FAQ about "PHYSICIAN’S ASSISTANT SCHOOL PREPARATION" at Wofford
Note: If your question isn’t answered here, please contact your advisor!
REGISTERING FOR YOUR FIRST SEMESTER AT WOFFORD
APPLICATION, & LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
In the unlikely event that you have a question that isn't listed here, click here to email it to Dr. Moss!
We recommend that students major in what they are most interested in! Most applicants major in biology, or psychology.
The most popular double major at Wofford is biology and foreign language. The foreign language major, and the associated study abroad, provide many opportunities to expose you to other cultures and languages. So if you enjoy foreign languages, we recommend it! But do not feel that you will be at a disadvantage if you don't actually complete the second major. If completing the second major would strain your ability to maintain a good GPA for instance, we would advise you to drop the second major.
Yes! We encourage it!
When you should study abroad is a more difficult question, which needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
You should be able to fit all of the prerequisites for PA school without taking summer school. See your advisor.
depends on what you plan to major in. If you're not sure, go with
"bio" or "chem":
Bio 150 is a very different course than the one you took for A.P. biology. So many students will choose to take bio150 even though they have A.P. credit. If you're not going to major in bio, then yes, you may use your A.P. credits towards your general education science requirements, and/or skip bio150.
If you intend to major in biology, you may, after consulting with the Department chair (Dr. Goldey), be given permission to exempt Bio 150 if you have a particularly strong academic record in science and if other indicators of future academic performance (e.g., superior SAT, ACT scores) suggest that you are ready for more advanced work. Such well prepared students may exempt Bio 150 and substitute Bio 212 (sophomore level genetics and molecular biology), or chemistry 123 for their first semester science.
We do encourage you to weigh carefully the decision of exempting Bio 150. Moving up to sophomore level bio removes you from your incoming peer group. In addition, Bio 150 seeks to build skills and competencies that are rarely taught in AP courses.
We generally discourage students from taking two lab sciences their first semester on campus. There will be many other demands on your time during your transition to college life.
That said, if you've been getting A's in your science classes in high school, and don't feel like you've been overworked, you CAN opt to take both bio and chem. And it WILL help to lighten your load later on. One option would be to go ahead and register for both, and if you think during that first week of class that you’ve “bit off more…”, you can drop one.
Another option might be to start with one science and a math [preferably statistics] your first semester, and take two sciences your second semester. Chemistry 123 is usually offered both semesters.
ANY course where you got a C-, D or F at Wofford should be re-taken, as you can replace the old grade in your Wofford GPA.
If you got a C or C+ in a course THAT IS A PREREQUISITE for P.A. school, you should also re-take it. Your new grade will show up on your transcript, but will NOT be counted in your Wofford GPA. The admissions committee will see and consider your new grade however.
These prerequisites, for MUSC are:
Statistics or Biostatistics
2 semesters General Chemistry - includes lab
1 semester Organic or Biochemistry
Behavioral Sciences - General Psychology (required) plus six credits of Psychology electives and/or Sociology courses
MUSC’s PA school requires statistics, plus one other college level math. We recommend you take statistics early in your career, as it will help you in many of your science classes.
To qualify for certain scholarships offered by the state of SC, you must take 6 hours of math during your freshman year.
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. The 'minimal' GPA for MUSC and other PA schools is 3.0. What GPA will be competitive will vary from year to year, and from med school to med school. Obviously, the higher your GPA, the higher your chances become.
Many PA schools, including MUSC’s, have a prerequisite of a course in medical terminology. A 1 credit medical terminology course is offered on alternate years, typically in the spring, by the biology department. Physiology is a pre- or co- requisite.
All PA schools will expect you to have had clinical experience. Most schools have a minimum number of hours required. But the more experience you have, the more competitive you will be. For MUSC, this minimum is only 150 hours [50 of those must be with a single PA]. But we would recommend at least twice that number.
You can get this experience in a number of ways:
No matter how you get your experience, make sure you document it by giving your supervisor/heath care professional a copy of the Clinical Evaluations Form to complete at the end of your work.
