I have written before about the importance of becoming anA epic failureA and how this is a fundamental part of becoming an epic success. I was cleaning out some of my old file cabinets today and came across my PA school application documents from 2001. If you are experiencing setbacks on your path to becoming a Physician Assistant I want you to know that this is a normal part of the process. Do not be discouraged: failure, met with perseverance, is the key to long-term, sustainable success.
In order to help you reach your goals it is important that you see my failures along with my successes. Otherwise, you will be fooled into believing that success is a simple, pain-free process, when in reality the path to each of my successes has been lined with the road kill of my many epic failures. This week, I won two free tickets as part of my daughters kindergarten raffle to see James Durbin, an American Idol "outcast", play here on our shared home town stage of Santa Cruz, California. Although I am not that familiar with all of James' music, last night as he stood on stage I realized just how much I respected this 25-year-old rocker.
Knowing all the public criticism he had to endure during his time on the Idol stage, the sting of being "voted off" and rejected by his peers, not to mention the many obstacles he had to overcome in a lifelong battle with Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome. Last night, he spoke to the sold out crowd (many of whom were young, screaming teenage girls) and divulged his story of how his pediatrician told his parents to keep their expectations low.
Because life is a process of trial and error, and error, and even more error until finally you succeed! The key is to hang in their long enough, don't give up with the struggling masses, there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dim and distant it may seem.
So success is simply the end result of a long series of epic failures if you have done things right. Reading the above rejection letter so many years later I am almost embarrassed to admit that I didn't have a 3.0 GPA, but there is a back-story not written on this rejection letter.
And yes, I received even another rejection letter from OHSU, but I must have thrown that one into the fire. At first it seemed odd to me that among this stack of failed attempts I could not find my acceptance letter into pa school. I remember it so well, that simple single sheet of white paper with red and black-ink letterhead, about 4 sentences long sporting an official UMDNJ seal. I read it in the rain, on a cold Seattle evening by streetlight, heart beating, exhausted after a long day of work.
I made a promise to God and myself that if this dream would come true I would use my training always to relieve the suffering of others and to make the world a better place. If you have received a rejection letter fear not my fellow epic failures, I too have stood demoralized in your shoes.
But do not let that define you, let it guide you, let it be the road kill that you can look back upon with pride years later when you are writing a blog post hanging out your dirty underwear with pride for all the world to see.
If you can learn to see adversity as a tool to help you reach your goals you can turn what seemed to be a "set back" into a "set up" for something truly wonderful. Thank you for reading, and I wish you the best wherever you may be on your journey to PA-C. You may also like -The Physician Assistant Job or PA School Interview – Email EtiquetteThe following is an excerpt from the book Cut the Crap, Get a Job! I particular love the story of the princess who had to kiss a frog in order to find her handsome […]Overcoming Obstacles to Becoming a Physician AssistantLife is full of obstacles. A rural family practice physician assistant since 2004 and creator of "The PA Life." A National Health Service Corps Scholar and graduate from The University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (Rutgers) PA program and the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. I have been told that my best option right now since my science GPA is low is to take advanced science course or classes that would help bring my grades up. I was just rejected from two programs this year and I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of more programs. Ideally I do want to go to PA school but my GPA is only a 3.21 which is pretty low and I am already a Junior majoring in Medical Laboratory Science.
Do you think I have a shot anywhere because the field has gotten so competitive over the past 2 years? I think for most people a year or two after graduation is necessary to be a competitive PA school applicant. I found this post last night while turning to google for advice after opening my first rejection email of this cycle.
I am going through the same situation, you faced with rejection letters, due to a poor GPA!!!.I feel like losing hope because I figure no program will give me the opportunity.


Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. A Cheque book request letter is written by a bank customer who requires a new set of cheques from the bank.
Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. This proves the point that an isolated number outside of any context is just a point along a curve that when seen alone is pretty much useless.
The feeling of nausea rose to my chest as I held the two corners of that letter, and I said a short prayer before I tore it open. A They can be as simple as getting out of the bed in the morning, or as arduous as writing the perfect physician assistant application essay. In this case, I would certainly recommend scheduling an appointment with your academic advisor to discuss your options based on your current goals, timeline and course availability. I think you have a very good chance of acceptance, your determination and willingness to take on challenges show well beyond your academic life. My email never sent me a notification of your reply but I was looking at your blog today and thought to check if you had left a response. I feel confused now and I have been looking at post bacc programs, but most of the courses that they show i took them and I did well with the exception of chemistry that i have a C+ I look at schools that fo not require GRE, but i am not sure if that would help since my grades are not competitive.
I have been very anxious about applying to PA school and I am in the process of getting application ready. I have a good feeling that you are going to have to take some uncomfortable risks to make it into PA school. Although I would love to work while I am at school I am afraid that this will pull my GPA down.
I have been in the medical field since graduation and that is where my interest in the PA profession began. Failure is not taking the scary steps to change direction when we know we are on the wrong path.
I applied to 5 schools, have been rejected from one without an interview so far, and have heard nothing from the other four. At that time, I applied 4 places, got interviews at two great schools and wasn’t accepted to either.
Maybe I’m being naive, but I know I am a truly different person than when I applied 7 years ago. At one time the average applicant had 4 years of full time hands on patient care experience.
I have plenty of recommendations, volunteering, employment experience, and personal statement, but the schools are not looking at that success. One good place to start is to contact the schools directly and speak with their admissions teams about your application. I saved them because they gave me motivation, and I hope they can be a part of yours as well. I am pretty sure this is the weakest part of my application and perhaps the reason I got rejected from so many schools.
I am a medic assitant on my emergency response team and have had research experience with childhood asthma.
I recently found out that I received a D+ in organic chemistry and am not really sure what to do about it.
It turns out that I don’t have as many patient direct contact hours as I originally thought (as I looked at my tax forms) and the hours I was quoted for by my previous clinical admin were her estimate (and off). I was thinking about a gap year after I graduate so I can have a year to work at a hospital.
Unfortunately, I have a very low GPA and I know this will hinder my success in getting into a school.
So many people spend a lifetime working in a field or pursuing an idea they are no longer passionate about.
That number has gone down in recent years as the average age of students has gone down a bit.
I had a dental friend that got rejected twice from dental school and got in to her dream school (our alumni) the third time. With strong HCE like yours, you will have great recommendation letters and both the life and work experiences that will make for a well-rounded personal statement.
Therefore, I know that working is probably the easiest part so I plan to work full time and apply next year (to really reach that 35000).


My thinking is yes, especially if this is something that you really are sure you want to do. I have helped out as a research assistant in breast cancer during the summer and was selected as one of the co-author and that is pretty much it.
I do not think I am able to raise my GPA since I have already graduated and I am afraid I will not get into any schools. Right now, I’m going on as many EMT calls as I can, attending EMT continuing ed meetings whenever possible, and still holding down my full time job. If you have been away from the medical field and science focused training for some time you may simply need to get more experience under your belt.
It started as the h1n1 then turned into bronchitis which i was treated for but the pneumonia was overlooked.
I am currently working on my personal statement and I will definitely take you guys on that offer for help by having your review it. PA schools get so many applicants with high GPAs who are afraid to go out and work with patients.
I am helping out as a pre-health officer at my university but I feel like I am not doing enough to be competitive. At this point, I’ve pretty much abandoned hope for a 2016 admission and am trying to figure out what I can do to improve my chances in 2017.
I kept going to school and it was very very hard to function- I did very poorly for a year and half.
If you are having trouble putting it altogether consider signing up for our personal statement review.
It has been very hard to write all the experiences that led me to choose PA, and soon I will be reaching out to you guys. You have been teaching science, physics, chemistry and bio for 7 years – the proof is in the pudding here.
You will also meet more people who can give you killer references (which makes a big difference). I applied to this program this fall and was denied admission their overall gpa requirement is a 3.0 but the committee said they would review apps lower than that.
I am sure you know your understanding of the hard sciences exceeds that of 90% of PA school applicants. The PA profession began as a way to take experienced military trained medics and use their skills and training to solve problems of healthcare delivery. I want to apply to a PA program now, because like you said to achieve more you have to strive for more. You need a plan and it needs to based on facts that you can collect from your current application and not speculation. The key is pulling this all together and giving the admissions committee a clear picture of your story – taking them from A to Z. Your limiting factor will be healthcare experience, and on the flip side of the coin, proving to the admissions committee you have a strong understanding of the PA profession and your place in it. A 3.21 GPA is nothing to be ashamed of at all, especially since you are taking challenging classes while still obtaining hands on patient care experience.
This will have to be done carefully and probably most effectively in your personal statement.
For this reason, I was the main provider in the house hold while averaging 33 hours of work per week and attending full time school (12 units).
The bit take home point if you don’t get in this year is that you cannot reapply with the same application next year. Join the AAPA and the Texas state PA chapter, attend the conferences, make yourself familiar with state and national laws and while you’re at it, make yourself invaluable to a team of healthcare providers. If you can do this you will prove without a doubt that you have what it takes to do very well in PA school – The passion, courage and motivation to change course mid career and challenge yourself is impressive.
Also, if you haven’t already call some of the programs you are interested in and discuss the situation with the admissions faculty. By the way, I have a BS in Exercise Science with an overall gpa of 2.9 with volunteer, shadowing, and work experienced.



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