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Acceptance into PA school w/ low GPA?

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by Muscles00GT, Oct 21, 2008.

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  1. Muscles00GT

    Muscles00GT

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    Just curious if anyone heard of anyone getting accepted into a PA school with a less than stellar GPA (i.e. less than 3.0)? I'm in a bit of a conundrum at the moment as I'm trying to decide where I'm going to end up following undergrad school. I'm graduating in Dec. of 2009 with a bachelors in kinesiology at which my overall GPA will be approx. 2.8-2.9. I have great references (MD's, DO's, PA's, NP's, Professors, etc) and have great experience and communication skills. So if anyone could shed a little light on this matter, I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks:cool:
  2. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    Anything can happen. Is it going to be easy? No. Will you get a lot of rejections? Yes. But with 140+ programs out there, if you can have a strong GRE, good recs, good experience, someone is liable to give you a shot.

    http://www.physicianassistantforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3004

    GL in your applications!
  3. Muscles00GT

    Muscles00GT

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    Hey Brad thanks for the input. I know it's not going to be easy and to be honest, I like it that way. If it was easy anyone could do it. With that said, I'm going to give it my best shot and see what happens.
  4. foreverLaur

    foreverLaur Future PA-C

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    A large majority of schools require a 3.0 minimum GPA. Be sure to check out the rules you are interested in. Additionally, most schools require a C or higher in all prerequisites. If you have less than stellar grades in prerequisites, I would recommend trying to retake them. You are so close to that 3.0... I'd try and get there.
  5. core0

    core0 Which way is the windmill

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    Tough, not impossible.
    First there are some programs that require a certain GPA, don't bother with those.
    Second, to some extent it depends on the pattern. If you have an early college experience with a horrible GPA followed by improving/great GPA then thats better than good GPA that went downhill.
    Third, you need medical experience and apply to select PA programs. Look at the Masters programs in PA and NY among others. Florida is also developing a lot of new programs. Essentially programs in areas that are overpopulated and new programs (that have not set policies) are probably your best bet.
    Fourth, if you get an interview, you need to kill it. Be prepared to discuss your GPA and show you can do better.
    Fifth, consider doing masters work while you get health care experience. This can show that you can do graduate work. If there is anything else that you can do to get it up (retake classes or take additional classes) do it. If you can get above the magical 3.0 it helps.

    As someone who had a GPA barely above 3.0 and got into multiple programs, its possible. I had the advantage of tons of health care experience. Also my understanding is that it is much more competitive than it was 10 years ago.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  6. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    I had a 3.1 overall and 3.7 science after doing 2 years prereq work; original BA GPA was 2.7. 20 years military experience, GRE of verbal 680, math 540, and writing 5.0 Applied to 4 programs, interviewed 1, accepted at 1. Graduation is 13 Dec 08. It can be done:).:thumbup:
  7. superstar123

    superstar123

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    i have around 2.8 overall gpa and my science gpa is lower. i am going to be a senior this coming semester. i really want to get into PA school. i have been doing some PA shadowing and have about 800 hours of health care experience (work as a nurse's aid and will continue to get more hours). i will be taking the GREs this summer. my school does not allow you to retake classes unless you've failed them which i have not. i just have B's and some C's. i was wondering if i should retake some of the classes at a state school. would that help/make my application look better? ANY SUGGESTIONS?
  8. Cmaj7th

    Cmaj7th

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    why not try to balance out your GPA with some more intense HCE? you could try nursing, emt-p, or RRT for a couple years while taking some classes. you'll have more clinical skills compared to your average classmate who was a volunteer EMT-b or CNA.

    if you're just graduating from undergrad I'm going to assume you're relatively young. a few years of working in some other healthcare field I think would be beneficial in many ways.
  9. Pharos

