Answers to Pre-PA Questions #1


Via the contact page on this site I received the following email. The name of the sender is removed.

I am a junior at the University of Connecticut. I have a 3.67 GPA and my major is in biological sciences. I currently have 1500 hours of direct patient care experience as an EMT. I will have all of the coursework prerequisites that I need at the end of this semester. I have shadowed PAs for over 100 hours as well. I will be taking the GRE in the spring and am starting to prepare for it. I purchased the book “Getting into the PA School of Your Choice” by Andrew Rodican last year and have been using it as a tool to help me with the application process, which I will begin this summer. I have wanted to be a PA since I was a junior in high school and am committed to my future career with all my heart. My top 3 choices are Yale, Quinnipiac, and SUNY Stony Brook. Please tell me what you think I could do to improve my chances of getting an interview and getting accepted to these programs! I would greatly appreciate your input.

Thanks for your question, lets review the sites of these programs. Here is info listed on the Quinnipiac PA Program located in New Haven, CT.

Interested candidates must possess, at a minimum:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a nationally recognized institution
  • 16 semester credits of biology with labs (credits must be in mammalian or human biology), including 3-4 credits of microbiology (with labs) and 6-8 credits of anatomy and physiology (with labs) prior to application
  • 8-12 semester credits of chemistry with labs, including 3-4 credits of organic or biochemistry prior to application
  • 3 semester credits of college algebra, statistics or equivalent prior to application
  • All prerequisites must be completed at a regionally accredited institution in the United States
  • Scores from the test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if the applicant is from a non-English speaking country
  • Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are not required

The most competitive applicants should possess at a minimum:

  • A cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a science GPA of 3.00
  • A minimum of one year (2,000 hours) direct patient care experience in the U.S. health care system
  • As you can see above, you need 500 more hours of direct patient care experience to meet the minimum standard in Quinnipiac.

    Now lets look at SUNY Stony Brook:

    All applicants must meet the following requirements for admission:

    • a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, completed prior to entry
    • a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 (on a scale of 4.0)
    • a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.6 in the natural sciences (including undergraduate and graduate courses in chemistry, mathematics, biological sciences, physics and comparable AHS courses).

    please note:  the minimum overall and natural science gpa for the 2011 cycle will be a 2.90 (on a scale of 4.0)

    • the following distribution requirements (with grades of C or better from transfer institutions):
    • Subject Minimum Credit Hours
      English Composition 3
      Social/Behavioral Sciences 9
      Arts/Humanities (does not include second semester composition, oral communication, introductory foreign language, studio/performance courses) 6
      Statistics or Biostatistics 3
      General Chemistry 8
      Organic or Biochemistry 3
      General Biology 8
      Microbiology (recommend Medical Microbiology) 3
      Genetics 3

    The program stipulates that course work in the natural sciences be designated for science/pre-med majors.  We prefer that science pre-requisites be taken at a four year science intensive University.

    Do not send any transcripts, resumes or recommendations to the program.  Everything must go through CASPA.

    Preference for interview is given to applicants who have:

    • a natural science gpa and an overall gpa of 3.00 or better (note that the minimum overall and natural science gpa to apply starting in 2011 will be a 2.90)
    • have completed coursework in Anatomy and Physiology at the time of application
    • whose natural science prerequisites have been taken within seven years of application
    • completed all of the required prerequisites at the time of application.
    • who have direct patient care experience complete by the deadline date.

    In addition, we recommend additional coursework in Nutrition, and/or Immunology.

    We also recommend a technical or scientific writing course in addition to the required English Composition. All applicants whose native or first language is not English must also score at least 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, or an iBT total score of 90 (with no subscore lower than the minimums listed: Reading: 22, Listening: 21, Writing: 25, Speaking: 22) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) within two years prior to admission.

