Applying to PA school as a back-up?

glamqueen

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    Please don't take this the wrong way, but perhaps since you are even asking that question - your intentions in medicine didn't come across clearly in the interview. PA and med school are totally different with different goals. If PA works for you as a back-up, perhaps you aren't dedicated enough to medicine, and maybe this came through in your interviews. It may have contributed to you being waitlisted. Maybe you should do some thinking about what you really want? With your stats, I would be reapplying to medical school if medical school is what you want. If you aren't sure about that anymore - please don't apply to any type of school til you are sure what you want.

    Good luck.
     
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    mtnman12

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      Please don't take this the wrong way, but perhaps since you are even asking that question - your intentions in medicine didn't come across clearly in the interview. PA and med school are totally different with different goals. If PA works for you as a back-up, perhaps you aren't dedicated enough to medicine, and maybe this came through in your interviews. It may have contributed to you being waitlisted. Maybe you should do some thinking about what you really want? With your stats, I would be reapplying to medical school if medical school is what you want. If you aren't sure about that anymore - please don't apply to any type of school til you are sure what you want.

      Good luck.

      Agreed. I bet most people who do, might not be accepted to either. It's not fair to either programs, so just do some shadowing maybe and then focus all your efforts on one. Good luck!!
       

      pietachok

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        Well, if you apply to PA school, you're going to need LOR's. If any of those LOR's are from the same people who wrote them for med school app's, (1) how will you feel asking for them, and (2) do you think they'll actually be good and have their heart in them if the writer doesn't believe it's what you want to do?

        Your stats should get you into a med school. You don't need to hear again that you proably simply didn't interview well. If you really don't get in anywhere after the waitlists are done moving, ask for a exit discussion to review what was said about your application. Hopefully it won't just be generic. Do you hav EC's and clinical experience? It's not up on your profile right now. If not, that could also be a problem. You are young and you have great numbers and probably a great brain to be a doctor, but maybe you need to develop the social skillset to convince your interviewer that you'd be a good doctor--go get a job that will hone your social skills with strangers for a year, perhaps in clinical or epidemiologic research--while you reapply. By the time you are next faced by a strange doctor or med student interrogating you at an interview, they'll seem like nothing.
         

        WashMe

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          Thanks for the replies. From what I've seen, many PA's pretty much do the same things as the physicians supervising them. I may be wrong though. I don't see it being a problem to apply to both types of programs, as they lead to similar ends (provided you are willing to do FP or emergency med or something).
           

          COMBAT MEDIC172

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            Do you want to be the assistant or the primary care giver? Both fields are great, however I know that I personally would feel underachieved settling for the P.A. program. I guess it all comes down to what you want to be when you grow up.
             

            pietachok

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              Something concerns me if you don't see a significant difference between becoming a P.A. and becoming an M.D.

              I could understand apathy between earning a D.O. versus an M.D., but geez, there are people on these boards more riled up over that difference than you are about the distinction between P.A. & M.D., which is far greater.

              If you're not just suffering from a bit of apathy from the stress at this point in the application cycle (and I totally know that feeling after 2 years of rejections), I think you need to sit down and really think about why you are going on a pre-med/pre-PA track at all...are you just doing it b/c you were kind of on track to do it?

              It's ok to change your mind. You're really young. When you're surrounded by other pre-meds it's easy to feel like you've gotta finish what you started and you might even trick yourself into feeling like you want the same thing as all your peers. But what if pre-med weren't the blue plate special every single day? Do you have an integral passion for it?

              If you do, find something to re-invigorate that passion and help it come out in your interviews.
               

              itsallthesame

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                To add to my other post:

                If you don't know whether you want to be an MD, an MD/PhD or a PA, (no offense) you really, really, really need to spend some time talking to and shadowing people with these jobs. I would highly suggest recent graduates (residents and young PA's) as well as some more senior folks.

                Do you want to do research for the rest of your life? Do you want to work 80-100 hour weeks during training so that you can become as proficient as possible in your chosen specialty, or is less training (and therefore expertise) acceptable to you? If I had to guess, your lack of a clear goal and knowledge of the various professions probably hurt you in your interviews. Really the only person who can answer these questions is you.
                 

                Hill Country

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                  I had a couple friends that applied to PA school recently and I can tell you that these people truly had a passion for the PA profession and despite their outstanding resume (definitely good enough to get into med school) they choose this route over the MD. To apply to a PA program as a backup without really wanting to go that way would not be an intelligent decision for you, as you will likely find later that your heart lies with medicine (read:MD) but you spent 2-3 years and now feel "trapped" as a PA at least for the short run to pay off loans. Bottom line being to follow your heart because these things aren't just careers but more along the lines of lifestyles. Find which one you have a passion for and go for it!
                   

