Undergraduate education: Gordon College Class of 2018 Biology Major with a Concentration in Pre-Physician Assistant Studies
Overall GPA: 3.81
Science GPA: 3.77
Verbal:157/170 - 76th percentile
Quantitative: 157/170 - 65th percentile
Analytical Writing: 5.0/6.0 - 92nd percentile
Total HCE/PCE hours:
Approx. 1500 at the time that I applied
700 as a CNA at 2 different SNF nursing homes
500 as a CNA at a LTAC hospital on a cardiopulmonary/ventilator floor (still active)
200 as an EMT doing both transfers and 911 (still active)
1 Professor/advisor/teacher that I was a teaching assistant for
1 Nurse with decades of experience in hospital medicine that commonly works as charge nurse for my floor
1 Doctor that knew me on both a professional and personal level
How many times did you apply?: This was my first year applying!
How many programs did you apply to? 5
How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? Interviewed with and accepted by one - my top choice!
Where will you be attending? (if you're comfortable sharing) Northeastern University
Any red flags on your application? I had zero hours of shadowing experience, 1500 PCE hours (for a school that recommended 2000), and my undergraduate degree was done at a small college that (almost) no one has ever heard of.
Anything you found surprising about interviews? Northeastern organized their interviews in a two day process. The first was time spent with professors and current students to familiarize yourself with the program even more. The second day was a set of 3 interviews for each candidate. I pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie between candidates and current students, which I believed would be a much more competitive atmosphere. This only made me more excited to join the class of 2021!
Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? The websites for schools’ PA programs were invaluable. Making sure that all of the pre-reqs were covered regardless of where I was applying was a must. Then, during the application process, making sure that I looked at what mattered most to each school and including my take on those opinions helped formulate my responses to additional essay questions, and even guided my personal statement on a certain level.
Any other advice for other pre-PA students? If you are a decent test taker and come from a smaller undergraduate program, take the GRE! I had an interviewer ask me my response to his dilemma of comparing an A student at a small school (like myself) to a B student at an ivy league. As soon as he saw my GRE scores, that put his mind to rest.
Definitely an advantage to helping yourself stand out academically.
Find out what makes you stand out as a health care provider. I was able to connect with another interviewer over my belief that true empathy is a core trait to strive for in medicine and that we can easily get away from caring for the patient themselves if this is not done. Based on stories I told of patients that I had taken care of in the past, this interviewer was able to pinpoint this characteristic pretty quickly. It was also something that I elaborated on in my personal statement as well. Find a way to make yourself stand out!
Do what you love!! This applies to both academics and PCE hours. I loved taking extra science classes that were not pre-reqs such as nutrition, immunology, biomedical technology, science and literature, and botany. This was in addition to the classes that were pre-reqs for some schools but not others including biochemistry and microbiology. I loved them all and they were easy to talk about with any of the interviewers. Same with my work as a CNA. Not everyone has the fortune of finding a hospital/clinic/ambulance company/nursing home that they fall in love with, but I have greatly enjoyed my time on the cardiopulmonary ventilator floor that I currently work on and was able to talk about that throughout the application and interview process as well.
Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) IG: @rebecca.the.pa
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 firstname.lastname@example.org