Before any hospital or physician’s practice will permit you to shadow, you will need to demonstrate certain ‘credentials’. In Spartanburg these would include a criminal backbround check, clean drug test, and vaccination record. See the checklist at: http://webs.wofford.edu/mossre/hc/pdf/internship_c.pdf
MUSC’s PA program requires 3 letters of recommendation. Two need to be from science faculty, and one from a PA who has gotten to know you and work with you.
IMPORTANT: If we have been keeping your “clinical letters” on file, you must advise Ms. Thomas when and where you want them sent out.
A4. What constitutes a good personal essay? Should I seek editorial help on my essay?
The "personal essay" is an important part of your application. Admissions committees use the statement to get a feel for you as a person, an individual. But since it is a "personal" essay, it's difficult to give generalized advice about how to write it.
Your essay needs to accomplish two objectives:
· It should 'set you apart' from 'the typical applicant'. The reader will see dozens of personal essays. If yours simply states that you want to go into medicine because you want to help people, your essay will fade into the background. Use something from your personal experience to let the reader get to know you. By this time in your life you’ve had many life experiences: tackled challenges, experienced disappointment, learned lessons, even learned a lot about yourself as a person. Now you’re going to share one or two of these personal experiences with the admissions committee; this is not a time to re-list things already located somewhere in your application, but a time to share personal aspects of your life, particularly ones that relate to your experience with medicine, or traits that will make you a P.A. This process can take lots of time, even weeks. After reading dozens of essays, you want the reader to come away thinking about yours (in a positive way!).
Avoid espousing strong political or religious opinions. There is nothing wrong with your having opinions, but it may be challenging for admissions personnel to read in an unbiased way something that could be considered highly controversial, offensive, or disturbing.
Before you begin:
1. Think about your audience. Who will be reading your statement?
2. Read the prompt for the essay and be sure to answer the question that is asked if you are given one.
3. Reflect back on past experiences and how they have affected you. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
o What unusual challenges have you overcome and what did you learn?
o Have you studied abroad, or had experience with medical systems outside the U.S.?
o Why do you want to go to medical school?
o Who or what inspired you to pursue this path?
o Is there something in particular that is interesting about you and/or your family that relates to health care, or why you’ll make a good doctor?
Time to Start Writing:
1. Make sure you write in the first person. It is a personal statement! Make this similar to a letter you might write a friend. It does not need to be formal (but it does need to be technically perfect: grammar, spelling, appropriate word usage, etc.). Feel free to use humor and creativity, but don’t go overboard!
2. Don’t write what you think someone else wants to hear. Write about yourself with feeling. That is what they want to read!
3. Start to put stories/paragraphs into an appropriate order with good transitions in between.
4. Proof and re-write as necessary.
5. Once you are satisfied, transfer the statement to your application.
We strongly suggest that you ask at least two faculty members to review a draft of your essay. One who can critique your essay for grammar and style; perhaps a professor you've had for an English or humanities course. The other who has experience with medical school essays, typically your advisor in the biology or chemistry department.
Expect the faculty to read your essay with a critical eye. It's not unusual for one of the faculty advisors to recommend that you scrap your first attempt and start again. Don't take this personally! We wouldn't be doing you any favors by holding back and letting you submit a mediocre essay. But of course, you should view any advice on your essay as just that... advice. It's your essay, and your application. So you need to decide which individual bits of advice to take, and which to ignore.
If your advisor feels your essay needs a major re-write, you may want to submit another draft for more feedback. If so, you should submit your next draft to a different member of the faculty. It's to your advantage to get a different perspective on your next draft.
I1. What should I wear to an interview?
Wow, do you really want to take advice on how to dress from Dr. Moss?? :-)
Dress as a professional. For women, this means some sort of suit – pants or skirt. For men, a coat and tie is expected. Wear clean, comfortable shoes, as you will be touring and perhaps standing for long periods.
I2. Should I call the admissions office to check on the status of my application? When should I expect to hear back?
You may call them if you haven't heard from by the date you're expecting to. But don't overdo it. One phone call shows interest; ten may start to irritate! If you haven’t heard anything within three weeks after submitting your secondary application, a call seems appropriate; perhaps a call every three weeks or so thereafter.
Please report any problems with this page to Dr. Moss.
Your premedical advisors:
Chemistry Department: Dr. Waidner