Jan 15, 2016
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Hello,

I have a bit of a dilemma. I have debated endlessly on which is better for me: PA or MD. I ended up picking PA mainly because of the three following reasons:

1. Tuition and loan costs
2. Stress of profession is less
3. Flexibility with specialties

However, the thought that I might be selling myself short keeps coming back, even though I believe I made the right choice. There are two MD programs close to my hometown from which I could commute to if I gained acceptance. I feel like if I did get in to either of their MD programs, I would be willing to complete the MD tract instead of just PA, as I could cut down on loans with in-state tuition and by living my parents. Living with my parents also gives me a safety net of having someone there just in case medical school becomes to much to bear.

I only say that because I have heard horror stories of people not making it and drop out rates as high as 50% at some institutions and Caribbean schools. Call me crazy for not wanting to take out $200,000 in loans knowing this statistic.

I guess my main question is, knowing I have a decent application and GPA, would PA schools have any way of knowing I applied to MD when the schools do not overlap? The one MD program I am considering does have a PA school as well, but their statistics for PA are so out of this world that I might not even apply because of it. Their website says the class average science GPA was a 3.75 and gen ed of 3.85, with around 3700 patient contact hours. I have a 3.67 overall with a 3.58 science, but Honors College status, and currently 2000 patient contact hours (close to 2500 at the time of applying). Also knowing I may have two publishings by the end of the summer, in which I'll most likely be the primary author on, which almost makes me think I am more cut out for MD anyway!

I am just confused as to how I would approach this on interviews. I don't want to lie, but I feel PA will disregard my application if they know I've applied to even one or two MD schools, even though my reasoning for applying to these MD programs falls in line with the main reasons as to why I am more interested in PA in the first place.

Thank you in advance for your advice!
 

Pacna

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1. Figure out what you want to do, and the reasons you want to do it.
2. Something like 98% of people who matriculate into US med schools graduate. I have no idea where you got the 50% #.
3. Unless your app is tremendously lacking (which it sounds like it isn't even borderline), there's no reason to apply to both MD and PA if you were to choose the MD route.
4. Assuming you ignored this advice and applied to both, there's no reason to divulge that you even applied to other MD schools, much less PA programs.

Also, this belongs in pre-allo, not the medical student board. :)
 

Darth Doc

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1. Tuition and loan costs
2. Stress of profession is less
3. Flexibility with specialties
which almost makes me think I am more cut out for MD anyway!

I am just confused as to how I would approach this on interviews. I don't want to lie, but I feel PA will disregard my application if they know I've applied to even one or two MD schools, even though my reasoning for applying to these MD programs falls in line with the main reasons as to why I am more interested in PA in the first place.

I am a PA who is now in med school. Reading your why's and concerns, I think you may end up feeling as I did and realize you'll never be fully happy as a PA, because you'll always wish you had done more.

Tuition and loans - increased income compensation takes care of this
Stress of profession - high either way - MD stress probably higher (I can't say from personal experience yet) but being a PA has stress also.
Flexibility - I thought I could do a lot of switching as a PA, but once you start in one specialty it's very hard to switch to something else - at least it was for me - because everyone wants experienced employees in their specialty.

I love being a PA. I love medicine. I came to realize I had maxed out what I was going to be able to learn and do as a PA. I had the choice of staying where I was for the next twenty years and wishing for more or going back to school. I'm happy, but this is hard. It's easier to make the best choice first. You don't want to choose a career you won't be happy with. You'll be doing it almost every day for the next 30 years.

Interviews: They won't know and they won't ask if you applied to med school. They will ask why you chose PA over MD. If you say, because I'm too cheap to pay for med school and don't want to be stressed, you won't be accepted.

Write out your answers for that question (why PA? Why MD?) as if you were applying to those programs. It might help you to define your whys for interviews. Then maybe you can find in your interview answers which way you really want to go. Either way you have to apply to far more schools than just the ones near your current home.
 
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gonnif

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i believe the OP was specifically referring to carribean medical schools where a 50% attrition rate is in the right area. US MD schools have a 3% attrition rate overall

last PA applicant data I looked at was about 5 years old. It found about 3.5% also applied to MD, 1.5% DO, and 12% applied to nursing (all program types) . these are overlapping percentages (ie a PA applicant may apply MD & DO). if I recall over 85% applied only to PA. At the time i was suprised how few applied to both PA and MD/DO.
 

