Thanks in advance for taking the time to consider the details of my situation. I’ve sought feedback elsewhere, but the community here seems to me to be overall better equipped to speak into this predicament.
For the last 3 years I have worked diligently to prepare myself to be competitive for medical schools admissions. I have worked in a significant healthcare leadership capacity, I took the pre-reqs and did relatively well (not outstanding), took additional upper-division science courses, participated in research labs, and led my own research study that won local awards and was presented at a professional regional conference.
Then I had a heart-to-heart with a physician friend who encouraged me to apply to PA school instead of medical school. He is personally burned out, and warned me about the long and intensive training, the high financial investment, and all of the uncertainties facing the future of the medical profession. He said that if I really wanted to be a medical provider, training as a PA, in our current healthcare climate, was the more rational pursuit.
I listened. I abandoned my plan to apply to medical school and, instead, applied this cycle for PA school. Well I was rejected from everywhere I applied. Much of the rationale given–which I appreciated as far as honesty and directness–was that PA programs don’t really care about my past experiences, or the things I’ve focused my attention on, the last several years. PA schools (at least where I applied) do not care for research experience and achievements, they don’t really value leadership roles in healthcare settings, they don’t want to see letters of recommendation from science professors. Basically, my failure to get accepted was in my failure to have those qualities PA schools value, such as thousands of hours of hands-on, certified and paid, healthcare experience, LOR’s from clinicians that have worked in medical settings with me, and near perfect grades on a very narrow set of science pre-reqs.
My dilemma now is whether I should reapply to PA school after working to improve what I lacked this cycle and hopefully get accepted this next round, or if I should go back to my original plan and apply to medical schools. Because of my healthcare background, I have many close friends who are medical students, residents, or attending physicians. I also have relationships with faculty and administration at the local medical school. The overwhelming and consistent narrative from these connections has been that I would likely have no trouble getting accepted, at the very least, at the local medical school.
Personal details and considerations that have me on the fence:
- I am 31-years old. I have a wife, toddler, and a new baby due in March. PA school was the expeditious, rational choice for me, which is why I made it. I liked the thought of a master’s in medicine, low debt, and getting into the field in short order, with a respectable amount of autonomy.
- My spouse is a physician. She preferred PA school for me over medical school for the above reasons. Plus, she said she went through medical school and residency already, and wasn’t excited about “going through it again,” though she was ultimately supportive.
- Reapplying to PA school (even if I had to do it two more times) would put me ahead of where I would be if I pursued medical school.
- I am going to have an MPH before I matriculate at either. Not sure what this means practically, but it’s a fact I’m wanting to inform my decision. In which field does the MPH better supplement?
tl;dr–planned on applying to med school, but applied to PA school instead. I was rejected. I’m wondering now, based upon the details shared above, if I should reapply to PA school or go back to my original plan and apply to med school.