accepted

Accepted: An - University of Texas

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Undergraduate education: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Overall GPA: 3.81

Science GPA: 3.85

GRE: 306 (Verbal - 152, Quantitative - 154) and 4.0 Analytical Writing.

Total HCE hours: 1,600 hours as an Emergency Department Scribe (my program also considers this PCE).

Total PCE hours: 250 hours as a Certified Nursing Aide.

Shadowing hours: 260 hours total - 70 with a Hospitalist, 100 with an ED PA-C, and 90 with a Family Medicine PA-C.

Other volunteer hours: 110 hours - 35 at St. Louis Children's Hospital and 75 in the Biology and Pre-PA club at SIUE.

LORs: 4 letters - ED M.D, anatomy professor/research mentor, NSCS regional manager, and the director of the Biology program I was a mentor for.

How many times did you apply?: Once.

Age: 23

Gender: Female.

How many programs did you apply to? Nine.

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?: I was offered five interviews, accepted four, but in the end only attended two. I was denied from one program and accepted to the other!

Where will you be attending?: Come July, 2019, I will be attending the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas!

Any red flags on your application? I did not have much volunteer experience and I only worked as a CNA for a very brief period of time.

Anything you found surprising about interviews?: Oddly enough, the nerves go away as you (firmly) shake hands with the person you're interviewing with. You realize that they aren't there to intimidate you but to truly get to know you as best they can in the allotted time. I was surprised when the questions asked became conversations that flowed easily rather than cut and dry responses.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?: In terms of getting through prerequisite courses, I leaned on my friends and loyal study group to be successful. Having a strong support system is key! If your university has a Pre-PA group, I highly recommend becoming a member. It's an added support system and a great source of information. Other students are able to impart their knowledge/experiences about the application process and other need-to-know things about PA school and the profession.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? There's no doubt that the entire process is daunting, but stay positive and remember your purpose and why you wanted to pursue this great career in the first place! Step one: Submitting your application. Be confident in your applicant profile and don't compare yourself to others. I know that's easier said than done because I guilty of it myself, but you are unique and programs will see that through your personal statement. Start writing your statement early and then revise revise revise! Have friends, family, and others you trust critique it and give you pointers. Next step: Interviews. Continue being confident in yourself. Prepare for your interviews but don't sound too rehearsed! It is important that you familiarize yourself with the faculty beforehand and have reasons why you find the program attractive and why they should pick you, followed by questions you have for them. Arrive on campus with a smile on your face because your interview begins the second you step out of the car! All in all, embrace the process, stay true to yourself, and remember that this is your journey and it's on no ones timeline but your own!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc): annguyen001



Accepted: Omotola - Augusta University

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Undergraduate education: University of Georgia, B.S. in Nutritional Sciences

Overall GPA: 3.74

Science GPA: 3.61

GRE: 305 (Verbal- 153, Quantitative- 152, Writing- 4.5)

Total HCE hours: 275 at the time of application (Medical Scribe at a gastroenterology clinic)-- Aware that my hours were on the low end, I made sure to give the programs that I applied to monthly updates on any new hours gained as this was an ongoing HCE.

Total PCE hours: 40 (Medlife Mobile Clinic in Ecuador)

Shadowing hours: 434 (324- Orthopedic Surgeon, 100- Hospitalist PA, 10- Orthopedic PA)  

Other volunteer hours: 80 (Volunteering at a local free clinic)

LORs: 3 (1 PA, 1 MD, 1 Professor)

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 22 (at the time of application)

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 5

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 4 interview invites. Declined 1 invite. Attended 3, accepted to all 3.

Where will you be attending? Augusta University PA Program

Any red flags on your application? Both my HCE and PCE were quite low, so applying strategically was key for me! I did however have a fair amount of shadowing as well as a solid GPA which I believe balanced things out.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? My overall interview experience was quite relaxing and welcoming. It was comforting to know that I was not just a number, but that these programs truly desired to know me. During my interviews, I was asked the standard traditional questions as expected (“Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to be a PA? Why our program?”). Remember that these programs already know you on paper, all they now want to see is that you’re personable and that application “you” actually matches up with the in-person “you”. Lastly, ask questions! Although you’re the interviewee, remember that you are also interviewing these programs as well to ensure that their program is a truly a great fit for you.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? For the GRE, I used Magoosh and the ‘5 lb GRE’ book, and would highly recommend both. For the interview process, I used the “Physician Assistant School Interview Guide” which was extremely helpful and one of my favorite tools to date. I also connected with other Pre-PAs, PA-S, and PA-C’s through social media!

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Do not compare yourself to other applicants! Self-discouragement will disqualify you from the journey before you even have a chance to get started. It’s very understandable to research the statistics of the typical applicant, but know that there are other components that allow you to shine and stand out (i.e. your personal statement). This is where you get to tell your story, one that cannot be duplicated by any other applicant. Hundreds of other applicants may have the same GPA as you, the same PCE/HCE as you, or hey, even the same name as you. But one thing that will always be original and unique about you is your story, so do not be afraid to tell your “why?”. Do not underestimate the weight of that personal statement!

Where can we find you? Instagram: @tolaknowsbest


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Megan - The University of Florida

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Undergraduate education: Florida State University & The University of Tampa

Overall GPA: 3.48

Science GPA: 3.58

GRE: 305 (151 Verbal, 154 Quantitative, 4.0 Writing)

Total HCE hours: ~200

Total PCE hours: ~1,900 (Medical Scribe/Assistant)

Shadowing hours: ~180 (Orthopedic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon)

Volunteer: ~180 (Hospice, Hospital, MEDlife)

Research: ~500 (Senior thesis and Research Associate at the hospital)

Teaching: ~1250 (TA for A&P, Organic Chemistry and Ecological Physiology)

Extracurricular: Scuba diving, sorority member

LORs: 5 (2 PA, Research coordinator, 2 Professors)

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 24

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 19. I was uncertain about where I stood as an applicant, so I applied to as many programs as possible. Looking back, I would not recommend this due to the cost of applications. 

