1. What airports are convenient to Gainesville?
The Gainesville-Ocala area is served by the Gainesville Regional Airport, a small facility with limited flights arriving and departing. Major commercial airlines serving this airport are Delta Connection/ASA and US Airways Express/PSA. There are also airports in Jacksonville, Orlando, or Tampa which are each approximately 2 – 2.5 hours’ driving time from Gainesville.
2. Where are the best hotels/motels in Gainesville?
Hotels and motels cover a wide range of rates, locations, and conveniences. There are several motels within walking distance of the School of Physician Assistant Studies offices. Several others provide shuttle service to the Health Science Center. Applicants who are invited for interview will be sent a current list of accommodations available in the area. For a more complete listing, visit the following websites or contact a national hotel chain directly: www.cityofgainesville.org, www.gainesvillechamber.com or www.visitgainesville.net.
3. Where are some moderately-priced restaurants located in Gainesville?
As a college town, Gainesville has an abundance of moderately-priced restaurants including such national chains as The Olive Garden, Chili’s, Chuy’s, T.G.I.Friday’s, Cracker Barrel, Panera, and Moe’s. Most of these are located on Archer Road which feeds directly into the Health Science Center at the University. For more information on dining facilities in the area, contact the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce at www.gainesvillechamber.com or the visitor’s bureau at www.visitgainesville.net.
4. Where can I park if I choose to drive to the campus?
Parking is difficult at the University, particularly in the Health Science Center. Applicants visiting the campus should allow plenty of extra time if they plan to park their car on campus.
Visitors may use the metered parking in the garage next to the 1329 Building on SW 16th Street where the School of PAS is located. However, there is a two-hour time limit, and available spaces are usually scarce. Please do not park in a reserved or restricted area — the campus police will tow you away!
Visitors who are not in any way associated with UF may park in Parking Garage 2, 3, or 10 near Shands (see map at www.health.ufl.edu/about_the_hsc_Find_Us.shtml and/or www.parking.ufl.edu ) for a fee of $4 per day (with a reduced fee voucher; otherwise the cost is $10 per day).
Applicants who are invited to the School of Physician Assistant Studies for interview and who live in Gainesville or are staying with friends in the area, may want to arrange to have friends chauffeur them to the University.
A final solution to the parking question is to take public transport.
5. What should I wear to orientation and interviews?
The Monday orientation activities are informal; applicants should dress casually (but acceptably, i.e. no flip-flops, shorts, or jeans). The Tuesday/Wednesday interviews require more formal dress; applicants should wear what would be considered acceptable dress for a business interview.
6. Why does the School of Physician Assistant Studies require two days for interviewing?
Our students are integrally involved in the orientation activities. Since they have to be in class during the morning, they are not available for orientation until the afternoon. We schedule orientation for the first afternoon and begin the interviews the next day, after applicants have been appropriately oriented and had dinner with current students. We also want applicants to be as relaxed as possible for the interviews, and we believe that having the prior afternoon to become familiar with various facets of the school is beneficial and helps to reduce stress for our applicants.
7. What will the 2-day orientation/interview process include?
Orientation begins mid-afternoon on the first day with faculty introductions and an information session that includes the history of the School and a presentation about financial aid for potential students. The group processing experience also occurs during the first afternoon. This is followed by a one hour session with current students who present each course and clinical rotation in our curriculum. A virtual tour of the Health Science Center will take applicants through the common areas that a UF PA student might see on any given day on campus. After the virtual tour, applicants are invited to an informal (Dutch treat) dinner with current students during which applicants are encouraged to converse with the students regarding any questions they may have pertaining to the UF PA School. Faculty will not be present at the dinner. Guests accompanying the applicants are encouraged to attend the informal dinner as well.
The next morning begins our one-on-one interviews with PA faculty. Each interview typically lasts 15-20 minutes. A minimum of three interviews is required but usually an applicant is able to see four or more faculty members, depending on time.
8. Will I have an opportunity to meet current students in the School of PAS?
Students from both the academic and clinical years present the curriculum during the afternoon orientation. Ten or more students from the academic year usually attend the dinner and sit with applicants and their guests, for informal discussions.
9. Can I bring my spouse or other family member or friends to the orientation?
Guests of applicants are encouraged to participate in all orientation activities during the day preceding interview day.
10. What happens during the group processing experience?
During the first day of the orientation/interview process, applicants will participate in a group processing experience. This will be a 15 minute session during which applicants will be divided into groups of 3-4 and asked to discuss a topic or scenario. This discussion will be observed by a faculty member or moderator who will not participate in the discussion. The experience is not intended to be intimidating or stressful and hopefully will be an enriching experience for the applicants.
11. Is the dinner with students required?
The dinner is optional. However, applicants from prior years have consistently rated the dinner as one of the most beneficial components of our admissions process since it allows applicants an open-ended forum for asking questions and gathering information that may not be included during the orientation sessions. Faculty are not permitted to attend the dinner, thereby allowing for totally open, stress-free discussions related to all aspects of the School of Physician Assistant Studies.
12. Will attending the optional PA class increase my chances for acceptance?
Attendance at the class is optional and does not affect the Admissions Committee’s decision about whether to offer an applicant a seat in the class. However, since the purpose of the orientation/interview is for both the applicant and the Program to determine whether this particular School is a “good fit,” it is advantageous for the applicant to gather as much information as possible and to get a “flavor” for what it would be like to be a student in this School. Attending a current class offers an opportunity to experience the program academically.