PA Program: Student Perspectives

David Greczek

David Greczek

Class of 2022

Why Marywood

Having graduated with my bachelor’s degree a number of years ago, I needed to enroll in a comprehensive program that would provide me with the prerequisite classes to apply to physician assistant schools.  However, while most universities that offer post baccalaureate pre-medical programs for career changers are tailored to students seeking to gain entry to medical school, they do not include access to the additional classes required to apply to PA school.  This translates into substantially higher costs and scheduling difficulties.  Discovering Marywood’s Physician Assistant Program Eligibility Track not only provided me with the exact schedule of pre-requisite classes required by its graduate PA program, but also gave me the distinct advantage of applying as an internal applicant instead of with the larger CASPA applicant pool.  In addition, the high caliber classes in the Eligibility Track taught by top-notch undergraduate science faculty prepared me extremely well for the rigorous curriculum of the master’s program.  I couldn’t be happier with my path—Marywood made a very challenging and competitive process seamless and accessible, ultimately allowing me to make a lifelong dream become a reality.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

Marywood’s PA Program is special for a number of reasons.  At the heart of any top-tier program is the quality of the members of its faculty.  While their years of experience and expertise are impressive, our faculty’s most valuable attribute is its singular commitment to mold us into exemplary health care providers.  Their vision for us is inspiring—they constantly push us to surpass expectations and support us in every possible way to ensure we achieve that goal.  They are accessible, insightful and like our family.  Another stand-out of Marywood’s program is its curricular programming.  While most PA programs “block schedule”, Marywood’s approach allows us to revisit topics repeatedly throughout the didactic year, providing multiple opportunities to continually deepen our knowledge as we hone our practice of medicine.  Finally, our student cohort is much more like a giant family than a bunch of classmates.  Because Marywood’s PA program doesn’t employ a class ranking system, our learning environment is team driven and supportive rather than competitive.  This classroom energy enables us to truly learn from and collaborate with each other as we work toward a great common goal.


Lindsey Gladden

Lindsey Gladden

Class of 2022

Why Marywood

After spending my undergraduate years at Marywood participating in many of the extra curricular activities they have to offer, I felt like Marywood was my second home. My undergraduate years I was able to be a member of Zeta Phi Delta, the Field Hockey team, Track and Field Team, and participated in the Campus Ministry Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala, all while getting an education to one day become a Physician Assistant. Marywood offering a 5-year program to become a physician assistant, which has always been my goal, brought such excitement to my heart knowing that I wouldn’t have to leave my home away from home and could continue on building more memories, friendships and experiences here.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

Marywood’s PA program is special in many ways. The entire program is a close-knit family. After spending all day together 5 days a week, you’d think you would get tired of being around the same people. I find that different with Marywood’s PA program. You’re constantly motivated by both the faculty and your classmates to keep going and working to your best potential. As hard and demanding as the program is, with the guidance and strength that everyone shares, it makes this experience worth it. I’ve found that through this journey, I have built lifelong friendships and discovered so many new things about myself. I’m so grateful to be part of this Pacer family.

Student-Athlete Experience

I was recruited to Marywood to play field hockey. Marywood was the perfect option for me knowing that I could not only study to become a Physician Assistant but also could continue my love of field hockey. During my first season of field hockey, I had also been recruited to run for the Track and Field team. This made me nervous only because I thought playing two sports in college and managing school would not be possible. I have great pride in saying that it 100% is possible and is one of my greatest accomplishments. It most definitely wasn’t easy but was very much worth the stress. It helped me stay on top of my assignments, work on my time management, and give me a place to relieve all of my stress. There's nothing better than looking back on something that was extremely challenging and demanding and being able to say, “Yes I did that!” From record breaking to championship winning, this too was an experience that I am so grateful to have been a part of. It allowed me to challenge myself, learn, and build memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.


Emma Lake

Emma Lake

Class of 2021

Why Marywood

When I was applying to PA schools through CASPA I was submitting applications all over Pennsylvania and Ohio looking for a match that would make me the best possible physician assistant. I interviewed at multiple schools and after walking on Marywood's campus I knew this was my top choice. The campus is intimate and stunning and the PA building blew me away with updated labs and renovated student quarters. I was thrilled when I got my acceptance letter because I knew the next two years were going to change my career forever.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

Every single professor, administrator and faculty member wants you to be successful. The staff always helps with concepts and questions and is willing to give you honest feedback. There is a lot of freedom as a student, but guidance and advice is available anytime you need it. For example, during the transition to online for COVID, the faculty was so understanding with troubleshooting, questions/concerns and making team bonding zooms to ensure we could still interact together. They truly facilitate bonding and creating a supportive environment in an otherwise stressful didactic year.


Colleen Adler

Colleen Adler

Class of 2021

Why Marywood

What drew me to Marywood’s PA program was the opportunity to pursue my own interests in medicine. The didactic year consists of courses not only in the basics of practicing medicine, but also a variety of specialty areas. Something unique that Marywood offers is the ability to have input into your clinical year in terms of locations & specialty tracks (including orthopedics/sports medicine, hospitalist, emergency medicine, addiction medicine & general surgery). Additionally, Marywood’s PA program offers the guidance of both a faculty & student mentor throughout the didactic year, both of which I considered to be invaluable resources.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

The Marywood PA program strives to make students the best future healthcare providers they can be! Professors know you by name and are always available for help, and have really taken the current COVID pandemic in stride by continuing to provide the best possible education. Classmates quickly become like a family, making the transition into this rigorous graduate-level program that much smoother. Students are also provided with many opportunities to “get their feet wet” with practicing medicine through community service opportunities such as participating in blood pressure & glucose checks and visits to local nursing homes. The Marywood PA program really does offer students all the tools in order to be a well-rounded, caring and compassionate healthcare provider.


