Accepted!: Bailey - South University (Savannah)

On The Pre-PA Club Podcast_Mock Interview with @jamienicole_pa.s2 (25).png

Undergraduate education: The University of Georgia; Nutritional Sciences- B.S.F.C.S.

Overall GPA: 3.92

Science GPA: 3.90

GRE: 311; 156 Verbal, 155 Quantitative, 4.5 Writing

Total HCE hours: 84 (EMT ride-along clinicals)

Total PCE hours: ~1,200 (~900 as a full-time medical assistant in a family practice, ~300 as a personal care aid for a college student with spinal muscular atrophy)

Shadowing hours: 164 (130- Orthopedics, 15- Dermatology, 19- Gastroenterology)

Other volunteer hours: ~50

LORs: 4 (1 from the physician who I worked with as a medical assistant, 1 from my junior year anatomy professor, 1 from my boss at the boxing gym where I coached fitness classes, and 1 from my college advisor)

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 22

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 7  

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I received an interview invitation from one of my top choices 15 days after submitting my CASPA. Exactly 1 month later, I was accepted. I received another interview invite about 1 week after the first and attended that interview as well. The programs that start in January move fast!! 

Where will you be attending? South University, Savannah

Any red flags on your application? I worried that my patient care and volunteer hours were too low, but I hoped that the admissions committees would notice the quality of my hours rather than the raw numbers.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the faculty members made the candidates feel! Both of the interviews that I attended were two days long. The first day consisted of a presentation, meet and greet, student Q&A, tour, etc., while the actual interviews took place on the second. On the inside, I was super anxious, but once I was one-on-one with my interviewer, I was extremely calm. I could tell that the faculty genuinely cared about their current students, and wanted to explore my personality to determine if I'd be a good fit. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I read and annotated "How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview" by Andrew Rodican (Affiliate link). One of my friends was also kind enough to set up a mock interview in a coffee shop. We pretended to not know each other, and it really helped my confidence in my answers.  

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? In my opinion, the most important part of your application is your GPA. Focus on your classes in undergrad and maintain a high GPA. It's easy to jump at patient care opportunities while taking classes, but there's time after graduation to gain experience. It's hard to raise your GPA once it starts dropping. Also, once you have an interview invite, set the tone for your interview by walking in the room with confidence, smiling a lot, and even cracking a joke! 

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) I’m happy to talk to pre-PA students and help them in their journeys! My friend, Skyler, is in her first year of PA school and together, we run an Instagram account about our pre-PA strategies and programs that we chose! Find me on Instagram @pa.pals

Program Spotlight: South University (Savannah)


Location:  Savannah, Georgia

Number of students:  70

Application Cycle:  CASPA April - August 1st

Interview dates:  June-October

Start date:  January

Length of Program:  27 months

Public/Private:  Private

HCE:  No specific minimum

GPA:  Overall 2.8 (required)/Science 3.0 (preferred)

Shadowing:  No specific minimum

The Good Stuff:

  • No minimum GRE requirements
  • They are on the quarter system
  • No preference to GA residents
  • Working is not encouraged, but students may work up to 15 hours/week
  • 2-day interview.  1st day is a tour and dinner with current students.  2nd day is the formal interview with a group session with the director of the program and 2 one-on-one interviews with faculty.  Really laid back.  They do a "behavioral style" interview.

Program Link:  South University, Savannah

For the most up to date information on PA programs in one place, check out The Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs. (Affiliate link)

Program Spotlight: Emory University


Location:  Atlanta, Georgia

Number of students: ~58 (depends on MPH program)

Application Cycle:  CASPA April - October 1st (preference if before July 1st) and supplemental application (rolling admissions)

Interview dates:  October - January

Start date:  August

Length of Program:  29 months

Public/Private:  Private

HCE:  Minimum 2000 hours of direct patient care

GPA: Minimum 3.0 science and cumulative

Shadowing:  No specific requirement, but highly encouraged along with other volunteering hours

The Good Stuff:

  • They have a yearly board review conference for the PANCE and PANRE that has CME. You can also buy this as a DVD series.
  • There are some open house events if you are interested and want to check the program out
  • Coursework must be done the December before you would start the program
  • Require Organic OR biochemistry, so you don't absolutely have to take O-Chem
  • There's a joint MPH-MPA program, which takes an extra year.  You have to apply to each program separately and start with the MPH program before starting the PA program.
  • There are some great community service opportunities with this program
  • From personal experience, they're quick to send out rejection letters if you don't meet the minimum requirements

Program LinkEmory University

For the most up to date information on PA programs in one place, check out The Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs. (Affiliate link)

Program Spotlight: Augusta University


Formally known as the Medical College of Georgia, and then Georgia Health and Sciences University, then Georgia Regents University, the name is currently Georgia Regents University.  And this particular program is near to my heart because it's where I went to school!

Location:  Augusta, GA

Number of students:  44

Application Cycle:  July 1-October 15 (Rolling admissions = apply early!) and their application is NOT through CASPA

Interview dates:  September - January

Start date:  May

Length of Program:  27 months

Public/Private:  Public

HCE:  100 hours (prefer direct hands on experience)

Shadowing: 100 hours in at least 2 different specialties

The Good Stuff:

  • There's also an MPA bridge program for current PAs who finished a program before most became a Master's program.
  • Look into going for a "Closer Look" tour if you're interested in more information and meeting some current students and faculty.
  • Anatomy course has a cadaver lab w/ 8 students per body, and only 4 working on it at a time.  The lab can be accessed at any time during the first summer for studying.
  • The PA program has a simulation lab set up like a real OR for learning skills like scrubbing and suturing.
  • There's a PA run clinic for the underserved areas of Augusta that is held monthly.
  • There's a new financial assistance program for veterans.
  • This program has had a few different names in the past few years.  It may also be referred to as Medical College of Georgia (MCG), Georgia Health Sciences University, or Georgia Regents University

Link to program - Augusta University PA Program Website

For the most up to date information on PA programs in one place, check out The Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs. (Affiliate link)