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Maintaining your GPA during PA school

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Since different PA schools require you to maintain a different GPA, do people usually use that as a deciding factor as to which PA school they go to? Some schools require you to maintian a 3.0 and others it may be around a 2.7. I've heard many students say that even though they had very good grades in undergrad, they had a hard time making good grades in PA school. So I suppose it might be "safer" to go to a school with a lower GPA requirement in order to stay in the program. But of course there are many other factors to consider in deciding which school to attend. Is it really that hard to maintian a good GPA in PA school? I know that varies from person to person of course, but I was just wondering what other students' experiences have been like.

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Just because a program has a lower GPA requirement doesn't mean it's easier. Regardless of the GPA, most programs will adequately prepare you for PANCE... and that's what matters most in the end. Employers don't look at your GPA or transcripts when getting a job, unless you plan to apply to a residency.

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While being prepared for the PANCE is a critical step in achieving the goal of practicing medicine...I like to think that students strive to learn HOW to practice, not just pass a test or squeak by getting "good enough" GPA. Yes, I realize that person who graduates first and last in a class are both addressed by the same professional title when it is all said and done but do you really want to tell folks "I went to XYZ school because I thought it would be the easiest?"

 

Not everyone is destined to be an advanced health care provider. Standards are set for a reason. Finding ways around those standards is not complimentary to the profession.

 

Am I being a big stick in the mud? Perhaps. But when a student turns their vision from looking at "how can I do the best" to "how can I squeak by", it saddens and frustrates me. The lower limits should not enter your decision making process. The success of the graduates should.

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I agree Just Steve. The minimum GPA for my school is a 3.0. You can get test scores lower (no lower than a 75%, that is the bare minimum) without serious issues with the faculty, but you must maintain an overall 3.0 minimum. I can tell you that my overall testing average has dropped approximately 7 percent than from undergrad tests and I have put in significantly more time in PA school. I am maintaining a very good GPA and am proud of that even if passing the pance is the ultimate goal. I personally take pride in my GPA and strive to get the best i can, not just the minimum. PA faculty know who push themselves and who wants to squeak by...

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OP I know what you mean. While some people try very hard and strive to get the best grades---ish happens. Some schools are a lot more strict on what flies and what doesnt. I know that my school is a lot nicer when it comes to academics than some other programs that friends have attended. With that said, i think if you go to a program where you feel comfortable and where you think the curriculum is better suited for you and the faculty seems very supportive and has tons of resources for you PLUS you do everything in your power to learn the material, youll be fine no matter the requirements of your program.

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I think more importantly you should find out if the program has remediation or are people asked to leave the program if they don't do well. Basically if you fail a class for whatever reason is there a way to salvage or retake it with the next class or will you be kicked from the program. I know my school offers remediation and I know of other programs where if you get below a 75% in 5 exams throughout that term you're removed from the program. That's when you begin to weigh the matriculation rates between programs when offered multiple acceptances.

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Is it hard to maintain one's GPA in PA school? Nope. Put in the work both before and during PA school and it won't be an issue.

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I chose based on the program I felt most comfortable with and felt I would be more successful in based off of my experience in the interview. Where you will learn the best is much more important than which will be easier. I did hesitate because I was choosing what seemed to be the more challenging of the two (although the GPA requirements are the same, the number of hours students spent studying varied greatly) but in the end I want to be the best provider for my patients, not necessarily have the highest GPA.

 

I do agree that it's important to know what happens if you don't make the cut because even though we may strive to be the best, life can be unpredictable and 70k per year isn't something I could pay off very easily without finishing PA school. The program I chose gives two chances for the exams (80 percent is passing in PA classes, 70 in classes with the med students) and if unsuccessful they have a "slow track" which is essentially an additional year to master the material.

