accepted

Accepted: Savannah - Methodist University

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (37).png

Undergraduate education: University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Major: Biology with a Biomedical Emphasis. I will be graduating in May 2019.

Overall GPA: 3.93

Science GPA: 3.95

GRE: 304 with a 4.5 writing score

Total HCE hours: 0 (lol)

Total PCE hours: At the time of application, ~1300-1800. 500 of my hours were not counted at certain schools because I obtained them as a Paramedic Intern. Most of my patient care hours were obtained as a Paramedic and the rest I functioned as an EMT-Basic.

Shadowing hours: 54 with a PA and 8 with a physician 

Other volunteer hours: ~350. Most hours were obtained volunteering at events for our honors college.

LORs: Dean of the Honors College, a PA that teaches at the university I wanted to attend, Biochemistry professor, Physics professor, Supervisor/Owner of company I worked for

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 21 now, and 20 at the time of applying/being accepted

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 10. Still waiting to hear back from 5 schools.

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? Invited to 5 interviews, rejected 4 of the invites, and accepted to the 1 school I interviewed with.

Where will you be attending? Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. I am local to this area, so Methodist was one of my top picks.

Any red flags on your application? 35th percentile in math section on the GRE, my age, and lower PCE hours

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The faculty was easy to talk to, and they were also transparent about any issues the school had dealt with in the past. Methodist exhibited professionalism throughout the entire process, even before I had applied. Their program director answered emails promptly, and the interview process was explained in great detail. When contacting schools and interviewing with them, please keep in mind how they talk to you and how eager they are to assist you with questions. This process is a two way street, and they are trying to sell themselves to you too.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? For interview prep questions, I used How To "Ace" The Physician Assistant School Interview by Andrew Rodican (Affiliate Link). The book gave me a feel for what questions to expect, but the book felt outdated in some areas. For websites, I used the PA student forum and Savanna's blog posts. The Pre-PA Club on Facebook was also useful. On the forum, I was able to connect with people who were interviewing, and I met up with some of them before we interviewed. Now some of them are going to be my classmates!

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? If you meet the requirements to apply, go ahead and do it. When CASPA opened up, I had made up so many reasons I shouldn't apply (age, GRE score, low PCE). I ended up getting interviews at schools that were my "reach" schools, so I had worried myself to death for no reason. Do your best to prepare for interviews early because sometimes schools give a last minute interview to people, and you might not have time to start prepping like you had thought. Finally, APPLY EARLY!

Where can we find you?  My Instagram is @savannahmelvin and my email is savannahmelvin028@gmail.com


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Tayler - Francis Marion University PA Student

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (36).png

Undergraduate education: The University of Texas-Austin ( B.S. in Human Development and Family Sciences) 

Overall GPA: 3.54

Science GPA: 2.9

Pre-req GPA: 3.8

GRE: 298

Total PCE hours: about 1550 at time of application 

Shadowing hours: 70 

Other volunteer hours: around 5,000 (I volunteered A LOT)

LORs: 4 (2 PA’s, 1 NP, 1 Professor)

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 24

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? About 18

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 2 (1 waitlisted, 1 acceptance)

Where will you be attending? Francis Marion University Physician Assistant Program (I started August 20th)

Any red flags on your application? Low science GPA, my GRE wasn’t that competitive, but I met the requirement of my program.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? My interviews were pretty laid back. You can tell they wanted to know who you were as a person and not just giving you a hard time. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? How to Ace the Physician Assistant School Interview  (Affiliate link)

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? You can do this! Do NOT give up. This process isn’t easy but its so worth. If you know you want to go to PA school start getting your patient care hours early. If your GPA isn’t the best that doesn’t count you out! Keep working hard but most of all enjoy the journey. One minute you will be submitting your CASPA and before you know it you will be starting PA School. 

Where can we find you?

I have a blog called ministry in medicine where I talk about my journey! www.ministryinmedicine.com 

Instagram: @Incomparabletay


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted: George - Stony Brook + 4 Other Acceptances to PA School!

Copy of On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (1).png

Undergraduate Education : City University of New York, Brooklyn College. 

Overall GPA : 3.51 

Science GPA : 3.47

GRE : 301 (Math 151, English 150, essay 4) 

Total HCE hours : 580 (volunteering at a hospital, Medical Assistant) 

Total PCE hours : 4,350 (Medical Assistant at a Vascular Interventional Radiology clinic, where I learned to start IVs and draw blood ; MA at a Pain Management office; PT Aide at a PT/OT rehabilitation clinic) 

Shadowing hours : 240 ( ER PA-C and an ER Attending Physician, honestly loved this experience, learned a lot by observing the PA and the attending Physician) 

Research hours : 38 (Emergency Medicine research At Maimonides Medical Center) 

Other Volunteering hours : 265 ( At St. Vartan Cathedral in NYC) 

LOR : A&P 1,2 professor, Biochem 2 professor, Organic Chem 2 professor, ER PA-C , ER- Attending, Anesthesiologist (My Previous Boss), Radiologist (My Current Boss). 

How many times did I apply : 1 time 

Age: 22

Gender : Male 

How many programs did you apply to: 10 

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes:  I attended 7 interviews, got into 5, and 2 rejections. 

I will be attending Stony Brook University PA program , class of 2021. (I start next June). 

Any Red Flags ?: I had a D in Orgo Chem 1 Lab and a C+ in Orgo Chem 2 Lab.. I had to explain those grades in every interview I had. 

Anything you found surprising about the interviews?: 

Honestly, I was surprised how nice everyone was, and how they are genuinely trying to get to know you. They are not there to make  you feel uncomfortable. They just simply want to get to know you and that was comforting. Luckily, I didn’t have those MMI interviews, because I really have no idea why those even exist. For Stony Brook, I had a tour of the entire facility, and 2 individual, 25 minute interviews with different faculty members. 

I purchased PA Interview Guide by Savanna Perry, which was definitely super helpful. I bought the electronic version and had it in my phone and just read it twice before my interviews. 

My advice to Pre PA students is don’t get discouraged!!!! When I got a D in organic chemistry lab , I went to my professor and wanted to speak to him about my grade. He asked me what career I wanted to pursue and I told him that I wanted to become a PA and that my dream school is Stony Brook. He told me that the most I’ll ever be in life is an EMT. That was the most discouraging moments ever. So work hard guys . Study your butts off. Don’t let disappointments derail you from your goal. Grades are super important but PCE hours are JUST AS IMPORTANT!!! Don’t slack on hours! And ask for LOR as early as possible. You don’t want that to hold you back from applying early. 

Where can we find you? Instagram: @georgethepas


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted: Whitney - University of Kentucky

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (32).png

Undergraduate education: I obtained my Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology and Health Promotions from the University of Kentucky in May 2018!

Overall GPA: 3.37

Science GPA: 3.42

GRE: 150 V / 147 Q / 4.5 A

Total HCE hours: 2,100 (Sterile processing assistant and ER scribe)

Total PCE hours: 3,500 (CNA in a variety of settings - nursing home, private, large university hospital, and rural hospital)

Shadowing hours: 620 (PA's in different fields - ortho, ER, primary care, and pediatrics)

Other volunteer hours: 3,450

Leadership hours: 7,600 (Student-athlete)

Research hours: 0

LORs: 5 (PA, MD, APRN, Assistant Athletic Director, and a Professor)

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 21

Gender: Female 

How many programs did you apply to? 4

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I had one interview with UK and was accepted before the other 3 programs extended interview invitations. 

Where will you be attending?  University of Kentucky - Morehead Campus (Go Cats!)