                  DrBeks

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                    My position on this stands as follows: if you don't get in to any allopathic medical schools and one PA school, would you take it? and not only would you take it, but would be happy with your choice or would you be miserable for the rest of your life? :rolleyes:
                     
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                    phospho

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                      Would it be a good idea for me next cycle? Please post if you have done/considered this, or if you have anything to say at all.

                      Stop selling yourself short, and focus on what you started on. It was a crappy cycle for you, but don't let it get you down or make you think less of yourself.

                      Next cycle you're going to have a better selection of schools, a better grip on how this process works, and more interview experience.

                      :luck:
                       

                      sylvanthus

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                        Ehhh, I applied to both DO and PA schools and got into both. My gpa sucked, so thought I would rather do PA as a backup (and still a very worthy career) than potentially nothing at all.

                        It is a lot of extra work, though. I had to have more letters of recommendation and took the GRE. Plus the prereqs are slightly different.
                         

                        beachblonde

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                          OP, are you even qualified to apply to PA school?

                          I'm being serious here; some PA schools have strict requirements regarding documented clinical hours, and it's a substantial (think hundreds of hours) amount of time.

                          Frankly, with your stats, just reapply next year. Do it early and send it a broader range of apps. I wouldn't spend the time or money to apply to PA schools. If you're wary of your chances at MD, send in some DO apps, but don't apply to PA school unless you want to be a PA.
                           

                          RockMyWorldPlz

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                            You should definitely not apply to PA school as a backup. If you possess the desire to be a physician, then accept nothing less. If you're worried about GPA, MCAT, or whatever, then look into the wide variety of enhancement programs that are available. There is a program out there to meet any need from improving one's GPA to improving one's MCAT score and they're all aimed at getting a student into medical school. Being a PA may be a good career but if you want to be a doctor, then be a doctor.
                             

                            WashMe

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                              Thanks for all the comments guys (and gals). My thought is that being a PA would be way better than finding some lab tech job with my bachelor's degree and working there for 35 years, however I am certainly more interested in being a physician (thus my choice to apply only to med schools this year). As far as MD/PhD, I almost went that route this year (discussed elsewhere) so it wasn't really an afterthought; I just thought I had a better shot at getting into an MD program. I don't want to go to straight grad school, that much I know.

                              I want to work in healthcare, and the level will be dictated by my abilities rather than my desires (i.e. I aimed high this year, next year I'll aim lower/ more broadly, then even lower in year 3 if necessary, etc.)

                              I think I made the right choice this year in not going MD/PhD because I (probably) wouldn't have gotten in anywhere. Next year I should be a more appealing candidate, so it is something to consider. I don't see an MD versus MD/PhD conflict because all of the schools where I interviewed this year were pretty research-oriented anyway. The same will likely happen next cycle.
                               
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                              RecyclingBinh

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                                from what i have seen in the ER, PA are sort of like residents. they have to confirm with a physician before they do anything. lookig at your numbers, you should def concentrate on med school and not PA as a back-up. have hope.
                                 

                                tennisball80

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                                  Would it be a good idea for me next cycle? Please post if you have done/considered this, or if you have anything to say at all.

                                  Well, you have a 3.95 and 39 MCAT. Oh man, please do a me favor and apply to MD schools. I mean, your school selection is too top tier.

                                  Why you didn't apply to middle and low tier med schools ?
                                   

                                  BNSN

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                                    I think you need to keep something in mind: even with the lateness of your apps, you still recieved FIVE interview and four waitlists. That is a lot of interview offers.

                                    It seems like you had issues with getting your passion for medicine across. I think you need to focus on:

                                    1) Applying to more schools. And not even lower-tier schools. You have an incredibly competitive academic record and can/should/probably will get into a top 20 at least. I don't know your EC's, but based on the fact that Wash U, Pitt, and CC gave you interviews, you are probably ok in that department.

                                    2) Apply earlier.

                                    3) Improving interview skills and how you want to communicate your interests better.
                                     

                                    witness23

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                                      I'm in the same boat as him w/ much lower numbers with 6 interviews/6 WL (no clinical experience - too much research apparently)

                                      can we agree that the OP should probably concentrate on (keeping oneself honest) and

                                      1. letters of interests/intent (beginning and the ending paragraphs can pretty much be the same to all schools, but I would add specifics in the middle?) - this doesn't really take long

                                      2. applying broadly to jobs for the following year (even if you have one lined up - you can get some interview experience and improve pay/conditions) while working on clinical exp (must) and keep on researching. Job apps are just as hard as med school apps. It will make taking challenges easier.

