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SarahChil

Re-Applying to PA school. Advice?

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I graduated with a degree in Biology in May 2012, and applied to PA school in September. I applied to 9 schools, interviewed at Lock Haven University, but I was not offered admission anywhere.

 

At the time I applied I only had 233 patient care hours, with a science GPA of 3.1, and a QPA of 3.3.

 

Since I applied I have increased my patient care hours to ~900. I worked as a health care aide and currently I work as a clinical allergy specialist. I do allergy testing, and administer allergy injections.

 

I feel that to increase my chances of getting into a program I need to increase my GPA. I am currently looking into an accelerated bio master's program that is specifically designed for people that want to go to med school or PA school. The program would only be a year and I think I could really strengthen my application.

 

Do others think my GPA is the problem? I'm worried if I just apply again and don't do anything to increase my GPA that it's not going to work out in my favor.

 

Just looking for any advice from other people that have been in a similar situation and had success applying a second time.

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I think you'll waste your time and money with that master's degree. Go back and take any prerequisites you can less than a C and/or take additional high level sciences. Your GPA is good, not great (pretty much like my GPA) so I don't feel that is your major obstacle. HCE hours, that is another story. I suggest becoming an EMT and doing that part time to get greater quality experience if you want to keep your current job. You'll want at least 1k hours and the more the better. Also get more PA shadowing hours. Continually improve your overall application in various areas and you'll get in somewhere! Don't get discouraged if you have to take a few extra years off to accomplish everything. Starting PA school myself in May. Second time was a charm.

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Normally I would say that GPA averages and HCE accumulates, but your science GPA is pretty far down on the low side. I might suggest not retaking anything you passed, but taking some enrichment type upper division science classes. Also, getting a good score on the GRE could help.

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I would retake any science prerequisite that you got a C+ or lower in to start. It seems like you are accumulating good HCE, which will definitely help you and also enable you to apply to more schools. Also, the earlier you apply in the cycle the better because many schools are rolling admissions. Like others, I would also suggest you take more upper level science courses. Remember that in taking these courses you need to get an A to really improve your GPA. I think your best option would be to retake classes and continue garnering HCE, rather than do an intense one year program which may raise your overall GPA, but also might prevent you from getting more HCE.

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From other people that I've read getting in, usually around 1-2 years worth of HCE (at least). So assuming 40 hrs a week times 52 weeks in a year times, I'd say at least 2000 hours of HCE. Thats just my opinion. I'm still working on my first year of HCE and I'm planning on getting a pleb certification to get direct contact on top of my clinical lab job experience. My GPA is around yours also. Private msg me if you want info on what I'll be planning to do :D Good luck and def let me know how your apps go because our stats are pretty similar (not sure about course wise though)!!!

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Most schools will have the number of HCE they want that you can find on their website. A lot of programs I applied to wanted 1,000-2,000+, so the more hours you can get the better! I also had to apply two years before I was accepted. When I wasn't accepted anywhere my first year, I called/emailed the programs I was really interested in and asked for feedback on my application. Most schools suggested that I retake any classes in which I received a C, spend a lot of time shadowing PAs, work on leadership roles in my current job/extracurriculars, increase my number of HCE, and increase my volunteer hours. I followed all of those recommendations and got accepted my second year applying! I suggest you contact schools individually to get their recommendations, try to get more HCE (I agree with Josheppe that an EMT would have a broader range of experience, or even a PCT or CNA!). My grades were similar to yours and I still got accepted, so it is possible! Best of luck to you.

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I know when I assisted with interviews at my school, we were looking at the applicant's life experiences as much as we were their grades and shadowing. So many applicants were right out of undergrad, put all their time and effort into their grades and didn't have much of a life to talk about. Take this year to prepare yourself and do something awesome so you'll have something to talk about next time around! Good luck.

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I also didn't get accepted this year for the first time around applying. I was thinking of writing an email to each individual school I wanted to re-apply to and ask what they personally would expect of me in the next year. I was contemplating an accelerated 1 yr program like mentioned or retaking courses I received a C in to boost GPA. I personally would just rather have a MS on my belt than retake courses, but in the end whatever it takes I'm willing to do.

 

Do you think the email will be too over the top? I figured that way not only will i have a more concrete idea as to what to do in the next year but also they'll (hopefully) have my name in their mind.

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I was in the exact same situation you were in last year, with about the same science GPA and little HCE, but had a previous, non-medical career. I applied to Lock Haven, got an interview, but didn't get accepted. I met with one of the members of the admissions committee and we went over my application. It was suggested that I take upper level science courses and retake my GRE's. I did what was suggested and got accepted this year (my 2nd time applying). I think getting additional HCE would help your chances in the broader sense, but for me I focused on coursework because Lock Haven doesn't require a specific amount of HCE (and I thought LHU was my best bet for acceptance). Retaking courses/taking upper level courses won't necessarily improve your GPA all that much, but I think that it shows motivation and determination (just my opinion). Good luck, and don't give up hope!