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I really enjoyed interviews because it allowed me the chance to know more about the students and staff, even future classmates! The interviews were much more of a conversation and I felt very comfortable.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I purchased the PA Interview Guide and read through it after submitting all of my CASPA and supplemental apps. I would go through and quiz myself on questions in the book and practiced with my family. I also scheduled a mock interview with Hanna while I was waiting for interview invitations. I was able to review how I interviewed and fine tune some of my weaker points.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? My advice for Pre-PA students is to become involved in your favorite PA program and your state's PA chapter. Start learning about staff, the program's mission, disparities in healthcare, attend your PA program's fundraisers and join their pre-PA club if they have one! By the time I applied to UK I felt like I was part of a family (who all happen to be very intelligent and compassionate PA's!) I would also say to enjoy your hours as a CNA or EMT and don't be afraid to ask questions to ultimately learn more about medicine and science. I feel very strongly that patient care is the most valuable asset someone can possess as a future PA. You learn to appreciate not only how hard you work to pursue the PA profession, but how hard each individual in healthcare works to provide quality care to our patients. I would also suggest trying to scribe whenever possible! It's a wonderful opportunity to shadow providers and learn about the medical decision making process!

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @_whitness5
Twitter: @_whitness5


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted!: Carmen - University of Manitoba (Canada)

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (31).png

Undergraduate education: 4-year honours B.Sc degree majoring in Biology

Overall GPA: 3.6/4.5 scale

Science GPA: n/a

Recent 60 credit hour GPA: 3.8 (this is the GPA our program uses)

GRE: n/a

Total HCE hours: 400 hours

Total PCE hours: 1500 hours

Shadowing hours: 16 hours

Other volunteer hours: 400 hours

LORs: 3: One from my manager at the restaurant i work who I’ve known for 3 years.
One from a PA I shadowed and who has been my mentor through this process over the past few years.
One from my honours project lab supervisor.

How many times did you apply?:  Two

Age: 24

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? One

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I interviewed with the one and was accepted a week later!

Where will you be attending? University of Manitoba in Canada

Any red flags on your application? I was most concerned about my lower GPA

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I actually had a lot of fun interviewing and it truly was just them getting to know me as a person.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I read Doing Right by Philip C. Hébert which was a book on medical ethics that helped with interviews. (Affiliate Link) I also used many blogs and forums focused on PA/Medicine for interviews and MMI’s.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? I think gaining experience is not only important because the programs require it but it also makes you a well-rounded person and gives you vital life experiences that anyone going into a healthcare profession needs. Between my first year applying (and not getting an interview) and my second year (getting accepted) I gained experience by working with people who had neurological motor disabilities. I found that I learned so much from the experience not only about working with people but also about myself and I feel more prepared and equipped to enter the PA profession because of it. 


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted!: Tarika - Future Georgia PA Student

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (30).png

Undergraduate education:  University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Overall GPA: 3.8

Science GPA: 3.7

GRE: 314

Total HCE hours: 250

Total PCE hours: 4500 (MA and scribe) 

Shadowing hours: 1000

Other volunteer hours: 320

LORs: 3 (1 PA, 2 physicians) 

How many times did you apply?:  2

Age: 24 (by the time I start) 

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 5

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? so far, 2. Accepted from one, waiting on the other. 

Where will you be attending? Not sure yet, but somewhere in Georgia! 

Any red flags on your application? I still have a prerequisite to complete. The first time I applied, I asked a PA who I only shadowed ONCE to write me a letter and that was a mistake.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? My interviewers were surprisingly super warm and they made me feel really comfortable! They just wanted to get to know me rather than "grill me" with hard questions. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I read "how to get into PA school" by Andrew Rodican. (Affiliate Link)

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Have patience! Good things happen when the time is right. Don't lose focus and don't give up if this is something you really want! Form good relationships with the PA's/Doctors you shadow and work with because your recommendation letters really matter! DM me if you have any questions! 

Where can we find you? @tarika03 on instagram! 


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted!: John - UAB

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (29).png

Undergraduate education: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) 

Overall GPA: 3.93

Science GPA:
3.92

GRE:  313; 157 Verbal (76%ile), 156 Quant (61%ile), 5.0 Writing (92%ile)

Total HCE hours: 900 hours (400 at primary care corporate internship, ~500 in research at time of application)

Total PCE hours: ~20 hours

Shadowing hours: 130 hours

Other volunteer hours: > 2,000 hours (in addition to many other volunteer opportunities, I worked pro-bono at a summer camp that I lived at for the entire summer)

LORs: 4

How many times did you apply?: Only once! 

Age: 21 at time of application

Gender: Male

How many programs did you apply to? One; due to having so few PCE hours, I opted to only apply to my home program the first year, and then if I was not accepted, I intended to work and gain more PCE and re-apply the next cycle to far more programs. 

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I interviewed at one school and was ACCEPTED! 

Where will you be attending? I will be attending UAB!

Any red flags on your application? Of course, my abysmally low patient care hour count. I’m thankful for the fact that UAB did not have a hard-and-fast PCE requirement, as that allowed me to supplement my application elsewhere with a variety of HCE and other leadership positions. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? 

I was pleasantly surprised at just how low-key the interview was. Of course the stakes were high and there was a lot of preparation that, appropriately, should go in to the interview, but I was very quickly put at ease by the entire body of faculty, staff, and students that helped orchestrate interview day. You could tell that the entire team wanted the applicants to be put at ease, and they truly want their future students to succeed, meaning there weren’t any ridiculous curveballs that were thrown at us. The whole process was truly enjoyable and I feel like I was able to leave with confidence in hand. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?

To be totally honest, other than a few articles on interview etiquette around Google, as well as some really helpful articles on thepalife.com that surveyed PA vs. MD (the other career I was considering early in undergrad), most of my preparation came through on-campus career development resources, my wonderful Biomedical Sciences advisors, and some really insightful professors. One in particular was my former communications professor who graciously gave me audience a week or so before my interview to really coach me through useful things to say. Making friends and building bridges with those who are a few chapters in life ahead of you is so invaluable.
 
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? 

Aside from the comments I made in the last response about making connections, building bridges, and picking others’ brains, one of the biggest things you can really do to serve yourself well in your journey to PA is to find out what it is that makes you tick, and why becoming a PA is the most fulfilling and appropriate way for you to apply yourself as a professional. In other words, why PA? Why do you want to practice medicine? When a respectable salary and a relatively short schooling lose their luster in yet ANOTHER long and challenging work day, what is going to motivate you in your medical career? For me, it was through my shadowing experiences that I recognized firsthand the kind of impact a PA was able to make while having a wonderfully broad scope of practice. I was enamored with having a career that would allow me to see patients, perform H&Ps, order tests, perform diagnostics, make a diagnosis, deliver or order treatments, and even perform surgery, all while allowing me to do so at a much lower cost in less time than medical school. To really be able to challenge myself every day in a field that I love where I can think critically and analytically about my patients, all while delivering compassionate medical care to those who are relying upon me is truly the most fulfilling career that I, personally, can see for myself.  

This is one of the things that, outside of your stats, will do the most to propel you out front in interviews: know yourself well and spend the time discovering and thinking through your motivations. Portray yourself as someone who has carefully thought through their decision, who has shadowed and worked and studied and researched to the point that you can precisely say why a career as a PA is the absolute best decision you can make. That’s an applicant that I would want in my program. 

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc): Find me on Instagram with the handle @the.musical.pa, where I will be documenting my journey through PA school and offering a glimpse into what it’s like to evolve into a healthcare professional. You may get a taste of my music career here and there as well. ;) 


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform.