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I was invited to interview at 12 programs. Of the 12 invites, I attended 3 interviews and was accepted to all 3 programs. 

Where will you be attending? The University of Florida

Any red flags on your application?  I started college off well with a 4.0 GPA my freshman year, but my grades declined through my sophomore and junior year. In this time, my transcripts were filled 5 C’s, 3 D’s and 3 withdrawals in core classes. I ended up transferring schools after being kicked out of my major twice, however, I continued to study and finished my 4th and 5th year of undergraduate with all A’s. Instead of retaking my core classes I decided to take more challenging upper level courses to prove that I could handle the material. When I interviewed at each school I actually spoke about my low grades being one of my strengths. I explained to the interviewers why I had received those grades and how I learned and matured since then, which they all appreciated. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? While the interviews were very professional, I was shocked at how informal they actually were. Each program I interviewed with wanted to get to know me as a person, rather than just hear my stats. I had one interviewer tell me, “the board is going to sit down in 2 weeks and decide who we accept. Tell me something that will make you stand out so when your face comes up on the slides I will remember you and want to accept you”. I decided to tell a story about me scuba diving and how I overcame one of my greatest fears. Then I related my story to their PA program and why they should accept me. This must have made me stand out because 2 weeks later I was accepted.   

My advice to anyone going on interviews is, go in with a smile and showcase your personality. Every school that interviews you already knows your stats and believes that you would do well in their program. Use the time to talk about your passions, both inside and outside of health care. That is what I did, and one interviewer even thanked me for being so bright and optimistic in a setting filled with so much anxiety. 

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? When I was getting ready to apply, I started following PA-S/PA-C on instagram. I watched their stories and YouTube videos, and I reached out to ask them any questions I had. Another resource I used was the Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs 2018. I made an excel file of all the programs I wanted to apply to with their requirements. Throughout the application process I updated it in order to keep track of which schools received my GRE scores and supplemental applications, as well as tracked my overall application status at each program. When I was getting ready to interview I used a combination of the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide book  and The Pre-PA club podcasts. Both helped me to formulate my thoughts, and allowed me to practice what I would say in the interviews.   

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? This is going to be cliché, but never give up on your dreams. When my grades were slipping my sophomore year, I had a meeting with an academic advisor who sat me down and told me that I was never going to work in the healthcare field, and that I needed to re-evaluate my life goals. I was crushed, but I didn’t listen to him and here I am 3 years later with an acceptance to the PA program of my dreams. If anyone out there is struggling with a lower GPA or GRE scores, make up for it somewhere else on your application. I became involved in research and used that to help me stand out. There are so many other ways to do this. If a program requires 2,000 PCE and 100 volunteer hours, try to double or triple it. Lastly make sure that you are involved in extracurricular activities (not just clubs, but hobbies) and include all of them on your application!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: _mgreener. Please feel free to reach out with any questions! I’d love to help anyone going through this stressful process in anyway that I can. 


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Emily - Touro College

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Undergraduate education: St. Joseph’s College Long Island—Biology Major, Chemistry and Psychology minors

Overall GPA: 3.7

Science GPA: 3.6

GRE: none of the schools I applied to required it!

Total HCE hours: ~1,000

Total PCE hours: ~500

Shadowing hours: ~100

Other volunteer hours: ~500

LORs: 3 letters of recommendation—one from my thesis advisor and professor, another from a professor I took several classes with and TA’d for, the third was from a professor and PA at my college that I shadowed

How many times did you apply?:  Just once!

Age: 20 at the time of my application, 21 when I got accepted

Gender: Female

Why PA? I like that the PA field allows me to work collaboratively as both a leader and a team member, something that fits my personality very well. I believe PA’s play a vital role in the health care field in being able to provide more personalized attention to patients and get to know them for more than just their illness—something that I find very important in gaining trust and a positive repour with someone undergoing a medical challenge. I also like the ability to change fields and practice in various different settings throughout my career.

How many programs did you apply to? I applied to 4 programs

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I received and went on 3 interviews. I was accepted to all 3 schools I interviewed at. The 4th school I was waitlisted for an interview.

Where will you be attending? I will be attending my first choice school, Touro College School of Health Sciences on Long Island

Any red flags on your application? I was nervous because I started a lot of my health care experience and shadowing only a few months before I applied so I thought it might not be enough time for the interviewers to know I was confident that this was the field I wanted to be in.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? How different each interview was! I’m a complete people person and have no nerves speaking to important people. However, I feel like everyone practices and rehearses for their interviews, but you really can’t practice because you don’t know what you’re walking into! My first interview was with four faculty members at the same time, my second was three mini interviews in groups with other applicants, and my third was one interview with one faculty member. Just be yourself and be confident in your application and you’ll be prepared for any situation!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I used this website/ blog a lot to find helpful tips from other PA applicants! However, I would say the best way to get information and advice is to ask classmates or students who have gone through the process a few years before you. I relied on upperclassmen and alumni from my school for help in prerequisite classes and with CASPA.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Don’t compare yourself to others! Every applicant is different—has different experiences, different set-backs, and different strengths. It’s so easy to get caught up in the process of applying to comparing your GPA, PCE, or shadowing hours to everyone else’s. While yes it is important to be realistic about your chances, a lot of the time we wind up crushing our confidence by not feeling as good as other applicants. It’s important to remember that you have worked hard to get to where you are now and that you CAN do this!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) You can find me on my personal Instagram @emilyfontinha. You can also follow my PA school page with my two best friends from my college that are also in the same PA program as me @threepasinapod. If anyone has any questions or needs advice feel free to message me there!