UNMedGa

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You must be thinking of Carib schools. U.S. schools don't have dropout rates anywhere near 50%, probably because they ask themselves if an applicant might not succeed as they evaluate him/her before acceptance.

PA is a great profession, but you have to consider what you really are going to like. You need to carefully evaluate which one you really think you'd be happiest in; I wouldn't advise applying to both.
 

allantois

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Drop PA, apply DO if you are concerned with getting in.
 

123456123456

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I think you should decide which one you want to do before wasting money applying to both since it is important to apply broadly
 
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I am a PA who is now in med school. Reading your why's and concerns, I think you may end up feeling as I did and realize you'll never be fully happy as a PA, because you'll always wish you had done more.

Tuition and loans - increased income compensation takes care of this
Stress of profession - high either way - MD stress probably higher (I can't say from personal experience yet) but being a PA has stress also.
Flexibility - I thought I could do a lot of switching as a PA, but once you start in one specialty it's very hard to switch to something else - at least it was for me - because everyone wants experienced employees in their specialty.

I love being a PA. I love medicine. I came to realize I had maxed out what I was going to be able to learn and do as a PA. I had the choice of staying where I was for the next twenty years and wishing for more or going back to school. I'm happy, but this is hard. It's easier to make the best choice first. You don't want to choose a career you won't be happy with. You'll be doing it almost every day for the next 30 years.

Interviews: They won't know and they won't ask if you applied to med school. They will ask why you chose PA over MD. If you say, because I'm too cheap to pay for med school and don't want to be stressed, you won't be accepted.

Write out your answers for that question (why PA? Why MD?) as if you were applying to those programs. It might help you to define your whys for interviews. Then maybe you can find in your interview answers which way you really want to go. Either way you have to apply to far more schools than just the ones near your current home.

This post is excellent, and the mod team and I have decided to award you a $10 amazon gift card for making such an insightful post.

Happy spending! Check your inbox.
 
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drmak89

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This post is excellent, and the mod team and I have decided to award you a $10 amazon gift card for making such an insightful post.

Happy spending! Check your inbox.

Is this real? I have been on sdn in some time. Do we really get a gift card for awesome posts? Haha that would be great. Sorry OP to hijack your thread.

I too considered what other options are out there and I think it is healthy to really explore before you make a decision, that way it is sound. I would look into possible ways to navigate around medical school debt (military, NHSC, etc) and see if any programs may be beneficial to you. Also try to shadow/talk to PAs in addition to MD. So that you can make a more informed decision.
 
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Is this real? I have been on sdn in some time. Do we really get a gift card for awesome posts? Haha that would be great. Sorry OP to hijack your thread.

I too considered what other options are out there and I think it is healthy to really explore before you make a decision, that way it is sound. I would look into possible ways to navigate around medical school debt (military, NHSC, etc) and see if any programs may be beneficial to you. Also try to shadow/talk to PAs in addition to MD. So that you can make a more informed decision.

Yes. For fantastic posts, you might receive a gift card. We're trying to encourage our users to write more insightful and helpful posts.
 
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drmak89

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Yes. For fantastic posts, you might receive a gift card. We're trying to encourage our users to write more insightful and helpful posts.

I think that is an excellent idea & a positive change for SDN. Pretty cool.
 
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Yes. For fantastic posts, you might receive a gift card. We're trying to encourage our users to write more insightful and helpful posts.
I would like to see gift cards for particularly witty snarky posts as well. That will increase my odds.
Don't worry about washing out of a US school. My class had one leave within the first 3 weeks, he probably got his tuition back in full. One repeated first year and went on to graduate. 2 got expelled for cheating, which was ridiculous and shocking considering what they cheated on. And one left on his own to open his own business in 4th year. If you can get in, you can graduate.


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Il Destriero
 
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I would like to see gift cards for particularly witty snarky posts as well. That will increase my odds.
Don't worry about washing out of a US school. My class had one leave within the first 3 weeks, he probably got his tuition back in full. One repeated first year and went on to graduate. 2 got expelled for cheating, which was ridiculous and shocking considering what they cheated on. And one left on his own to open his own business in 4th year. If you can get in, you can graduate.


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Il Destriero

We'll consider it, but for now, I think we're going to leave helpful posters with an unfair advantage!


Large dogs
 

ChrisMack390

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I can't imagine you could write a good personal statement for both.
 
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