Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
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2019-2020

Pre-Physician Assistant (Advising Track)

VCU Student Success

 
Program description

Students interested in the pre-physician assistant  advising track must be on track to complete all prerequisite coursework, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be on track to receive a baccalaureate degree by the time of applying to be considered for admission to PA school. Students interested in PA school should consult with a pre-professional health advisor to learn about requirements that are specific to the schools to which they hope to apply.

Students with an interest in preparing for Physician Assistant  school must declare an academic major and should declare and maintain their pre-physician assistant advising track. Students do not earn a pre-physician assistant degree. Students unsure of their academic majors initially should clarify their academic interests through regular conversations with their advisers. Pre-physician assistant students are encouraged to major in fields of greatest interest to them. To declare a pre-physician assistant advising track, please see the pre-professional health advising blog.

Physician Assistant schools across the U.S. have different prerequisites for admission into their program. Students should discuss career plans with their pre-professional health adviser for additional guidance.



Career opportunities

Physician Assistants can practice medicine is most specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology. Just more than 20 percent focus their talents in surgery or the surgical subspecialties. Although family and emergency medicine attract the most PAs, many also specialize in dermatology, psychiatry, radiology, and pathology.

Change of major requirements

As a student interested in a pre-professional health program, you must complete curriculum and professional development requirements listed on the Pre-Professional Health Advising Blog

Students interested in declaring a pre-physician assistant advising track must attend an “Interest in Physician Assistant” workshop.  For workshop dates, times, and to RSVP, click here


Plan of study in Bulletin

    n/a

Highest level of math required
  • MATH 151
  • STAT 210
Science required
  • 5+ additional science courses
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • A minimum GPA of 2.7 is required to apply to become a pre-professional health student and to stay on the pre-professional health advising track.
Department name:
Pre-Professional Health Advising
Building/room location:
Hibbs Hall, First Floor
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
804-827-8648
Email:
preprofadv@vcu.edu

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Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Familiarize yourself with the Office of Pre-Professional Health Advising (PPHA) blog.
  • A stellar GPA is vital to being a competitive student - attend SI sessions at least 6 times a semester per class and receive tutoring.
  • REQUIRED: Take BIOL/Z 151, CHEM/Z 101, CHEM/Z 102 and MATH 151 in your first year.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Review the volunteer and shadowing opportunities on the PPHA blog to find non-healthcare volunteering.
  • Sign-up for the PPHA newsletter to start learning about opportunities to connect to your community.
  • Follow PPHA on Instagram (@VCUPreprofadv) to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in our office.
  • Subscribe to the VCU Preprofadv calendar so you always know when our events are happening.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • Complete your Pre-Professional Health Self-Assessment Worksheet to assess your current competitiveness for application to professional schools.
  • Find healthcare experience that’s paid, volunteer or shadowing experience. Accumulate 800-2000 hours of direct patient contact healthcare experience. Obtaining a certificate as a Medical Assistant, Phlebotomist, Nursing Assistant or EMT is highly recommended. Review the PAEA Program Directory
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Begin researching professional schools of interest and map out their application requirements and deadlines.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as future letter of recommendation writers. Research the number of letters you need and who can write them Review PAEA Program Directory for specific program preferences.
  • Research required coursework and application cycles for your health profession to determine when you should apply.
  • Review resources on Physician Assistant Education Association’s website for how to pay for professional school and begin to develop your own plan.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • REQUIRED: Schedule an appointment with your assigned pre-professional health advisor to review the pre-professional health appointment syllabus
  • Decide, with your pre-professional health advisor, whether you should apply this year or apply next year and take a gap year. (NOTE: If not taking a gap year, YEAR 4 of the major map must be completed prior to application)
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Consider being a mentor to 1st or 2nd year pre-physician assistant students and teach others what you’ve learned about the journey of preparing for professional school.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Learn how to navigate tough conversations with a variety of different people who depend on you.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • Explore paid healthcare positions that do and do not require certifications.
  • Look for opportunities at VCU, your place of employment and/or in your greater community that allows you to apply for a leadership role or assume greater responsibility. Focus on opportunities in areas that you are passionate about.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Build your personal brand. What makes you unique? Why should professional schools pick you to attend their school?
  • Review material and begin studying for the GRE/MCAT. Plan to incorporate multiple study skills and techniques.
  • Research scholarship opportunities and application fee waivers at Physician Assistant Education Association.
  • Understand the background check process for your profession. Talk with your pre-professional health advisor about any concerns.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Review your true cumulative GPA, science GPA, non-science GPA, grade trend and semester course difficulty to see a full picture of your academic profile.
  • REQUIRED: Schedule an appointment with your assigned pre-professional health advisor to assess your progress through the application process and discuss gap year options.
  • Schedule an appointment with your major academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations based on the Community Connection Competencies in the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • If taking a gap year, talk with a financial aid counselor about tuition repayment plans.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisers, alumni, professionals).
  • Do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Review test day information, sign up for and take GRE/MCAT. Meet with your pre-professional health advisor to review your GRE/MCAT score and how it impacts your application competitiveness.
  • If accepted to a professional healthcare program, make sure to understand the process of acceptance to a school, including tuition deposits, background check, and traffic rules.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

