By Future Physician Assistant Meghan Kayan
As all students know, college searches can be an extremely stressful time. The idea of having to find a school that is the perfect fit for you before you even attend seems almost impossible. However, touring and researching is something that has helped most students (and myself), discover their dream school and some even discover a new home.
When entering a physician assistant program, with rigorous course work and long days spent at school, it’s almost crucial that when applying to these programs you know what the schools you are applying to are looking for in their students as well as what you are looking for out of a school. By researching schools on their websites you can see what their prerequisites are, look at pictures of the school, as well as look up financial information. All of these aspects need to be taken into consideration in picking the school that fits you.
Although research is a beneficial tool, something I find more helpful is attending an on campus visit. At these visits you have the ability to not only discuss the same information you can gather online, but you can also experience what the atmosphere of the school is like. You can walk from building to building and see what the campus looks like when it is in session.
Recently I went to the PA Graduate Program open house at the University of New England. The day long event consisted of a continental breakfast, a presentation from staff, a question and answer opportunity as well as a guided tour. This event allowed everyone who attended a chance to talk to the admissions board, obtaining answers to specific questions you might not be able to find on their website. On the tour our guides were current physician assistant students. This was a huge benefit because although the school has a variety of different programs, not all of the buildings are used by each department. We were given the chance to see where our classes would be if we went to this school. These guides were one of the best outlets for information because they were once in our position and can give a firsthand answer for any question we gave them.
Although there is no one right way of deciding what school is best for you, with about 200 physician assistant programs to choose from, it’s a smart idea to use all resources to your ability. So if you are applying to schools soon, do your research, and if an info session is something that seems like it might help you decide, the dates of the info sessions will be found on the schools websites. Get started on finding the perfect school for you!
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