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Naia - University of Southern California

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Undergraduate education: University of South Florida -dual degree: bachelor of science in cellular & molecular biology and Bachelor of Arts in psychology 

Overall GPA: 3.53

Science GPA: 3.35

GRE: 299 overall  - 149 quantitative 150 qualitative 4.0 writing

Total HCE hours: 4000+

Total PCE hours: 2600 to date (800 at time of application) 

Shadowing hours: 100 (PA in sarcoma oncology, PA in thoracic oncology; cardiologist MD; internal medicine MD; ARNP dermatology)

Other volunteer hours: 260

LORs: 4 (1 PA, 1 ARNP, 1 supervisor and 1 science professor) 

How many times did you apply?:  2

Age: 25

Gender: female 

Why did you choose PA?

I have always been interested in medicine since a tumor was found in my mom’s ovaries when I was 13. I wasn’t sure what a PA was until I attended my first medical mission trip to Honduras as an undergrad. The PA who accompanied us inspired me to pursue this career. I love the flexibility in practicing in different fields/specialties as I am someone who loves to learn. I also love that not only could I see patients autonomously but will also be working in a team of other medical professionals. At the end of the day, I think being a PA fits my personality compared to MD or ARNP

How many programs did you apply to? 12

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?

6 and 3 I deferred since I was accepted so it would have been a total of 9From the 6 I was rejected by 2, waitlisted in 3 and accepted to 1.

Where will you be attending?

University of Southern California

Any red flags on your application? 

Definitely my GPA and GRE scores. I did not want admissions thinking I am a poor student academically speaking. My GPA was lower due to illnesses I endured during my sophomore year of undergraduate (which I reiterated in my interviewed if the topic came up). I proved myself by taking a rigorous upper level course work and picking up a second major. As for my GRE I lacked studying incentive the first time and improved my score by 10 points the second time.


Anything you found surprising about interviews?
 

It was non-intimidating (for the most part). The schools I interviewed with genuinely wanted to know more about me and my application.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

DO NOT GIVE UP. I had several mental breakdowns and self doubts towards the end of this 2nd cycle as I was considering applying for a third cycle. If you really want to be a PA then persistent is key. It doesn’t matter that others are getting there before you, your time will come. Always find ways to improve whether it is taking another class to increase the GPA, finding another job to increase PCE or retaking the GRE.

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) 

Instagram: naiaalessandra **I will be changing my username to The_PA_Mission come fall when I start to share my journey and because medical mission trips hold a special place in my heart. I am hoping to do more trips as a professional upon certification**


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Julia - Wayne State University

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Overall GPA: 3.96

Science GPA: 3.98

GRE: 302, 4.5 writing

Total PCE hours: 1,700 when I submitted my application

Shadowing hours: 40- with Family Practice PA and ER PA

Other volunteer hours: 750

LORs: 4: one from a professor, one from my nurse manager, one from my volunteer supervisor, and one from the PA that I work with on my unit.

How many times did you apply?: 1

How many programs did you apply to? 10

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? So far two, I have been accepted to both! Still waiting on responses from 5 other schools..however I have already committed to a PA school.

Where will you be attending? Wayne State University

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The interviews were so different from each other. The important part is to be yourself, be confident, and try not to be intimated by the interviewers or other interviewees. It is also very important to show that you are prepared by doing mock interviews so you have an idea on what you can say to the basic questions. However, expect there to be some curve balls and questions asked that you have not thought about before..just try to answer your best!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? Definitely the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide by Savanna Perry, PA-C! This book helped me to feel very prepared for my interviews and answered all the questions from appropriate dress code, to answers to ethical questions, to sending thank you letters.


Accepted: Yolanda - Eastern Virginia Medical School PA Program

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Undergraduate education: Bachelor’s in Science in Health Sciences

Overall GPA: 3.58 

Science GPA: 3.85

GRE: N/A

Total HCE hours: 0 hours

Total PCE hours: 8000 hours as a physical therapist assistant

Shadowing hours: 15 hours in orthopedic surgery and 25 in dermatology 😊 

Other volunteer hours: 230 hours (30 volunteering at races and 200 as a clinical instructor)

LORs: 5 (Dermatology PA, My home health clinical instructor, PTA school instructor, academic advisor, and my former rehab manager) 

How many times did you apply?:  1 time !!

Age: 27

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 1 program 

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 1 program/accepted!!

Where will you be attending? Eastern Virginia Medical School

Any red flags on your application? Well, I had some typos—oops, but otherwise no red flags.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? It was actually really laid back like everyone said, so that was good. I was surprised that all the interviewers were nice—there were no tricks! During the group interview, we didn’t all get asked the same questions, so it was kind of an “on the spot” situation.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I used Kaplan MCAT books (affiliate link) to get through General and Organic Chemistry. I read the books the semester before basically and by the time the professor taught it, I already understood the concepts. Websites: myparesource, PAplatform, and beapacommunity. com, these were super helpful just to get more information about PA and the process. I didn’t know much before I used these websites! Books: I used “How to Ace the PA interview” by Andrew Rodican and the “Physician Assistant School Interview Guide” by Savanna Perry. This book by Savanna truly gave me the confidence to ace my interview. This book was my Bible!!

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? The journey to getting into PA school should be slow (it took me 4 years). There’s no rush and once you get bad grades it’s going to take more effort to try to raise your GPA. Start working on PCE early on, don’t make it something you just have to check off to get accepted. Practice interviewing with other Pre-PAs via skype—that’s what I did. When interviewing always try your best to be the best you. 