    Pharos

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    Even if your overall GPA was to remain low (due to the weighted average) you could still improve your chances by taking a bunch of post-bac classes and get really good grades. The overall may not be that great, but if the Ad Com can see that you did really well recently, you might have a good shot. I also think the idea of repeating some of the classes would work, but you could also throw on some other post-bac classes that are fairly rugged in nature (i.e. upper level) to really prove yourself.
  10. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

    yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    with a gpa at 3.125, i was looking to apply to PA school this coming cycle. I know with a low GPA it's really hard, but what volunteer experience are they looking for? I have >100 hours in volunteering as a first aid responder/emt-b. I am also going to Peru for 2 weeks to volunteer in their healthcare clinic over there next month. I was originally on the medtrack, took my MCATS, and got a 35. Could that substitute for GREs by chance or probably not? I'm only looking to apply to the program in my state at umdnj. Thanks for any advice you can provide for me.
  11. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    why did you decide against med school? a 35 is a good mcat score. it would have gotten you in somewhere(definitely DO).
    regarding hrs, many programs use 1000 hrs as their initial cut off so keep working on it. also paid hrs > volunteer hrs at many programs.
  12. yoyoyoyoyoyo12

    yoyoyoyoyoyo12

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    1000 hours?! thats a lott what can you do? or what do they look for? does emt-b volunteering work?
  13. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    1000 HRS IS NOT A LOT.
    it's 6 months....some of the better programs require 2000-4000 hrs +
    I think the avg in my class was around 10,000 hrs. most of my class was medics, rn's, rt's, medical assistants, etc
    remember that pa is intended as a second career in medicine. it is only recently that programs have allowed folks right out of undergrad to apply.
  14. dxu

    dxu the great one

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    I am torn on going for PA or DO.

    I have 5 yrs in EMS, 3 as a Medic. Before I even apply to PA or DO school I will have around 7 years. That comes to ~15k hours +.

    No doubt some PA programs will look at my HCE very highly BUT . . .

    My GPA is low. First two years of college were good, 3.2 GPA. Past few attempts while working FT were very bad. And I don't mean "OMG I got a C", I mean "I couldn't handle work and school and I withdrew to late so now I have an F" type bad. And with PA programs being so competitive, I stand little chance of getting in even though I retook all my courses and got a 3.6 in them along with a BS in Business/Accounting with a 3.8 GPA.

    The reason for this happening, which I thought was just me being lazy or just unintelligent actually turned out to be Adult Onset ADD. They put me on medication and as you can see, I finished everything very well. Please know that it was my entire life that was affected with ADD. Everything from remembering appointments to paying bills. I thought it was a bull crap diagnosis before this but I cannot argue with results.

    But the funny thing is, DO schools will replace my grades (good thing) and will be more likely to give me a shot so long as my MCAT is 23-26 or better.

    I just need to figure out which way to go. I am 24 and have some time. But EMS is killing me.

    DU
  15. EMTI

    EMTI

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    God do I hear that! I couldn't get out of the ambulance fast enough. I'm working in an ED now (and I stay in EMS per diem), so it's better, but still... I know that feeling.

    I'm also torn with the med school/PA decision, as it's incredibly hard to balance a full time work schedule with school.

    If you want to be a doctor, apply to DO school. If you want to be a PA, apply to PA school. I once had a PA friend tell me that so many of his classmates were med school "rejects," who were bitter about not getting in, and "settled" for PA. I hope I am never that student. I hope you won't be either. Good luck man.
  16. FireCloud9

    FireCloud9

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    No contest. DO all the way. If I was 34 I'd do it.
  17. adayatatime

    adayatatime

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    There are people who are 44 and 54 doing it. Check out the non-trad thread. It's very inspiring. Keep working out, and you'll be like my father and uncles who are still buff at 70+ and still working.
  18. FireCloud9

    FireCloud9

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    Different circumstances. We know MDs who used to be lawyers, engineers, bankers, etc. They too were nontraditional students, though in most cases, they were single in early to mid 30s when they made the switch.

    I thought about it (a lot), but a direct path to MD would be too long for me. Still have too many pre-reqs outstanding, a family w/ 3 young children to support, etc.

