Physician Assistant-PA program

Here’s UR’s med school class profile for the class of 2025. Feel free to google and you can get several year’s worth of profiles showing it’s more or less a template. They look for the same types of things year in and year out. I doubt they’re the only med school looking for these attributes. As I tell students who want to head to med school, “Be someone the school can write about.”

From the link:

Most of you graduated with Latin Honors, including a large number who
were Summa or Magna Cum Laude. Additionally, many of your class graduated
Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and or with other departmental, and
university or national honors society and recognitions. These awards show that
you’ve collectively had an incredible academic prowess and we are humbled
before your accomplishments. But in addition to these well-known awards, we
recognize that you have had even more profound accomplishments, many that
don’t come with certificates or applause, but still impacted the lives of
communities, organizations and people all around you. Congratulations.

Your desire to deeply and meaningfully work in marginalized communities
has led you to work in AmeriCorps, Teach for America and as Jesuit Service Corp
members. More than 50% of you worked or learned in an overseas setting. From
Sudan to Taipei, Japan to Bangalore, Greece to Nicaragua you have been impacted
by what life looks like outside the confines of your hometowns and you are wiser
for it. The University of Rochester celebrates your interest in a wide lens of
experiences and we hope an equal or greater number of you continue your global
reach in this phase of your transformation.

In order to be accepted to the University of Rochester, it is a must that you
have worked outside your comfort zone; your class has shown heart and passion
surpassing the average applicant. Many of you have worked with agencies in our
inner cities, refugee camps and prisons, reaching out to those who suffer the
greatest disparities in health care in our world. All of you have volunteered in
various outreach opportunities, alternative summer breaks, health care brigades and
other college or religious sponsored organizations and have made an impact on the
health and wellness of communities. If there is a hospital clinic or possibility to
help someone, someone in this room has volunteered in that opportunity and more
importantly, have LOVED working within it. The Class of 2025 you have reached
out to those people in need, regardless of pandemics, lock-downs, distance or
personal hardship encountered.

You have really unique interests and accomplishments that display heart and
soul to this class. To name just a few: you have built houses in Nicaragua, worked
in reforming criminal justice systems, accompanied those with terminal illness to
their deaths, joined teams for disaster relief, and supported housing insecurity and
homelessness. You have worked to distribute Covid 19 vaccines at your own peril,
been asylum advocates, led clinics such as Planned Parenthood and served our
LGBTQ community. You have served communities not only in English, but
Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. I am particularly proud of the overwhelming number
of people concerned about the marginalized in their communities, combatting
racism, sexism, misogynies, xenophobia, ableism and ageism; populations easily
ignored. This is a class overflowing with advocates and advocacy – the number of
people who have worked in community or as community organizers, in organized
politics or on committees to foster change is simply breathtaking. From intimate
partner violence, rape, suicide prevention, deportation and the bias against
marginalized populations, you are there for your communities twenty-four seven.
Your graciousness and innovative spirt is the essence of our progress. The
University of Rochester is a fertile ground for your ideas to take root, please don’t
lose the opportunity to harness the power of your collective classes’ talents and
skills to be innovators and collective sparks.

Oh… and the class of 2025’s your previous lives are fascinating. Many of
you are EMT trained, but you have also been NIH clinical research coordinators,
admissions officers, journalists, therapists, and case managers. Most of you have
had jobs and know the value of clocking in and clocking out, living paycheck to
paycheck as office workers, baristas, research coordinators, food service workers,
and nannies. Stop and think about the collective experiences you come here with.
Harness this talent and skill to improve our house of medicine. For those of you
who have worked part time, full time and sometimes, don’t forget the lessons these
jobs have given you, for they are true for your “job in medicine” - be on time, be
prepared, be respectful and be respected.

To relax you have enjoyed a wide variety of interests, many common, but
some less common. Your class has a true love for music and reading! We couldn’t
be happier. Additionally, this is a class of bakers – sourdough breads, cookies,
muffins, cakes, tarts… I officially christen this class the “sourdough starters”. As
per usual for the U of R, we have a remarkable, full symphony of musical talent.
Not just ‘quarantine talent” but professional talent – with two of your classmates
professionally trained in music theory and music performance. Your class talent
show has the potential to rival the Eastman School of Music and “On Call” our
medical school acapella group will not only have voice and singing available to it,
but beat box and musical theater to add to our repertoire. In a city that is home to
the Eastman School of Music, you have a unique opportunity to continue to play
and appreciate some of the best music in the world, I hope you take advantage of

