Becoming a Physician Assistant – Whitney Hicks

How One Alumna Used Her Determination to Become a Physician Assistant

Whitney Hicks, who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish, always dreamed of working as a physician assistant (PA). With a determined focus, she majored in biology and completed the patient care hours needed for acceptance into a PA program. Unfortunately, by the time she completed the hours, many of her prerequisites had expired.

Expired courses and a lower grade point average (GPA) than other PA school applicants kept her from getting accepted into a health professional school and forced her to come up with an alternate plan. Not going to PA school wasn’t an option, so she turned to her pre-health advisors and looked for other ways to accomplish her goal of becoming a physician assistant.

“I vividly remember my advisors cementing in me the idea of post-baccalaureate programs and how great they are for professional health programs,” said Hicks. “So, when I moved to the Raleigh area, I immediately started searching for post-bac programs and that is when I found Meredith College.”

The Suffolk, Conn., native, knew Meredith College was where she wanted to be when she learned about the high success rate of students being accepted into their desired programs. The ability to create her own course schedule based on whether she was changing careers or looking to enhance her science background and increase her GPA sold her on the program.

“In addition to a strong learning environment in the classroom, Meredith also strengthened my extracurricular activities and patient care experience,” said Hicks. “The volunteer component of the post-baccalaureate program helped put me in contact with a local nonprofit medical clinic where I was fortunate enough to have the rewarding opportunity to volunteer and now work.”

Coming from a large university, Hicks found Meredith’s class sizes to be beneficial. She feels the small classroom setting fosters active learning, and it made it easier to ask questions and build on her understanding of the material. Being able to go to class and have the professors know her by name was very rewarding and helped her feel at home.

“Attending the Meredith Pre-Health Post-Baccalaureate program was one of the best decisions I have made,” said Hicks. “The program prepared me extremely well and allowed entry into my top PA programs. I have built relationships that I cherish and I enjoyed learning from the excellent faculty. I have no doubt that the program was integral to my acceptances.”

Hicks, who plans to practice primary care medicine in a medically underserved area of North Carolina, has been accepted to the Physician Assistant programs at Wake Forest University and Methodist University, two of her top choices. Her only decision now is which one to attend.

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