Apr
16

Answers to Pre-PA Questions – How do I get in?

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On my Squidoo lens I received this comment from someone calling herself Mountainhealer:

Hello Mr. Bair,
Thank you in advance for your site and your advice.  I am writing because my life’s ambition is to become a PA, but I have been rejected by the one school I applied to (Mt. Union) and I will be applying, once again, to a limited number of schools (Baylor and U-Texas Galveston).  I have a B.S. in Integrative and Medical Biology and a M.A. in Medical Anthropology, with a GPA of 3.2 and 3.6 respectively and a post-grad GPA of 4.0. I earned average scores on the GRE two years ago.   Moreover, I have many years of experience 10+ (I’m 29) of working as a nurse’s aid, detox assistant, research assistant, and health educator.  I have also shadowed several PA’s.  I think I was rejected by the PA school of my choice after two interviews because I was 9 months pregnant and not interviewing well, but I’m concerned that I’ll never achieve my dreams.  I have three children, so volunteering is not an easy task to achieve and I have fulfilled all of my prerequisite coursework.  I don’t know
what to do.  I’m concerned I’ll have to begin looking for alternatives if I don’t get in this year.  Please provide me with the following: 1. advice to improve my chances of getting in 2. plausible alternatives to the profession

Hey Mountainhealer!

I am so glad you asked your question. If you have it, there are probably many people who have the same thoughts and ideas.

First, I think you are probably right in your assessment of the out come of your interview. Bravo to you for getting the interview. Your pregnancy and the quality of your interview most certainly were the deciding factors. It took me more than once and I was not as well prepared as you when I got into PA school in the ’70’s.

Mount Union is a new program on provisional approval. They are going to be very tight on who they admit. Your qualifications should get you an interview in a number of top 25 PA programs. Since you are interested in Ohio, there are a total of 5 Programs, in Parma, Kettering, Toledo, Marietta, Findlay and as you know Alliance. Findlay is on probation, it is thus a third tier program, and not for you with your credentials. The others are second tier programs. If you are willing to apply just across the border there are several programs in Pittsburgh, including Duquesne that is a top 25 program.

You need grades and GRE scores that are good just to be qualified for the party. Your essays and your references get you an interview. The interview gets you in. Do you think you have a good plan to handle the needs of your children during the 2 years? It is intense. It can be done, many do and you appear to be qualified. You are going to need to answer that question at your interview where ever you apply. Ask yourself, what else could you do with 2 more years education that will give you freedom, flexibility, rewards and a salary in full time employment of about 80-90 thousand dollars per year. There are alternatives, but nothing quite the same unless you become an NP and it would take you more than 2 years to do it. I was always asked what my plan B was, I always said Plan B was what I would do  when I quit trying. You can figure out plan B later. Get focused with a laser focus on what you want. You have already proved you can do graduate level work at a high level.

I encourage you to solve each days problems that day. You will need help – who will be on your team? Get yourself ready. Be able to look anyone in the eye and answer the tough questions. I believe you can do it if you get ready. There is a seat for “Mountainhealer”in a PA school with your name on it. You have to find it and claim it. Prepare well.

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