Undergraduate education: University of Georgia, B.S. in Nutritional Sciences
Overall GPA: 3.74
Science GPA: 3.61
GRE: 305 (Verbal- 153, Quantitative- 152, Writing- 4.5)
Total HCE hours: 275 at the time of application (Medical Scribe at a gastroenterology clinic)-- Aware that my hours were on the low end, I made sure to give the programs that I applied to monthly updates on any new hours gained as this was an ongoing HCE.
Total PCE hours: 40 (Medlife Mobile Clinic in Ecuador)
Shadowing hours: 434 (324- Orthopedic Surgeon, 100- Hospitalist PA, 10- Orthopedic PA)
Other volunteer hours: 80 (Volunteering at a local free clinic)
LORs: 3 (1 PA, 1 MD, 1 Professor)
How many times did you apply?: 1
Age: 22 (at the time of application)
How many programs did you apply to? 5
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 4 interview invites. Declined 1 invite. Attended 3, accepted to all 3.
Where will you be attending? Augusta University PA Program
Any red flags on your application? Both my HCE and PCE were quite low, so applying strategically was key for me! I did however have a fair amount of shadowing as well as a solid GPA which I believe balanced things out.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? My overall interview experience was quite relaxing and welcoming. It was comforting to know that I was not just a number, but that these programs truly desired to know me. During my interviews, I was asked the standard traditional questions as expected (“Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to be a PA? Why our program?”). Remember that these programs already know you on paper, all they now want to see is that you’re personable and that application “you” actually matches up with the in-person “you”. Lastly, ask questions! Although you’re the interviewee, remember that you are also interviewing these programs as well to ensure that their program is a truly a great fit for you.
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? For the GRE, I used Magoosh and the ‘5 lb GRE’ book, and would highly recommend both. For the interview process, I used the “Physician Assistant School Interview Guide” which was extremely helpful and one of my favorite tools to date. I also connected with other Pre-PAs, PA-S, and PA-C’s through social media!
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Do not compare yourself to other applicants! Self-discouragement will disqualify you from the journey before you even have a chance to get started. It’s very understandable to research the statistics of the typical applicant, but know that there are other components that allow you to shine and stand out (i.e. your personal statement). This is where you get to tell your story, one that cannot be duplicated by any other applicant. Hundreds of other applicants may have the same GPA as you, the same PCE/HCE as you, or hey, even the same name as you. But one thing that will always be original and unique about you is your story, so do not be afraid to tell your “why?”. Do not underestimate the weight of that personal statement!
Where can we find you? Instagram: @tolaknowsbest
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