Undergraduate education: B.S in Allied Health, A.A.S in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI.
Overall GPA: 3.46
Science GPA: 3.39
GRE: 299-Verbal: 150, Quantitative: 149, Writing 4.5
Total HCE hours: I didn't put any on my application, although I feel the amount of PCE hours I have counts for HCE hours as well.
Total PCE hours: I've worked direct patient care (as an Ultrasound Technologist) for just over six years now. Going radiology first is a great way to get experience hours, and I never would have learned about the PA world without it!
Shadowing hours: Again, I didn't put any on my application but I mentioned in my interview that I worked directly with PAs and learned a lot from them. I do wish I would have shadowed PAs in different departments to learn the broader spectrum of physician assistant care but I don't think it will impact how I do in school.
Other volunteer hours: I mentioned that i've volunteered in an Alternative Spring Break and other non-healthcare related activites however, if I had been on a PA track since undergrad, I would've used more opportunities to get health care related volunteer experience! I think it not only looks good on an application, but you can learn so much from getting out and seeing what health care in different communities looks like!
LORs: Four! I had two of my PAs I work with, as well as two radiologists I worked with submit letters. Since I applied twice, I used the first two PAs again, but I had a different radiologist submit a new letter just in case schools frowned upon repeats
How many times did you apply?: Twice!
Age: 27 - 28 when I start school. ((I initially thought this was too old to start the PA process but through the PA instagram world, I learned its never too late to go after your dreams and make it happen! Its a risk, but the reward will be so worth it!))
How many programs did you apply to? Two.
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I only interviewed with one school. My goal was to stay close to my current city because I bought a house and didn't want to have to sell it. If I wasn't accepted I would have applied outside the state/other areas. The school I interviewed with initially waitlisted me and recommended I go for a higher GRE score. They said if I got a higher GRE, then I would be admitted for the next cycle without another interview (just a quick phone interview) and so I did! I was accepted five days after I took the test!
Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was surprised how casual everything was! The instructors made me feel so relaxed and at ease during the whole process. They gave us a lot of information about the school and were so open with answers to our multiple questions. They did a group interview style and some scenario activities for us to do. It was actually fun!
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? The PA platform website was so beneficial with the application process and any questions leading up to that. I used the free printouts for help leading up to my interview and it was so nice to have that! I also have found an amazing and generous community on instagram with PA students and PA-Cs willing and ready to answer any and all questions. @lorae_the_pa and @lifeasapa have been my go-to PA/all around badass women inspo. :)
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Don't give up! The application process is long and frustrating but keep going! Reach out to any and all PAs you know for help and advice. I haven't ran into any of them that were unwilling to help. Also, remember to relax and not stress (easier said than done of course!). PA school will have us stressing like crazy. Don't get too worked up before you even begin!
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