    Hence the clinician route. It'll still take me a while, but I can potentially be a clinician before 50 and can put in 15-20 years of work before I expire. For the MD route, I'd be 50 starting med school that would be 57-58 at best only 10-12 years of practice. More than likely, at my age, a specialty would be out of reach, and it would just be primary care.

    But for DXU who is 24.... as my wife commented when reading this thread, "it's a no brainer"
  19. dre1387

    dre1387

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    I graduated from college with B.S. in bio and a 2.8 cum. gpa in 2009. I minored in Spanish. Since then I took some postbacc courses at my local community college (couldn't afford classes at a 4year school and was working full time in a lab for a med diagnostic manufacturing company).

    The courses I took were A&P I and II (w/labs) and received A's in both (I found the material extremely interesting and worked very hard); Current Health Issues online course (A), Organic Chem I (retake -- got a D the first time and upon retaking it got a B), Physics II (A), and a First Aid/CPR course where I got certifications and a grade (B+). My gpa is now a 3.0 cum and 2.8 science.

    I have experience working in two different hospitals, volunteered as a Spanish translator at a walk-in clinic, shadowed doctors and worked in private practices.

    I also have research experience from UMDNJ and received credit for a poster and thesis I completed for my work...

    I am not good at standardized tests and when I took my GRE I scored a 510V/330Q/4.0writing. - I know I may need to retake this.

    I am set to shadow an Orthopedic PA every week from here on out pretty much (I have been trying to get a PA to let me shadow them for a while) and will also try to volunteer at a free medical clinic which is run at my church. -- My lab dept. was laid off due to cutbacks so I want to use my time wisely in order to focus on putting together a solid and competitive PA applicant profile.

    I have applied to a few PA programs recently (but more last minute) and have been getting rejected so far....

    Does anyone out there have some advice on what else I should do in order to stand a chance?

    I encountered some setbacks academically while satisfying my undergrad requirements and received some low grades. I was going through some personal struggles within my family at the time which was a distraction as I am generally a good student. Here is a breakdown of my sciences:

    Themes in Bio - C+
    Gen Chem I - B
    Psychology - A-
    Eukaryotic Cell Bio -( first got a C- then retook a couple semesters later and got a B)
    Genetics - D
    Organic Chem I (first got a D then retook recently - 2011- and earned a B)
    Organic Chem II (B+)
    Ecology (took once and got a C- --- retook and got the same grade - big mistake on my part)
    Medical Spanish - B-
    Stat - C
    Biology Research Ind Study through UMDNJ -- A
    Microbiology - B
    Invertebrate Bio - B-
    Bio Seminar - B
    Calculus - C
    Lab Techniques in Bio - A
    Human Anatomy and Physiology I - A
    Human Anatomy and Physiology II - A
    Physics I - C-
    Physics II - A


    Suggestions on what else I should do right now because I plan on reapplying early for the next application cycle to PA programs. Help please!! :confused:


    Thanks!
  20. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    1.)Raise your Gpa. That is one of the main things getting you rejected is that.
    2.)Find a mentor to help you with your problems.(Mentor I mean an older PA from the school you want to apply to that can help you with a LOR as well as tell you the ins and outs of the PA program is they are in the loop.)
    3.)I normally don't make this recommendation but if you cannot get the C's/D's up then go to Nursing school and go the NP route if your truly wanting to be in healthcare. Also I would say take the courses at the four year university because if you struggle with those courses you will probably struggle with PA school rigor.
  21. acetabulum7

    acetabulum7

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    I know that post was kinda old, but can anyone recommend any "paid hour" jobs I could apply for that count as GOOD HCE instead of volunteering? I have two bachelor degrees, one in Kinesiology, and the other in Pre-professional Biology.
  22. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    emt, cna, medical asst., resp. therapist, lpn, paramedic, surg. tech, etc
    you pretty much need to do some kind of cert course 3-12 mo long then work for at least a yr using that cert to get into reputable programs.
  23. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor

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    ED Tech (requires emtb or cna) to PA is a very popular route in my region. Phlebotomist also seems to work.

