You may remember Gaby from Episode 35 of The Pre-PA Club Podcast. She has some great insights for getting into PA school with an international background.
Undergraduate education: B.S. Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University. Registered Dietitian (3 years), and Certified Diabetes Educator (1 year).
Overall GPA: 3.79
Science GPA: 3.69 (4.00 on my Post-Bacc classes, I had to re-take 2 physiology courses, psychology and microbiology with lab because I initially took these over 5-6 years ago. I also took Post-bacc medical terminology and ethics as pre-requisites for the programs I applied to)
GRE: 302 (151 verbal, 151 Quantitative, 4.0 writing)
Total HCE hours: 5866 hrs, as a Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for pregnant women with diabetes in the Maternal Fetal Medicine Department (High risk pregnancies)
Total PCE hours: 5704 hrs. (work experience, other volunteer opportunities as nutrition educator)
Shadowing hours: 47 hrs shadowing PAs (Emergency Dept. Urgent Care, OB Triage). 12 hrs shadowing an endocrinology MD
Other volunteer hours: 92 hrs
LORs: 3. Physician Assistant, Nurse Manager (my supervisor for the past 3 years), Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine (my supervising physician for 2 years)
How many times did you apply?: 1
Age: 27 at the time of application
How many programs did you apply to? 2
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 1 rejection, 1 interview and was accepted to that program.
Any red flags on your application? I submitted my applications to each school about 4 months apart. For the first school I submitted, where I was rejected, I did not have as many shadowing hours, had no volunteer experience over the past 2 years, and was not a member of any PA organizations. Once I received the rejection I made sure address these issues so my next application was better. I became a member of MAPA, found more shadowing and volunteering opportunities, and truly believe this helped me quite a bit.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? This may not necessarily be surprising, but I thought it was nice that there were 3-4 current students who the interviewees could speak with before going in to the interview with the faculty. The students were very nice and gave us a little insight as to how the actual interview is, and their perspective as current students, what they like or not about the program. Meeting the students before the interview, as well as other candidates, really helped me calm down and going in feeling more prepared.
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? Yes! Books: "How to write your Physician Assistant personal Statement" by Stephen Pasquini PA-C, and "How to ACE the Physician Assistant School Interview" by Andrew J. Rodican PA-C. (Amazon affiliate links) I read them cover to cover and highly recommend both! Also, several social media accounts and YouTube videos by current students and PAs. I also submitted my personal statement to myPAresource for review, which was helpful to figure out what to include and what not.
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Research the schools you might be interested in, look at all of their pre-requisites and minimum requirements and compare what you have, also compare your stats to their current class' stats. Then, apply to the schools you know you fully meet the requirements. The application process can be very expensive, and I personally think that it is better to apply when, and where you know you have great chances. I don't believe in "I'll apply this year just to test the waters". If you don't think or feel you are ready to apply yet, maybe wait, and make sure you do everything to better your profile as an applicant. Schools have application deadlines almost all year round, so if you get a rejection from one, then try to fix what you can so the next you submit is better. This is actually what I think helped me. I got rejected in October and submitted the second application in December - I had 3 months to do more shadowing and volunteering, and singed up for AAPA and the state chapter. I felt like I improved my application and had better chances.
Where can we find you? Instagram: @HealthyMode.PA YouTube: HealthyMode
If you've recently been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story and advice with other PA hopefuls, shoot me an e-mail to savanna@thePAplatform.com