Aug 8, 2015
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Hey! First post from a long-time SDN lurker that has never been actually active.

I'm sure a number of these threads have been started in the past, and I'm sorry if they're a bit annoying. However, I'm sure mine is a bit atypical in the sense that my decision has been already made. I am currently enrolled in a five-year Accelerated Physician Assistant degree program, in which a Health Science B.S. degree and a Physician Assistant M.S. degree are both attained in five years. My school is unique in that all students accepted into this program as freshman have no need to apply to the grad school; acceptance is automatic as long as a certain GPA is attained and a few other criteria are reached. The program, however, is in the top 30 in the country.

After shadowing a few doctors last summer, I've decided that I believe the path of an MD might be better suited to me then that of a PA. I think the PA profession is wonderful and very necessary in the world healthcare, but I believe I chose this path because of disbelief in my self as opposed to what best suits me. After consulting with a lot of teachers, advisors, family members, practicing doctors/PA's, I'm going to be completing this five-year PA program, and reapplying shortly thereafter to medical school. I feel as though completing the PA program will make me more competitive with a M.S., along with a huge number of clinical hours. I also think the experience will be invaluable on a personal level, so I'm honestly looking forward to it all.

My question to you all is what can I do between now and graduating PA school to make myself as competitive as possible for medical school acceptance? I have a cGPA of a 3.98 (2 A-'s in labs and an A- in a spanish class), and have already taken OChem 1/2, Physics 1/2, and a Calc course to fulfill my math requirement and did pull off A's in all of them. I do believe I'll be able to keep my GPA in the 3.95+ range before completing undergrad. I also am involved in plenty of EC's (president of a few organizations, involved in some honor societies, etc.). As part of my program, I'm also CNA certified and have done clinical rotations in that course in geriatric settings. Previous volunteer experience has also exposed me to general surgery, neonatology, and a few tastes of other parts of healthcare. I'm a very driven person and am currently looking to get involved in research studies to assist in publications to get a little experience under my belt.

So, any other advice for me? All of your help is very much appreciated.
 

flyingeagle

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Sep 12, 2014
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I think you would have a solid application by the time you apply and would be a good candidate as long as you do well on your MCAT. I would be very well prepared to answer why you gave up being a PA and why you know MD is for you, as I'm sure this will come up multiple times.
 
May 4, 2015
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great job that you realized your path. As everyone has said, keep up with your performance and start studying for the MCAT!
 

FutureOncologist

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Students like you in different health fields (Pharmacy for example) in a program that guarantees acceptance so long as they hold a 3.5 sGPA will already set you up for a competitive GPA when applying. Is there a way to drop out of the program after the 3rd/4th year to only obtain your B.S.? This would get rid of the time and effort of explaining why you didn't even attempt to work as a PA.

Your GPA is amazing and I want to assume your school also has an affiliated medical school? If so, you might have a leg up there.
 

Oh_Gee

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Nov 15, 2013
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Students like you in different health fields (Pharmacy for example) in a program that guarantees acceptance so long as they hold a 3.5 sGPA will already set you up for a competitive GPA when applying. Is there a way to drop out of the program after the 3rd/4th year to only obtain your B.S.? This would get rid of the time and effort of explaining why you didn't even attempt to work as a PA.

Your GPA is amazing and I want to assume your school also has an affiliated medical school? If so, you might have a leg up there.
Finishing the PA would give OP something to fall back on in case he doesn't get in the first time/doesn't do well on MCAT
 
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sliceofbread136

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Nov 5, 2011
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Finishing the PA would give OP something to fall back on in case he doesn't get in the first time/doesn't do well on MCAT
I know there some bias against people applying from nursing school, there might be some for PA school as well. Honestly seems like a waste of a couple of years to do PA with MD after
 
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ac62994

2+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2015
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Be able to eloquently explain why the transition from PA to MD.

Why didn't you shadow MDs before committing to PA? Was the disbelief in yourself the only reason you chose to enroll in PA school? Were you under the impression that PA school was the easy way out? PAs fully dedicate themselves to their careers and you're treating it as a stepping stone, do you feel superior to them?

Just some things to think about. I'm certain you can justify all of these questions and more. Good Luck!
 

FutureOncologist

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Finishing the PA would give OP something to fall back on in case he doesn't get in the first time/doesn't do well on MCAT
I didn't say it wouldn't be a viable backup. I'm saying that if he can just get the B.S. degree, it will save him time in that he won't have to convince adcoms that he truly wants an MD rather than a PA.
 
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MyNameWasUsed

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May 20, 2014
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Definitely finish PA. That way now you have the option of taking a year off for whatever reason.
 
OP
epaulw
Aug 8, 2015
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Thanks for the responses guys. Really like what I'm hearing.

