GPA is just one part of a very large picture that AD COMS look at. Amongst the other criteria are medical experience, desire to become a PA, progress throughout undergrad, and how challenging your courses were in college (most programs realize that a 3.3 GPA is just as challenging to earn in some colleges as a 3.8 in others).
Recent polls show that the average entering GPA into PA school is 3.4 with close to 3-4 years of medical experience. These are just averages..and you will find that this varies greatly between schools.
Just have one more question. Is age a big factor in being selected? Do people with more life experience get preference over people right out of undergrad? thanks for your time... it helps tremendously.
Yes, age is a determining factor for two reasons. The first is that older students are thought to be a little more focused because of maturity and therefore do better. The second is that with age often comes more medical experience which is essential in order to maximize a PA education. The pace is EXTREMELY fast and the workload intense. My program at Stony Brook averaged about 25-credits/semester. With that amount of work, you need a good medical background to keep up, which answers your second question. Someone who is a bit older and has had at least 4-5 years of medical background will have a better shot of getting in than say the same academic applicant who just completed their undergraduate degree. If you are comparing two applicants who have the same academic record and neither have significant medical background, the answer is neither will be as competitive as those who do, irresepective of life experiences.
I can definately relate to your questions. I will be starting PA school next week so I am relatively familiar with the application process as I just completed it this last summer/fall. I definately agree with the other responses you have received. PA programs really seem to look at a number of factors when they consider an applicant. True, they want somebody who will be able to handle the course work, but also someone who has medical experience and is mature enough to handle the stresses that the health care profession brings with it. I can tell you a little bit about myself so you can have something to go by. I am 24 years old, have been an EMT for over 5 years(working full time the past two years), graduated this last May with a B.S. in biology, chem minor. I had a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and scored relatively well on the GRE, which many programs now require. I know that my GPA is not ideal and I can make excuses for that C in calculus like everyone else, but I really don't think it's necessary. I think that my case is fairly typical, at least in my class. I hope that helps.
I was a biology major and work in patient education at a hospital now. However, I never took anatomy or microbiology and my job is not like that of an EMT, but more providing health information. I had a 3.8 and never took the GRE"S. Would I need to take A and P or the GRE's to be considered for entrance into schools that don't require this such as UMDNJ.
Thanks for advice