Category Archives: Pre-Physician Assistant

Tessa Sprague, Pre-Physician Assistant Program

Tessa Sprague

Michigan Tech offered so many resources that greatly improved my success. Grades are very important when applying to Physician Assistant (PA) schools, so the learning centers and tutoring kept me on track with my goal GPA. There was also a wide range of volunteer opportunities in health-related areas that helped me become more comfortable as a healthcare provider.

Bachelor of Exercise Science major helped me prepare for PA school by requiring a summer internship which opened doors for me getting more direct patient care hours which is a big focus for many PA schools. I also really enjoyed the tests and research I was able to do throughout my courses in this major.

I applied to CMU’s program initially due to the success rate of their students in passing their PANCE exam first round and how driven they were in helping the underserved which is a large part of medicine. After interviewing at CMU for a spot in their program I felt the most comfortable with the faculty and students’ view on community. Coming from Michigan Tech and a good program, community was very important to me in my decision. In summer 2019, I was accepted into Central Michigan’s Physician Assistant Program!

The biggest advice I have for future students is to do extracurricular activities that will make you stand out through the application process. I was involved in Michigan Tech EMS which helped me become certified as an EMT. I then used my certification to build up experience and direct patient care hours for my application. I would also suggest taking a gap year between undergrad and PA school to get some job experience that will make certain aspects of PA school much easier.

I did a variety of extracurricular activities while at Michigan Tech. I worked for Student Health and Wellness as a Peer Health Advocate which strengthened my communication skills and was the best job I could’ve had throughout school. I volunteered with Michigan Tech EMS as a first responder giving me valuable patient experience. I was involved in research and was part of the Spartners program helping educate children about nutrition and fitness.

Michigan Tech helped me in my success in getting into PA school as well as giving me a good base of knowledge to help make connections with the new material. The application process isn’t always easy but just remember to be yourself and show them what makes you stand out!


Hard work pays off—Taylor Archibald accepted to PA program

Taylor ArchibaldA moment that I thought about for many years had finally come.

I could not put into words the joy and excitement I felt when I saw the acceptance email from the director of the Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Central Michigan University (CMU).

My journey to becoming a PA began in high school. I was eager to obtain my certified nursing assistant (CNA) license so that I could begin to immerse myself in the medical field and learn new skills that would help prepare me to become a PA in the future. For the last four years, I have worked as a CNA in multiple health-care settings and volunteered in the community, while pursuing an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. I believe that my varying health care experiences allowed me to develop as a person, and my confidence has grown significantly.

I learned more about the day-to-day routine of a physician assistant once I began shadowing multiple PAs in different specialties. I would encourage anyone pursuing a PA career to begin shadowing as soon as possible! Shadowing is a great way to start forming relationships with mentors in the field that can help you throughout the application process, and to see what qualities are desired in the profession.

“As you prepare yourself for a career in medicine, focus on meaningful experiences that challenge you as a person and future medical professional”

Leadership is an instrumental quality PA programs look for in prospective candidates, not only within a health-care setting but in extracurricular activities. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Michigan Tech Women’s Varsity soccer team for four years. Balancing academia and athletics as an undergraduate provided me with invaluable time management and leadership skills that I take with me as I pursue graduate school and my PA career.

Take the initiative to seek out your own opportunities and begin to network with physician assistants early on. Thoroughly look into the programs that you intend to apply to. Each program emphasizes different prerequisite courses, GRE test scores, and number of health-care and shadowing hours needed. It’s important to plan ahead, but don’t get discouraged by the numbers! Be confident in yourself. Getting into a PA program is not a race; if you need to take extra time finishing up prerequisite courses or experiencing more patient care, that is OK.

Throughout the application process, I was drawn toward the emphasis the CMU PA program places on addressing the medical needs of underserved and rural populations. The program immediately felt like the perfect fit for me when I visited the campus, interacted with faculty, and talked with current students. In just a couple months, I am excited to continue my journey, joining CMU’s PA class of 2020!