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: @yolandathepagem 


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted: Maddy - Northeastern University Future PA

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Undergraduate education: Villanova University, B.S. in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

Overall GPA: 3.67

Science GPA: 3.46

GRE: 158 Verbal, 153 Quantitative, 5.0 Written

Total HCE hours: 104

Total PCE hours: ~1,400

Shadowing hours: 35

Other volunteer hours: ~200

LORs: 4 Total (1 from a professor, 1 from a PA, 1 from an NP, and 1 Health Professions Advising Committee Letter)

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 23

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 12

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I interviewed at 4 schools (6 invites, declined 2) and I was accepted at 2 and waitlisted at 2.

Where will you be attending? (if you're comfortable sharing) My top choice, Northeastern University!!!

Any red flags on your application? My quantitative score on the GRE was low (51st percentile) and I had a B- on my transcript. Otherwise, I don't think there were any red flags.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? An interview at a "top school" may disappoint you and an interview at a smaller, lesser known school might really impress you! So, keep an open mind!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I used How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview by Andrew Rodican. I used Magoosh for the GRE and followed blogs like The PA Platform and other blogging resources.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Keep an open mind and say yes to any opportunity that presents itself. You never know what lessons you could learn or people you could meet from different experiences. Also, be kind to yourself. This is a hard path but it is worth it. Keep working!!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc): My instagram is the.pa.diaries!


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Bethany - University of Mount Union Future PA

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Undergraduate education: BS in Public Health at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Overall GPA: 3.89

Science GPA: 3.46

GRE: Verbal 149, Quantitative 143, Analytical Writing 3.0

Total HCE hours: 2,955 (Medical Scribe, Oncology Volunteer)

Total PCE hours: 0

Shadowing hours: 91 (Emergency Department, Dermatology, Surgical Oncology, ENT)

Other volunteer hours: 342 (volunteering with people with disabilities at a horse barn, pet therapy at a nursing home facility, Exceptional Adventures volunteer)

LORs: Physician I work as a medical scribe for, Volunteer Coordinator for Volunteer Program I participated in for 3 years, Anatomy and Physiology professor.

How many times did you apply? 2

Age: 24

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 9

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?

I was invited for 4 interviews but only interviewed at 1. It was my number 1 choice and the first one I received an interview invitation for. I will be attending the University of Mount Union starting in May!!

Any red flags on your application?

No patient care experience, low GRE scores, re-took A&P II because I had received a C.

Anything you found surprising about interviews?

My interview experience was phenomenal. It was very laid back and I felt like I was able to connect with several people. Rather than it feeling like the other interviewees and I were competitors, it felt like we were trying to make friends. In addition, one of my interviews was with the director of the PA program. Most of our conversation was her answering my questions about the program and PA profession. I loved this part because it felt like I was given the chance to interview them a little about their program.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?

Helpful books: Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs (2018)  (affiliate link) and The Ultimate Guide to Getting into Physician Assistant School by Andrew J. Rodican (affiliate link).

For personal statement review and interview prep I used the PA Platform and it was the best decision I ever made. If I could recommend one thing to an applicant that would be it. It was so helpful working through my personal statement with a PA and receiving their feedback. After reading the same thing so many times it can be difficult to see where changes need to be made, but they know exactly what to look for.

For the mock interview, I was able to work with a PA who has been an instagram role model to me, s/o @thepa_life. She completely calmed my nerves and made me feel confident going into my first interview.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

If you are a re-applicant this is for you! I felt very discouraged when I knew I did not get into PA school the first time I applied. However, I knew that I had two choices: I could go a different route and pursue a different career, or do absolutely everything I could to make sure I was chosen the next time. I worked very hard through out college to make this dream my reality, but I never worked harder than I did the 6-8 months between applying the first time and applying the second time. If you’re going through the same thing, I encourage you to work hard to gain experience, improve your grades or GRE scores, make connections with people and job shadow, and continue to learn about the PA profession. Not only will this enhance your application, but it will also allow you to grow as a future PA. Believe in yourself. You can do this!

Where can we find you?  Instagram: @bethany_mart1n (Feel free to DM me with any questions!)



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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Josh - Nova Southeastern University Future PA

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Undergraduate education: Florida State University

Overall GPA: 3.63

Science GPA: 3.62

GRE: 304

Total HCE hours:   1500

Total PCE hours: 480

Shadowing hours: 270

Other volunteer hours: 1000

LORs: 3 letters- PA, MD, Past instructor

How many times did you apply?:  1 cycle

Age: 23

Gender: Male

How many programs did you apply to? 7

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 3 interviews, 3 acceptances

Where will you be attending? (if you're comfortable sharing) Nova Southeastern University Ft Lauderdale

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The amount of personal questions I received.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? How to ace the physician assistant school interview (affiliate link)

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?  Be confident!

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) Instagram: gin_andjosh


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Rebecca - Northeastern University Future PA

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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

GRE:

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)

LORs:

  • 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!

 Age: 22

Gender: Female

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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Matthew - Drexel University

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Undergraduate education: B.S. in Biology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona

Overall GPA: 3.60 

Science GPA: 3.59

Graduate Education: Masters in Health Care Administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona

Overall Graduate GPA: 3.75 

Science Graduate GPA: 4.0

GRE: 306 Verbal: 152, Quantitative: 154, Writing: 4

Total HCE hours: 1170 as a medical scribe in the 6th busiest Emergency Department in the country. Our hospital was also a trauma center in which we were responsible to scribe trauma shifts as well.

Total PCE hours: 0

Shadowing hours: 276, accumulated through the Emergency Department, Behavioral Health, Pediatrics and Cardiothoracic Surgery. I think shadowing is some of the most valuable hours you can obtain, giving you countless experiences to highlight during your interviews.

Other volunteer hours: Leadership:1280 Teaching:4680 Volunteer:435 (Place value in all your experience.)

