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OHSU vs Pacific University

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I wouldn't say one is easier to get into. They look for different things. I was invited to interview at OHSU and just rejected from Pacific. OHSU has a medical school which I think is a huge benefit. Personally all of my top choices had med schools, but I don't know that it matters for everyone. You will get a good job when you have a PA-C after your name, no matter what school you go to, because the profession is needed all over the country.


If you haven't applied to either and are hoping to live in Oregon, apply to both.

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  • 3 years later...

I know this is an old thread, but I'd like to bring it back to life. Please chime in, if there are any of you who are hoping to get into (or already have) either Pacific or OHSU. I'm an Oregonian, so am hoping to get into one of these schools, so have researched them both quite a bit. If you have anything to add, please do!


Pacific doesn't require as many hce hours, but does really look at your grades. They like REALLY good grades! They also require Organic Chemistry, which OSHU does not. However, OHSU said to me that they highly recommend Org.Chem.

OHSU requires Biology, but Pacific does not. Also, OHSU requires more hce hours, and my understanding is that though grades are important, hce is more important (would any of you agree with that statement?). OHSU also gives preference to Oregon residents. So if you REALLY want to go there, move to Oregon. :-)


I also know that with Pacific's clinical year, you will be traveling the nation, and have the opportunity to travel the world as well. They have some good rural sites, but you'll just need to be prepared to do some traveling. My understanding with OHSU is that though you do travel, it's not as much as at Pacific. I think you do a lot of your clinicals at the hospital there, and you can request to work at sites closer to home, if you're from Oregon.


This is all based on my memories of conversations I've had with current, or graduated students, and with the admissions office. I could be a little off on my info, so please correct me if I'm wrong. I'd be especially interested in hearing from current or new grads from both of these programs. I've heard wonderful things about both places, and don't think you can go wrong. They are both well respected programs that are challenging to get into, but worth the try!

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I shadowed a PA who graduated from Pacific and she put things in an interesting way. She preferred Pacific because there PA students are a big spoke on a little wheel. Whereas, with OHSU, you are a little spoke on a big wheel. This was in reference to OHSU's medical and other programs. 


It would be great to hear from OHSU graduates to find out if they ever felt overshadowed by the other programs there.

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can any recent pacific grads comment on whethe they now have enough peds and ob sites so every student gets one. their policy used to be that male students got "extra fp" rotations to make up for their lack of available peds and ob sites willing to take male students....extra fp is NOT the same as dedicated peds and ob rotations....

as to ohsu vs pacific, my preference is U.WA/medex over both of these...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was accepted to both Pacific and OHSU and ultimately chose OHSU. For me, one of the primary factors in my decision was the amount of travel in the second year at Pacific. Being married, I wasn't that interested in being out of the state so much.


That being said, the previous comments about OHSU's clinical year aren't entirely accurate. There is only one rotation at the actual OHSU hospital. It's the inpatient rotation, and it's one of the most difficult and taxing ones of the year. Other than that, there are certainly a few options in the Portland area, but the majority of students spend the most amount of time outside of the Portland Metro area. Salem, Eugene, Bend, Prineville, Klamath Falls, Medford, the coast, and eastern Oregon are the primary places OHSU has sites. They are rural focused, because the program emphasizes the rural importance of PAs, and they also know the best sites are where a PA student won't be standing behind 2 residents and 3 med students.


I would also say that there hasn't been a moment where I have felt overshadowed by any other program at OHSU. If anything, we are so highly respected by the lecturers that teach to both us and the med school, that our little crew of students has a large impact on the teaching body at OHSU. The small spoke on a large wheel is the same analogy I had in my mind before I interviewed here. I thought it would be fairly uppity and only for top of the class super brilliant folks. I had it backwards. The PA program is for the humble, the teammates, the collaborators, the hard workers. Very similar to Pacific actually. It was a hard decision choosing between the two, because I loved Pacific's program and felt like I'd be a good fit there. 


Pacific was slightly more expensive, the second year is all over the country, and I didn't want to live in Hillsboro if I didn't have to. Those were the main cons for me. Other than that every Pacific grad I've met and that has taught us has been wonderful and clearly educated by a great program.


OHSU pays for housing the second year, it's cheaper, it's a leader in healthcare in the state and nation, the expertise and approachability of the lecturers and faculty are well respected in the country. My classmates are my family. I live in a great city. This program is 110% on my team and will do anything to support me as I go through this process. Without a doubt. (I have heard similar things about Pacific's program as well)


As far as getting in to the programs: meet the minimum requirements plus more. Show that you are willing to work hard and do hard work. Be yourself. Be humble. Be respectful. Be ready and prepared. Those are the students that stand out. And at the end of the day, we'll all be PA-Cs! There is no perfect way to get there. There is just your own way. 

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