If you are mid way through your 2nd year without previous health care experience, then the only program you may qualify to apply to is McMaster’s Physician Assistant Program. There are a couple of considerations for why you would want to apply in your 2nd year or why you would want to wait. First and foremost, you CAN apply as long as you meet the minimum requirements.
It is not too ambitious to apply while you are in your second year of undergraduate studies. There’s a wide demographic of students that get into the PA program each year, during my year, the average age was approximately 27, and anecdotally each year that average age gets lower and lower. Many of the classes have students have gotten into the program after completing 2 years of university and have done just as well as other students.
What if my GPA is low?
As long as you make the cut off of 3.0 GPA for undergraduate studies completed so far, you can still apply. If your GPA does not meet the requirements, your application will not be considered. If your GPA is below 3.0, it may be worth waiting so that you can take courses to upgrade your GPA to meet the minimum requirements.
However, waiting for your GPA to go from a 3.3 to a 3.7 GPA doesn’t make you “any less qualified” to apply, in both instances you still meet requirements and I would strongly encourage you to apply! Keep in mind there are other aspects of the admissions process – the supplementary application and Multi-Mini Interview where you can use your awesome communication skills to stand out as a PA candidate.
Please check the McMaster PA Program Admission Requirements for the most up to date information.
What if I don’t get in because I wasn’t “competitive enough”?
Well, sometimes it takes several rounds of interviews to get into the PA program. One advantage of going through the process is that you’ve had an opportunity this year to go through the admissions process, whether thats only as getting as far as the supplementary process, or making it all the way through to the interview round.
Keep in mind that when McMaster sends out its offers, you may get waitlisted and SOME successfully PA candidates decline the offer for admission into the program. You may find out closer to the Fall start that you may have gotten in. Many PA colleagues I know did not get in the first time they applied or were wait listed after the interview, and for some reason a spot opened up.
Each failure is a learning experience and opportunity to be improved upon. You are now familiar with the supplementary application and MMI process, from which you can practice more. You now have some time to do research about the PA profession, do some shadowing, or speak with some PAs about their career.