                                      3. Re-evaluate app/line up new LORs. send transcripts to AMCAS on May 1st.

                                      4. Spending the first weeks of May reflecting on your activities and how they got you interested/"qualified" for medicine. Writing this down. Making it perfect for the EC section. Drafting a better PS. (I was told that my paper app was horrible b/c I only wrote 5 word descriptions of my activities - I was really into them too, I knew I would suck at filling out these things)

                                      5. Intents after May 15th? Phone Calls? Waiting it out. If nothing, hit send on Jun 1st (applying broadly). If need be, D.O.

                                      6. Not worrying about MCAT/GPA

                                      Anyway, I'm doing atleast the first 5 I guess. I think you are just wasting your time researching PA, MD/PhD and Foreign Medical Schools. MD/PhD is totally different. I'm not sure if working at a lab in undergrad will help you understand that (you are a great candidate I'm sure). in the 4-6 years that it will take to get a PhD, you will be used as a lab *****. You will get rejected from journals, trying to publish while your peers will be trying to match. Your PI will use you to experiment on stuff that's unrelated to your PhD project so he/she can extend grants. All this work in the end might not matter in getting a better residency (altho stats say otherwise). Will you be ready to deal with the same scenario as the one you are facing now? You may even have people to support by then. If you decide to do a PI, you will just be applying for grants, where you will face rejection once in a while. The process of trying to be a tenured research faculty will be annoying - if not more so than this med school process. Work full time in a lab and find out. You can always apply internal for MD/PhD. If you are not sure and you apply this year, people will notice during interviews and essays.

                                      Don't let waitlists get you down or change direction in life. People applying to jobs right now are facing hiring freezes and cuts. I hope you continue to be proactive in an honest way but find peace as well and all that.

                                      It sucks, cuz you seem to have put in a lot of work. If I got in off the waitlist, I'd totally give you my spot. sike. but nah, you are way more deserving than me, i'm sure.

                                      I work at one of the places you applied to, and was rejected post 2ndary. I saw their pre-interview scoring rubric. I feel like you should have been invited to an interview if something wasn't lacking. I think trying to be honest with myself (with the help of others) and improving my weaknesses will hopefully make me a better candidate next year. I'm sure you will make a great doctor. You have invested so much time into it. Everyone deserves to be confident in themselves. Keep up the hardwork and I'm sure you will be rewarded soon nuff.
                                       

                                      melanoleuca

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                                        ...these people truly had a passion for the PA profession...


                                        While I can certainly understand passionately not wanting to do four years of medical school and four years of residency not to mention the passion to start making a decent income after only two years of education as opposed to eight...I just can't imagine "passion" for the PA profession unless you have a passion for shortcuts and hope to eventually convince other people and yourself that you are a physician without all of that "useless stuff" that PAs are both passionately against and swear is not really important to the job of a physician; a job that mostly consists of intricate paperwork and having really, really good patient interaction skills unlike those bastards in the medical profession.

                                        PA school is a consolation prize at worst and at best, a rational decision made after a careful study of the costs-versus-benefits of various medical careers. For my part, I like the medical profession but not so much that I would do it in any other capacity but as a physician. It's not that great a job.

                                        In the Pandaverse you are only allowed to use the word "passion" one time per year unless you are talking about a woman.
                                         

                                        melanoleuca

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                                          from what i have seen in the ER, PA are sort of like residents. they have to confirm with a physician before they do anything. lookig at your numbers, you should def concentrate on med school and not PA as a back-up. have hope.

                                          No. They don't know as much. Even as much as new interns. They know how to do the paperwork so they think they know as much as the interns but I assure you, a PA who performs at an intern level (as far as medical knowledge) is a paragon of PA-dom and veritable Achilles of mid-level prowess. An intern who performs at a PA level is a ****-bag and needs to get it in gear, and soon.
                                           

                                          usermike8500

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                                            Dang, I feel ya. I used to think that as long as my stats were better than average at the school I was applying to, I had a pretty good chance of getting in. And If my stats were far better than average (say +4 MCAT points) then I was a shoo-in. Now, after not even getting so much as a second glance from schools (many mid and low tier) I think differently.

                                            Rather than PA schools, why don't you apply to DO schools and the Carribbean if you want backups. This way, you'll graduate and have EXACTLY the same job prospects as someone from Harvard.
                                             

                                            RoadRunner17

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                                              OP: Don't do it. As far as anyone on these boards can tell, you have what it takes to get into a US MD school, if not some of the top ones. As long as you've been retooling your application, getting more clinical and non-clinical experiences and better articulating why you want to go into medicine, you will look at these recent posts of yours and laugh. At this point, it makes no sense to try to settle for less. I'd say you deserve more than that.
                                               
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