PA Program Attending: Eastern Virginia Medical School
Undergraduate Education: Bachelor of Health Sciences with a concentration in Integrative Holistic Medicine (Oakland University, 2014)
Overall GPA: 3.11
Post- Bachelor GPA: 3.97
Science GPA: 3.32
Total HCE Hours: 5,600
Total PCE Hours: 2,500
Shadowing Hours: 80; multiple different specialties.
Other Volunteer Hours: 550
LORs: 4 in total. 1 from a Neurology PA (whom I've worked with and shadowed). 1 from a Dermatology PA (whom I've worked with and shadowed). 1 from my work supervisor/ administrative nursing manager. Lastly, 1 from a professor (whom I've taken multiple courses with and teach-assisted for).
How many times did you apply? I actually applied twice! However, I was in fact accepted to a program in Cycle 1 later in the cycle. I applied for Cycle 2 just to be safe. I was accepted into a program early on in Cycle 2 as well.
How many programs did you apply to? Cycle 1: 15 programs; Cycle 2: 14 programs.
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? For Cycle 1, I interviewed at 1 program and was accepted! For Cycle 2, I was offered 4 interviews, I attended 2 of them, and was accepted to one of them!
Any red flags on your application? The biggest red flag, in my opinion, was my lower cumulative undergraduate GPA. Round 1, I had a 3.11. Round 2, I had a 3.2. Fairly on the low end.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was always told that interviews are brutal and so nerve-wracking because they hound you hard with questions.... but I had such great experiences with mine! Most of my interviews were "Closed Book," meaning that the faculty and students interviewing me did not know anything about my application prior to meeting me. This made me more relaxed and confident knowing that I could have a great conversation with my interviewer while highlighting great characteristics and experiences. I wasn't worried about if they were going to hound me with questions about my low GPA, I just spoke from the heart. The faculty members were really just trying to get to know me personally and wanted to see how my past academic, volunteer and patient experiences have shaped me into wanting to become a PA and why I was now ready to become one.
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? My favorite resources were reaching out to current PA students over social media! They gave me honest perspectives on the application process and how to implement great study habits to help me succeed in the program. When I was preparing to apply and choose programs, I utilized the PAEA website to search programs all over the nation. I also used PAprogramFinder.com to help me narrow down programs that I would best fit based on my GPA and other experiences. To make sure I kicked butt in all my prerequisite courses, I utilized writing all my notes in my own words. Then I would write them on a whiteboard. I learn through many different visual queues; so color coding, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and even teaching material has helped me solidify all the material I learned in my biomedical courses.
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Be confident in yourself! You've worked so incredibly hard to even get to the application process; you should be proud! Also, know that a rejection is NOT the end of the world. Make sure you view rejection as a redirection to push you harder for the next cycle. PA school is competitive, you know this---everyone knows this! Please don't be discouraged if you need to apply multiple times. The bite of victory once you get in will taste even sweeter when you know you have worked extra hard for it! Remember that the temptation to quite is often the greatest RIGHT before a miracle occurs--- don't give up!
Where can we find you? (website, Instagram, etc): I love helping and mentoring other Pre- PA students! If you ever have any questions, concerns, or just need someone to hear you out, you can always reach out to me! You can find me on Instagram @Notoriouspa_C. You can also reach out to me via email at 1Notorious_PAC@gmail.com
If you've been accepted to PA school and would like to share your story in an Accepted! post, send an email to savanna@thePAplatform.com or use this link to contact us at The PA Platform now.