Accepted!: Ananya - Florida International University

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (27).png

Undergraduate education: B.A. in Sociology from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL

Overall GPA: 3.4

Science GPA: 3.3

GRE: 316 - Verbal: 156 Quantitative: 160 Writing: 4.5 

Total HCE hours: ~1500 - Worked in medical records for a physician's office in summers from 11th grade through sophomore year in college; went on medical missions trips twice

Total PCE hours: ~3000 - Worked as a medical assistant in the summers at a physician's office from junior year through graduation and then full time through my gap year, in my senior year of college I worked as a triage specialist for a clinic that served patients without insurance

Shadowing hours: 200+ - I shadowed in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Critical Care and ER

Other volunteer hours: I was involved in a lot of extracurricular volunteer opportunities through clubs I was in and organizations on campus

LORs: I had one from the physician whose office I worked in from 11th grade - my gap year; one from my mentor who's an internist, one from a teacher I had when I was in medical school (for a year), and one from a PA who I shadowed

How many times did you apply?: This was my first cycle

Age: 24 (almost 25!)

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 18. (I don't necessarily recommend this - I was told to apply to more schools due to the idea that some schools might reject me right off the bat for having attended medical school previously. Then, I got nervous in November because I didn't have any interviews at that point so I applied to 6 other schools whose deadlines hadn't passed and weren't on my radar before)

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 6; I was accepted to 2 and on the waitlist at the other 4 (also 3 of the schools were ones that I applied to earlier on in the cycle, and the other 3 were schools that I applied to later on)

Any red flags on your application? I spent a year in medical school in the Carribbean, so I'm sure that was a red flag; Also had Cs in 2 classes (but I retook them and received As)

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was more nervous before going into the room than I was during the actual interview. I think the way the conversation evolved really gave me insight for whether I was a good match for the program. The schools I was most comfortable with were the ones in which it seemed like I was having a conversation rather than being interviewed. Also, I participated in one MMI style interview and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. I think it's best to get rid of preconceived notions and truly showcase who you are as a person in all of your interviews - In the end, I believe that's what matters the most. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I followed and connected with pre-PA, PA-S, and PA-C instagrammers :) For GRE prep, I used Magoosh (and LOVED it) & for interview prep I used The 100 Interview Questions from The PA Platform (thanks Savanna!).

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? YES - STAY POSITIVE! It is so easy to get bogged down with trying to get everything done right, making sure you're competitive and then waiting to hear back about interviews and acceptances. Remind yourself of all of the great things you've accomplished, continue working hard and know that in the end, it will all pay off. 

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: @livingthatPAlife is where I am documenting my journey through school and eventually in the field. In addition, feel free to email me anytime at amahajan.pa@gmail.com and I will help as best I can. 

Accepted!: Bailey - South University (Savannah)

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (25).png

Undergraduate education: The University of Georgia; Nutritional Sciences- B.S.F.C.S.

Overall GPA: 3.92

Science GPA: 3.90

GRE: 311; 156 Verbal, 155 Quantitative, 4.5 Writing

Total HCE hours: 84 (EMT ride-along clinicals)

Total PCE hours: ~1,200 (~900 as a full-time medical assistant in a family practice, ~300 as a personal care aid for a college student with spinal muscular atrophy)

Shadowing hours: 164 (130- Orthopedics, 15- Dermatology, 19- Gastroenterology)

Other volunteer hours: ~50

LORs: 4 (1 from the physician who I worked with as a medical assistant, 1 from my junior year anatomy professor, 1 from my boss at the boxing gym where I coached fitness classes, and 1 from my college advisor)

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 22

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 7  

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I received an interview invitation from one of my top choices 15 days after submitting my CASPA. Exactly 1 month later, I was accepted. I received another interview invite about 1 week after the first and attended that interview as well. The programs that start in January move fast!! 

Where will you be attending? South University, Savannah

Any red flags on your application? I worried that my patient care and volunteer hours were too low, but I hoped that the admissions committees would notice the quality of my hours rather than the raw numbers.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the faculty members made the candidates feel! Both of the interviews that I attended were two days long. The first day consisted of a presentation, meet and greet, student Q&A, tour, etc., while the actual interviews took place on the second. On the inside, I was super anxious, but once I was one-on-one with my interviewer, I was extremely calm. I could tell that the faculty genuinely cared about their current students, and wanted to explore my personality to determine if I'd be a good fit. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I read and annotated "How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview" by Andrew Rodican (Affiliate link). One of my friends was also kind enough to set up a mock interview in a coffee shop. We pretended to not know each other, and it really helped my confidence in my answers.  

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? In my opinion, the most important part of your application is your GPA. Focus on your classes in undergrad and maintain a high GPA. It's easy to jump at patient care opportunities while taking classes, but there's time after graduation to gain experience. It's hard to raise your GPA once it starts dropping. Also, once you have an interview invite, set the tone for your interview by walking in the room with confidence, smiling a lot, and even cracking a joke! 

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) I’m happy to talk to pre-PA students and help them in their journeys! My friend, Skyler, is in her first year of PA school and together, we run an Instagram account about our pre-PA strategies and programs that we chose! Find me on Instagram @pa.pals

Accepted!: Amanda - MEDEX PA Student

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (24).png

Undergraduate education: Bachelor degree in Clinical Physiology

Overall GPA: 3.96

Science GPA: 3.99

GRE: I did not submit my GRE to the PA programs because it wasn't that good, haha. I graduated from my undergraduate degree in June of 2015, and immediately began an intensive one year Masters in Medical Sciences program from 2015-2016 so when I applied for PA school, I had both an undergrad and a graduate level degree, therefore eliminating the need for submission of my GRE. I did not do the Master's program solely to replace the GRE, but knew it would increase the strength of my application while also demonstrating my commitment to the healthcare, since I worked full-nights in an emergency department while completing the Master's degree. 

Quant - 155

Qual - 152

5.0 

Total HCE hours: 4,000

Total PCE hours: 2,500

Shadowing hours: 300 with MDs in an ER, PA in an ER, PA in an urgent care clinic

Other volunteer hours: 500 at a nursing home over 5 years, doing manicures and game days.

LORs: 5 (2 professors, 3 MDs/PAs)

How many times did you apply?: Once

Age: 25

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 2

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? Interviewed at both, accepted to both

Where will you be attending? University of Washington MEDEX, Tacoma cohort

Any red flags on your application? I had substantially less patient care hours than the 'competitive applicant' (UW considers a competitive applicant to have upwards of 10,000 hours of PCE) 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? They were surprisingly really, really fun. Completely exhausting, but if you can relax and try to make a few fast friends, it makes a world of difference to make your more personable and more outgoing, even with the nerves. I was also surprised to find that I truly am a worthy and competitive applicant. I think the majority of us go in to these things and think "oh my gosh, am I really good enough, qualified enough, competent enough compared to all of these other people?" Once the day gets going and you realize, hey, I actually am ready for this! and can accept that you were chosen out of thousands of applicants, it is so encouraging, and to see that the other amazing people you are interviewing with have a lot in common with you (work background, education background, similar personalities). Allow yourself to be open to accepting that you are a qualified, competent, competitive applicant! 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? A fellow PA I worked with gave me a copy of How to Ace the Physician Assistant School Interview (affiliate link) by Andrew J. Rodican and that was so helpful to even begin to fathom what the day would be like. My undergraduate university (Central Washington University) offered mock interviews tailored for whatever the need was, and I took full advantage of that. I think I did two mock interviews at CWU, and those were oddly nerve wracking and even more intense than what the real interview day was. But it made the interview process day of feel familiar and subsided my nerves immensely. I knew what I was going to say, I knew somewhat what questions might be posed, I learned how to reign in my excessive hand gestures, but to still show enthusiasm and fine tune my body language. 

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Don't compare your chapter of life with someone else's chapter of life. Being unique, totally your own, and your own timeline has INCREDIBLE value. Someone else's story and specific chapter in life are totally their own, but yours and theirs are equal in valuable. Mock interviews are invaluable. You cannot prepare for the interview day enough, and mock interviews eliminate a huge source of nerves. PA school is becoming more and more competitive, and even though interviews are where you sell yourself as a competent, compassionate and capable PA student, the GPA and personal statement are what gets you noticed in stacks and stacks of applications. Spend time on your personal statement. Don't have more than 4 or 5 people review it as to not overwhelm you, but I spent the better part of 12 months working on it to make it as perfect and concise and a "story" as possible. Getting through the initial review process is critical, and making the strongest application on CASPA will get you to that interview!

