I can remember the Pre-PA day when I decided I was going to apply to PA school. I was living in Boston in 2001, broke, and realizing that a life in basic science research was definitely not for me. Not only had I killed off incubators full of cell lines, I was pretty sure I had spilled radioactive material on myself at least twice. As a plea for help, I asked the physician in charge of the lab if I could spend a day with him in clinic. He took pity on me and accepted, but it’s likely he just wanted me to choose a different career so his lab would actually be successful without a cell killer like me. For whatever reason, I will forever be grateful for that day. I knew then and there that I was on the wrong side of medicine.
I had already met my now husband Dave who was on the path to applying to medical school, so I started researching every medical career I thought might be a good fit for me. As most pre-physician assistants do, I looked into nurse practitioner, physician assistant, medical doctor and doctor of osteopathic medicine. I talked to as many people as I could about each profession and laid out all of the pros and cons. Since NOBODY in my family was in medicine, I needed to be sure I was choosing the right path for ME before letting the world know. The day I decided to become a PA was the day I told Dave. He was about to return from a trip so I was waiting impatiently in his freezing, grungy apartment in a teal boucle turtle neck when he walked in. He put his bag down and I said: “I finally decided what I am going to do. I am going to apply to PA school.” At that moment, saying it out loud, it became real. What I didnt know, was it was about to GET really real.
I started making a list of the potential programs I would apply to and all the requirements. To my surprise, they all had different deadlines, pre-requisites, patient care hour requirements, even applications!! The centralized application service (CASPA) was just established and was more of a portal in which you filled out your application and it was mailed in paper to each program. I can remember being at my parents house one weekend with all the paper applications from schools like Duke, Yale and others trying to figure them all out. I had to make a plan, so I started simple. Take my pre-reqs and find a way to obtain patient care hours STAT, the rest I could do step by step. Was I anxious? No, I was FREAKING OUT! I wish I had someone to guide me through this stressful time. Someone to use as a sounding board and to support me in the process. That is why now I have decided to pay it forward and be that person for you.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a Pre-PA Counselor.
It can be daunting to develop a timeline for your application, particularly if you are not applying for another year or two. A PA Counselor can help you develop a reasonable timeline on pre-requisite courses, taking the GRE, and getting in all of your patient care hours semester by semester. This way the process will be less overwhelming and you will have all your ducks in a row when it comes time to apply.
Every Pre-PA is different and every application will be too in its own way. It is important to develop a plan that is customized to your needs and schedule. Whether you are a traditional or non-traditional applicant, a counselor can tailor a plan that will work with your lifestyle.
Find your answers.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just ask someone your laundry list of questions rather than google every answer? YES!! That is what I do as a PA Counselor, and if I don’t know the answer, I will find it for you. There also may be questions you think of as you move through the process, so it is great to have that person right there when you need them. It will give you a sense of comfort and ease knowing you have someone in your corner to go to with questions, even if you think they are dumb ones.
The competition to get into PA school is fierce. With over 26,000 applications from 25 countries in 2016, it is important to make yours stand out. A PA counselor can discuss ways to enhance your application and make your personal statement shine. The personal statement is the one area on your application where you can really show your uniqueness. Most PA counselors will offer personal statement review and edits as part of a package. I highly recommend this as it can be very difficult for some people to showcase themselves on paper in a way that will strengthen your application.
I’ve been there. I know your pain. There is nothing like having someone to vent to when you are feeling defeated or times get rough, or even when you want to celebrate a small victory. Whether it is to laugh or cry, my goal is to never have you give up on your dream. Having this relationship with my clients is the best part in my mind!!
If you are a Pre-PA, I would love to be your guide!
Be sure to schedule your counseling package here!