How to get into Physician Assistant School

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					The Pre-Physician Assistant Club presents:

    A practical guide for students at The
       University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
What majors are most helpful for getting in?

   Doesn’t matter, pick a major you enjoy

   Something in the sciences is probably good (then
    a lot of your classes will overlap with your PA
    school prerequisites – for example, kinesiology)

   Make sure you get your PA school prerequisites
What clubs should I join?

   The Pre-PA Club is obviously the best 
     Being an Active Member and becoming involved is a
      great way to stand out on your application!

   Do what you’re interested in, have fun!

   Many programs are interested in your community
    service/volunteering activities

   Research is great too (ex: UROP)
Do I need to take the GRE or the MCAT?

 Most  programs require the GRE
 Some programs will accept either the GRE or
  the MCAT
  (as far as we know, there isn’t a preference
  for one or the other)
 A few programs don’t require any test
 Take practice tests! Try not to take the
  actual exam more than once or twice
Why should I observe PA-Cs in their work environment?
 You should shadow PA-Cs so that you can better understand
  the profession and have a real idea of what they do
  (Admissions people want to see that you know what you’re
  getting yourself into)
  CARE EXPERIENCE HOURS (but it is, nonetheless, very
 It is not appropriate to ever assume that someone you’re
  shadowing will give you a job/allow you to shadow for
  more than part of a day/one day
 Ways to find shadowing opportunities:
     If your primary care provider is a PA-C, or there is a PA-C in the
      office you go to, talk to them!
     Call local doctor’s offices or hospitals
     University of Michigan Alumni Association Mentors -, 08-05-2008)
How will it help me?

   Volunteering in a hospital is great because it puts you in the
    health care setting and allows you to observe and become
    comfortable (and it’s fun!); it is also a great stepping stone and a
    great way to make connections
     University of Michigan Health System Volunteer Services -
     Trail’s Edge Camp for Ventilator Dependent Children -
       AWESOME opportunity!! First week of June every year (Talk
         to Margaret for more info if you’re interested)

   *Some programs WILL NOT accept volunteering as part of your
    patient care experience, but many programs ARE interested in
    your community service/volunteering activities (for example,
    Wayne State REQUIRES you to submit an official record of all your
    volunteering for 2 years)
What are programs looking for?
 Most programs require anywhere from 500-2,000
  hours of “direct patient care experience” – what they
  accept varies
 Most programs prefer paid positions, but some unpaid
  positions work. The more responsibility you hold in
  your position and the more time you have worked,
  the more competitive you will be as an applicant
 Positions include (but are not limited to) Certified
  Nurses Aid, Phlebotomist, Patient Care
  Tech/Attendant, EMT, RN, Physical Therapy or
  Occupational Therapy Aid, Medical Technologist, etc
   Washtenaw Community College Certified Nurses Aid
    (4 Credit course – approx 5 weeks) (*Fills up REALLY fast)
   The American Red Cross offers a CNA course also, but it
    is more expensive
   University of Michigan Job Site -
   Sunrise Assisted Living -
       Ask Andrea or Jillian for more information!
   St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Job Site -
   The Caring Space (Home Health Aid jobs) -
   Glacier Hills Care and Rehabilitation Center -
What is it?
 The Centralized Application Service for Physician
 Most (but not all) programs use CASPA, so you can
  more easily apply to multiple programs
 *Many programs ALSO require a supplemental
  application for their specific program/school which
  may include additional essays that should be
  different from your initial personal statement!
 Application not complete without transcripts,
  payment, recommendations
 *It can take up to 6 weeks for CASPA to process your
  application and send it to the specific programs, so
  don’t wait until their deadline to submit!!!
 Who         should I ask?
   CAPSA requires three
       Almost all programs require that one be from a PA-
        C (or a health care professional who works with/is
        knowledgeable about them)
           This should be someone you have had multiple,
            meaningful interactions with, NOT someone you just
            shadowed once or twice.
     Advanced prerequisite professors (i.e. Anatomy,
      Physiology, Microbiology, etc)
     Supervisors from patient care positions
     Basically, people who will be able to attest to your
      ability to succeed academically and professionally
How do I prepare?
   *If you are granted an interview, this IS your opportunity,
    you may not get another chance with this program; that
    being said, it is your chance to interview them as well
   Be confident
   Be prepared (know how to “speak PA”)
   Be professional
   Know history of profession
   Be able to articulate why you want to be a PA (and not a
    doctor or a NP)
   The Career Center has MANY interviewing tips & ways to
    prepare. Visit
   Come to mini/mentoring meetings!
Things to keep in mind…

    figuring out classes is very frustrating

    UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES (i.e. Eastern University,
    Washtenaw Community College)