Where can we find you?

@amanda_rae_the_PA or @amandababy1292

Accepted!: Alexis - James Madison University

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (16).png

Hello everyone, my name is Alexis. I am super excited to share my acceptance story and some of my pre-PA advice. Hopefully, you pre-PA peeps find this information helpful. Also remember every applicant is unique, so try not to get too caught up in the numbers.

Undergraduate education: B.S. in Biological Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Psychology at Florida State University (Go Noles!)

Overall GPA: 3.72

Science GPA: 3.79

GRE: 317 (Verbal = 159, Quantitative = 158, and Written = 4)

Total HCE hours: ~270

Total PCE hours: 266 at application (over 2,000 hours currently)

Shadowing hours: ~40 

Other hours: I performed research in a neuroscience lab for a year to complete my Honors Thesis project and, afterwards, I worked in my neuroscience lab as a researcher/vivarium manager/lab manager for another year. So I had ~3500 research hours. 

LORs: My neuroscience lab PI (also an assistant professor), my nursing director, and the ER PA I shadowed.

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 23

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 10

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I received 6 interview invites and 4 rejections. Out of the 6 interview invites, I only attended 3 interviews and I was accepted into all 3 programs.

Where will you be attending? James Madison University

Any red flags on your application? My PCE hours were the biggest problem with my application. I truly did not think I was going to be accepted with PCE hours that low as a CNA. Also I received a D in Calc 2 during my first semester at FSU. To compensate for my low PCE hours, I put a lot of time and effort into making a strong personal statement that showed the diversity of my experiences and the importance of my experience in the neuroscience lab. I also worked really hard while at FSU to compensate for my one bad grade, so I practically only got straight A's after my first semester (plus 3 B's sprinkled over 2 years).

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The vast differences between each program's interview process. Some programs will provide you with a reassuring "application received" or "application under review" email after you submit CASPA, while other programs will leave you completely in the dark. Some programs will invite you for an interview 4 months in advance, while other will give you 4 days notice. The programs may have one-on-one interviews, three-on-one interviews, group interviews, or multiple mini interviews (MMI). So the point is to be prepared! I bought my suit, bought the "How to Ace the PA School Interview" by Andrew Rodican (affiliate link), wrote out answers to interview questions, thought of applicable patient care stories, practiced out scenarios, saved my money, and made friends at work (so they would be willing to switch days with me) BEFORE I was even invited for a single interview. There is absolutely no harm in preparing early, only benefits! 

The most surprising part of the interview experience was the fact that I just knew when the program was right for me! Going into the interviews, I was planning on choosing a program based solely on their resources and cost. However, I ended up choosing JMU off of my gut. I got this amazing feeling from the faculty and current students that I would not only learn a lot and feel supported, but I would also have fun doing it. Obviously, JMU has an excellent PA program with great resources, but it was the most expensive school with which I interviewed. So I was very surprised at how little cost mattered and how important the program made me feel was for making my final decision.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? Well my main resource for studying during undergrad was quizlet.com, flashcards are amazing! For the application and interview process, I read a lot of blogs to help prepare me as much as possible: thepaplatform.comlifeasapa.comdoseofpa.blogpspot.compajourney.comapthepa.blogpot.com. I also utilized thepalife.com's personal statement revision service to help ensure my personal statement was top-notch. As mentioned earlier, I used Andrew Rodican's interview book, but Savanna also has a PA school interview guide recently made available. I definitely suggest picking up one of those helpful interview books. I would not have felt so comfortable or performed so well in my interviews without thoroughly preparing beforehand. Side note- don't prepare by memorizing answers, just get an idea of the points you want to get across and a handful of experiences you may want to use.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? 

Don't let one weakness in your application prevent you from applying! Practically every applicant has a weakness in their application (GPA, PCE, GRE, etc), but they compensate for that weakness with strengths in other areas of their application. After reading all the accepted student stats on multiple PA programs' websites, I genuinely thought that I was going to get rejected from all 10 programs because I had very low PCE as a CNA. However, my application was very strong in every other way to compensate for my one weakness and I was invited to interview with 6 PA programs! So my advice is if you have a low GPA, then take some extra upper level courses during the application cycle to boost your GPA. And if you have low PCE, then work full-time during the application cycle to increase your hours. By working on your hours and grades even after submitting your application, you will be able to show the committee your improvements at the interview or, worst comes to worst, have a stronger application for the next cycle.

Be yourself! I think a lot of people try to alter their application or their interview answers to create this alternate persona that they believe the program's committee wants to see, but in reality they want to know about YOU! The committee genuinely wants to know who you are and to see your true passion for the PA profession. 

Get involved in things you are actually passionate about. Again, a lot of applicants feel the need to show that they are "the perfect applicant" by volunteering for things in which they are not genuinely interested. Not only will you be unwilling to repeatedly commit your leisure time to something you are uninterested in, but also the people you are volunteering with will recognize your disinterest. If you get involved in a passion project (mine was my neuroscience research, some people play sports), then you will be excited to dedicate your nights and even weekends. Plus it will be an interesting topic of discussion for your interview that will allow the committee to see who you are and what your interests are. 

My biggest piece of interview advice is to try to relax and enjoy yourself. You have already prepared for the interview, the work has been put in. Now is the time to socialize with your possible future peers and ask the current students all your burning questions (studying, housing, clinical experiences, etc). Also don't be scared to interview the program as well! Deciding which PA program to attend is a big decision. If you want to know how they compensate for not having a live cadaver lab or why their PANCE pass rates are lower than average, then don't be afraid to ask! You are investing your time and money into this program, so make sure they can take you across the finish line and help you pass your PANCE!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) If you want to read more of my pre-PA advice or follow along as I stumble my way through PA school, then check out my blog www.alexisleighpa.com and follow my instagram account @alexisleigh.pa_s. If you have any questions about my stats, the CASPA application, or the application process, please feel free to message me on instagram or email me at alexisleighpa@gmail.com. Thanks for reading my acceptance story!


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform.

Accepted!: Anna - Rocky Vista University PA Program

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (14).png

Overall GPA: 3.0 - My lowest semester was a 1.5 and I was placed on academic probation. By the time I graduated, I made Dean's List Honors and my last 60 c.h. was 3.56.

Science GPA: 3.1

GRE: 313.5 (162 quantitative, 147 verbal, 4.5 analytical writing)

Total HCE hours: 3,456 hrs - mostly from working in an oncology research lab conducting animal research.

Total PCE hours: 1,520 hrs - mostly from working as a research coordinator for lung cancer clinical trials' patients.

Shadowing hours: 171 hrs. - I shadowed a variety of PAs, MDs, NPs, and RNs to better understand the different roles.

Other volunteer hours: 36 hrs. - I volunteered as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and also as a member for an advisory council collaborating with Colorado's Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to improve access to Medicaid.

LORs: 4 - 1 from academic professor/PI, 1 from mentor/pre-health pipeline program (MD), 1 from PI of oncology research lab (MD), and 1 from mentor (PA).

How many times did you apply?:  I applied 3 times.

Age: 26 yrs.

Gender: F

How many programs did you apply to? A total of 31 programs over 3 years. The first time: 3, second time: 12, third time: 15.

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I received one interview invitation, and they accepted me! :) I am so grateful!

Where will you be attending?  Rocky Vista University - I will be in their inaugural class of 2020. 

