Here is my ultimate PA school applicant cheat sheet with 7 quick tips for getting into PA school.
Do these seven things for the best chance of getting into PA school and becoming a physician assistant!
1. Shadowing: Get one hundred hours of shadowing experience across various specialties.
2. GRE: Aim for a score of 300 + (150 + 150) overall, 3.5 in writing, and > 50% in each section.
3. GPA: Most schools require a 2.7 - 3.2 overall GPA. The average GPA for PA school acceptance is around 3.5. The focus is on science and overall GPA. Choose the right undergraduate major to achieve this goal.
4. Create an account on CASPA regardless of when you plan to apply to PA school. If you haven't already done so, do this right now. The sooner, the better!
5. Patient care experience: Try to have at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care experience before applying to PA school
Healthcare experience versus patient care experience:
- Patient Care Experience (PCE): Experiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient's care. For example, prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, designing a treatment regimen, actively working on patients as a nurse, paramedic, EMT, CNA, phlebotomist, physical therapist, dental hygienist, etc.
- Healthcare Experience (HCE): Both paid and unpaid work in a health or health-related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient's care, but may still have patient interaction; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, taking vitals or other record-keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA (depending on the job description), medical assistant, etc.
6. Letters of recommendation: Try to obtain one academic letter, one letter from a PA, a second medical provider from another discipline, or a supervisor in a medical setting (can be another PA). Make sure to get these requested early.
- Before meeting with the recommender have these ready:
- Updated resume
- List of schools you’re applying to and when you plan to apply
- A paper stating what you may want specifically mentioned in the letter
7. When to submit your application: I recommend you try to submit by June, the earlier, the better.
Bonus tip: Don't imitate and don't copy!
Write a personal statement that lets the admissions committee see your applicant journey through your eyes. On interview day escape competition with authenticity because nobody can compete with you on being you.
Keep your head up and your eyes on the prize. You will experience difficulties and setbacks along the way. Recognize that this is part of the process. Dust yourself off and live to fight another day.
Success does not require genius or extraordinary ability. You do not need a 4.0 GPA to 10,000 hours of patient care experience to get into PA school.
Successful PA school applicants are just ordinary people who have developed a belief in themselves and what they can do. They have a clear vision, confidence in their actions, and strong values. And so do you!
Have a fantastic day!
- Stephen Pasquini PA-C
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