Things I Wish I Would’ve Done Before Applying to Physician Assistant School


There’s nothing like the feeling of regret, but as they say “hindsight is 20/20”. In this post, I want to go over three things I wish I would’ve done before applying to Physician Assistant School that would’ve (I think) helped strengthen my application.

– Involvement: During undergraduate school, I was involved in a sorority and a pre-pa organization, but I never held a leadership role and that’s something I regret not doing! After speaking with a former PA admissions committee member about what I needed to do to improve my application she told me it would’ve looked good to have held a leadership position in a club, organization, group, social or academic sorority/fraternity, work, etc. and I never had that experience. I was never someone who would try to be president of my sorority class, or a founder of an organization, but I definitely could’ve found a way to become secretary or treasurer.

– Direct Patient Care: I definitely worked ALOT during my last year in undergraduate school to gain enough patient care hours to appear competitive (1000+). In hindsight, I wish I would’ve began working at least a year beforehand so I wouldn’t have had to work full time and stress about that along with my academics in my last year, that included genetics, organic chemistry 1 and 2, some important prerequisites. If I could re-do it all I would have started working as a CNA/EMT/scribe during my sophomore year so I would have enough time to work part time and complete my goal of 1000+ hours and even take off when mid terms and finals came around. Overall, I would have had more flexibility than working full time!

– Submittance of Application: This one is super important, therefore it’s my last bullet point for you all to see. During my first application cycle, I submitted each school’s application due to its deadline date, whether it was a rolling admissions school or a hard deadline date school. For example, if school ABC had a deadline date of September 1st, I submitted my application probably a week before September 1st but no earlier. DON’T DO THIS! Many of the schools I applied to looked at applications as they were submitted on a rollin basis, meaning if school ABC’s deadline date is September 1sr, and Sally sent her completed application in May when CASPA opened, and Steve sent his completed application in August, school ABC will have not only seen Sally’s application waaaaay before Steve, but have probably decided on whether they were going to offer Sally an interview before they even got a chance to look at Steve’s application. There is not magic date to submit your application, but it is important to get your applications in as soon as possible after CASPA opens. The more schools you get them to early, the more schools that have a chance to even LOOK at your application, the more schools that can offer you an interview.

We all know no one can be a perfect applicant, as hard as we try to be, but I hope a few of my readers can learn from MY mistakes and put their best foot forward on their first application cycle and get into PA school!

2 thoughts on “Things I Wish I Would’ve Done Before Applying to Physician Assistant School

  1. Hi Meghan, I just discovered your blog! I have found it extremely helpful so far. I am currently an EMT and still obtaining my bachelors, and was wondering if you are considered a more competitive applicant if you have more patient care hours. I will have at least 5,000 hours by the time I apply. I was also wondering if there was a certain amount of volunteer hours they look at, and if being in student government and student clubs would count as community service?

    Thanks so much, Talia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Talia! I’m so glad you’ve been able to read my blog and I’m happy you’ve found it helpful 🙂
      That’s amazing! 5,000 hours is definitely a number that most applicants straight from undergrad will not reach. You are considered more competitive if you have more patient care hours!
      Many schools don’t have any recommendations for volunteer hours, but if it helps, I had a little below 500 in total from undergrad and post-bacc.
      Being in student government and clubs could count as community service if you had an event or philanthropic function that gave back to a community or organization or just the students in general! Otherwise, you could just list it under involvement and that looks good regardless!

      Like

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