    Also, there are many PA schools that will not accept volunteer hours unless you have some amazing excuse (like you live in Alaska and there are no paid positions within 100 miles).
  24. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    phlebotomy is really lower tier experience so folks should shoot for something a bit more comprehensive like emt, cna, medical asst, lpn, etc
  25. acetabulum7

    acetabulum7

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    Thanks for the fast response! Med assistant seems like something I might be interested in. What is your opinion on Dispensing Optician? Don't want to be left in the dust if I go that route...
  26. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    too narrowly focused. medical asst. would be better.
  27. BeanDip4All

    BeanDip4All emt-abcdefgh

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    ^^ future PAs might want a heads up if they are planning to get their hce as emts (either basic, intermediate or medic) that some schools, particularly ones out west only "count" 20% of all pre-hospital patient contact hours as HCE. After plug and chugging that, I realized I'd have to be workin on ye olde amber lamps for ten years :cool:

    So, check what particular schools you are interested in and check if they have patient contact hours algorithms. Some also only count partial hours for CNA as well, though I think they got a higher % than EMTs

    From what I saw, the highest % rates of hours went to: resp techs, rad techs, scrub techs, RNs, & DDCs....
  28. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    to the best of my knowledge only stanford does this on the west coast.albany medical college in ny does as well. I think they are the only 2 but there might be others. it's total bs. an rn who sees 5 pts/day in a rural facility gets 100% credit and a nyc medic busting his butt for his entire shift only gets partial credit? reason enough to avoid this and any other program that discriminates against ems folks....
  29. RDlv

    RDlv

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    Maybe Pam Egan can chime in here and offer some guidance.
  30. hughesn2

    hughesn2

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    I just stumbled upon this as I was stressing for my advanced Physio class, I like your tenacity. BUT you got a 2.85 GPA majoring in Kinesiology??
    I don't want to put down your degree, but most KIN majors from schools are suppose to be easy. The KIN school at MSU requires ONLY Math course (yeah, any math course, doesn't even have to be College Algebra and Trig), Intro to Physio, Chem 1, Physics 1, Intro to Anatomy, and then a bunch of EASY KIN courses
    Then compare it to a Physio major student who has to take Orgo 1&2, Adv. Gen Chem 1&2, Adv. Bio 1&2, Physics 1&2, P-Chem, MicroBio, Calc 1&2 (both easy), Physio 1&2 (considered statewide as harder than Med school), Adv. BioChem 1&2 (again, considered harder than Med School), and three to four high level Physio courses

    I am not putting down your major, but please inform us as to what courses you have taken if you are a KIN major b/c most PA schools will notice that you have a 2.8 GPA but if you haven't taken high level courses that will be looked down on you.
  31. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    Your very arrogant. Who are you PRE-PA to question anyone's major? After reviewing your previous post I doubt you get into a PA school with that low GPA(which can be corrected) on top of your attitude. Also your claims about how hard Physio is at your school is both moot and tiresome due to you mentioning it several times.

    Just remember just because YOU couldn't make the grades in your department there are a ton more that have and will.

    Not an attack but a very blunt way for me to tell you to gain some humility.
  32. hughesn2

    hughesn2

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    Well what I am trying to say is that KIN majors (at nearly all schools) don't require high science classes. PA schools tend to have only a couple more classes that they require.
    I am getting frustrated b/c I know a few people applying to PA schools with a KIN major and a GPA relative to mine, yet not taking many difficult science courses.
    I even know people who at UM get turned down for people from my school (MSU) b/c a D.O. school sees a 3.7 GPA at MSU in KIN compared to a 3.6 GPA at UM at neuroscience
    It just frustrates me that some PA schools don't take a major into consideration when accepting someone with a little better GPA by just a fraction of points.