   MOST PROGRAMS WANT A GPA OF 3.0 or higher
What fulfills my requirements?
 Almost      always required. Take:
    MEDADM 403 - offered Fall and Winter, has a lab
     that meets 4 times during the semester, offers a lab
     component that meets 4 times during the semester
     (works with plastinated bodies, not cadaver
     dissection, but some schools still count it)
        Reviews:
          “One of the most exciting courses I’ve taken so
           far…there are weekly quizzes which help you stay on
           track and not fall behind in the course. The professors
           are great and really help you a lot – I really enjoy the
          “This is my absolute favorite class taken at U of M!
           The lab portion is really helpful in pulling all of the
           concepts together!”
    Also offered at Oakland University (and others)
 Notoften required, but sometimes

 FYI-   Central Michigan DOES require this!
    UM does not offer
    Offered at Oakland University
   least one is almost always required,
 At
 sometimes upper level also. Take one or
    PHYSIOL 201 – Lower level
    PHYSIOL 502 – Upper level
    AT 375- Pathophysiology through the Athletic
     Training department
        Email the professor for an override, he is very receptive
         to admitting Pre-PA students
        Does NOT count toward your 120 credits to graduate.
    MOVESCI 340 – Exercise Physiology (lab included)
     (**NOT all schools will accept Exercise Phys to fulfill
     Physiology requirement.)
     (Wayne State University Accepts Exercise Phys & AT
     375 to fulfill their upper level requirement.)
 Not often required, but sometimes
   MOVESCI 340 – Exercise Physiology (lab
    automatic component of lecture course)
   UM does not offer

 ***Regarding Human Anatomy and
  Physiology Courses – Some schools will
  accept two semesters of joined courses,
  some will not (check with your specific
  programs of interest). ***
 Almost   always required with lab. Take all
  BIO 171 – Ecology and Evolution, offered Fall
   and Winter
  BIO 172 – Molecular, Cellular, and
   Developmental, offered Fall and Winter
  BIO 173 (Lab) – Offered Fall and Winter
 Almost    always required with lab. Take
      (Note: If you passed out of Chem 130, check with
       your school to see they’ll accept that test score
       in substitution of the course – Not all schools
      Some schools also require 2 semesters of general
    CHEM 130 – Offered Fall and Winter
    CHEM 125 (Lab) – Offered Fall and Winter
 Often either Orgo 1 OR Biochem is
 Orgo 2 rarely required

    CHEM 210 and CHEM 211 (Lab) – Orgo I, offered
     Fall and Winter
    CHEM 215 and CHEM 216 (Lab) – Orgo II,
     offered Fall and Winter
       BIO 310 – lower level, not offered every semester
        (Need prior or concurrent enrollment in Chem 215)
           Reviews: “Horribly difficult class.” “Pretty good so far
            [in progress].”
       BIOCHEM 415 – upper level, offered Fall and Winter
        (Need both semesters of Organic Chemistry first;
        some advisors recommend Physics first but students
        say it is not necessary)
           Reviews: “A lot of memorizing and lots of work…lectures
            weren’t very engaging.”
   What’s the difference?
       Essentially same material, 415 exams are all multiple
        choice while 310 also utilizes short answer questions
 Take      either:
    BIO 207 – Lab included, offered Fall and Winter
        Reviews: “Didn’t really like it much.” “A lot of
         studying – the lab is exciting and relaxed, helps to
         boost your grade.”
    MICROBIOL 301 and 350 (Lab) – Offered Winter
     only (Biochem is an advisory prerequisite but
     not required according to advisors)
        Reviews: “If you do well on the first 3 exams, you
         don’t have to go to class for the last few weeks since
         your lowest exam score can be dropped (provided you
         take all 4 exams)”
 Notgenerally required
 (can get away without taking labs)
    PHYSICS 125 and PHYSICS 127 (Lab)
    PHYSICS 126 and PHYSICS 128 (Lab)

 Calcbased physics is not necessary, even if
 you decide to take the MCAT
 College   algebra or higher
    Math 105 is Pre-Calc
    Math 115 is Calc 1
 Notalways required, but usually
 recommended. Choose one:
  BIO 105 – Offered Fall and Winter (sometimes…
   sporadic based on the professor teaching it)
  MOVESCI 241 – For Kinesiology majors
 Almost always required
 Choose one:
    STATS 100 – Lower level
    STATS 250 – Offered Fall and Winter
        Reviews: Great class! Get Brenda Gunderson if possible
    MOVESCI 250 – For Kinesiology majors
 Finally   offered @ UM again!
 Oftenrecommended, gaining popularity
 as required in some programs
   PHIL 356
   Offered at Washtenaw Community College (or
 Gainingpopularity as a requirement (Wayne
 State just started requiring it)
    UM does not offer (yet!)
    Offered at Washtenaw Community College,
     online at Schoolcraft Community College (or
 Generally only a general or
 developmental course is required,
 occasionally abnormal is recommended.
 (If you have Psych AP credit from high
 school, make sure to check if your school
 will accept it – Not all schools will.)
    Psych 111   – Introductory
    Psych 250   – Developmental, GREAT class! (need
     Psych 111   first)
    Psych 270   – Abnormal (need Psych 111 first)
 Requiredby some, Recommended by others-
 check individual programs
    Bio 305- Really HARD!
 Generally one or two composition courses
 are required (For LSA, English 125 and ULWR
 should fulfill).
Take a deep breath!

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