Any red flags on your application? Definitely my GPA, and the fact that "academic probation" was stamped on my transcript. I think it's important to demonstrate growth (both academically and personally). I didn't retake many of my classes; instead, I took higher level classes that were similar (e.g. physiology AND mechanisms of human pathology, chemistry AND organic chemistry 1 and 2 AND biochemistry, etc.) and excelled in them. During my interview, I had the opportunity to explain this and how this turned out to be a huge learning opportunity that brought me to where I am today. Also, most of my healthcare and patient care experience was through research, so I had to really explain well how those skills would translate. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The most surprising thing was how peaceful I felt after the interview. There was so much pressure leading up to it -- I mean, this was my 3rd application cycle and my ONLY interview invite thus far... But I left feeling like, "OK, I did my best. WOW, everyone that I interviewed with was amazing. If I don't get in, it's completely fair, because every. single. person applying is seriously, really amazing and that's just how competitive PA school is right now." Knowing and understanding that really helped me find peace in all of it, and kind of gave me the strength that I needed to prepare for my 4th round of applications if I didn't get in. :)     

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? There are so many! The social media platform that PAs and other PA students are using have been so helpful, including blogs, YouTube videos, Podcasts, snapchats, and IG accounts. Books: How to get into PA School by Andrew Rodican, How to Ace the PA School Interview also by Andrew Rodican, So You Want to be a Physician Assistant: Your Guide to a New Career by Beth Grivett, and The Applicant's Manual of Physician Assistant Programs by Mark Volpe and Brittany Hogan. (Affiliate Links)

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Good luck and don't give up. Don't make any assumptions (e.g. I made the mistake of assuming that people know that a research coordinator is direct patient care experience, without explaining the capacity of how closely I worked with patients to manage their care). BE YOURSELF and be able to articulate why you care on a PERSONAL level - the most helpful thing for me was just being able to talk to people about it! It's hard and puts you in a really vulnerable position, but it's good practice because that's exactly what you'll be doing for your personal statement and also for your interview. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE, and don't lose your voice in your application by framing your answers around what you think people want to hear. Most importantly, rejection is likely but it's NOT personal, as everyone else applying is a really great applicant... But guess what? SO ARE YOU! Try to enjoy the process as much as you can -- you really learn so much just by going through the process of applying and getting into PA school. And remember that it's not IF you get in, it's WHEN. :) 

Where can we find you? IG: @anna_the_pa, feel free to email me if you have questions too! annatn15@gmail.com


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now. 

Accepted!: Tyler - Future Rutgers PA Student

ACCEPTED! Template.png

A huge thank you to Tyler for sharing his stats, and some advice regarding getting into PA school. Tyler has a great instagram account you can follow along with as he starts school at Rutgers in the fall - @tyler.fernandes - so definitely check that out!


Undergraduate education: Spent 1 year at Suffolk University as a theater major, transferred to the University of Massachusetts- Amherst and got a BS in public health and a minor in education in 3 years

Overall GPA: 3.68

Science GPA: 3.55

GRE: 313 (verbal: 155 quant: 158 writing: 5)

Total HCE hours:  64 (medical scribe in a prison)

Total PCE hours: 1,262 (CNA in nursing home and in hospital ICU)

Shadowing hours: 48 (ER, Internal Medicine, and Urgent Care)

Other volunteer hours: < 50

LORs: 3 (1 PA, 1 nurse, and my Anatomy professor that I TA’d for)

How many times did you apply?  1

Age: 23

Gender: male

How many programs did you apply to? 11 programs

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 

  • Rutgers University- accepted
  • MCPHS Boston- accepted
  • Drexel University- declined interview invitation
  • University of Iowa- interview hold list, denied
  • Cornell University- second application invite, denied
  • Duke University- denied
  • George Washington- denied
  • Yale University- denied
  • Northwestern University- denied
  • Stanford University- denied
  • Hofstra: N/A, heard they filled their class

Any red flags on your application? 

My science grades were pretty much B’s or B-‘s, but I was able to raise my GPA with public health courses, which I found more interesting and I was able to perform well in them. Also since I got my degree in 3 years, I had overloaded on difficult sciences courses each semester so I think schools took that into consideration.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? 

Both interviews I attended were very relaxed. I felt pretty nervous for the first one but the second one felt like a breeze because I already had a feel for what interviews were like. Something that was surprising was that one of the schools had us do a basic anatomy quiz that I was not really prepared for, but I don’t think anyone else thought to prepare for that either!

image1.jpeg

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? 

Thepaplatform.com, medtakeovers and premedtakeovers on snapchat, physicianassistantforum.com, The Ultimate Guide to Getting Into Physician Assistant School (third edition), How To “Ace” The Physician Assistant School Interview. (Amazon Affiliate links)

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

  • Only do things that you feel passionate about!!! Don’t volunteer for something simply because you want to have more hours for your application. Find something you genuinely enjoy, that you will dedicate time to, and will be proud to talk about during an interview.

  • Don’t compare every nitty gritty detail of someone’s journey/application to yours. Every aspect of your life, even if its non-healthcare related, will play a part in the type of PA you become. For example, I’m proud of the skills I gained through theater and I think its made me a better communicator and team player.

  • Prepare for the interview but don’t over think it. You were invited for a reason and the biggest thing is that they want to see that you are human. Smile, have fun, dress well, meet your future classmates and be yourself. Have candid answers to the basic questions (Savanna has an excellent guide on here), do a few mock interviews, and let the pieces fall where they may :)


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now. 

Accepted!: Marian - Low GPA to PA Student

ACCEPTED! (4).png

The majority of emails we get at The PA Platform are about how to get into PA school with a low GPA. Once your GPA drops, it can be very difficult to overcome, but Marian is an amazing example of how it CAN be done. It wasn't easy, but Marian kept working hard and didn't give up, and now she's going to be a PA! And she rocked her mock interview, so I wasn't at all surprised to hear of her acceptance. 


Undergraduate education:

  • Undergrad - University of California Riverside - BS Biological Sciences 
  • Graduate - Chatham University - MS Biology 

GPAs: 

  • Overall GPA: 2.85 
  • Science GPA: 2.76
  • Post Bacc GPA: 3.34
  • Graduate GPA: 3.89

GRE: 301 

Total HCE hours: 6,280

Total PCE hours: 10,396

Shadowing hours: 1,560

Other volunteer hours: 1,134

LORs: 1 PA, 2 Science Professors 

How many times did you apply?:  2

Age: 28 

Gender: Female 

How many programs did you apply to? 15

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 1 interview invite, 1 acceptance, waiting to hear back from 6 programs. 

Any red flags on your application?  My undergraduate GPA was the biggest red flag in my application. I did everything in my power to compensate for that by completing a post bacc, a masters and having lots of patient care and volunteer hours. I also excelled in getting my Masters in Biology, which I felt I had to pursue to she admission committees that I could handle the rigor of PA school.  

Anything you found surprising about interviews?  I found it comforting that when I interviewed I felt so relaxed. The faculty and staff made Interview day fun and i really felt at home with the program. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?  I basically studied everything on the PA Platform! Lol. From the webinars, the Top 100 interview questions, to the practice Mock interview I wanted to be prepared as possible. I also read the book "How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview" by Andrew Rodican (Amazon affiliate link). 

Any other advice for pre-PA students? 

As a student with a lower undergraduate GPA, I never thought I would see the day I got accepted. The first time I applied, I thought I did everything the right way but I made so many mistakes. So here are my tips.

1. Apply Early!!! Submitting your Application in April or May is key especially for schools that utilize rolling admissions. 

IMG_6913.jpg

2. Research the programs you're applying to. I only applied to programs that had a holistic view on my application, due to my lower GPA. Therefore I applied to schools that had "recommended" GPA requirements or would put heavier emphasis on the last 90 units of my coursework. I also applied to schools based on the mission statement. 

