Undergraduate Education: University of California, Irvine — B.S. Biological Sciences
Overall GPA: 3.36
Science GPA: 3.25
GRE: 304 (V 150, Q 154, W 5.0)
Total HCE hours: 572 hours — volunteering at a hospital, ED, and in hospice
Total PCE hours: 4320 at time of application — ED scribe, medical assistant at a dermatology clinic
Shadowing hours: 112 hours — 2 different internal medicine PAs
Other volunteer hours: ~400 hours through sorority philanthropies
LORs: dermatologist (my boss), physiology professor (I got an A in this class), and my previous supervisor who I worked for 6 years as a lifeguard
How many times did you apply?: 2 times
How many programs did you apply to?: 12 programs
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?: 5 interview invites, attended 3 interviews, 2 acceptances, and 1 rejection
I am currently attending Dominican University of California's MSPAS Program, class of 2020!
Any red flags on your application?: Cs in general and organic chemistry, an F in molecular biology (which I retook and got a B)
Anything you found surprising about interviews? Interview days were super long and each one lasted from about 8am to 2pm. I quickly learned that it was important to maintain my energy levels throughout the day because the faculty had all sorts of activities planned for us (a tour, breakfast/lunch, group activities, writing assignments, meeting current students, and the actual interview itself). One of my interviewers yawned during my afternoon interview, so be prepared to stay upbeat for the entire day (bring some snacks, stay hydrated, whatever works for you)!
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 Interview (affiliate link) by Andrew J. Rodican helped me to formulate answers general interview questions, asking current PA students about their past interview experiences, and emailing schools directly about prerequisites. Also, it's really helpful to do mock interviews, especially if you have interview nerves like I do. I practiced with my boss, my coworkers, a PA that I shadowed, my best friends, my mom — practice makes perfect! On that note, don't memorize your answers, because you don't want to sound rehearsed.
Any other advice for other pre-PA students?
If you failed a class or have a lower GPA, you can still get into PA school! Retaking courses that you got low grades in and taking additional science courses not only shows admissions your academic improvement, but it will also help you solidify your foundational science knowledge. I'm so glad I retook classes because now as a current PA-S1, I am doing well and I understand concepts better than I did before! Good luck :)
Where can we find you?
Instagram: @alissalaura_ (DM me with any questions you have!)
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 email@example.com