Tips for Out-of-Province PA Students

I sat down with Kelsi, and asked her what she thinks Out-of-Province PA students should know before starting PA School. Here she shares lessons learned from her experience coming from Alberta to study in Ontario’s PA Consortium/UofT PA Program.

Watch the Interview with Kelsi Now:


Apply for a provincial student loan as soon as possible. Be aware that your province may not recognize the PA program and may require additional documentation from the PA program to process your student loan request.


Consider booking flights in advance once residential block schedules are released. Consider other discount airlines such as Swoop when booking flights.

Housing for Out-of-Province PA Students

Michener has limited residence available for students at a reasonable price ($800-$860/month) and is walking distance to class. Book an Airbnb in advance as availability is low within Toronto. The TTC is user-friendly. Do not hesitate to book an Airbnb outside of downtown Toronto and use public transportation to get to school. This may decrease the cost of housing. Weekly and monthly TTC passes are available for students at a discounted price. As you get to know your classmates, consider splitting an Airbnb between two or more people.


LCEs are longitudinal clinical experiences, which include a half day to full day observership that you complete in 1st year. This observership can take place at a clinic or hospital with any type of health care provider (typically an MD, or PA).

A list of previous LCE preceptors are provided to incoming students but the majority are Ontario-based. Using your personal contacts and prior work experience, seek out LCE preceptors in advance once the school schedule has been released.

2nd Year Clinical Rotations

Out-of-province students are currently required to complete all core clinical rotations within Ontario during second year. Access to a vehicle is recommended for travel between clinical rotations.

Online Classes & Exams

Students are required to attend online sessions and complete exams according to the scheduled EST time. Examinations can be written using ProctorU for ~$15-25/exam. Number of exams vary per semester.

Relationships when Studying Outside-of-Province

Even though many Ontario students have the ability to travel home on weekends and holidays, long and expensive flights make it difficult to frequently fly to your home province. Out-of-Province PA Students should be aware that they may spend extended periods of time away from friends and family members during second year.

Staying Centred and Preventing Burnout

I’ve been lucky to be placed with some of my classmates during clinical rotations. . I’ll be in Thunder Bay  for five months and  have many classmates coming through Thunder Bay  during that time. I’m also lucky to have family and friends from coast to coast—I have family and friends in both Alberta and Nova Scotia, providing more options for travel during breaks.

“I’ve already thought about ‘What am I going to do for Christmas break? Am I flying back to Calgary or am I flying to Nova Scotia? Or am I staying in Ontario and hanging out with one of my classmates’ family for Christmas? I’ve also thought about March break as well, what am I going to do? Am I going to go on any vacations?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and it’s an extra step that I feel [many of my classmates] don’t have to think about.”


Contact with PA Friends during Distance Education & Rotations

During first year, take advantage of Facetime, Skype and text messaging to stay in contact with fellow students for academic and emotional support. Continue to remain in frequent contact during second year and take advantage of the face-to-face time with classmates who are completing rotations in your same location.

Kelsi, 1st year PA Student at PA Consortium

Kelsi is originally from rural Manitoba, attending University of Calgary and majoring in Psychology. She decided to apply to PA school after 5 years of working in a position in Endocrinology, and applying to medical school.