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    Health Related Experience

    Prior to admission 1,000 hours of documented, direct patient care and/or health-related experience (either full or part-time) is required. Preference is given to those candidates with direct patient care or a broad range of health-related experience. Work experience as a nurse, nurse’s aide, medic, corpsman, medical laboratory technologist, respiratory therapist, emergency medical technician, counselor in a health care setting, etc. can meet this requirement. Up to 500 hours may be satisfied by direct patient-care experiences completed during clinical training in the health professions (e.g., practicums in nursing, clinical practice clerkships in allied health, graduate psychology internships, etc.). Volunteer direct patient care experiences may meet this requirement. Shadowing can be used towards this requirement, however, the program will only accept up to 200 hours of shadowing. The remaining 800 hours must be direct patient care experiences.

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    Other Admission Requirements

    • Three references
    • Current certification in Basic Life Support (BLS for Health Care Providers). ACLS certification recommended if you are BLS certified and have a critical care background.  Do not take ACLS prior to the June start date of the program so that it does not expire prior to the end of the program.
    • the program requires a supplemental application.  The supplemental application will be sent to you via email when your application is received by the program.  You are not considered a complete applicant and will not be reviewed until your supplemental application and $50 fee is received by the program.
    • We do not require the GRE
    • If you are offered an interview with the program, you will sign a condition form that you acknowledge that you have to send official transcripts to the program, show proof of current BLS certification, and successfully pass a criminal background check by June 1st (of the year you will be starting).  Inability to meet the conditions of acceptance will result in the program rescinding the seat.

    It appears you meet all the requirements for the SUNY PA Program at Stony Brook. How about Yale, the other choice you mentioned.

    Academic Prerequisites

    • Baccalaureate degree (BS/BA)
    • Cumulative science G.P.A. of 3.0 (How is this computed?)
    • One semester of general biology or zoology with lab
    • One semester of general chemistry with lab
    • One semester of either organic chemistry or biochemistry
    • Three semesters of biology; one must be a human or animal physiology course at 200 level or higher, and two must be 300 or 400 level equivalent (open to juniors and seniors only)
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

    Experience Prerequisites

    We do not have a baseline requirement of a certain number of healthcare hours, nor do we value one type of health care experience more than another.

    The Admissions Committee expects that applicants have some awareness of the intricacies of medical care delivery as it exists today and can realistically commit themselves to a profession that aids the sick and injured. Many of our students have extensive medical backgrounds in roles such as medical assistant, military corpsman, nurse, surgical technician, and emergency medical technician.

    CASPA Tip

    For the class entering in the fall 2009, hours of healthcare experience ranged from 124 to 36,700 total hours. When submitting an application through CASPA, applicants are asked to categorize their experiences as either Patient Care Experience or Related Health Experience, and should follow the instructions provided by CASPA at that time in order to assess the distinctions and select the appropriate category. Further information on our students’ experience can be found in our Admissions Statistics tables.

    Interpersonal Prerequisites

    Compassionate health care is a basic tenet of the PA profession. The program values the applicant’s ability to work skillfully, thoughtfully, responsibly and constructively with people. Individuals who demonstrate flexibility and the ability to adapt to new situations are well suited to become physician assistants.

    The interpersonal prerequisites will be demonstrated in your interview and what your 3 references say about you. When you ask for a reference, you might mention this flexibility issue and ask them to say something about your flexibility and adaptability in their reference.

    You have the demographic that gets accepted to PA school theses days – ambitious women in their early to mid-twenties who are bright, have proved they can handle academics, who have PA as a first choice and know about the profession and about patient care directly. The things that make you stand out are your References, your Essays and your interview. You will likely get in the very high 500’s on both verbal and quantitative and a 4.0 or more on the written portion. You are very competitive. You need to have an essay and interview strategy to help you stand out and make the faculty want you to come to their program. I think you have an excellent chance at all 3 of these programs.

    I have a coaching program that you can pay for by the hour if you want some specific help with this process.

    Categories : Pre-PA HS, Pre-PA Univ

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