LORs: 2 PA, 2 Physicians, 1 Previous Instructor

How many times did you apply?:  1

Age: 30

How many programs did you apply to? 21… I am well aware the average applicant applies to 6-8 programs but I truly devalued my application and struggled with a lot of self-doubt. My main focus was becoming a physician assistant. Not staying close to home, or attending my alma mater. I wanted to attend the strongest program available to me and a program that truly was a good fit for me. Looking back I think applying to around 15 programs would have been a really good amount.

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I was invited to 14 interviews and managed to attend 8. Of those 8 interviews I was rejected from 1, placed on 2 waitlists, accepted to 4 and have one remaining decision in progress.

Where will you be attending? I could not be more excited to join the prestigious program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Any red flags on your application? I was somewhat of a nontraditional applicant. I completed my graduate degree in 2013 and following, pursued some entrepreneurial opportunities away from healthcare and education. I was concerned coming back 5 years later would be a red flag. Additionally, I had two withdrawal fails and a few grades that I was prompted about at a number of interviews. We are not perfect, and programs do not expect you to be.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was initially surprised by how little many of the programs knew about me or my application. I anticipated very personal, penetrating questions about my application but was pleasantly surprised by the casual nature of much of the interview process. The programs and interviews that I favored took the time to get to know me. They were intentional with their questioning and truly wanted to know my story and how it led me to their interview.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I read Andrew J. Rodican’s “How to Ace the PA interview” (Affiliate link) twice as well as ‘PA School Interview Guide’ by Savanna Perry to familiarize myself with all things interview. I found both books incredibly useful at preparing me for the various interview styles I encountered. When initially applying I used ‘The Applicant’s Manual of Physician Assistant Programs’ for a quick overview of the programs I was planning on applying to. Don’t be scared of social media, there great influencers sharing their PA School journey through Instagram and Youtube that offer tons of useful content that can help you prepare for your cycle. Lastly, for all those nervous about GRE prep I know my score wasn’t the strongest part of my application but I found ‘Magoosh’ online test prep incredibly helpful for organizing study schedules, material and practice testing.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? At the end of the day you have to get to a place where you believe in yourself, your application and your story. Don’t get lost on the forums where statistics and scores seem totally unattainable. Start the process early, don’t wait getting your letters of recommendation in progress and your application ready heading into the cycle. Give yourself an advantage by applying early. For me the best advice I can offer is to write a compelling personal statement. Give committees and programs something to read that will force them to meet you, it’s one document where you get to narrate the story, don’t miss out on that opportunity!

Where can we find you? Instagram: @grungymatt


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 


Accepted: Zeena - Lincoln Memorial University DCOM Future PA

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Undergraduate education: B.S. in Interdisciplinary Health, Minor in Chemistry, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Overall GPA: 3.3

Science GPA: 3.5

GRE: 298, 4.5 writing

Total HCE hours: 304

Total PCE hours:  1,160 (CNA at Nursing home and hospital)

Shadowing hours: 124 (Orthopedic and ENT PA)

Other volunteer hours: 640 (Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Incorporated, Crisis Nursery, Mission Trip to Peru)

LORs: 5 (1 professor, 1 Director of Nursing, 1 research professor, 2 PAs)

How many times did you apply?:  once

Age: 25

Gender: F

How many programs did you apply to? 25 (only because I saved up JUST to apply for schools and wanted to have a better chance at getting accepted my first try)

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 8 interviews, 3 accepted, 1 waitlist, 3 waiting to hear interview results

Where will you be attending? (if you're comfortable sharing) Lincoln Memorial University DCOM PA program in Harrogate, TN

Any red flags on your application? My Overall GPA, my GRE and I noticed a HUGE mistake on my personal statement after I submitted

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was surprised at how comfortable staff and faculty made students feel during the interviews. I learned not only were schools interviewing me, but I was interviewing them as well. Throughout the 8 interviews, I was able to experience every interview style and found that MMI-style interviews were my favorite. It gave me a chance to breathe and reset between each mini interview and I enjoyed seeing a new face in each room.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I am big on using social media to find random people to ask questions. You will be surprised how helpful social media can be. I also used the ‘Physician Assitant School Interview guide’ by Savanna Perry, ‘How to “Ace” the Physician Assistant School Interview’ (affiliate link) and ‘Getting into Physician Assistant School’ by Andrew J. Rodican (affiliate link). In addition, I watched hundreds of youtube videos and listened to all of Savanna Perry’s podcasts. I used social media to ask random people if they can interview me as well and was able to have 14 mock interviews because interviewing was my weakness.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? BE CONFIDENT! Do not let your weaknesses and fears take over. Work on bettering yourself and your application in any way you can. If this is truly your passion, you will do whatever it takes to overcome any obstacles life decides to put in your path. Remember, it will only make you stronger! Do not be scared to ask for help! Reach out and use the internet and social media to your advantage. Practice, practice, practice before interviews. I recommend having strangers interview you instead of family and friends. Being nervous at an interview is normal and your interviewers are aware of this as they were in your position at one point in time. They want to make sure you are a human being capable of empathetically and compassionately take care of others.

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) instagram @zee9193. Please reach out to me if you have ANY questions or need help with anything. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Haley - Barry University Future PA

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Undergraduate education: I majored in Health Sciences, Pre-Clinical and got my Bachelor of Science at the University of Central Florida

Overall GPA: 3.42

Science GPA: 3.35

GRE: 301

Total PCE hours: 4,599

Shadowing hours: 3,668

Other volunteer hours: 60

LORs: I had 5 LORs:  1 from a PA, 1 from an RN, 1 from a professor, and 2 from physicians.