I have a very detailed explanation as to why I've chosen my path that other MD's and PA's have heard. I don't really feel the need to type it out since it's a bit irrelevant.

However, it's really not worth me dropping out of the program now since dropping out wouldn't allow me to just get a 3 year bachelor's; I either have to do all 5 years for my M.S. in PA, or just do 4 years for a B.S. in Health Sciences or Pre-Med. The difference is a year for a Master's, which I think is well worth it.

The only associated medical schools are D.O. schools, which I have almost no interest in as a personal choice.

Any other advice would be appreciated; what I'm hearing so far is relieving and quite helpful.
 

Strudel19

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Jul 14, 2011
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I tried typing a post, but there are so many reasons not to use PA as a backup - it would be too long. I was in the exact same type of program as you. I think I'll PM you my input. Your experiences sound so much like myself and you absolutely need to get rid of that last ounce of doubt, march down to the registrar's office, drop the program and go to medical school. That's what I did and it was the best decision I have ever made. Keep in mind that this decision making process is totally normal.
 
Last edited:
Jul 29, 2015
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Just a tip, you may want to work for a PA, even if it is just a year, you will not have time to work during med school most likely, and unless you really dislike the PA job enough to not work for a year, I would work and save the leftovers for med school. Some private med schools can be as much as 70-80k/year, so realize how expensive it is, and as a resident, you make about 1/2 if not less of an income then a full fledged PA.
 

Strudel19

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Jul 14, 2011
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As someone who has been down this road, I can't stress this enough. A PA is a terminal, professional health professions degree and is absolutely not a pre-med job to get clinical experience or put money in the bank. March down to the registrar's office and drop this program if you want to go to medical school.
 

BeMD13

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Dec 31, 2012
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I was in a similar situation and turned down an acceptance to a PA program to pursue medical school instead. I thought about working as a PA for awhile and applying to med school later but a friend of mine who interviews med students for residency spots explained that it would probably make it more difficult for me that way. He said adcoms may feel that I am already practicing medicine and be more inclined to give the seat to another candidate. I agree with other posters that, if you are sure this is what you want, finish the bachelors not the graduate portion of your program. Another option would be to consider the osteopathic physician bridge programs for PAs. There is a three year program with LECOM you could apply to if you wanted to complete the program you are already in.

http://lecom.edu/academics/the-college-of-medicine/accelerated-physician-assistant-pathway/
 

ewax

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May 4, 2012
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As someone who has been down this road, I can't stress this enough. A PA is a terminal, professional health professions degree and is absolutely not a pre-med job to get clinical experience or put money in the bank. March down to the registrar's office and drop this program if you want to go to medical school.
Terrible advice.

Make sure you finish the program. Med school ADCOMs hate quitters.
 

MyNameWasUsed

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May 20, 2014
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As someone who has been down this road, I can't stress this enough. A PA is a terminal, professional health professions degree and is absolutely not a pre-med job to get clinical experience or put money in the bank. March down to the registrar's office and drop this program if you want to go to medical school.
It is not traditionally a pre-med job to obtain clinical hours but it is definitely not frown upon by an adcom committee. If you can get the BS degree in 3 years then you might want to consider dropping the program early so you get to apply to medical school earlier. If it will take you 4 years to get the degree even with dropping the program then I would just invest another year and get the MS in PA.
 

Strudel19

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Jul 14, 2011
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Terrible advice.

Make sure you finish the program. Med school ADCOMs hate quitters.
:nono:

As someone who has been down this road, I can't stress this enough. A PA is a terminal, professional health professions degree and is absolutely not a pre-med job to get clinical experience or put money in the bank. March down to the registrar's office and drop this program if you want to go to medical school.
 

Doug Underhill

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Sep 2, 2011
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Don't drop the program.

1) Medical school adcoms absolutely do hate quitters. If you complete the degree, you'll have to have a convincing message as to "why MD and not PA?" You will also be asked this question if you drop out, but you'll have a record of dropping out of a graduate program to deal with as well.

2) Remember, only 40% of med school applicants get in, and you don't even have a MCAT score yet. For the old MCAT, the average score for all test takers was a 25, while the average score for applicants was a 28, and the average score for accepted students was a 31, which is 80th percentile. Med school is hardly a guarantee, even with a 4.0.
 

ewax

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May 4, 2012
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:nono:

As someone who has been down this road, I can't stress this enough. A PA is a terminal, professional health professions degree and is absolutely not a pre-med job to get clinical experience or put money in the bank. March down to the registrar's office and drop this program if you want to go to medical school.
Agreed, it is a terminal degree.

What I don't agree with is telling the OP to quit before he/she finishes. I can't stress this enough: medical school ADCOMs hate quitters...if you quit PA school, it gives them reason to think that you'll quit medical school too and will definitely hinder interviews/acceptances.

I don't care if "you've been down this road before," that's just the way it works.