3. Don't Give up! No matter how hard reality may seem, just hold on to your dream! It's never too late! Don't let anything or anyone stop you from fulfilling your destiny! Sure, It may take longer..but if you don't give up on yourself, stay focused, and trust that you can do it...YOU REALLY CAN! All it takes is one interview and one acceptance letter and I am a living testament to that! 

Where can we find you?  Instagram: @_mae0711


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now. 

Accepted!: Katie - Future Temple PA Student

ACCEPTED! (3).png

Katie was one of the initial members of The Pre-PA Club Facebook group, and she does an awesome job of answering questions that other members have. I was SO excited when I heard she got her acceptance to PA school at Temple because I know that she's put in the work and really deserves it. Here are her tips and tricks! 


Undergraduate education: University of Pittsburgh, BAs in English Writing and Anthropology

Overall GPA: 3.5 (at time of application)

Science GPA: 3.25 (at time of application) 3.5 now that I've finished with pre-reqs. Yes, I applied with 6 outstanding pre-reqs! 

GRE: 309 - 163 verbal 146 quantitative 5.5 writing (second attempt) 

Total HCE hours: ~100

Total PCE hours: ~1600 (Patient Care Technician, Dental Assistant)

Shadowing hours: 128 (3 PAs, 2 MDs, 1 PT)

Other volunteer hours: ~100

LORs: 1 PA, 1 organic chemistry professor, 1 MD, 1 biology professor, 1 writing professor

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 25

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 15. Still waiting to hear from 5, but have gone with Temple as it is my first choice!

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 2 - waitlisted at Chatham, accepted at Temple

Any red flags on your application? Low initial GPA, low quantitative GRE. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? Group interviews were surprisingly frustrating as it didn't give the interviewers a chance to ask more personal, specific questions. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? 

I highly recommend using the PA Platform's 100 interview questions to prep for interviews and the site in general for preparing your application, Varsity Tutors for GRE prep, and the Princeton Review's book for prepping for the GRE on your own (affiliate link). 

IMG_1535.JPG

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? If your GPA is on the lower end, make sure to build your PCH and shadowing hours as much as you can, have KILLER LORS (befriend your professors) and write a compelling personal statement. I would also suggest making sure to clearly explain (in your personal statement and interviews) the story behind your lower GPA (for me it was one singular F in Gen Chem 1 my freshman year) and demonstrate how you've grown since then (I made sure to explain the F and that now, I've clearly grown and mastered the sciences while maintaining a 4.0 post-bacc GPA while working 3 jobs and taking 2-3 classes at a time.) Also, utilize your community colleges and take that gap year after college to grow as a person and adult! Never be afraid to major in something non-science during undergrad. It will help diversify you as a candidate, you'll bring something new and interesting to the program, and can help expand your mind, your experiences, and how you interact with people as a whole. Don't ever, ever give up -- if you get rejected make sure to set up an appointment with an admissions coordinator to go over your application and get insight into where you can improve for next year! 

Where can we find you? Instagram @katieemartin04 :)


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now. 

Accepted!: Sarah - Future Duke PA Student

ACCEPTED! (2).png

Everyone wants to go to Duke, right? Well, Sarah is doing it! Huge thanks to Sarah for being willing to share her experience and tips that she's picked up while applying to PA school. 


Undergraduate education: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Overall GPA: 3.67

Science GPA: 3.76

GRE: 309, Analytical Writing 4.0

Total HCE hours: 600

Total PCE hours: 2,754

Shadowing hours: 30

Other volunteer hours: 288

LORs: 3-RN supervisor, Associate Medical Director MD, and a professor

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 27

Gender: female

How many programs did you apply to? 4

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I luckily interviewed at all four schools. I received 1 rejection, 2 admittance letters, and am still waiting on the fourth response.

Any red flags on your application? I had a few withdrawals on my transcript.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was given a 1 month notice for two of the interviews, a week notice for another, and a two day notice for the last interview! Always be ready! It was a bit tricky getting work off for the last interview. I also found that each school has their own individual vibe. Pay attention to that! Wherever you are most comfortable is likely a good fit.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, it apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? After my first rejection letter, I read The Physician Assistant School Interview: Essential Strategies to Blow ‘Em Away and Claim Your Seat in Class by Paul Kubin, PA-C. He has great advice for practicing without sounding rehearsed and providing authentic answers. You're going to stand out if you just tell them who you are and what you have to offer, because you are unique!

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

20160821_155527.jpg
  • Don't let rejection get you down! Sometimes a school decides not to select you simply because they thought you weren't a good fit for their program, NOT because you won't be a great PA.
  • Use failure constructively! My second interview at Elon went terribly! I froze, my mind went blank, and the examples I gave weren't representative of what I wanted to say. After feeling like I surely ruined my chances of getting in this cycle, my fiance told me not to worry because my feelings were subjective! I have no true idea of what they thought of me. Also, to use this experience as motivation to knock the next opportunity out of the park. Strangely enough, the following day I received another invite to my reach school, Duke. Due to that awful interview, I was able to pull off my best interview yet at the school of my dreams! A week later, I found out that I was actually accepted to Elon even though I thought I had crashed and burned! You truly never know!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others! You will be surrounded by super accomplished individuals. Their experiences and merits are great, but in no way diminish YOUR value and what you have to offer! Show them what you got!
  • Exercise methods to stave off nerves. I realized that I had let my anxiety get the best of me at the Elon interview. At the Duke interview, I practiced deep breathing and thoughts of positive reinforcement when the nerves bubbled up. It worked! I was able to be genuine and thoughtful in every answer I gave. You can prepare all you want, but you ARE going to get questions on which you didn’t premeditate. A clear head is needed to successfully maneuver those questions!
  • Practice builds confidence! Give yourself plenty of practice, BUT don't memorize an answer. Make sure that you practice using different verbiage so that you don't sound robotic. They are looking for originality. They know how to sift out cookie-cutter responses. Take advantage of your work relationships and have a PA or MD give you a mock interview! Practicing answering questions while being nervous is invaluable and something you won't get when practicing with a friend or spouse.
  • Write down all of your patient experience stories and brainstorm different ways you can use them. For instance, yada yada yada experience can show teamwork, stress, an ethical dilemma, etc. It's important to realize what you have in your goody bag and how you can utilize those stories. You can always get more than one lesson out of an experience. That way when they ask you, “Describe a time when you had to rely on teamwork” or “Tell me about a stressful experience and how you dealt with that” you have a multitude of examples ready to go!

Where can we find you? - Instagram @saracha821


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now.

Accepted!: Ajia - Future Tufts PA Student

ACCEPTED! (1).png

Huge thanks to Ajia for sharing her tips that she has learned on her journey to getting into PA school. I think she shares some of the fears many applicants face when going into the application cycle, and I appreciate her honesty. Best of luck at Tufts, Ajia! 


Undergraduate education: BS in Biology from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.

Overall GPA: 3.64

Science GPA: 3.63

GRE: V153/Q154/W4.0

Total HCE hours: ~100

Total PCE hours: ~3,000

Shadowing hours: ~40

Other volunteer hours: ~4,500, (I did a lot of volunteer work with my sorority in college, and worked for a nonprofit as a volunteer 3 days a week once I graduated)

LORs: My microbiology professor who was also the advisor for my academic research, my anatomy/evolution professor who was also my college advisor, my current manager, the cardiovascular PA I shadowed, and a fellow I worked closely with in the OR.

How many times did you apply? :  Once

Age: 23

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 8

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?  I was offered 7 interviews (Tufts University, George Washington University, Rush University, Boston University, Northeastern, MCPHS, & MGH College of Health Professionals), and I accepted 5 (All but MGH and MCPHS). I was accepted at Tufts, GW and BU, and waitlisted at Rush and Northeastern. I have chosen to continue my education with Tufts!

