A practical guide for students at The

The Pre-Physician Assistant Club presents:
A practical guide for students at The
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
What majors are most helpful for getting in?
Doesn’t matter, pick a major you enjoy
Something in the sciences is probably good (then
a lot of your classes will overlap with your PA
school prerequisites – for example, kinesiology)
Make sure you get your PA school prerequisites
What clubs should I join?
The Pre-PA Club is obviously the best 
 Being an Active Member and becoming involved is a
great way to stand out on your application!
Do what you’re interested in, have fun!
Many programs are interested in your community
service/volunteering activities
Research is great too (ex: UROP)
Do I need to take the GRE or the MCAT?
 Most
programs require the GRE
 Some programs will accept either the GRE or
the MCAT
(as far as we know, there isn’t a preference
for one or the other)
 A few programs don’t require any test
 Take practice tests! Try not to take the
actual exam more than once or twice
Why should I observe PA-Cs in their work environment?
 You should shadow PA-Cs so that you can better understand
the profession and have a real idea of what they do
(Admissions people want to see that you know what you’re
getting yourself into)
CARE EXPERIENCE HOURS (but it is, nonetheless, very
 It is not appropriate to ever assume that someone you’re
shadowing will give you a job/allow you to shadow for
more than part of a day/one day
 Ways to find shadowing opportunities:
If your primary care provider is a PA-C, or there is a PA-C in the
office you go to, talk to them!
Call local doctor’s offices or hospitals
University of Michigan Alumni Association Mentors http://alumni.umich.edu/career/FindAMentor.php, 08-05-2008)
How will it help me?
Volunteering in a hospital is great because it puts you in the
health care setting and allows you to observe and become
comfortable (and it’s fun!); it is also a great stepping stone and a
great way to make connections
 University of Michigan Health System Volunteer Services http://www.med.umich.edu/volunteer/
 Trail’s Edge Camp for Ventilator Dependent Children http://www.med.umich.edu/mott/trailsedge/index.html
 AWESOME opportunity!! First week of June every year (Talk
to Margaret for more info if you’re interested)
*Some programs WILL NOT accept volunteering as part of your
patient care experience, but many programs ARE interested in
your community service/volunteering activities (for example,
Wayne State REQUIRES you to submit an official record of all your
volunteering for 2 years)
What are programs looking for?
 Most programs require anywhere from 500-2,000
hours of “direct patient care experience” – what they
accept varies
 Most programs prefer paid positions, but some unpaid
positions work. The more responsibility you hold in
your position and the more time you have worked,
the more competitive you will be as an applicant
 Positions include (but are not limited to) Certified
Nurses Aid, Phlebotomist, Patient Care
Tech/Attendant, EMT, RN, Physical Therapy or
Occupational Therapy Aid, Medical Technologist, etc
Washtenaw Community College Certified Nurses Aid
(4 Credit course – approx 5 weeks) (*Fills up REALLY fast)
The American Red Cross offers a CNA course also, but it
is more expensive
University of Michigan Job Site - www.umich.edu/~jobs
Sunrise Assisted Living http://www.sunriseseniorliving.com
Ask Andrea or Jillian for more information!
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Job Site http://www.sjmercyhealth.org/bodygen.cfm?id=6
The Caring Space (Home Health Aid jobs) http://www.thecaringspace.com/
Glacier Hills Care and Rehabilitation Center http://www.glacierhills.org/index.htm
What is it?
 The Centralized Application Service for Physician
 Most (but not all) programs use CASPA, so you can
more easily apply to multiple programs
 *Many programs ALSO require a supplemental
application for their specific program/school which
may include additional essays that should be
different from your initial personal statement!
 Application not complete without transcripts,
payment, recommendations
 *It can take up to 6 weeks for CASPA to process your
application and send it to the specific programs, so
don’t wait until their deadline to submit!!!
 Who
should I ask?
CAPSA requires three
Almost all programs require that one be from a PAC (or a health care professional who works with/is
knowledgeable about them)
This should be someone you have had multiple,
meaningful interactions with, NOT someone you just
shadowed once or twice.
Advanced prerequisite professors (i.e. Anatomy,
Physiology, Microbiology, etc)
 Supervisors from patient care positions
 Basically, people who will be able to attest to your
ability to succeed academically and professionally
How do I prepare?
*If you are granted an interview, this IS your opportunity,
you may not get another chance with this program; that
being said, it is your chance to interview them as well
Be confident
Be prepared (know how to “speak PA”)
Be professional
Know history of profession
Be able to articulate why you want to be a PA (and not a
doctor or a NP)
The Career Center has MANY interviewing tips & ways to
prepare. Visit
Come to mini/mentoring meetings!
Things to keep in mind…
figuring out classes is very frustrating
UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES (i.e. Eastern University,
Washtenaw Community College)
What fulfills my requirements?