    So you wouldn't be frustrated if someone who has taken classes that are not even close to the difficulty of your classes finishes with a 3.30 GPA gets into the PA school you are applying to, but you get declined for having a 3.25 GPA with a major that is considered by most as one of the most difficult courses at your college???
  33. hughesn2

    hughesn2

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    Another thing that you didn't notice was the point that I was trying to say which was his GPA too. Having a 2.85 GPA is not stellar, but in my mind the only people I have met at MSU or UM with a GPA of 2.85 as a KIN major are the idiot football players who get their grades even being a 2nd stringer.
    I have about 10 friends I know that have graduated or currently in the KIN major and have yet to meet someone with below a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and none of them in my mind are actually that intelligent. I am not putting them down, but I have 1 KIN friend that actually has potential.

    But if I could go back I would become a KIN major b/c I now know that PA or DO schools don't even look at the difference between majors as much as a GPA.
  34. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    To the final part of your statements. I definitely knew/know people getting into PA School with lower Gpas than mine. But instead of whining on sdn about it I made sure my application was competitive.

    Also instead of complaining and calling kin majors idiots why not suck it up and improve your grades. I could be condescending like you and tell you hey you don't even have a 3.5 in your major or science gpa so look for another career.
  35. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    Again your being condescending. I could say your not that intelligent as well I mean I applied to PA school at 20, started at 21 and finished at 23. What's your excuse for not being competitive? Your low Gpa in your major is an excuse IMHO. You should be focusing on yourself instead of calling others idiots.
    PS-I was a science major as well.
  36. hughesn2

    hughesn2

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    I wasn't calling him an idiot. Well congrats to you for succeeding much quicker than some.

    But as I have seen on here almost half of people's comments are ridiculing people about their GPA. What I said is the same comments most of these people are saying on this site.
  37. Makati2008

    Makati2008 Moderator

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    No reason to "congrats" me good sir that all could have been made up and was only to prove a point with. I am just trying to say get some tact about how you criticize others.
  38. melgee

    melgee

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    Hello, right now I am an undergrad entering my senior year at UC Berkeley. After 4 years it surprises me how I got into this school considering how I'm struggling. My major is Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I went this route, although advised at how difficult it would be if one were to purse a profession in the medical field, because I was simply interested in the field and its research. I may be a fool for doing so seeing how my GPA has suffered (I will give no excuses), however I am still highly motivated to pursue PA school. My GPA is about 2.8 hoping to get it up to about 3.1 by the time I graduate from Berkeley.

    Like all other people on this forum, I am highly motivated to get to where I want which is PA school, after doing extensive research and talking with fellow colleagues, this a career path I highly want to pursue. My plan after graduating is to for one, ace my GREs (with confidence) and most of all gain clinical experience. I was wondering what input you would have on me doing so. An idea I had was to take an emt course and work in the field long enough to where I feel confident to apply for PA school logging in about 2,000+ hours? I also have done some doctor shadowing the past 2 summers and am applying to go on a medical mission in the Philippines next winter.

    Mainly I wanted to ask, what programs, courses do you advise I take in gaining clinical experience in shadowing my red flag of a low GPA. How much of a factor is clinical experience compared to GPA and GRE scores? About how much experience are PA programs looking at?

    Thank you!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  39. Jocelyn Huntt

    Jocelyn Huntt

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    I'm definitely a bit concerned about my chances of getting into a PA program. I have an undergrad overall GPA of 3.15 but a science GPA of 2.79. I've taken/retaken some classes and raised my science GPA, I'm also in the process of completing my MPH. I've done over 2,000 hours of direct patient care as well as shadowing. My GRE score is 163 verbal and 152 Quantitative (new scoring scale) with an analytical of 4.5. So far I've only received rejection letters, is there hope or should I just work on my application for next year?
  40. d2305

    d2305

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    I would apply to the newer programs and keep trying. Lots of info on the other forum.
  41. XY Nurse

    XY Nurse SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor

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    I hope the PA schools here in Canada are as acceptable.. I'm hanging onto a 79% average throughout my undergrad, and the only people I know that have been accepted are all 90% students :/

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