Undergraduate education: Florida State University & The University of Tampa
Overall GPA: 3.48
Science GPA: 3.58
GRE: 305 (151 Verbal, 154 Quantitative, 4.0 Writing)
Total HCE hours: ~200
Total PCE hours: ~1,900 (Medical Scribe/Assistant)
Shadowing hours: ~180 (Orthopedic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon)
Volunteer: ~180 (Hospice, Hospital, MEDlife)
Research: ~500 (Senior thesis and Research Associate at the hospital)
Teaching: ~1250 (TA for A&P, Organic Chemistry and Ecological Physiology)
Extracurricular: Scuba diving, sorority member
LORs: 5 (2 PA, Research coordinator, 2 Professors)
How many times did you apply?: 1
How many programs did you apply to? 19. I was uncertain about where I stood as an applicant, so I applied to as many programs as possible. Looking back, I would not recommend this due to the cost of applications.
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I was invited to interview at 12 programs. Of the 12 invites, I attended 3 interviews and was accepted to all 3 programs.
Where will you be attending? The University of Florida
Any red flags on your application? I started college off well with a 4.0 GPA my freshman year, but my grades declined through my sophomore and junior year. In this time, my transcripts were filled 5 C’s, 3 D’s and 3 withdrawals in core classes. I ended up transferring schools after being kicked out of my major twice, however, I continued to study and finished my 4th and 5th year of undergraduate with all A’s. Instead of retaking my core classes I decided to take more challenging upper level courses to prove that I could handle the material. When I interviewed at each school I actually spoke about my low grades being one of my strengths. I explained to the interviewers why I had received those grades and how I learned and matured since then, which they all appreciated.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? While the interviews were very professional, I was shocked at how informal they actually were. Each program I interviewed with wanted to get to know me as a person, rather than just hear my stats. I had one interviewer tell me, “the board is going to sit down in 2 weeks and decide who we accept. Tell me something that will make you stand out so when your face comes up on the slides I will remember you and want to accept you”. I decided to tell a story about me scuba diving and how I overcame one of my greatest fears. Then I related my story to their PA program and why they should accept me. This must have made me stand out because 2 weeks later I was accepted.
My advice to anyone going on interviews is, go in with a smile and showcase your personality. Every school that interviews you already knows your stats and believes that you would do well in their program. Use the time to talk about your passions, both inside and outside of health care. That is what I did, and one interviewer even thanked me for being so bright and optimistic in a setting filled with so much anxiety.
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? When I was getting ready to apply, I started following PA-S/PA-C on instagram. I watched their stories and YouTube videos, and I reached out to ask them any questions I had. Another resource I used was the Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs 2018. I made an excel file of all the programs I wanted to apply to with their requirements. Throughout the application process I updated it in order to keep track of which schools received my GRE scores and supplemental applications, as well as tracked my overall application status at each program. When I was getting ready to interview I used a combination of the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide book and The Pre-PA club podcasts. Both helped me to formulate my thoughts, and allowed me to practice what I would say in the interviews.
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? This is going to be cliché, but never give up on your dreams. When my grades were slipping my sophomore year, I had a meeting with an academic advisor who sat me down and told me that I was never going to work in the healthcare field, and that I needed to re-evaluate my life goals. I was crushed, but I didn’t listen to him and here I am 3 years later with an acceptance to the PA program of my dreams. If anyone out there is struggling with a lower GPA or GRE scores, make up for it somewhere else on your application. I became involved in research and used that to help me stand out. There are so many other ways to do this. If a program requires 2,000 PCE and 100 volunteer hours, try to double or triple it. Lastly make sure that you are involved in extracurricular activities (not just clubs, but hobbies) and include all of them on your application!
Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: _mgreener. Please feel free to reach out with any questions! I’d love to help anyone going through this stressful process in anyway that I can.
If you've recently been accepted to PA school and would like to be featured in an "Accepted!" post to share your story and advice with other PA hopefuls, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org