Undergraduate education: UC Santa Barbara, Biology major
Overall GPA: 3.65
Science GPA: 3.8
GRE: I chose to not take the GRE
Total HCE hours: ~1300 hours
Total PCE hours: ~3100 hours at time of application - back office MA in a Dermatology office
Shadowing hours: 100
Other volunteer hours: 100 (Junior League of Santa Barbara, Loma Linda Hospital, Beach Clean Ups, Homeless shelter)
LORs: 1 PA (I work with at my office), 2 MDs (owner of practice/supervisors), 1 Profressor and
How many times did you apply?: 1
How many programs did you apply to? 7
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? Invited to 3, Interviewed at 2, 1 acceptance and 1 wait list.
Where will you be attending? (if you're comfortable sharing) Dominican University of California
Any red flags on your application? I did not have as many extracurricular hours as many students tend to have and I also chose not to take the GRE. While I did understand that would limit my choices during applications, it was a personal decision I made based on timeline, stress and my current workload at the time. Luckily I was never asked about either of these things during interviews but I was nervous that programs would not see me as "well-rounded" as other applicants who had far more volunteer/shadowing hours.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? People are so friendly- fellow interviewees, faculty and current students! At both interviews I attended, the students and faculty truly made a huge effort in trying to settle our nerves and make us feel more comfortable during the process. I even made friends with a few people at both interviews and have stayed in touch during the process. You need to go into the interview open minded and try your best to relax!
I also had two completely different interviews at each program. One had 3 tests (3!!) that we had to take prior to our group interview which was followed by an individual interview. The other school had a 2-on-2 interview, group activity and an active research assignment we had to complete. The days were long! I spent 7.5 hours at the first school and about 4 hours at the second.
Tip #1: Bring comfortable walking shoes for campus tours. Your feet will thank you
Tip #2: Wear a smile throughout the day! Your interview starts the moment you set foot on campus and won't end until you're on your way home. Everyone is watching you, so put your best foot forward, portray confidence with a smile and be friendly to others that are interviewing. It will make you less nervous!
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?
When preparing for interviews, I LOVED Savanna's book the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide. I bought it the same day I learned of my first interview invite and read it cover to cover probably 3 times! The questions were helpful and gave me a better idea of how I should formulate my answers.
PAEA directory for researching programs.
Various blogs and Instagram profiles (Life as a PA, With Ashley Kay, Page the PA, Fresh Prince of Healthcare) were a great reminder to push through the tough times and keep working towards your goal!
Any other advice for other pre-PA students?
Don't compare yourself to others! Remember you are just as deserving as everyone else who is applying during your cycle or at your interview, you just need to show admissions just how awesome YOU are! I will be the first to admit I often found myself looking at people's "stats" on the PA forum and would think I wasn't good enough or wouldn't get in my first time, but I learned quickly that you can't do that! It's not healthy and it won't do you any good. Focus on your positives and what makes you unique, write them down even so they're at the forefront of your mind (this will help you during interviews too). The process is slow and nerve-wracking but everything happens for a reason and if you keep working hard, you'll one day get to be a PA!!
Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc)
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