Physician assistant school is a challenging and competitive environment and preparing for a bachelor’s or master’s degree program should not be taken lightly.
We’ve compiled a list of criteria that can help you make sure you are properly preparing for physician assistant school.
Take Inventory of Your Classes and Experience
Most people who apply to physician assistant school have at least an associate degree and a couple years experience in the healthcare field. While there are a few bachelor degree programs out there, most PA programs offer only a master’s degree path. Physician assistants are highly educated and perform many of the same duties as a medical doctor.
If you have an associate or bachelor’s degree, look back on how many of your credits were earned in biology, anatomy and physiology. You may need to take some of these course to meet the prerequisite requirements at a particular physician assistant school.
Get Your Personal Life in Order
Your life is going to change in a big way once you enroll in a physician assistant school. That means it’s time to rethink your budget, living situation and job. Too many students learn after classes start that a full-time job just isn’t in the cards with such a demanding course-load. Don’t make your living situation dependent on a full-time salary. Consider getting a roommate, paying of your credit cards, or even moving back in with your parents once classes are underway.
It’s also time to think about how you are going to fund your education. Explore plenty of options for grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid. If you need to take out a student loan, make sure the interest rates and payments will be reasonable – you aren’t going to grad school to make less money than a barista.
Apply To Physician Assistant School
There are two hugely important factors here:
1. Apply early: Read the application guidelines carefully and apply early. If by any chance you left out crucial information or documentation, you’ll want some breathing room to turn in the required information before the deadline hit and you’re out the application fee.
2. Apply to more than one: Applying to three schools is a good rule of thumb. This way, you are giving yourself a fair shot of getting into a school (you may even have your pick of all three). Plus, limiting your application to three schools will help ensure you are not blowing an unnecessary amount of money on application fees.
If all three applications get turned down, you’ll have a good idea of what went wrong. Make it right and try again next semester, or next year – depending on how much work lies ahead.
Get Physician Assistant School Supplies Well in Advance
Showing up unprepared won’t be met with the same leniency you may have experienced as an undergrad. Get an exhaustive list of all the books and supplies you will need and make sure you buy every single one.
If you are not sure you have everything needed, email an administrator or instructor from the school and double check. Once class starts, you’ll be of and running from the start and keeping up means having the right supplies.
Improve Your Diet and Sleep
While caffeine-fueled all night study sessions may seem like a good idea, it will do more harm than good in the long run. While you want to dedicate as much tome as possible to studying, sacrificing sleep isn’t the right way to gain extra hours in your day. A better option is cutting down hours at work and spending that time studying.
Don’t forget to stay on a healthy diet. Avoid eating unhealthy greasy foods, especially during late night study sessions. The right diet will keep you mind sharp and make physician assistant school much easier to deal with.