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I have recently applied this year to 12 PA Programs and were declined from all of them.

 

UF

Nova Orlando

Duke

GWU

Pace

NYIT

Quinnipac

Toledo

SMU

Midwestern IL

OHSU

UC Davis

 

 

 

My stats were as follows:

 

at time of application

 

PCT on a neurosurgical unit at a hospital 1400 hours working full time of 36 hours per week

BA Psychology to be completed on Dec 2012

1 in progress course for prerequisite in Organic 1

cumulative GPA 3.34

science3.26

GRE: 295

CASPA completed June 11, 2012

 

 

biology 1:B

A&P 1:B

A&P 2: B

Microbiology:A

Chem 1: B

Chem 2:B

 

i also had around 35 hours of PA shadowing

LOR from 2 PA's and my ANM.

 

 

since then I have completed my bachelors degree in Psychology which all my upper level courses for that degree are a 3.77.

 

Summer 2012

 

Biology 2:A

 

Fall 2012 Semester

 

Organic 1 Lecture : B+

Organic 1 Lab:A

Politics in Africa : A

Experimental Cognitive Psychology: A

 

i now have 2,300 hours as a PCT and still work full time

I am back at my university as a post bacc working towards a degree in Biology with a concentration in biomed. I am currently taking Biology 3 and Algebra based Physics 1 this Semester.

 

I will be reapplying this summer and retaking the GRE as well and taking Genetics over the summer.

 

I tried setting up an appointment to met with an advisor at UF to see what else I should be doing but they don't do walk ins of appointments.

 

Does anyone have any advice as to what else I should be doing to improve my application. 8 do have a Dr lined up to write me a LOR this time but what else should I be doing? I want more than anything to be accepted this time around and don't want to mess that up. Any advice or know of any PA programs that will allow me to setup an appointment?

Edited by JK101
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Did you get any interviews at all (if you interviewed and didnt get in, I would say practice on interviewing skills/knowing the school/knowing the profession/knowing why you want to be a PA)? Did you apply early (some schools accept on a rolling basis/while others collect all the apps and review them after the deadline--it is best to apply early to those that operate on a rolling basis)? Is that just the score for one section of the GRE? I know they changed the test a bit so Im not sure if the grading is still the same, but just from dealing with UF myself you need the min. on their site or higher to even be considered competitive (thats what I was told). If you have a tough time with the GRE I would also try applying to schools that do not require it.

 

Main thing......apply ASAP....if you can get your LORs in the day after (they can submit online) send the app in. Make sure to write a new PS highlighting what you have done to make yourself a stronger candidate. Personally I didnt feel my GRE scores were awesome so I did not include them on CASPA (you dont have to) and just sent them to the schools that required it. If you applied to 12 and didnt even get interviews I would have some review my PS and application to make sure it is error free and the PS makes sense

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I agree with just_me. Apply early, rewrite your personal statement (recommended in the case of reapplicants), and maybe let us look at your PS. Another set of eyes is always beneficial with things like that.

 

I, personally, amassed a little reading committee for mine, comprised of people from various parts of my life who knew me by varying degrees. :)

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UF might be able to do an application review if you specifically write them and ask what you could do to improve your chances. One thing - make sure that none of your pre-reqs were done via AP classes in high school (UF doesn't accept AP pre-reqs). It looks like you've taken a lot of steps already to improve your application by doing your post-bac work and by getting more HCE. They should like that. In your personal statement be sure to find a way to focus on things you have done to improve your education and skills and how you think that will improve your success as a PA student.

 

Keep focused on the dream - many people have to apply two or more times before they get an interview/acceptance. If it's what you want to do with your life, enjoy the journey that you're taking as you get to where you want to be. It's worth the wait!

 

Good luck!

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The grades you posted, were those from CASPA calculations or your own? If they were your own and CASPA is lower, that could very well be your problem as well. Many of the GPA cutoffs are based on CASPA calculations.

 

Also it seems like you had some stuff still in progress at the time of applying....that could have a negative effect on your app (although many say you can have things in progress, when it comes down to it, a student with everything done is more "reliable") so now that all that's done and youre just doing extra, that should work to your benefit.

 

I would throw Emory on that list....you seem like a good candidate on paper

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Making a B in almost all of your science classes could be an issue if they're looking at candidates with mostly As. Working towards the biology degree and taking more upper level science may help that some. More HCE and a higher GRE will help as well along with what was already mentioned above.

