I took that year, which was a huge mistake, was Calculus. And I failed it the first time, but it looks like CASPA takes failing grades into consideration. So this is exceptionally low and it worries me tremendously.)

Junior Science GPA: 2.26


I should say that I am working INCREDIBLY hard this semester and so far it looks like I may achieve nearly all A's in my classes this semester. This includes very hard science classes that I am actually doing quite well in. My question is this: If I do well academically during my last two semesters, is there any chance of redemption? Even if I were to achieve straight A's during this academic year, the highest GPA I can graduate with at my current university (which includes only my junior and senior years since I am a transfer student) will be a 3.3.


In terms of other things I am doing outside of academics:

1. I have volunteered at a hospital and have shadowed a physician assistant.

2. I have been studying for/plan to take the GRE early next year.

3. I am currently going through EMT training.

4. I plan to work in the healthcare field during my gap year (although I have yet to work out what position I would qualify for/would be best).

5. I am a research assistant in a cell biology/neuroscience lab at one of the medical schools whose program I plan to apply to.

6. I have more than sufficient letters of recommendation.


Thank you so much for your help and advice. I sincerely appreciate it!!! :)

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I think you're going to be ok. The only thing you should be concerned with in terms of GPA is that you have a worsening GPA trend. Just my opinion finish strong and do your best and you'll be ok. You may get asked, well you will be asked about the poor performance your junior year. You want to be able to answer it like this "I had a poor performance my junior year __________ (insert honest answer here), however I was able to bounce back my senior year and got a (insert higher GPA here) and I retook the class I did poorly in and improved my grade to a _______.


Your overall GPA is competative (at least in California) and I think if you continue the path as you've stated then you should be ok. Just make sure you correct bad grades if you can.

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Thank you for your quick reply! That does make me feel a tad better. I do realize I am going to be asked to explain my poor performance, especially with a dip in grades later on in college as opposed to a continuous upward grade trend. In terms of explaining my reason, though, I am slightly worried about coming off as making an excuse for myself. I plan to explain my reason, which is that I took on more than I could handle after transferring to a different university and had my priorities in the wrong places, but still make it clear that I take full responsibility for it. If you don't mind me asking another question, should any explanation for my poor performance only be mentioned in the interview or should I mention it in my personal narrative as well?

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I mentioned mine on my narrative and then was asked about it again during my interview. My explanation was simple and I didn't get into details instead I quickly redirected the topic towards my response to the poor performance and it's outcome. In my case I was put on academic probation my first semester of college. I explained "I had joined a fraternity and my father became ill resulting in my priorities being allocated in the wrong place. However you'll notice a positive grade trend every semester I was in college and a stellar GPA during my MBA and in my post Bach work. My last 60 unit GPA is actually a 3.93 despite my overall GPA being a 2.93. It just took time for me to mature and learn what putting in work really means and how to time manage better using tools, various study techniques and leveraging with my peers." basically turn a negative into a positive while showing skills you learned along the way through first hand experience.

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