What did you do before PA School?
I did a little bit of everything post-college, but for a start: Party animal/seeker/traveler/general ne’er-do-well, waiter, beer guy, construction manager (assistant superintendent –> superintendent –> project engineer –> mini-project manager –> consultant), ESL teacher, EMT –> Paramedic, ER Scribe.
How old were you when you applied?
Found out about PA school after applying to med school at 30, SO glad that didn’t pan out the first time around. Then applied to PA school at 31. and again at 32, when I finally got accepted (x2!).
How did you feel after you didn’t get in the first time?
Disappointed and maybe even a little indignant at first, but didn’t take it too personally for long. I was pretty dang sure it was what I wanted so I just tried again, knowing my application needed to be stronger. There is a lot of competition for spots in PA school for good reasons, you’ve got to show that you are the cream of the crop and are a good bet for the school in terms of being able to one day be a skillful, practicing PA.
What did you do to build your resume when you re-applied?
Targeted the weak spots. Stayed busy in all things task-oriented, let some other things go to a certain extent. Spent as much time as I could thinking of ways to improve all the different parts of the application. Made sure I had all the prerequisite classes possible (*with an A*), and made sure that those annoying essays/statements of purpose were flawless and inspiring. Stepped up my game in the medical experience arena by shadowing and working as a medic and a scribe, and making sure I was able to get some good and appropriate letters of rec (this was probably my least favorite part to worry about). It was a deliberate process, it definitely didn’t just happen.
How did you feel entering PA school and being one of the older students in the class?
Sometimes there was a bit of a cultural disconnect in terms of some things, but I’m a pretty young-at-heart guy without a family of my own (yet) so it wasn’t so hard to get on the same wavelength. Sometimes it can be challenging when you compare and think how far ahead your kiddo classmates are in terms of being about to start their career when you would have still been waking up at noon on a Wednesday to go do a half-shift of bagging liquor- but hey, whatever path you take, you are bound to have learned something that someone on another path hasn’t.
Any advice for students who make a career change or students who are re-applying?
Re-applying? See #3 and 4. Career change? Be totally honest with yourself about who you are deep down, what you like, what all of your motivations are, whether you could get what it is you think you’re looking for while staying in your current spot or with a less drastic change. It’s an investment, and likely much more of one if you’re starting later. ….Also, just my 2 totally unrelated cents, consider learning Spanish. Or any language really, it will enrich your life and open up your world. …and sure, it makes you more marketable etc.