Pre-Physician Assistant (Advising Track)

VCU Student Success

Concentration(s):
No concentration
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Familiarize yourself with the Office of Pre-Professional Health Advising (PPHA) blog.
  • A stellar GPA is vital to being a competitive student - attend SI sessions at least 6 times a semester per class and receive tutoring.
  • REQUIRED: Take BIOL/Z 151, CHEM/Z 101, CHEM/Z 102 and MATH 151 in your first year.
  • Review the volunteer and shadowing opportunities on the PPHA blog to find non-healthcare volunteering.
  • Sign-up for the PPHA newsletter to start learning about opportunities to connect to your community.
  • Follow PPHA on Instagram (@VCUPreprofadv) to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in our office.
  • Subscribe to the VCU Preprofadv calendar so you always know when our events are happening.
Experience Year 2
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • Complete your Pre-Professional Health Self-Assessment Worksheet to assess your current competitiveness for application to professional schools.
  • Find healthcare experience that’s paid, volunteer or shadowing experience. Accumulate 800-2000 hours of direct patient contact healthcare experience. Obtaining a certificate as a Medical Assistant, Phlebotomist, Nursing Assistant or EMT is highly recommended. Review the PAEA Program Directory
  • Begin researching professional schools of interest and map out their application requirements and deadlines.
  • Consider who you would like to have serve as future letter of recommendation writers. Research the number of letters you need and who can write them Review PAEA Program Directory for specific program preferences.
  • Research required coursework and application cycles for your health profession to determine when you should apply.
  • Review resources on Physician Assistant Education Association’s website for how to pay for professional school and begin to develop your own plan.
Year 3
  • REQUIRED: Schedule an appointment with your assigned pre-professional health advisor to review the pre-professional health appointment syllabus
  • Decide, with your pre-professional health advisor, whether you should apply this year or apply next year and take a gap year. (NOTE: If not taking a gap year, YEAR 4 of the major map must be completed prior to application)
  • Consider being a mentor to 1st or 2nd year pre-physician assistant students and teach others what you’ve learned about the journey of preparing for professional school.
  • Learn how to navigate tough conversations with a variety of different people who depend on you.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • Explore paid healthcare positions that do and do not require certifications.
  • Look for opportunities at VCU, your place of employment and/or in your greater community that allows you to apply for a leadership role or assume greater responsibility. Focus on opportunities in areas that you are passionate about.
  • Build your personal brand. What makes you unique? Why should professional schools pick you to attend their school?
  • Review material and begin studying for the GRE/MCAT. Plan to incorporate multiple study skills and techniques.
  • Research scholarship opportunities and application fee waivers at Physician Assistant Education Association.
  • Understand the background check process for your profession. Talk with your pre-professional health advisor about any concerns.
Excel Year 4
  • Review your true cumulative GPA, science GPA, non-science GPA, grade trend and semester course difficulty to see a full picture of your academic profile.
  • REQUIRED: Schedule an appointment with your assigned pre-professional health advisor to assess your progress through the application process and discuss gap year options.
  • Schedule an appointment with your major academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations based on the Community Connection Competencies in the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal.
  • REQUIRED: Collect and reflect on your experiences using the Pre-Professional Healthcare Journal every semester!
  • If taking a gap year, talk with a financial aid counselor about tuition repayment plans.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisers, alumni, professionals).
  • Do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Review test day information, sign up for and take GRE/MCAT. Meet with your pre-professional health advisor to review your GRE/MCAT score and how it impacts your application competitiveness.
  • If accepted to a professional healthcare program, make sure to understand the process of acceptance to a school, including tuition deposits, background check, and traffic rules.