Congrats! Now What?

PA school is a marathon, not a sprint my friends.  Chances are if you’ve received an acceptance letter, you’re a bit of a go getter–which is great.  What this means is that you will probably have difficulty sitting around “doing nothing” for several months.  Words of advice: DO NOTHING.  Relax.  Spend time with your friends and family.  Do not study, because nothing can prepare you for the attempt of absorbing information that is equivalent to drinking water from a fire hydrant.

If you find yourself asking “But there must be something I can do?”  Yes, and here are my recommendations of what to do before your marathon begins:


You will likely get a lot of emails from your program before you are accepted.Read them carefully.  There will likely be instructions regarding house keeping items that need to be completed before your first day.

Clearances to obtain.

For my program at least (and I am assuming others) you will need to do things like get FBI fingerprinting (these are only some states and as I went to school in PA I am not familiar with other systems) and childline clearances (which is usually accessible through your state website under the department of human resources



Yes, you need “school supplies” in PA school.  Not only will you need books, binders, etc. you will also need clinical supplies.  I recommend buying these things prior to PA school for several reasons.  First, I did not do this and I wish I would have.  They are EXPENSIVE, and if you are like me and you know— don’t have a trust fund you will be broke as a joke during PA school.  Plan ahead so you aren’t like me going “Oh, *&#! I have no money for this!



Spend decent money on this. Everything else you can kind of “skimp” on for lack of a better term. I recommend Littmann Cardiology III (click here to browse). I know I know holy ^*+! that’s expensive. There are various other models of Littmann stethoscopes. You will have your stethoscope for YEARS, this is an investment. It’s a great idea to maybe ask for as a Christmas/Hanukkah/Birthday/Whatever holiday you celebrate gift!


Otoscope/Ophthalmoscope Set

These can be expensive as all get out. I don’t recommend spending a boat load of money here. For several reasons 1. You will only need them for training during didactic year when you learn physical exam. Any site or job you go to will have these. I totally regret buying a brand new set for several hundred dollars.  Also, random tip, if you don’t already use ebates when you shop online do it. You open a shopping trip and it gives you cash back through a bunch of stores and Amazon is one of them. Click here for otoscope options.  

Reflex Hammer

These are cheap. Trick: in practice you can use the edge of your stethoscope to elicit deep tendon reflexes. However, in school your graders will most likely be strict that you are prepared with the proper materials, so it is worth your while to spend the 2$. Click here to buy a reflex hammer. 

Tuning Forks

Depending on what your program requests they come in different Hz. Mine requested that we have 128Hz and 512Hz. Click here for 128Hz. Click here for 512 Hz


Blood Pressure Cuff

Your program will likely specify a size and if you do or do not need to buy a pediatric cuff. These are also cheap. No need to spend money on the most expensive one. Click here for adult blood pressure cuff.  Click here for pediatric blood pressure cuff


Book List  

You will likely receive one from your program and I will go into more specifics about books and pocket manuals on the didactic and clinical year pages. However, two staples are Current Diagnosis and Treatment and Netter’s Anatomy.  Click here to buy Current Diagnosis and Treatment.  Click here to buy Netter’s Anatomy.