Now bizarrely, we have collected a class that almost universally loves
hiking, backpacking, rock climbing and trail running – the Adirondacks are just a
short drive away, and we hope you explore the Finger Lakes and the hills, home to
some beautiful countryside and sports in which to enjoy these passions. We have
four team members from D1 Varsity athletics in this class, Track and Field,
Synchronized Swimming, Cross Country and Skiing. We have multiple D3
athletics represented in Softball, Swimming, Track & Field, Soccer, Diving,
Squash, Alpine Skiing, and Ultimate Frisbee. We have an exceptional coterie of
club athletes representing martial arts, hockey, dance, sailing and fencing. Your
personal activities abound in sports such as soccer, dance, skiing, ice skating,
marathons, long distance running, power lifting and football. Please DON’T
STOP taking care of your body in the upcoming years, it is vital to your long-term

All of you have shown deep a curiosity and a need to answer questions with
rigor and patience. The sacrifice of a Sunday football game and social events so
you could run a gel, or mine a data base in order to scratch the “itch of curiosity” is
a theme that is represented in the class of 2025. Impressively, 44 of you have spent
greater than a 1000 hours or more in your research endeavor. Most of you have
done your work in the natural sciences but also in anthropology, humanities,
archeology, and history. Helping us earn our name the liberal arts school of
medicine. You have not only engaged in clinical, lab and bench work, but also in
qualitative work. Your interest in science is vast, ranging from meditation research
to planetary health, archeology to how mRNA of vaccines affect populations, STI
research in Fijians to cell signaling; from molecular mechanisms of single
organisms to research in diseases that affect vast numbers of people such as
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. You have spanned the range from micro to macro
inquiry. Regardless of the type of research, the universal theme in your class is
quality work. I personally resonate with those of you that spoke of research as a
lesson in humility and sometimes failure alongside the reality of so many of you
who whose labs have been canceled and closed and shuttered through this
pandemic; yet you have found a way to thrive. As research is a key pillar to our
institution’s mission, we want to encourage you to not STOP being curious, it is
this very attribute that will change the lives of your patients and the world around

For many of you, medicine is a family business, about 35 of you have
parents that have served in medicine in some capacity. But for a large number of
you, you have had no immediate family in medicine. Your family is in IT, work in
department stores, drive for UBER, are adventure outfitters, business owners, gig
workers, PhD researchers, custodial workers, care assistants, artists, lawyers,
teachers, sales specialists, counselors, and the unsung hero of all jobs – the
homemaker. Some of you have raised yourself alone either physically or
psychologically. As you can see, many of you have had absolutely no family in
which to model your future medical aspirations. However, for all of you, someone
in your family has been your inspiration, either family you were born to or family
you joined, because they were there supporting you, believing in you and
reminding you of the power of your potential. Please remember to celebrate with
them, they deserve a massive thank you and a giant warm hug.

It is remarkable and inspiring to see all that you have achieved in such a
short period of time and, for many of you, against all odds. Class of 2025, you are
the children of the pandemic, you have achieved success despite cancellations and
confusion; you will be remembered not only for your minds and abilities but your
flexibility. While things may not be “normal”, you are learning lessons that will
help you thrive in the variety of environments of the future. Regardless of how you
arrived here, you have excelled and surpassed every milestone set before you.

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If you are interest in Peace Corps…read here. Also, it can take a year from application to a placement appointment. So…plan ahead.

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Thank you so much.
We started looking into MPH program requirements . He is working as a part time student worker at a hospital - answering the phone for appointments , reminder calls , scanning , faxing etc and checking weights and heights of patients . I wonder if that counts as public health experience.

No, that’s not public health experience.
Nor is it clinical experience for med school applications.

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.
What is Public Health? | CDC Foundation

See also: What is Public Health?

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If I may be blunt, everyone here is telling you including some very wise/experienced posters that a Masters/PA degree is a bad idea. But for whatever reason, that suggestion is not to your liking. Maybe you can tell us why exactly that is versus everything else that has been recommended to you?

No it’s doesn’t count as public health experience. See post above by @WayOutWestMom

Please, please explain why you don’t think it’s a good idea to get a CNA, or EMS certification, or Medical Assistant…or something that will give this young student some hands on patient contact? That is what he needs.

He doesn’t need a PA, MBA or MPH…unless he wants to work in those fields.

If he wants to be a doctor, none of these will be advantageous when he applies to medical school…but hands on patient contact as a CNA (for example) would show that he understands hands on patient contact.



Here are some example of public health work (done by actual students I know)

–teaching nutrition and healthy eating habits to Spanish-speaking immigrant farm-workers as part of a diabetes prevention program

– developing a self-sustaining community garden in a neighborhood that doesn’t have access to fresh produce. Holding cooking classes to teach people how to cook/use those vegetables and incorporate them into their daily diet

–setting up a needle exchange program in rural community which has a high rate of IV drug use. Setting up includes developing sustaining funding for the program from the state government


Please listen.