How many times did you apply?:  3

Age: 24

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? Over the course of three years, I applied to about 25 programs

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?I received one interview invite the first cycle and one interview invite the second cycle, and I was waitlisted both times.  The third cycle I received two interviews and was accepted at my number one program so I declined to interview at the other.

Where will you be attending? Barry University (The St. Petersburg Campus)

Anything you found surprising about interviews? The other applicants at each interview were always SO nice!  It didn't feel like we were all competing, everyone was nervous and giving each other pep talks and we were total strangers!  It really is a community and I loved how supportive everyone was.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I actually retook a couple of courses to boost my GPA and I found Doane University to be very helpful because they offered a ton of pre-req classes online, even Anatomy and Physiology with lab, and that was really helpful because I really wanted to be able to work and gain PCE as much as possible.  Also, the book How to "Ace" the Physician Assistant School Interview by Andrew J. Rodican (affiliate link) is super helpful!

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?  If being a PA is something you really want to do and you are truly passionate, do not give up.  It wasn't easy reapplying multiple times and getting waitlisted two years in a row... but everything happens for a reason and it was all worth it in the end :)


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Haley - St. Ambrose University Future PA

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Undergraduate education: Coe College- Cedar Rapids, IA. I majored in biology and neuroscience and minored in chemistry.

Overall GPA: 3.72

Science GPA: 3.53

GRE: 151v/151q/4.5w

Total HCE hours: 215- I worked as an administrative assistant in a dental office and volunteered in the ER and rehabilitation unit at the nearby hospital. 

Total PCE hours: 1200- I have worked as an Emergency Room Technician for a year.

Shadowing hours: 210- 36 hrs (family practice PA), 144 hours (dentist and dental specialties), 30 (physicians such as ophthalmologists, cardiologists, ER physicians)

Other volunteer hours: 50

LORs: I had 5 letters of recommendation- biology professor, public speaking professor, tennis coach, family practice PA, and work supervisor

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 22

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 6

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 5 interviews (2 acceptances, 2 waitlists, and 1 rejection)

Where will you be attending? I will be attending St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.

Any red flags on your application? I received a C+ in Organic Chemistry I and a C in Organic Chemistry II. Luckily, I received A’s in most of my other science courses to strengthen my GPA, but organic chemistry was definitely a challenge for me. 

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was surprised at how welcoming and friendly the interview environments were. I enjoyed talking to other applicants about the PA admissions process, as it was nice to relate to others going through the same ups and downs as myself.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? Khan Academy and Chegg were helpful resources used for my prerequisite courses. To prepare for the GRE, I used the “5 lb Book of GRE Practice Problems” by Manhattan Prep (affiliate link) as well as a vocabulary app. For interview preparation, I used the “Physician Assistant School Interview Guide” by Savanna Perry, PA-C and YouTube for sample MMI questions. I referenced many websites including the AAPA website, paplatform.com, and thepalife.com. Throughout the interview process, I went on physicianassistantforum.com to get additional knowledge on the application process for other students in my same position. However, I may have become too addicted to checking the forum in anticipation for interviews/acceptance from schools. Use the forum wisely if you choose to

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? My advice is to get started on the application process early, and be organized! There is so much that goes into CASPA while also having to study for the GRE and getting your patient contact hours in. It was useful for me to create a spreadsheet with all of the prerequisites and deadlines, so I could ensure I would not overlook any part of their requirements. Also, try your hardest to be patient throughout the process! I drove myself crazy by checking my email and the forums, so try to dive into other activities to keep yourself busy.

Where can we find you? (website, instagram, etc) @hmresnick


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Victoria - University of the Pacific PA Student

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Undergraduate education: Nutrition/Dietetics at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL

Overall GPA: 3.65

Science GPA: 3.54

GRE: Verbal - 145, Quantitative - 151, Writing - 2.5

I took the GRE multiple and my scores fluctuated in all sections every time I took the test.

Total HCE hours: 5,500 (ER scribe and scribe for a pulmonologist)

Shadowing hours: 1,680

Other volunteer hours: 40

LORs: 3 (2 MD, 1 PA)

How many times did you apply?:

I had started my 4th cycle but was accepted in to a program that I was waitlisted at during my 3rd cycle.

Age: 26

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to?

1st cycle - 6

2nd cycle - 12

3rd cycle - 12

4th cycle -6

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?

Throughout the entire process I interviewed at 6 programs. During my second cycle I interviewed with four programs and was waitlisted at all four. I actually got pulled from the waitlist and was offered a seat at one of the programs but they ended up not getting there initial accreditation (was a blessing in disguise). My third cycle I interviewed at two programs, one was a no and the other I was waitlisted at.

Where will you be attending?

I started on January 3, 2019 at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, CA. I was waitlisted at this program in March 2018 after my interview but was offered a seat on December 11, 2018. Best day of my life

Any red flags on your application?

Low GRE score. Only a few of the programs I interviewed at questioned this but I assured them that this was not indication of my test taking skills. I also did not work in the healthcare field for an entire year. This did not get brought up formally during my interview but I think it hurt me at one interview because I didn’t get a chance to explain why.

Anything you found surprising about interviews?

The faculty and staff really wanted to get to know me. There was only one interview where I felt that I was being interrogated.

I felt that I was interviewing the school as well. Were they a good fit for me? Could I see myself thriving in this atmosphere?

Majority of the schools I interviewed at made me feel welcome but also made it clear that there was high expectations from students, faculty and staff.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?

 Khan academy was a lifesaver during majority of my prerequisite courses.

Powerprep tools on ETS and Kaplan quizzes to study for the GRE.

 I googled common interview questions for PA school, made a long list and would practice in the mirror or have family or friends ask me questions.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

Sometimes things may not work out right away or how you imagined. It is easy to feel discouraged and that is okay! Remember that this is a tough process. Stay focused and continue to work toward your goals. When it’s meant to happen, it will. Feel free to message me with any questions.