Alexa Matillano

Alexa Matillano

Class of 2020

Why Marywood

I chose Marywood because I loved that they offered a 5-year program to become a physician assistant! Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career as a physician assistant made this a no brainer for me. I love the size of Marywood, especially the PA cohort. It’s small enough where everyone can get to know each other and we’re still being able to get individual attention from professors and instructors. 

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

Marywood’s program stands out because the entire cohort feels like a big family. The professors and instructors really care about you as a student, and they genuinely want you to succeed. They’re willing to take extra time out of their day to help you understand concepts or answer questions. They bring their real-life experience to class which helps us connect the dots in a more practical way!


Abbey Wzorek

Abbey Wzorek

Class of 2020

Why Marywood

After spending my undergraduate years away from home, I knew I wanted to finish my education somewhere that was not only closer to home, but somewhere that felt like home. I chose Marywood because it was able to give me the close-knit feeling I was looking for. As I walked through the doors for my interview, I knew Marywood was the place for me. The environment was filled with students who were unified and driven. I wanted nothing more than to be offered a seat and be a part of one of the best physician assistant programs around. With an excellent reputation and PANCE success rate, I was confident I would walk across the stage in two years knowing I received a remarkable education.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

PA school certainly has not been the easiest ride but finding where I belong helped. From day one at Marywood, I felt welcomed, loved, and a part of something special. A relationship with all fifty-seven of my classmates began on the first day of orientation. We met one another, learned about each other and began to create a family dynamic. Above all, this program is special because of the individuals who choose to provide us with the valuable gift of education.

Our professors show an immense amount of compassion day after day. They strive to see us succeed and remind us that their goal is to make us the best possible PAs at the end of our journeys. They helped prepare me for not only the medical field, but for life. Being a part of this PA program pushed me to my true potential and helped me grow as an individual. I am continuously inspired to learn and grow both inside and outside of the classroom. I built lifelong relationships and discovered parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Marywood’s PA program is special in so many ways and I am forever grateful to be a part of it.


Lauren Guthrie

Lauren Guthrie

Class of 2019

Why Marywood

Marywood’s Physician Assistant Program was an easy choice for me. Not only do they offer a great education, but the faculty at Marywood is like no other. From the welcoming moment of your first interview to graduation day and beyond, the faculty of the PA program becomes your family. For me, having the support of my professors was something I was looking for in a PA program. I did not just want to be a face in the crowd, I wanted to feel support and know that if I needed to reach out for help, someone would be there for me. At Marywood, you get that support and more. You instantly join the Marywood PA family.

What Makes Marywood's PA Program Special

Marywood’s PA program is unique in many ways. By starting in May, Marywood PA students graduate sooner than surrounding programs. Additionally, Marywood offers a specialty clinical track option. This allows you to focus your clinical year on a particular area that interests you. These specialties include Emergency Medicine, Orthopedics, Hospitalist, and General Surgery. This is an option not offered by many PA programs and allows you to focus your education and training in a way that is more unique to you. Unlike other programs, Marywood allows you options when coordinating your clinical rotations which gives you an opportunity to work at a practice in your hometown or even across the country. 

Lauren's "A Day in the Life" of a PA Student

Applying to Physician Assistant school can become overwhelming and stressful. After getting that relieving acceptance letter, the stress switches to “What is my average day going to look like?”  You spend your time loading the Didactic Curriculum page, counting the number of classes, trying to calculate how this many classes could fit in a day. But don’t worry- it does work out and it really is a rewarding experience!

Classes typically begin at 8 or 9 a.m. with some days being an even later start. The number of classes per day can vary from as little as 3 to as many as 5. Some classes are scheduled for 3 hours where others are scheduled for 1-2 hours. This varies depending on the course, credits, and progression of material. Teachers do give breaks for longer classes, and you will have a full hour lunch. Snacking is welcome during class and you can stock the PA student lounge with all your favorite snacks. Some days you will be done around 3 p.m. but some days end later at 5 p.m. But, fear not, while the days sitting are long, no one has suffered a DVT from PA school thus far (that I know of!) Night classes are few and far between making the evenings your own! This allows you plenty of time to study, work out, or even catch a few minutes of your favorite show.

                How you will spend your weekends varies per student, study habits, and upcoming exams. Some weekends will require more studying than others, but if you work hard and stay ahead of the game, Friday and Saturday nights can be “you” time! As far as living arrangements, most students choose to live with other PA students either at the Woodlands dorms on campus or the apartments in town. Either way, it’s a great experience to bond with your fellow students who are going through the same trials and triumphs as you are!

                As I am getting ready to sit for my PANCE, I look back and miss all the amazing times spent here at Marywood University in this incredible program. You might feel like you are starting this experience by yourself, but by the time you leave, you leave with friends and memories that will last a lifetime.