If your student wants to apply to medical school, they will need to prep for the MCAT. Do not underestimate how time consuming and important this is.

Once they receive their MCAT score and know their sGPA and GPA from undergrad, they will need to research the medical school options appropriate. Most medical school students apply to 20 or more medical schools…some a combination of MD and DO schools.

If your kid gets a request for a secondary from any medical school, your kid will need to complete that secondary and they are all individual….meaning one for each medical school. And the window for completion is a short one.

The student should also be getting direct hands on patient experience and volunteering with an underserved population in some way. They should also be shadowing doctors…perhaps one long term shadowing, and also some time spent with doctors in different disciplines.

During this time, it is my opinion that this student should not be pursuing an advanced degree program in another field like MPH, MBA or PA unless they plan to work in one of those fields.

Please also, don’t underestimate the costs associated with applying to and attending medical school. There are application fees, and addition fees associated with the secondaries. For each medical school. And the cost to attend medical school is staggering…and primarily funded with loans, loans and more loans for the aspiring doctor.


Thank you everyone . We will look into the medical assistant option at our community college.



In the name of thoroughness, there is one option I want to mention:
going to the Caribbean for medical school.

There are a couple of medical schools located in Caribbean countries that have a fairly decent track record of producing graduates who do match back to the US for medical residency and whose grads practice in the US.

Not all of these schools require the student to complete their bachelor’s degree first, only the pre-reqs. Also these schools are less interested in their students having all the typical pre-med ECs. (research, community service with the disadvantaged, paid or volunteer clinical experience, physician shadowing, leadership roles in their ECs.)

I tpersonally don’t recommend going to a Caribbean med school because they have high drop out/fail out rates. (About 30-35% of students fail to finish vs. 3-4% of USMD students and 7-8% of USDO students) Successful Caribbean med students must have excellent study & time management skills, be self-directed and persistent, and willing to work very, very hard. However, two of the “Big Four” Caribbean med schools seat classes 2 or 3x/year so that a student who graduates early from college doesn’t have to wait to start.

There are a couple of caveats about Caribbean med schools. One is that these schools are all private and for-profit (and therefore probably more expensive than your in-state med school). The other is how well the graduates of these schools succeed in matching to a US residency. (Assuming your son wants to practice medicine in the US.) Not all Caribbean med schools are created equal. Some are (much) better than others and it will require careful research into the graduation and residency placement rates of various schools.

Going to a Caribbean med school is risky. But it will shorten the MD process for your child by 2-3 years.

How is your S graduating by the age of 20? Did he enter college with a lot of credits from HS? Will medical schools accept these credits?

My daughter entered college as a second semester sophomore and could have also graduated early, but she did not. She spent a lot of time researching different medical schools (and other programs) and made a list of which schools accepted her credits. She learned that medical schools accepted certain credits, but not all…and not most.

This is a little off topic, but might be important in terms of medical school applications for this student.

He is graduating from undergrad at age 20. How is he doing this? Is he using AP credits, Dual Enrollment HS/college courses. Or did he graduate from HS at age 16.

If he is using college courses taken in high school…were they taken at a four year college or a community college? If any were medical school prerequisite courses, has he taken any upper level courses at his bachelors college?

Has he checked to see if medical schools of interest will accept these courses? IIRC, some medical schools are very less receptive to courses taken at community colleges, for example. And most do require upper level courses be taken as part of the bachelors program.

Just curious how he is fulfilling his major requirements and graduating at age 20.


He was a dual enrollment student , so graduated with high school diploma and Associates degree in spring 2021

So…were any of the required courses for medical school applicants taken at the community college? If so, did your son also then take upper level courses in the same area at the bachelors college? I ask, because there are medical schools that will not accept community college courses…and will expect upper level courses at the bachelors college for any courses taken at the CC.

@WayOutWestMom can better explain.

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Indeed there are medical schools that will not accept CC credits for pre-reqs.

Additionally, there is an expectation that CC credits taken as dual enrollment will be supplemented by additional UL electives in the same department as the CC credits if the student wants to be considered a strong applicant for admission. CC coursework is considered less academically rigorous and less competitive than coursework taken a 4 year college.

Please consult MSAR for CC credit policies at each med school your son may want to apply to.


-For example -So he took chemistry at CC and did Organic chemistry 1&2 and bio chemistry in undergrad , is that what you mean by upper level courses?

UL mean more advanced, as in course work offered to students have completed a intro level class in the same discipline.

OChem may or may not count as an UL supplement to gen chem.

General chemistry is an intro level course in inorganic chemistry. Ochem is an intro level class in organic chemistry/biochemistry. Some med schools may expect a UL class in inorganic, analytic or physical chemistry to supplement gen chem.

Again, please consult MSAR and/or directly contact an individual med school to ask. Policies vary widely.

