PA Program: Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, California
Undergraduate education: University of California, Riverside
Overall GPA: 3.13
Science GPA: 2.93
Last 60 sGPA: 3.83
Total HCE hours: 584
Total PCE hours: 6,215
Shadowing hours: 529
Other volunteer hours: 1,384
LORs: 4 (1 Family Medicine PA, 1 Pediatric MD, 1 Science Faculty & 1 Women’s Studies Professor)
How many times did you apply?: Twice
Age: 27 (Applied and accepted at 26)
How many programs did you apply to? 1st cycle: 12 2nd cycle: 23
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? The first time I applied, I received 0 interview invitations. My application was automatically rejected by almost half of the programs due to a unit discrepancy for my microbiology pre-requisite. The second time I applied, I received 4 interview invitations, declined 2 of them and attended the other 2 in which I was offered a seat at both. The reason why I declined the 2 invitations was because I was accepted to my top choices.
Any red flags on your application? First and foremost was my GPA, both overall and science GPA. However, I submitted my application to programs I felt took a holistic approach in evaluating their applicants. I knew I had strengths in other aspects so I made sure to showcase those on my application. I also demonstrated a high upward trend in my courses after undergrad and maintained grades that did not drop lower than a B- my last 3-4 years or so of taking classes. Another red flag was being put in academic probation early on in undergrad. However, again, I demonstrated and explained my maturity level at that time as a student and showed how I was able to respond, grow and maintain as a student. This showed my dedication and potential as a PA student.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was pleasantly surprised by how many interviews I got first and foremost. The first interview (Dominican University of California) invite caught me off-guard as did the second (Sacred Heart University), third (Marshall B. Ketchum University) and last one (USC). My third interview invite was from my top choice and I received it literally the day before the interview date. My last interview invite was to USC which I was also not expecting. Despite declining my interview invites for Sacred Heart University and USC, I was extremely grateful for these opportunities though.
I was also surprised by how natural the interviews felt. I was most nervous in preparing for the interviews and driving to the campuses. However, once I was there, I felt at home and felt as if I was just having a conversation with the admissions committee and students. They genuinely wanted to get to know us and wanted us to feel comfortable, which I absolutely was. I thought I would be grilled and asked heavily about my grades and numbers, instead, they were more concerned about myself as a person and future PA student at their university. I would say I was extremely fortunately to be invited by these two programs I interviewed at.
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?
For me, this road to PA school has been a long and tedious one. Facing numerous rejections, obstacles such as scheduling conflicts between classes and work, losing supporters and having doubters as well as being lost with what to do with my application and essentially, my life, all led me to where I am. I would not have had the opportunities I've had nor would I be in the position I am without folks that have helped me along the way. These resources definitely helped throughout the process, my mentor Anthony from "Journey To PA School",
Samantha and Savanna from "PA Platform" with the interview process, as well as Brian from "My PA Resource" in regards to personal statement revisions. Additional sources that helped me (please take with a grain of salt) were:
Physician Assistant Forum - https://www.physicianassistantforum.com/
PA School Directory - http://directory.paeaonline.org/
AAPA - https://www.aapa.org/
CAPA - http://capanet.org/
PA vs MD
Any other advice for other pre-PA students?
My biggest advice for everyone is to “Keep working hard. You’ll get there one day and it’ll all be worth it.” It’s simple (and somewhat cliché) but it’s absolutely true. It encompasses the entire journey in getting into PA school. There will be some days during your studies where you’ll feel like giving up and feel like you don’t want to study anymore. Don’t give up! There will also be patient encounters that make you not want to pursue medicine anymore. Don’t give up! Those long stressful days, nights, shifts, and classes will all be worth it. When I got my acceptance call, I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders and the hard part of getting into PA school was over. At the same time, I knew that it was going to be even tougher during PA school and more was at stake, my patient’s lives. So regardless of where you are in the process, keep working hard. You’ll look back and realize how amazing the journey has been and how much you’ve grown and matured as a future PA.
Where can we find you? (website, Instagram, etc)
I’m always a DM or email away for any questions or inspiration. If you want to know more about my story and path or contact me, please check out my website: www.aaronangkor.com/medicine or on my Medelita’s HIP Ambassador Profile www.medelita.com/community/aaron-angkor/
You can also message me and follow my instagram (@AaronAngkor). Thanks for allowing me to fulfill my life goals of “Aspiring to inspire”.