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I do think its weird you didn't get an interview. From what I know and have researched, you look like a solid, if unspectacular candidate.

 

It could just be unlucky, but the one common denominator that doesn't show up here is your personal statement. Can you get someone you trust to be critical and honest to read it?

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Did you get a bad letter from a reference? You probably don't know the answer to that being that you probably waived all your rights to them (and if you didn't, you should have). I would consider getting all new LOR for the next cycle, and skip the doctor unless they can write a stronger one than a PA can. You want to be a PA after all, not a physician. I really think this is the likely culprit and strongly recommend you don't risk another cycle on the same references. This is a pain, I know, but it's the one part of what you send them that you have no idea about at the end of the day.

 

You might have also struggled because of not having enough HCE/prerequisites complete at time of application, even if you met the minimums. That will obviously resolve itself on your current path by next cycle.

 

Everything looks sort of ordinary. Nothing stands out that makes you seem super interesting from your stats (sorry :/) and you need to make something stand out because your stats themselves are pretty ordinary. Do a mission trip, volunteer work, run a marathon for charity, or whatever else that will show dedication and interest beyond academics.

 

Rewrite your PS and see if some healthcare friends, friends that have gone to a grad school, and everyone else with an idea of what the process/profession entails can edit it for you. If you send it to me I will let you know what I think as long as it's before mid June.

 

What state are you from? You'll likely have a better chance at state schools in your area than ones thousands of miles away.

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Everything looks sort of ordinary. Nothing stands out that makes you seem super interesting from your stats (sorry :/) and you need to make something stand out because your stats themselves are pretty ordinary. Do a mission trip, volunteer work, run a marathon for charity, or whatever else that will show dedication and interest beyond academics.

 

LOL then I would hate to hear your opinion on my stats because this girl didnt do any of that "extra" stuff...work and school were enough plus being a single parent (which they didnt know):;;D:

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I am definitely going to rewrite my PS and get those of you who offered to look at it review it for me! I'm also going to retake the GRE. Between work and going to school full time, I'm not sure if I can do much volunteer work. At least enough that would make a significant difference on my application. I did apply to schools that did not require the GRE and still did not get interviews from them. I waived my right to view my LOR on my application but all my references sent me a copy. One PA gave me an awesome one that really showed she knew me and the other two said good things but I believe we're too general. :/

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I volunteered for an MDA camp for a week in June.. its super quick, fun, direct care, and about 150 volunteer hours! I totally understand not being ablr to volunteer regularly so this may be a good option! Good luck! I would also be willing to read a personal statement if you need :)

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I noticed a couple of the schools that you applied to require all courses to be finished prior to application. If you don't meet the minimum requirements for a school, that is an automatic reject. Even if you are really close, they won't look at it. Use that application $ to apply to a school that you not only meet the minimums, but are right in the middle of the stats of their current and recent classes. It will save you so much time, money and heartache to really shop out the schools that are the best fit for you!

Additionally, every person that applies is busy! If you want to volunteer, you can make the time, but don't make an excuse. The actual # of hours may not make a huge difference in your application, but it will show that you are a real person with real interests that makes the time to be active in their community.

Being that none of us have seen your PS or LORs and your other stats really don't have any red flags, I would really spend some time on that PS and have some serious conversations about your goals and accomplishments with whoever is writing a LOR for you next year. It doesn't have to be eloquent, it does need to be absolutely supportive of you.

Good luck!!!

Edited by loliz
to add good luck
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I second the LoR being a possible problem too.

 

I know when I was going to college I asked a teacher to write me a LoR. I thought he really liked me, I loved his subject, i participated in his class, I did great in his class, etc. I thought he'd write me a stellar LoR. Well, I happened to see the LoR accidentally. It was a terrible LoR. It didn't say anything negative per se, but it was kind of wishy washy and generic.

 

I ended up being wait listed at a college I really should have gotten in, and I think a big part was his terrible LoR.

 

Now when I ask people for recommendations I am very clear what I am looking for. "I'm applying for PA school, and it is very competitive. I'm right on the borderline with my stats, and I'm looking for a stellar recommendation that will help tip the balance to me getting in, and really make me stand out from the crowd. I thought of you because (list your reasons why you are a top performer for them.). That being said, if you don't feel you can write me that kind of recommendation, or you don't have the time right now, I completely understand."