You may find this pinned thread helpful: FAQ Pre-med courses, AP/IB/etc. credit and college/DE courses, etc.



Actually med school statements on how they perceived CC coursework

SUNY Upstate College of Medicine
Frequently Asked Questions | College of Medicine | SUNY Upstate Medical University
“Applicants should avoid taking more than one or two prerequisite science courses during the summer and avoid taking them at community colleges.”

Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 1
Q: Can I take my courses at a community college, or must I take them at a four-year college or university?
A: We have no requirement about where you take courses, though the Committee on Admissions does take that into consideration in evaluating your application.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Prerequisites, Requirements and Policies | Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine M.D. Program 1
The School of Medicine accepts prerequisites completed at the community college level. In order to be competitive in the selection process, we encourage prospective applicants with community college prerequisites to supplement these courses by taking advanced courses in related subjects at their four year institution.

University of Florida College of Medicine
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions » FAQ » Medical Admissions » College of Medicine » University of Florida
Q: Can I take the prerequisite courses at my local community/junior college?
A: In order to create the most academically competitive application you should take all prerequisite courses at the most competitive bachelor’s degree granting institution where you can gain entrance. You should try to complete your pre-requisite courses at a four-year institution

Albert Einstein College of Medicine…pplication-procedure/course-requirements.aspx
Whereas course work at a four-year college or university is our benchmark, if a student chooses to meet a competency component via an alternate route such as through laboratory experience, through an advanced placement course, a course taken at a community college, a course taken abroad (during a semester abroad for which the undergraduate U.S. degree-granting institution gives credit, or for which AMCAS will verify and report the grade), or an online course, he or she should seek guidance from his or her advisor to ensure that the option meets the above guidelines as well as the rigorous academic standard required by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

George Washington University
MD Program Frequently Asked Questions | The School of Medicine & Health Sciences
Do you accept community college credits?
Yes. The Committee on Admissions does accept coursework taken at a community college; however, it is preferable to have the pre-medical coursework taken at a four-year college or university.

Florida State University College of Medicine
Listed below is the pre-requisite coursework required for all matriculates to the FSU COM. Advanced Placement, CLEP, and dual enrollment credits fulfill the course requirements. However, courses taken in a traditional classroom at a four-year institution are considered to be more academically competitive.

Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
MD Program Admissions Requirements | Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Two pre-requisite science courses can be fulfilled with AP credits, community college courses or through a study abroad program.

Texas A&M Health Sciences Center College of Medicine
Medical School Admissions
Policy on AP Credits, Credits by Exam, and Dual Credit
We generally prefer that applicants take the prerequisite courses at 4-year accredited colleges and universities rather than utilize advanced placement credits, credits by exam, dual-credit, pass/fail course work or community college courses. We do not dismiss these credits; and, if they have been taken, we will accept them toward meeting the prerequisites. In fact, if an applicant has placed out of a required level course, we will also accept another course in that discipline at the same or higher level. Again, our preference is that applicants take graded courses at 4-year institutions, particularly the prerequisites in the biological sciences and the chemistry series.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Are community college classes accepted as prerequisite course credit?
They may be, but the Admissions Committee generally expects students to complete all prerequisite courses at a four-year undergraduate institution.

Yale 1
Pre-medical courses must be completed in a U.S., U.K., or Canadian college or university. U.S. Community College courses are acceptable, provided that the courses include laboratory work and are comparable in content to courses at four-year colleges, universities, or institutes of technology.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Are community college classes accepted as prerequisite course credit?
They may be, but the Admissions Committee generally expects students to complete all prerequisite courses at a four-year undergraduate institution.

Weill Cornell 2
Can I take my prerequisite courses at a Community College?
It is not recommended.

Carle Illinois College of Medicine
Community college credit is accepted and Advanced Placement credit is accepted when succeeded by a higher-level course in the same subject at an undergraduate institution.

Creighton University SOM
Creighton University School of Medicine has no defined prerequisite course requirements. However, as preparatory to the MCAT and a rigorous medical school curriculum, we recommend the following recent (past 3 years) coursework in an accredited 4-year college/university in the United States or Canada

Since there are literally several dozen applicants for each available medical school seat, it’s important for every applicant to build the strongest, most compelling application portfolio possible. Using CC credits–which are perceived to be less academically rigorous and less challenging-- to fulfill admission requirements is not a way to build a strong application.


@Willwin i would very very strongly suggest that your son immediately make an appointment to talk to the medical school advising folks at his college. They will at least be able to give him some direction regarding courses he needs to still take to be a competitive applicant to medical schools.

It’s very possible it might take him more than one additional year if he needs to take additional upper level courses. If he graduates undergrad at age 21, it really won’t be a big deal if it means he has fulfilled the course requirements for medical school.