Accepted: Naia - University of Southern California

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Undergraduate education: University of South Florida -dual degree: bachelor of science in cellular & molecular biology and Bachelor of Arts in psychology 

Overall GPA: 3.53

Science GPA: 3.35

GRE: 299 overall  - 149 quantitative 150 qualitative 4.0 writing

Total HCE hours: 4000+

Total PCE hours: 2600 to date (800 at time of application) 

Shadowing hours: 100 (PA in sarcoma oncology, PA in thoracic oncology; cardiologist MD; internal medicine MD; ARNP dermatology)

Other volunteer hours: 260

LORs: 4 (1 PA, 1 ARNP, 1 supervisor and 1 science professor) 

How many times did you apply?:  2

Age: 25

Gender: female 

Why did you choose PA?

I have always been interested in medicine since a tumor was found in my mom’s ovaries when I was 13. I wasn’t sure what a PA was until I attended my first medical mission trip to Honduras as an undergrad. The PA who accompanied us inspired me to pursue this career. I love the flexibility in practicing in different fields/specialties as I am someone who loves to learn. I also love that not only could I see patients autonomously but will also be working in a team of other medical professionals. At the end of the day, I think being a PA fits my personality compared to MD or ARNP

How many programs did you apply to? 12

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

6 and 3 I deferred since I was accepted so it would have been a total of 9From the 6 I was rejected by 2, waitlisted in 3 and accepted to 1.

Where will you be attending?

University of Southern California

Any red flags on your application? 

Definitely my GPA and GRE scores. I did not want admissions thinking I am a poor student academically speaking. My GPA was lower due to illnesses I endured during my sophomore year of undergraduate (which I reiterated in my interviewed if the topic came up). I proved myself by taking a rigorous upper level course work and picking up a second major. As for my GRE I lacked studying incentive the first time and improved my score by 10 points the second time.

Anything you found surprising about interviews?

It was non-intimidating (for the most part). The schools I interviewed with genuinely wanted to know more about me and my application.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

DO NOT GIVE UP. I had several mental breakdowns and self doubts towards the end of this 2nd cycle as I was considering applying for a third cycle. If you really want to be a PA then persistent is key. It doesn’t matter that others are getting there before you, your time will come. Always find ways to improve whether it is taking another class to increase the GPA, finding another job to increase PCE or retaking the GRE.

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

Instagram: naiaalessandra **I will be changing my username to The_PA_Mission come fall when I start to share my journey and because medical mission trips hold a special place in my heart. I am hoping to do more trips as a professional upon certification**

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