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@eshold01 you have no idea how much your comment has relieved one of my worst fears. I applied this cycle and did not receive even ONE interview. Being a really good student, I realized that I may have depended on my good grades too much and less so on my experience. I will be graduating with my undergraduate degree this May and know that I still have lots of time to enhance my application but my biggest concern is if I get rejected again. I plan on gaining HCE and retaking the GRE, so hopefully the admissions committee will take that into account. Thank you for sharing! :)

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Smansoor, schools also dont tend to like applicants who have not finished their pre reqs/degree at time of application, so that will help.

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@eshold01 you have no idea how much your comment has relieved one of my worst fears. I applied this cycle and did not receive even ONE interview. Being a really good student, I realized that I may have depended on my good grades too much and less so on my experience. I will be graduating with my undergraduate degree this May and know that I still have lots of time to enhance my application but my biggest concern is if I get rejected again. I plan on gaining HCE and retaking the GRE, so hopefully the admissions committee will take that into account. Thank you for sharing! :)

 

No problem! Glad I could help :)

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eshold01 It is so great to hear that you went through a very similar situation! I contacted a representative from Lock Haven and they said they will contact me to review my application. I'm definitely willing to take any advice that they have to give. When you applied a second time how many schools did you apply to?

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@eshold01 you have no idea how much your comment has relieved one of my worst fears. I applied this cycle and did not receive even ONE interview. Being a really good student, I realized that I may have depended on my good grades too much and less so on my experience. I will be graduating with my undergraduate degree this May and know that I still have lots of time to enhance my application but my biggest concern is if I get rejected again. I plan on gaining HCE and retaking the GRE, so hopefully the admissions committee will take that into account. Thank you for sharing! :)

 

What do you define as good grades? Just curious.

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eshold01 It is so great to hear that you went through a very similar situation! I contacted a representative from Lock Haven and they said they will contact me to review my application. I'm definitely willing to take any advice that they have to give. When you applied a second time how many schools did you apply to?

 

I applied to about 8 my second time around. I still only got an interview at Lock Haven. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get any others, but it turned out fine. I think it really had to do with the fact that I made a connection there at my first interview and I really showed them that I was committed to this goal. No other school knew me from anyone else. If you can make a personal connection I think that makes a difference. So definitely meet with them in person if you can make that happen.

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Smansoor, schools also dont tend to like applicants who have not finished their pre reqs/degree at time of application, so that will help.

That depends on the school and the pre-req that you're missing. I've talked to one or two AD's who told me that it's a big problem if it's a science pre-req but if non-science they're willing to look past it.

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I'm pretty much in the same boat as SarahChil. I've been stressed over whether or not I should even bother applying this cycle and waste money. Are there any advantages to doing this even though I don't think I'll get in at this time? I'm afraid my lack of shadowing experience will be a disadvantage.

Should I hold off until next year or still attempt to at least get my feet wet? The application process will be time consuming and I wonder if I should just dedicate my efforts to bettering myself overall as an applicant instead.

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Although I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't get accepted my first time around I have definitely learned a lot about the process and what I could do to improve my application. Each year the requirements are only going to get stricter. They are going to raise the GPA requirements etc because each year more and more people apply. The GRE really isn't that bad. I would suggest taking it, because it allows you to apply to a wide variety of schools.

 

If I had to go back and change something about the first time I applied I wouldn't have applied to so many schools. So I would suggest that you spend the next month or two trying to increase your shadowing hours and take the GRE and apply this cycle!

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Although I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't get accepted my first time around I have definitely learned a lot about the process and what I could do to improve my application. Each year the requirements are only going to get stricter. They are going to raise the GPA requirements etc because each year more and more people apply. The GRE really isn't that bad. I would suggest taking it, because it allows you to apply to a wide variety of schools.

 

If I had to go back and change something about the first time I applied I wouldn't have applied to so many schools. So I would suggest that you spend the next month or two trying to increase your shadowing hours and take the GRE and apply this cycle!

 

 

I've ultimately decided to hold off on applying this year, save up more money, and also study for the GREs to qualify for a few schools out of state. I realized how expensive it can to just fly across the country for an interview alone, which is tough when you're on your own financially.

 

Thanks for the advice though! Good luck on applications this year :)

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@Moiraine57 haha good question! I think that my grades are good to me because I know that I work hard to get them. I'm not sure if you'd agree, I just felt that if I would work hard people would notice the effort. It's really alright! I'm up for a challenge and if I don't get into PA school this time then there's always next time! :)

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