Instagram @victoria_blair


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Emily - Trine University Future PA

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Undergraduate education: B.S in Allied Health, A.A.S in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI.


Overall GPA: 3.46

Science GPA: 3.39

GRE: 299-Verbal: 150, Quantitative: 149, Writing 4.5

Total HCE hours: I didn't put any on my application, although I feel the amount of PCE hours I have counts for HCE hours as well.

Total PCE hours: I've worked direct patient care (as an Ultrasound Technologist) for just over six years now. Going radiology first is a great way to get experience hours, and I never would have learned about the PA world without it!

Shadowing hours: Again, I didn't put any on my application but I mentioned in my interview that I worked directly with PAs and learned a lot from them. I do wish I would have shadowed PAs in different departments to learn the broader spectrum of physician assistant care but I don't think it will impact how I do in school.

Other volunteer hours: I mentioned that i've volunteered in an Alternative Spring Break and other non-healthcare related activites however, if I had been on a PA track since undergrad, I would've used more opportunities to get health care related volunteer experience! I think it not only looks good on an application, but you can learn so much from getting out and seeing what health care in different communities looks like!

LORs: Four! I had two of my PAs I work with, as well as two radiologists I worked with submit letters. Since I applied twice, I used the first two PAs again, but I had a different radiologist submit a new letter just in case schools frowned upon repeats

How many times did you apply?: Twice!

Age: 27 - 28 when I start school. ((I initially thought this was too old to start the PA process but through the PA instagram world, I learned its never too late to go after your dreams and make it happen! Its a risk, but the reward will be so worth it!))

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? Two.

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I only interviewed with one school. My goal was to stay close to my current city because I bought a house and didn't want to have to sell it. If I wasn't accepted I would have applied outside the state/other areas. The school I interviewed with initially waitlisted me and recommended I go for a higher GRE score. They said if I got a higher GRE, then I would be admitted for the next cycle without another interview (just a quick phone interview) and so I did! I was accepted five days after I took the test!

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I was surprised how casual everything was! The instructors made me feel so relaxed and at ease during the whole process. They gave us a lot of information about the school and were so open with answers to our multiple questions. They did a group interview style and some scenario activities for us to do. It was actually fun!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? The PA platform website was so beneficial with the application process and any questions leading up to that. I used the free printouts for help leading up to my interview and it was so nice to have that! I also have found an amazing and generous community on instagram with PA students and PA-Cs willing and ready to answer any and all questions. @lorae_the_pa and @lifeasapa have been my go-to PA/all around badass women inspo. :)


Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Don't give up! The application process is long and frustrating but keep going! Reach out to any and all PAs you know for help and advice. I haven't ran into any of them that were unwilling to help. Also, remember to relax and not stress (easier said than done of course!). PA school will have us stressing like crazy. Don't get too worked up before you even begin!


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Stefanie - Clarkson University Future PA

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Hi everyone, my name is Stefanie and I'm excited to share my acceptance story with all of you. I hope my story will encourage you to keep trying and know you will get in with hard work

Undergraduate education: B.S. in Kinesiology from University of North Carolina Greensboro

Overall GPA: 3.25

Science GPA: 3.4

GRE: 309 (Verbal = 156, Quantitative = 153, Writing = 5.0)

Total PCE hours: 1,420 hours - My last two years as a habilitation technician to begin acquiring patient care experience. After graduating, I worked for a year and a half in a nursing home and as an Emergency Room Technician.

Shadowing hours: 40 hours - I shadowed a cardiology PA in an inpatient hospital setting. It was incredibly insightful; I got to watch as she performed ED consults, as well as rounded on her patients that were admitted in the hospital. I also shadowed an ENT surgeon in the OR.

Other hours: ~200 volunteer hours - In college, I was in a sorority and was very involved in volunteering with them. We spent weekends volunteering, as well as volunteered individually. I also volunteered after graduation with a non-profit company that helped provide reliable transportation for underprivileged families for school and work. PA programs absolutely love to see volunteering and being involved in the community so I would definitely recommend finding a cause you're passionate about!

LORs: 4 in total - 1 from a Cardiology MD, 1 from my CNA instructor who is an RN, 1 from my CNA skills instructor who is an RN, and 1 from my boss from when I was a habilitation technician.

How many times did you apply?: 1

Age: 23 at the time of application

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 10

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? I had two interview invitations but was unable to attend one due to having a one week notice, and not being able to take off work that quickly. I attended the interview invitation I had with Clarkson University and was accepted that night! It only takes one school to accept you, so don't give up!

Where will you be attending? I will be starting at Clarkson University in 3 weeks (January 2019). 

Any red flags on your application? My GPA was definitely a red flag on my application. My first year in college, there was a lot of turmoil in my life. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, my mother was diagnosed with SVT, as well as I became ill and was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. It was difficult to handle my classes during all this, and unfortunately, my grades suffered. I was able to retake the classes I had originally received a low grade in, but since CASPA averages all your classes together, it still affects your GPA negatively. PA programs definitely like to see you retake classes and see maturity, so the upward trend in my GPA was definitely an asset on my application. Putting in the effort to improve your grades and your application definitely get noticed.

