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Candidacy Questions

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Hi everyone!


I am brand new to these forums, and I would like to ask those of you who are in a program, or have been through one, about my overall candidacy and what I can do to increase my competitiveness. If you're unconcerned with the long version, I included a quick tl;dr at the bottom.


I am currently working as a software developer, as I had spent 8 years (taking some semesters off) in my undergrad and had to finally choose something. I had always had a passion for healthcare, but did not apply myself in the sciences, and did particularly poorly (D's, F's, and W's). Consequently, I will be retaking some prerequisites to boost my cumulative and science GPA. Prior to graduating, I worked for 4 years as a CNA in both a hospital setting (med/surg) and long term care. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA from the University of Phoenix, although my cumulative is probably lower (see above re: lack of ambition). After realizing what it is I truly want in life, I got my act together, kept my GPA high, and am taking steps to ready myself for PA school. I am currently shadowing a PA who specializes in oncology, and also have plans to shadow another PA in emergency medicine.


My wife will graduate from her masters program in Spring 2014, and my plans are to enter a program in the fall of 2014 (more realistically 2015, as I may not get all my prereqs out of the way in time).



tl;dr: By the time I apply (target entrance Fall 2015), I will have a cumulative GPA hovering at 3.6-3.8, 4 years of paid HCE, and a few hundred hours of PA shadowing.


Here are my questions:

  1. My last paid year for HCE will be approximately 4 years old by the time I apply, is that too old? Does HCE 'expire', as far as admissions are concerned?
  2. What else should/can I do to boost how competitive I am as a candidate when I finally do apply?
  3. Will my non-human-science Bachelors stand in the way of getting into PA school?


For those who took the time to read this whole thing, you have more patience than I had writing it ;). I appreciate any feedback! Thanks!

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Hi there, and welcome to the forum.


I can't speak from experience, as I am only in the application process. However, from reading on these threads, it seems that they do not mind at all that you have a previous "bad" academic history, as long as you show yourself to be resilient and have improved your performance.


As far as HCE, I know there are many programs that do not put too much emphasis on HCE, so that might be something to consider when you are researching specific programs to apply to. On the other hand, those programs that focus on HCE, prefer recent hands-on HCE. It isn't that they "expire", but they do prefer for the experience to be recent.


Sorry, I hope more people that are actually in school will give you some feedback. Good luck to you in your journey!

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Thanks lily! I appreciate the feedback. 100% of my HCE is direct patient care so hopefully that'll outweigh the length of time!!


As an update, I realized I asked for specific demographic responses (current students or graduates) but anyone please feel free to weigh in. I know I have quite a bit to learn. Thanks!

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