Any red flags on your application? I think the biggest things I worried about were my GPA and my patient care hours. My GPA wasn’t bad, but looking at some of the high GPA’s of other applicants made me worried that mine wasn’t good enough. I also worked as an anesthesia technician to get my clinical hours, and I was nervous that I wasn’t getting the right type of patient care hours that PA schools were looking for.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? 

Well first of all, I was surprised I even got one at all! People told me not to get my hopes up because so many people get rejected the first time around, that I really had no intention of even getting an interview. I think the most surprising thing once I started going on interviews, was how different every school does it. Each of my 5 interviews was a totally unique experience, but they were all also a very good experience. It was not as scary as I expected it to be.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? 

For my prerequisite courses I did a lot of group studying, especially trying to help the students who were struggling in class. I know that sounds weird, but if you know the material well enough to teach it to someone else, and answer all of their questions then you have truly mastered it.

To help with the application process I followed a lot of instagram/facebook/blog pages like @thePAplatform, read all of their articles and watched all their videos. They were extremely helpful as a new applicant. Especially, when I sat staring at my computer for months trying to write a personal statement. Reading tips from current students finally got me past that writer’s block.  For the GRE, I downloaded some apps on my phone to study vocabulary when I commuted to work, and I went through one basic prep book, but honestly, I didn’t spend a lot of time studying for the GRE. I thought that it wasn’t an accurate depiction of me as a student, so any school that focused on that part of my application wasn’t the school for me.

image1 (2).jpeg

For the interview process I sat down with my friend’s aunt who had worked in HR for a very long time. She coached me on the biggest questions that schools/employers ask and helped me to come up with stories to answer them. The big 7 were: What is your biggest strength? Biggest weakness? Why our school? Tell me about a conflict you had? Tell me about something youre proud of? Why PA? What is the biggest mistake youve ever made and how did you learn from it? The questions they ask might not be these exact questions, but they are always similar to at least one. The best advice she gave me was to make sure you tell a story. If you tell a story to answer their questions then the interviewer will see your communication skills and be able to add to the conversation.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

You will get in. I feel like not enough people tell you that. If you work hard to be a competitive applicant, and put your heart into everything you do, schools will notice and want you.

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) 

My instagram is @ajialynnzim, and anyone can feel free to reach out to me via email (ajiazimmermann@gmail.com) with any questions at all!


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now.

Accepted!: Katie from @wenzel_k - Future Rutgers PA Student

ACCEPTED!.png

Katie is a great example of someone who did everything right the first time! If you're looking for application goals, this is it. Even with an amazing application, she still had some discrepancies to overcome, like a C+ in General Chemistry. Thanks for sharing your story and tips Katie! 


Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Spanish minor- The Ohio State University

Overall GPA: 3.90

Science GPA: 3.77

GRE: 307 combined. Verbal Reasoning: 157. Quantitative Reasoning: 150 Analytical Writing: 4.5 

Total HCE hours: 1,200

Total PCE hours: ~1,000

Shadowing hours: 40

Other volunteer hours: 200

LORs: 4 total. 1 physician, 1 PA, 1 from undergrad academic adviser, 1 academic (public health) professor. 

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 23

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 12

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 6 interview invites (I chose to attend them all), 6 acceptances and I will be attending Rutgers University in the fall. 

Any red flags on your application? My math GRE score was below the 50th percentile (around the 40th), which I was nervous about, so I applied to programs that did not require the GRE, and to some others that did. Out of the 4 I have been accepted to, two programs did require the GRE, and two did not... so don't let a lower GRE score stop you from applying to programs requiring it

I also had a C+ in general chemistry 1. A few of the interviewers brought it up, and it was a great chance for me to share with them how much I have grown from that experience as a student and also on a personal level. I spoke candidly about the anxiety I experienced attending my first science course in college and how I grew to overcome that anxiety and prove to myself that I had what it takes to succeed. It also was a great opportunity to highlight that I continued on in the series and received A's in every other science class I took. I think the interviewers appreciated my openness and my response showed them what I have learned and how I have incorporated what I learned then to my school work now. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? How laid back most of them were! I was pleasantly relieved that at 5 of the 6 interviews I attended, I felt that the faculty was truly trying to get to know me. That sounds almost cliche, but it's true. I can't stress enough how important it is to take a deep breath the morning of your interview and just let them see the real you. They already know you'd be a great PA student on paper (that's why you got the interview), but now show them your awesome personality; what makes you, you. It'll be different than the other people you're interviewing with, and that's a good thing. Keep that in mind if you wake up on the morning of interview day and want to just crawl back in bed.

Edits-0002.jpg

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I used "The Applicants Manual of Physician Assistant Programs 2017" by Mark Volpe and Brittany Hogan religiously (affiliate link). It outlines every accredited program in the US and gives a sort of "quick stats" 1 page overview of each program, categorized by state. It gives stats over things like program pre-reqs, application deadline, contact info for that specific program, unique program characteristics, GRE requirements, and much more. It's a quick way to quickly recognize and organize all the programs you might be interested in. It even has appendices that will list all of the programs requiring the GRE, and one for those that do not. I can't stress how helpful it was for me, as before I stumbled upon this on Amazon I was making excel spreadsheets trying to compare programs to one another. This made it so much easier! 

Any other advice for pre-PA students? When I was applying to PA school, I felt like I'd never get to the other side. There always seemed to be another obstacle blocking my application from being complete. It can be a long process, but I am here (finally) on the other side of it and I can promise you that your hard work WILL pay off. Keep pushing toward your goal, and you will end up where you are supposed to be. Don't let a failed class or a bad GRE score keep you down. Re-take the class, or study for the GRE again (as I had to do), or whatever it is for you that you seem to think is an obstacle toward you obtaining your goal. Because I can promise you that in the end, it IS worth it, and you'll be so proud of yourself for sticking with it. 

Where can we find you? Instagram: @wenzel_k  


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now.

Accepted!: Kate from @kate.pa_s

Accepted (12).png

Undergraduate education: I received my B.A. in Journalism with a minor in creative writing from UNC-Chapel Hill eight years ago. Since then, I’ve worked at various media outlets. Unfortunately, there isn’t much job stability in journalism, and I was on the hunt for a new career that I could be passionate about that had better job prospects. I decided in 2015 that I wanted to go to PA school, and started working on prereqs. I also applied to a Surgical Technology program – it was something I was interested in and the program was only 9 months, so it was a quick(ish) way for me to start working toward clinical experience.

Overall GPA: 3.45

Science GPA: 3.69

Post-Bacc GPA (100 semester credit hours): 3.89

GRE: 155/155/5.0

Total HCE hours: 100+ hours volunteering in PACU and the OR at Level I Trauma Center

Total PCE hours: 500 hours as a Surgical Tech (at time of submission)

Shadowing hours: PA: 20 in Primary Care, 20 in Plastics/Burns Inpatient Surgery; MD: 16 in Emergency Medicine

Other volunteer hours: Summer camps, Children’s Museum

LORs: With my LORs and personal statement, I wanted to make sure to really drive home why I was a uniquely qualified applicant even though I come from such a different background. Over the past few years, I have kept in close touch with both a former boss and a former manager (from two different jobs), so by the time I asked them for LORs, they really understood what I was doing and my reasons behind it. They wrote to my strengths that translated from working in journalism in to working in healthcare, which I think was vital for my application. My other two LORs were from a Surgical Tech preceptor, and from an MD who I shadowed, and who has known me for most of my life.

How many times did you apply?: Once

Age: 30 (I was 28 when I started taking prereqs)

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 12

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I only went to two interviews, and they were in the same week. I really didn’t click well with the first one – neither the location nor the program, but it was great practice. The interview later in the week was for one of my top schools, and I felt very confident going in to it. I loved everything: the city, the students, the staff, the program. They told me at the end of the day that I was in! It was an incredible day. At this point, I’ve received three other interview invites, which I’ve declined.