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Thanks for the responses. The idea of maintaining my GPA in PA school didn't really cross my mind until a recent interview I went to where the faculty promoted the fact that their GPA requirement is a 2.75 as compared to other schools where you will get the boot if you have below a 3.0. My goal is by no means to just scrape by with bare minimum effort or to go to the easiest schools. I certainly hope that no one who wants to be a PA has that mentality. My ultimate concern is to be the most competent PA possible. I have a 4.0 science GPA so maybe I do not need to worry, but I have to admit that it concerns me when I hear about PA students who put in their best effort and struggle to make Bs. Since I have not yet entered PA school, I have no way of knowing how hard it will be. And having to decide between two schools, as I am now having to do, is very difficult since I can't know what each is really like until I'm actually in the program. I have done my best to find out as much as I can about the programs, but it's still a tough decision. I know for sure, though, that I am ready and willing to eat, sleep, and breathe PA school if that is what it takes. I'm think I'm just a little intimdated by it all.

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Well...here is my thought. I wasn't there, I don't know the schools, I am just talking out my hat.

 

The school that compared their lower GPA rating to other school's higher standard sounds to be advertising "we are easier, come to us, give us your tuition money". Did they discuss how superior their rotations are? Talk about their tutoring or remediation programs? Did they discuss that they have high expectations for their students and will do everything they can to help you, but these high standards have to be met?

 

Did they attempt to entice you by appealing to your sense of accomplishment or your fear of failure?

 

If they use their easier standard as a selling point to persuade students, this makes me wonder where else do they have lower standards. Perhaps I am way off base...good luck in your decision making.

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@wutthechris, "promoting" may have not been the best word. It was mentioned. I don't think they were using it as a major selling point, or indicating that they have low standards. They are both quality schools from what I can tell (i. e., the two schools I have been accepted to). The other school I've been accepted to does have a consistently higher pass rate on the pance so that is obviously something to consider, but they also have quite a larger class size (I recently posted a question as to whether or not class size was much of an issue for students) Now that I'm at the decision making point, I'm realizing that there are many factors to consider when choosing a school

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While being prepared for the PANCE is a critical step in achieving the goal of practicing medicine...I like to think that students strive to learn HOW to practice, not just pass a test or squeak by getting "good enough" GPA. Yes, I realize that person who graduates first and last in a class are both addressed by the same professional title when it is all said and done but do you really want to tell folks "I went to XYZ school because I thought it would be the easiest?"

 

Not everyone is destined to be an advanced health care provider. Standards are set for a reason. Finding ways around those standards is not complimentary to the profession.

 

Am I being a big stick in the mud? Perhaps. But when a student turns their vision from looking at "how can I do the best" to "how can I squeak by", it saddens and frustrates me. The lower limits should not enter your decision making process. The success of the graduates should.

 

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> By reading and asking people for information (interviewing) I have found one needs to interview the school(s) just as HARD as they are interviewing you, if NOT HARDER. This is 2/2.5 years (which is nothing if you think of it) of your life that you are putting in someones else’s life. Think of it this way, the patients are literally in your hands, NOT the schools. When you graduate from PA school all they can do is hope is that you learned enough and will continue to learn medicine.

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Obviously, you should do your best no matter where you go to school. I'm not sure there is an enormous difference in rigor between schools; I'm sure there is some, but unless we're able to look at the scores on the PANCE (not just pass rates) I don't know how you would measure it.

 

I've spotted a few rotation sites that have GPA requirements for PA students, and they aren't based on what school you go to.

 

For what it's worth and to answer the original question... I found it marginally more work to maintain my GPA in PA school than in undergrad. It depends on what kind of effort you're accustomed to putting into your education. If you coasted through undergrad, never cracked a book, and still got As... you may find PA school to be a slap in the face. If you have good habits already and are used to reading and studying, it shouldn't be a problem.

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Never heard of < 3.0 GPA req.

 

Best thing to do is ask, on the interview, how many students don't graduate from the program in the last 2-3 yrs.

 

If a lot don't, that's a huge red flag. Now they'll say "oh was due to life/family reasons" but that's BS 50%+ of the time. We had a student drop out due to "fam problems" and trust me unless her brother is G and her two sisters are PA it didn't have **** to do with family.

 

That is the key man!

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