 

That method has worked for me in securing very good LoR.

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I got interviews at Duke, Emory, USA, GWU, Campbell. I got accepted to GWU and Campbell. Well, I got wailisted at GWU then accepted the beginning of this month (and they were my top choice so I dropped all my other interviews to go to GWU). I did not see any of my LORs (although one of my writers asked if i wanted to see it, but I declined to honor the 'waive my right to see LOR' on CASPA). Also, I did get a C in two of my prereqs and my GRE was a measly 302 with a 5.0 analytical writing score. Overall GPA was a 3.8 and prereq GPA a 3.7. 2200 HCE with a phlebotomy certification that I never used but heard was good to have to put on CASPA (so i would recommend you get a certification to put on your caspa even though you may not end up using it). I volunteered at the local hospital in the emergency department for 4 hours per week for a few months prior to applying through CASPA. I got 2 LORs from doctors and 1 from my organic chem instructor (none from PAs). I put in about 25 hours worth of PA shadowing (mostly through volunteering, another perk of volunteering is you get to shadow PAs that are on staff so definitely get a volunteer position that involves PA, such as an ED position). I spent about a good 7 months on my personal statement and went through about 15 revisions before the final product. I got great feedback on my personal statements from the programs that I interviewed with. They can tell if you spent time and effort on your PS. I had about ten other people give me feedback on my PS including PAs, doctors, office secretary, other office staff/receptionists that are good with grammar and writing. Most of my HCE came from clinical MRI research I did for 2 years. I was a schoolteacher (middle school science) for 4 years after that. Then I applied to PA schools. So I think programs like to see a well-rounded candidate. Someone who has been there, done that, and able to work with people in a variety of settings and recognize the needs of people and work to help meet those needs. I would recommend buffing up your resume with volunteer/community work experience to make yourself a more well-rounded candidate. When I look over your qualifications, all I see is science, science, science, science. Throw in some volunteer hospital work, community initiatives that involve advocating a healthier lifestyle or what not. Some humanitarian effort always goes a long way. Shows that you have compassion for those in need outside of doing well in school. Also is a great segment to add in your PS in addition to PA shadowing. Hope this helps.

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LOL then I would hate to hear your opinion on my stats because this girl didnt do any of that "extra" stuff...work and school were enough plus being a single parent (which they didnt know):;;D:

 

I didn't mean this in a bad way. I'm sure plenty of great PAs and PA students didn't have anything extra like I mentioned, and there's nothing wrong with that. Working while going to school is a difficult enough task, and I don't mean to discredit this. I wouldn't go in to a second round of the stressful application process without trying to do something extra though. Just a suggestion.

 

I volunteered through undergrad in two ways and neither of them took a lot of time because I was taking 5-6 science courses most quarters and couldn't have dedicated a lot of time to it. I don't think you need to do something to get a substantial number of hours, just like others have said, but something that just shows a little more of who you are, and that you care about helping your community. I know OHSUs program director believes that healthcare professionals have a responsibility to give back to the community (why the students do their community outreach project), and I think doing that in any way can make a difference on your application. Personally I find it to be more important than shadowing, but that opinion likely varies from program to program.

 

If you saw your LOR and they looked good, then you don't need to get new people. I never saw any of mine so I figured that was the norm.

 

Good luck with the next cycle.

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I respectfully disagree with the people who said they are surprised you didn't get an interview, because I had better stats on paper than you and was also rejected from five of the schools you mentioned. (Luckily got into others). I agree with those who said you should add on some volunteering. 2-3 hours after work 1 day a week and/or taking a week vacation to volunteer at a camp for disabled kids this summer or go on a medical mission if you can afford it can make a big difference.

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I think (at least for me) its surprising that with those stats, to not get 1 interview out of 12 schools is different than if the OP only applied to 5 and didnt get any. There are people with less hce and/or lower stats getting interviewed so yeah.....its surprising out of 12

 

I respectfully disagree with the people who said they are surprised you didn't get an interview, because I had better stats on paper than you and was also rejected from five of the schools you mentioned. (Luckily got into others). I agree with those who said you should add on some volunteering. 2-3 hours after work 1 day a week and/or taking a week vacation to volunteer at a camp for disabled kids this summer or go on a medical mission if you can afford it can make a big difference.
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