Anything that you found surprising about the interviews? I was incredibly nervous leading up to my interview. I researched, practiced, and picked the brains of all the PAs and doctors at work for any advice or questions they thought I might encounter. I printed out a long Word document of practice questions, where I wrote down my answers so I could brainstorm a well thought out answer that included everything I wanted to say. I read through every post on the PA Platform it seemed like. What was most surprising for me, was that despite all the nerves I had leading up to the interview day, once I got there, I felt extremely comfortable and relaxed mingling with the other students interviewing and the current students during the meet-and-greet portion. When we had our one-on-one interview portion with the faculty and staff, they were very relaxed and gracious. They understood how nervous all of us would be, and made every effort to make me feel more at ease. One part of my interview that I loved, was a group interview portion where we had to try and come together and solve a problem as a group to show how we all worked together. Working alongside others in the same situation definitely helped ease my nerves and make me feel more comfortable.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through the prerequisite courses, the application, or interview process? To prepare for my application and the interview process, I scoured the PA Platform for any and all insight and advice possible. I also read through everything on thepalife.com and read How to "Ace" the Physician Assistant School Interview by Andrew J. Rodican , PA-C (affiliate link) cover to cover. The book gave me incredible help in deciding how to construct my answers and make a list of everything I wanted to be sure that I told the faculty and staff about myself. I also asked every PA and doctor I could for advice for the interview, as well as insight into how they would answer some of the more difficult ethical questions. Taking advice from others provided new insight I had never thought of before.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? The best advice I could give others in my shoes would be to stay focused and not be discouraged by red flags that might be on your application. It might take extra time or hard work, but it is possible to get into PA school. Take as much advice as you can, and learn as much as possible from others. Make PA school a top priority and it will happen in time!

Where can we find you? My Instagram account is @stefaniem4 and is the best way to reach me. If you have any questions about my stats, application process, or anything else, feel free to reach out. I hope you enjoyed my acceptance story!


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Kelsie - University of Charleston in West Virginia Future PA

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Undergraduate education: BS in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Utah

Overall GPA: 3.36

Science GPA: 3.21

GRE: 306, Analytical Writing 4.0

Total PCE hours: 10,170 as a phlebotomist, blood gas technician, and exercise specialist

Shadowing hours: 117 (MD's and PA's)

Other volunteer hours: 96 (Leadership), 234 (Service)

LORs: 3 (PA, professor, and supervisor at work)

How many times did you apply?:  3

Age: 25

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 8

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 2 - one rejection, one waitlist to acceptance!

Where will you be attending? University of Charleston in West Virginia

Any red flags on your application? Low GPA (I tried to offset this with my high PCE and solid volunteering.)

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I didn't expect to feel as welcome as I was. At the two programs I interviewed at, one was very student focused and showed it in how the interview was conducted. The other one said they were student focused, but I didn't feel as comfortable there. I was also surprised at the different lengths of the interviews. One program had an orientation night to help us feel more relaxed and answer questions, then the next day we interviewed for about 2 hours. The other had us show up early and kept us there for almost 9 hours. I also definitely feel like I built the interviews up to be much more nerve-racking than they actually were. Admissions committees truly just want to get to know who you are and see what you're like outside of your application.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? Physician Assistant Interview Guide by Savanna Perry, How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview (affiliate link) and The Ultimate Guide to Getting into Physician Assistant School by Andrew Rodican, and The PA Platform Blog & Podcasts.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students? Don't give up! It took me three application cycles to figure everything out, and I think it would've taken me less time and frustration had I not been so stubborn and asked for help earlier. I was a classic case of trying to do everything on my own but I found success this year by using all of my resources. Talk to advisors, PAs, PA students, other health care professionals, people you trust to give you unbiased feedback, etc. While incorporating all these resources, it is also important to believe in yourself and go with your gut. Keep trying to improve a little bit every day... You can do this!

Where can we find you? @_kelsiemarie_ on Instagram


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com 

Accepted: Alissa - Dominican University of California PA Student

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Undergraduate Education: University of California, Irvine — B.S. Biological Sciences

Overall GPA: 3.36

Science GPA: 3.25

GRE: 304 (V 150, Q 154, W 5.0)

Total HCE hours: 572 hours — volunteering at a hospital, ED, and in hospice

Total PCE hours: 4320 at time of application — ED scribe, medical assistant at a dermatology clinic

Shadowing hours: 112 hours — 2 different internal medicine PAs

Other volunteer hours: ~400 hours through sorority philanthropies

LORs: dermatologist (my boss), physiology professor (I got an A in this class), and my previous supervisor who I worked for 6 years as a lifeguard

How many times did you apply?: 2 times

Age: 26

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to?: 12 programs

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes?: 5 interview invites, attended 3 interviews, 2 acceptances, and 1 rejection

I am currently attending Dominican University of California's MSPAS Program, class of 2020!

Any red flags on your application?: Cs in general and organic chemistry, an F in molecular biology (which I retook and got a B)

Anything you found surprising about interviews? Interview days were super long and each one lasted from about 8am to 2pm. I quickly learned that it was important to maintain my energy levels throughout the day because the faculty had all sorts of activities planned for us (a tour, breakfast/lunch, group activities, writing assignments, meeting current students, and the actual interview itself). One of my interviewers yawned during my afternoon interview, so be prepared to stay upbeat for the entire day (bring some snacks, stay hydrated, whatever works for you)!

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process?

How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview  (affiliate link) by Andrew J. Rodican helped me to formulate answers general interview questions, asking current PA students about their past interview experiences, and emailing schools directly about prerequisites. Also, it's really helpful to do mock interviews, especially if you have interview nerves like I do. I practiced with my boss, my coworkers, a PA that I shadowed, my best friends, my mom — practice makes perfect! On that note, don't memorize your answers, because you don't want to sound rehearsed.

Any other advice for other pre-PA students?

If you failed a class or have a lower GPA, you can still get into PA school! Retaking courses that you got low grades in and taking additional science courses not only shows admissions your academic improvement, but it will also help you solidify your foundational science knowledge. I'm so glad I retook classes because now as a current PA-S1, I am doing well and I understand concepts better than I did before! Good luck :)

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @alissalaura_ (DM me with any questions you have!)


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 savanna@thepaplatform.com