Why I decided to apply after 2 years of undergrad
I knew that I wanted to become a PA because I had already done a lot of research into what it means to be a Physician Assistant and where I would fit in the profession, so I decided to apply as soon as I could!
I felt that I had the life skills and the maturity level to apply in second year, and if I didn’t get in, it would be a great way to learn what the application process was like so that I could fine-tune it.
Being able to continue on with my third year of studies if I didn’t get accepted into the program definitely took away a lot of stress from the whole application process.
Challenges of applying as a younger applicant
One big challenge that I found myself worrying about was not having the life experiences that others could bring to the table during the applications. However, I learnt that everyone has their own unique experiences that speak to who they are, and it’s the quality of the experiences that matter, not the quantity!
My Undergrad GPA
My undergrad GPA was around a 3.85
Tips on Keeping a Competitive GPA
Take courses that you enjoy as electives, even if they aren’t science courses!
Learn how you study best – I studied best on my own locked up in my room or at Starbucks J
Take care of yourself! I made it a point to have a lot of balance in my life, and I feel that finding time for yourself contributes to doing better in school.
How I prepared for PA Admissions
Once I decided I wanted to apply for PA school, I had a systematic way of preparing for the admissions process. The first thing that I did was research all of the different PA programs that are available in Canada – there are three: McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Manitoba.
The University of Manitoba’s PA program is a master’s program and the University of Toronto requires a minimum of 900 clinical hours, so the only PA school that I could apply to was McMaster.
I then looked into McMaster’s program specifically, including their mission statement and curriculum. Every school has their own mission statement that they value and it’s important to be conscious of that mission statement and the type of students that the program is looking for. This can help with the application process, but it can also help you to decide if the program is right for you.
For example, the University of Toronto’s PA Program has a lot of distance education, whereas McMaster really drives home problem-based, group style learning. Some students may excel in both, but some may find they are better suited to a specific learning environment, so being self-reflective in this stage will help you decide which school to apply to.
The next step was to research about the Physician Assistant profession in Canada. I mainly used the CAPA website. It’s a great way to learn about what it really means to be a PA in Canada!