 Almost
MEDADM 403 - offered Fall and Winter, has a lab
that meets 4 times during the semester, offers a lab
component that meets 4 times during the semester
(works with plastinated bodies, not cadaver
dissection, but some schools still count it)
always required. Take:
 “One of the most exciting courses I’ve taken so
far…there are weekly quizzes which help you stay on
track and not fall behind in the course. The professors
are great and really help you a lot – I really enjoy the
 “This is my absolute favorite class taken at U of M!
The lab portion is really helpful in pulling all of the
concepts together!”
Also offered at Oakland University (and others)
 Not
often required, but sometimes
 FYI
Central Michigan DOES require this!
UM does not offer
Offered at Oakland University
 At
least one is almost always required,
sometimes upper level also. Take one or
PHYSIOL 201 – Lower level
PHYSIOL 502 – Upper level
AT 375- Pathophysiology through the Athletic
Training department
Email the professor for an override, he is very receptive
to admitting Pre-PA students
Does NOT count toward your 120 credits to graduate.
MOVESCI 340 – Exercise Physiology (lab included)
(**NOT all schools will accept Exercise Phys to fulfill
Physiology requirement.)
(Wayne State University Accepts Exercise Phys & AT
375 to fulfill their upper level requirement.)
 Not
often required, but sometimes
MOVESCI 340 – Exercise Physiology (lab
automatic component of lecture course)
UM does not offer
 ***
Regarding Human Anatomy and
Physiology Courses – Some schools will
accept two semesters of joined courses,
some will not (check with your specific
programs of interest). ***
 Almost
always required with lab. Take all
BIO 171 – Ecology and Evolution, offered Fall
and Winter
BIO 172 – Molecular, Cellular, and
Developmental, offered Fall and Winter
BIO 173 (Lab) – Offered Fall and Winter
 Almost
always required with lab. Take
(Note: If you passed out of Chem 130, check with
your school to see they’ll accept that test score
in substitution of the course – Not all schools
 Some schools also require 2 semesters of general
CHEM 130 – Offered Fall and Winter
CHEM 125 (Lab) – Offered Fall and Winter
 Often
either Orgo 1 OR Biochem is
 Orgo 2 rarely required
CHEM 210 and CHEM 211 (Lab) – Orgo I, offered
Fall and Winter
CHEM 215 and CHEM 216 (Lab) – Orgo II,
offered Fall and Winter
BIO 310 – lower level, not offered every semester
(Need prior or concurrent enrollment in Chem 215)
BIOCHEM 415 – upper level, offered Fall and Winter
(Need both semesters of Organic Chemistry first;
some advisors recommend Physics first but students
say it is not necessary)
Reviews: “Horribly difficult class.” “Pretty good so far
[in progress].”
Reviews: “A lot of memorizing and lots of work…lectures
weren’t very engaging.”
What’s the difference?
Essentially same material, 415 exams are all multiple
choice while 310 also utilizes short answer questions
 Take
BIO 207 – Lab included, offered Fall and Winter
Reviews: “Didn’t really like it much.” “A lot of
studying – the lab is exciting and relaxed, helps to
boost your grade.”
MICROBIOL 301 and 350 (Lab) – Offered Winter
only (Biochem is an advisory prerequisite but
not required according to advisors)
Reviews: “If you do well on the first 3 exams, you
don’t have to go to class for the last few weeks since
your lowest exam score can be dropped (provided you
take all 4 exams)”
 Not
generally required
(can get away without taking labs)
PHYSICS 125 and PHYSICS 127 (Lab)
 PHYSICS 126 and PHYSICS 128 (Lab)
 Calc
based physics is not necessary, even if
you decide to take the MCAT
 College
algebra or higher
Math 105 is Pre-Calc
Math 115 is Calc 1
 Not
always required, but usually
recommended. Choose one:
BIO 105 – Offered Fall and Winter (sometimes…
sporadic based on the professor teaching it)
MOVESCI 241 – For Kinesiology majors
 Almost
always required
 Choose one:
STATS 100 – Lower level
 STATS 250 – Offered Fall and Winter
Reviews: Great class! Get Brenda Gunderson if possible
MOVESCI 250 – For Kinesiology majors
 Finally
offered @ UM again!
 Often
recommended, gaining popularity
as required in some programs
PHIL 356
Offered at Washtenaw Community College (or
 Gaining
popularity as a requirement (Wayne
State just started requiring it)
UM does not offer (yet!)
Offered at Washtenaw Community College,
online at Schoolcraft Community College (or
 Generally
only a general or
developmental course is required,
occasionally abnormal is recommended.
(If you have Psych AP credit from high
school, make sure to check if your school
will accept it – Not all schools will.)
 Psych
 Psych
– Introductory
– Developmental, GREAT class! (need
– Abnormal (need Psych 111 first)
 Required
by some, Recommended by otherscheck individual programs
Bio 305- Really HARD!
 Generally
one or two composition courses
are required (For LSA, English 125 and ULWR
should fulfill).
Take a deep breath!