I Was Rejected From PA School, Now What?

Understandably, this is one of the worst feelings you will have. After working so hard, for so long, you’ve been denied your dream. Just like after a breakup, take the time to recover. Give yourself permission to decompress. Take a few days to reflect on your journey, on yourself. It’s okay to sulk! Understand a no isn’t a no forever. Many successful PAs are either waitlisted or turned away from PA programs their first attempts.  So once you're done moping, it’s time to start working to get that post breakup bod back and climb that metaphorical mountain again! Everyone heals differently, find what works for you.


1.  Get out of the funk.

You just got rejected. This is painful. All types of negative thoughts are swirling in your head. “Am I good enough?” “Am I smart enough?” “Maybe those other applicants ARE better than me.” “Maybe I should’ve stuck to my old career”. These are other people’s opinions manifested in your thoughts. Do not let anyone tell you whether or not you’re worth anything. You and only you should have that power.

Failure is part of life and everyone goes through failure. I have gone through several and as I go through more failures, I realize that it’s actually my friend. Failure is what pushes me to become better everyday. The way you perceive failure will change the outcome of your life. See it more as a valuable feedback than something that’s knocked you on your butt. So, objectively look at your failure, understand the pitfalls and constructively resolve these issues, before they reoccur.

2.    Reassess your application

Take honest look at your application and find where you are the weakest. This is going to be touch, no one wants to admit their weaknesses. The first step in finding a solution is to understand the problem.

So sit down, grab a pen, write down your strengths and your weaknesses. Where did you go wrong? Was it academically? Is your GPA comparable to the average accepted students’ GPA? Is Is it your personal statement? Maybe its too wordy or isn’t hitting the nail on the head with your story. Ask for feedback from a few trusted friends and family. Revise, revise and revise! Do you have space in your application for more HCE/PCE hours? Look for new experiences to add your application. Is it your interviewing skills? Detail every problem, every weakness and begin to make a road map on how you will improve on the weakness and rectify the problems.

3.    Keep up your HCE/PCE hours

This will be the best next step. Not only will it allow you to slowly get back into your passion, but it will also enhance your application next cycle. You can never have too many hours gathered. Continue your already set up positions and look for new opportunities. New opportunities will expand your network,  giving you more letters of recommendations and more importantly, it will make you keep your eyes on the prize.

4.    Study Medical Terminology

Medical Terminology is the more underrated course colleges offer. Some PA schools prior to beginning require it, other PA schools offer it as a course during the first semester and just recommended by the rest. No matter which of the categories your prospective PA schools will fall under, studying medical terminology will only benefit you.

By studying a couple prefixes, roots and suffixes now, you will be setting yourself up for greater success at your future PA school as well as your HCE/PCE hours. You will be able to better understand patient encounters and be able to ask more educated and informative questions to providers.  Not to mention it will make watching Grey’s Anatomy that much more fun!

5.    Ask

You know what’s perfectly normal to do, yet no one does it? Email your schools and ask them what you can do to improve your application! If you truly want to to get to root of the problem, ask the people who detected the problem.

Ask the people who know you the best. Again, this is going to be very difficult as you have to make yourself completely vulnerable, but it is necessary. Ask your best friends, siblings, parents, grandparents where they think you’re weak.

Most importantly, ask yourself.

For some inspiration, read ‘3 Characteristics That Will Set You Apart From Others’.

Look, I understand, this is undoubtedly one of the lowest points in your life. Going through rejection, no matter its magnitude, is completely demoralizing. Conversely, coming back from that failure to flourish in your field is arguably one of most euphoric feelings in life! Let us help you get back on that mountain.


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