PA STUDENTS • WITH EMILIE

Accepted! McMaster PA Student Emilie

Emilie is a first year McMaster PA Student, as part of Class of 2023! Emilie got into McMaster’s PA program after 2 years of undergraduate study. She was initially interested in pursuing Pharmacy, but upon stumbling upon the PA profession, she found the role and scope of practice better fit her goals for practice in health care. Continue reading to learn more about Emilie!

Emilie’s Pre-PA Stats

Accepted: 

  • Applied only to McMaster (and was accepted!)

# of Application Cycles:

  • One

Education:

  • University of Waterloo, Honours Science (completed 2 years)

Health Care Experience Hours:

  • Pharmacy Assistant, around 250 hours

Please note: McMaster does not require or review health care experience hours. 

My Interests and Hobbies:

  • Painting, rollerblading, hiking and crochet.

About Emilie

For my undergrad, I studied at the University of Waterloo in the Honours Science program. When I entered my program out of high school, I had the intention of going to UW’s pharmacy school. For most of my life, I knew I was interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, but I was unsure of what that career would be.

Since I knew I was not interested in the traditional MD route, pharmacy seemed like the next natural option for me. However, after my first year of undergrad, I discovered the PA profession and was immediately captivated by all its aspects!

I decided to learn more about both the PA and pharmacy professions, working as a pharmacy assistant and doing some research on the different career opportunities available. After that summer, I was certain I wanted to become a PA.

Although pharmacy is an amazing career to pursue, I admired how PAs were involved in all aspects of patient care, and emphasized both advocacy and continuity of care. I saw the opportunity in the profession to reduce some of the strains on our healthcare system, which have only been augmented throughout this pandemic, and knew that this was a difference I wanted to make.

I decided to apply (mostly on a whim) and thankfully, things worked out and I’m now a part of McMaster’s Class of 2023!

Why I decided to pursue the PA profession

Unlike many applicants and practicing PAs, I was never interested in pursuing the traditional MD route. Although I knew I wanted to practice medicine, there were many aspects of becoming a doctor that I found did not fit with my long term goals in terms of lifestyle and flexibility.

As a result, when I was applying to my undergrad I felt a little lost and confused. It seemed like everyone around me had their heart set on a certain career but I struggled to figure out what that would be for me. Since I knew I did not want to take the MD path, I thought maybe pharmacy would be a better fit, and decided to pursue that.

After my first year of undergrad, I randomly stumbled upon the PA profession (through this instagram page actually!).

It immediately caught my attention, and after doing some research and reaching out to some PAs and PA students, I KNEW it was what I wanted to do. I had finally understood what it meant to be pursuing a career I was excited and passionate about.

To me, being a PA was the best of both worlds. It combined everything I loved about medicine, such as continuity of patient centered care, and everything I loved about pharmacy, such as improving accessibility to treatment.

It also emphasized some unique aspects of practice such as lateral mobility and advocacy, resulting in a career that seemed to be perfectly catered to myself and my interests.

That’s what I think is so great about the PA profession – there’s something in it for everyone. The career is so flexible and offers such a wide scope of practice, that really, the opportunities and potential seem to be endless. I think the PA profession does a great job of encompassing such a wide variety of interests and goals that people may have, making it truly such a diverse, dynamic and exciting career to be a part of.

What I think helped me stand out on PA Admissions

Honestly, I’m not too sure I know the answer to this question. When I was applying, I didn’t feel too confident in my chances of getting in.

I had worked really hard throughout my undergrad journey to try to maintain a competitive GPA, which I think helped with my application but was definitely not enough on its own.

I think something that may have helped me stand out was reflecting and highlighting on my previous experiences, and explaining how they pushed me closer to the profession. Although I had no hands-on involvement with the PA profession itself, and had limited healthcare exposure as a pharmacy assistant, I tried to communicate how every experience, no matter how big or small, confirmed that this was the career I wanted to pursue.

I also think that being honest with myself and understanding why I was not interested in other careers helped me to truly grasp what made the PA profession so different and unique from my personal perspective.

My tips for Canadian Pre-PA Applicants

Don’t let the stats discourage you when you apply! I know the PA programs are becoming more and more competitive every cycle and that can be intimidating; it definitely was for me.

As a younger and less experienced applicant, I found it really hard to stay motivated or have any hope in my chances of getting in. I actually got really close to not applying at all because the whole process just seemed so daunting, but I’m so grateful that I did!

Focus on yourself, your accomplishments, your capabilities, and the aspects of the application that are in YOUR control. I know it’s been said a thousand times but take some time to reflect on your experiences so far, your goals for your future, and see how they align with the profession as a whole.

Being honest with yourself and relaying that authenticity throughout your application is what will make you stand out both as an applicant and as a future PA!

Now it’s your turn!

Thank you Emilie for sharing your incredible journey to gaining acceptance into PA School!

Have questions? Leave it in the comments below.