Any red flags on your application? Not having enough PCE/HCE. Because I was a little older going in to this, and I knew it would take two years to get my prereqs done and start working as a Surgical Tech, I really focused on getting in on the first cycle. Every program I applied to emphasized a holistic look at applicants. I expect to have 1000+ PCE hours by the time I start PA school, but I knew it would be seen as a weak point on my application not having a lot of hours when I submitted.

Also, my undergrad overall GPA was a 3.1 and I had several low grades (one D and a few Cs). They were in courses like Law and Economics – so I really didn’t stress about programs caring about those grades (and none of them mentioned them). Because I took SO many credit hours post-Bacc, that GPA came up significantly, and I don’t think my GPAs were any kind of red flag.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The parts that I thought I would be most nervous about – the actual interviews – turned out to be the most comfortable. What really made me nervous was waiting around! At my second interview, I waited for more than an hour to get called into the group interview and several hours again for my individual interview. I was a mess - I think we all were. I tried to get to know the other interviewees while we waited and just chatted about anything/everything just to take our minds off of being so nervous waiting.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? At my interviews, the staff really just wanted to get to know you. When preparing for interviews, definitely be ready to talk about why you want to be a PA, and why you like their program. But apart from that, just be able to comfortably talk about yourself and your own strengths and interests. I’d say the very best practice you can have is to have those conversations with your family and friends over and over – literally practice this for months. Get used to talking easily about why you want to be a PA, and practice talking about yourself in a non-egotistical way. If it feels comfortable to talk about those things casually with your friends, you’ll come across as confident (but not cocky) during your interview.  

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?With my background in writing, I want to take a moment to talk about personal statements. I realize this goes against a lot of the advice that’s out there (and of course, this is just my opinion and I don't claim to be an expert). It seems that the trend has been to start off personal statements with a dramatic story or hook. Things like: “It was a cold and rainy night and the lights from the ambulance were all I could see…”. I really do not think that is necessary. You need to show why you are going to be a great PA student and practicing PA. If you’ve got a good story, and that story plays a huge part of why you want to be a PA, go for it. But eliminate the drama and the adjectives. Cut to the chase. The admissions committees don't care if you can write a good story, they care if you’re going to be a strong student and have what it takes to become a PA. I’m not saying you should just write out a list of reasons you want to be a PA and call it a day. You should be able to write well about why you’re passionate about becoming a physician assistant. Write it in your own voice and avoid clichés. 

kate.jpg

The personal statement plays a huge part in getting that interview invite, and the schools just want to get a better understanding of who you are aside from your grades and experiences. It’s your personality that should jump off the paper, not your ability to write a good story. My opener on my personal statement was: "I have always had an interest in medicine, but I didn't know until just a few years ago that it was a path I would pursue myself." Then I spent the rest of it talking about my path and how I realized becoming a PA was right for me. Straight to the point of addressing what makes me a unique applicant.  

Where can we find you? I have an Instagram account that I hope to expand with pre-PA tips over the next year, and then document my time in PA school when I start next fall. You can follow along at @kate.pa_s


If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now.

Accepted!: Neesie - Future Emory PA Student

Accepted (10).png

My name is Neesie and I’ll be starting the Emory Physician Assistant Program in the Fall of 2018! Words cannot describe how excited I am about this amazing opportunity. It has taken me a few cycles to get here, but hard work pays off! Please feel free to DM me if you have any questions or need any advice! @neeeesie

neesie.png

Overall GPA: 3.31

Science GPA: 3.11

GRE: 297

Total PCE hours: 5,548 (at time of application submission). Hours were earned by working and volunteering as: A Spanish medical interpreter, a CNA, an MA, and a Patient Care Coordinator.

Shadowing hours: 244

Other volunteer hours: 2,833 (at time of application submission)

LORs: 4 total. (1 from a Physician Assistant. 1 from a Nurse Practitioner. 2 from Physicians)

How many times did you apply?:  I applied 4 times. BUT I was rushing everything my first two times! The first time I applied, I didn’t even have enough hours. The second time I applied, my science GPA did not make the cut. The third time I only applied to one program (Emory) and got waitlisted. The fourth and last time I applied, I was accepted!

Age: 26

Gender: F

How many programs did you apply to? 6 programs (this cycle)

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?

 Only 1 program has interviewed me. The first time that I interviewed, I was waitlisted. The second time I was accepted

Any red flags on your application?

 Yes- my GPA. I have a very mediocre GPA as you can see. Nevertheless, there is a great trend in my grades and over the years as I matured and became more disciplined, my grades improved dramatically. I am so thankful that there are programs out there that look at you as a whole and not as a number. Although my GPA is weak, I am very strong in other areas

Anything you found surprising about interviews? 

One of the most surprising things about my interview was how welcoming the experience was. I felt very “at home” and the program made it such a delightful experience. In addition, I love that we were able to spend some time to actually sit and talk with the program director!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? 

  • The application

    • I would HIGHLY recommend completing your CASPA as early as you can. Lots of schools accept students on a rolling basis. PLUS, it’s good to know early- CASPA opened in April and I submitted everything in May. By July I heard back from the program and had my interview in September. (But I still haven’t heard back from the other 5 schools I applied to)

    • The CASPA application can be long and tedious, so breaking it down into parts and disciplining yourself to do a little everyday can make all the difference

    • When inserting your experiences, whether it be patient care or non patient care, make sure to explicitly describe in detail what your experience entails of so that the admissions committee can gain a clear understanding of your experiences. Many programs evaluate your CASPA based on a point system, and you want as many points as possible to move on to the next step!

    • I would recommend joining the Physician Assistant Forum as well! A lot of your questions can be answered here, especially specific questions about CASPA, Personal statements, programs, interviews. This forum helped me out in SO many ways

  • Interview Process

    • I would recommend buying “How to “Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview” by Andrew Rodican. (Amazon affiliate link)

    • Also, I would recommend reading the emails sent to you by the PA Platform! Sign up at this link!

    • I would Practice Practice and Practice!!!! Mock interviews are great, even if it is done with someone who has no idea about PA school. Make a list of questions for someone to read from and ask you. Just talking it out and finding your weaknesses is so helpful

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

  • Don’t give up!

    • Honestly, no one ever told me that getting into PA school is this competitive. First thing I would do is keep in mind that it’s not going to be an easy process, but it is totally worth it. If being a PA is what your heart truly desires, don’t ever give up! Don’t let rejection letters bring you down.

  • Envision your DREAM

    • Do you have a “dream” program? My dream school has always been Emory, even though my GPA is not competitive at all. Don’t give up on your dreams. Whatever that dream program is, envision it. Read what their mission and values are and live that out through your experiences. Is your dream program big on underserved communities? Primary Care? Base your experiences on that. Learn about the program. Visit the program. Find ways to get involved with the program. Envision your Dream!

  • Don’t Rush!

    • Don’t be like I was, rushing through the process. Apply when you have a competitive application. You are competing against people with years of experience!

  • Personal Statement

    • I am sure you’ve heard this before, but your personal statement is so important. Don’t be cliché. Don’t be boring. Be unique and make it interesting- tell a story. Your story. A story about why you want to be a PA, not a story about why you want to work in healthcare.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    • If you are still in school and you are applying for a program that asks for recommendation letters from a professor, begin building that relationship NOW. Go to those office hours, sit in the front row, make small talk! When you decide to ask for that letter, make sure the professor has a copy of your personal statement and resume to work from.

    • For non-academic recommendation letters, make sure the person writing it for you knows you well. Pick your candidates wisely. Something I learned from experience- If it takes your recommender more than 2 weeks to write you a letter, it is not going to be a good letter. This is the rule of thumb that I go by, and learned from experience!

  • Support

    • Join societies, groups, or forums to help guide you through this process. You are not alone!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: @neeeesie Facebook: Neesie Arias