Physician Assistant School Essay: The Personal Touch

Future PA,

Very often, the best opening paragraphs for Physician Assistant admissions essays are those relating a personal story that made a significant impact on your life. You may have a lot to tell the admissions committee members about your accomplishments and aspirations, but don’t underestimate the importance of this personal touch. More than any other statement that you are likely to make in this essay, a well-told personal story has the ability to draw us in and capture our imaginations. In a few descriptive strokes, it tells us who you are as a person by letting us see and feel through your eyes and heart.

Think back on your life. Which patients have you cared for or observed that made an impact on your thoughts and feelings? Even if you don’t know or remember their names, the human interest factor inherent in these stories will help your audience to really visualize and believe in your desire to be a great Physician Assistant. What about family members or friends? Have the sufferings of someone close to you acted as a critical factor in your decision to become a Physician Assistant ? Describe some of what you observed and thought and felt.

Without this human element, your accomplishments and ambitions could easily devolve into a laundry list of goals and achievements that sounds the same as hundreds of other admissions statements. But with it, your statement comes alive with meaning and purpose, and we feel that you’ve had the courage to open your heart to us and show us your core.

The PA School Essay is one of the most important aspects of the application. Use this opportunity wisely and write to connect to your audience.

Helping You Get Into PA school,

“The PA Coach”

14 thoughts on “Physician Assistant School Essay: The Personal Touch

  1. Hi Dave,

    I wanted to thank you for your advice on how to get into PA school. I found it very helpful and insightful. I gained acceptance into UW MEDEX in 2011 and will graduate Aug 2013. Thanks for all of your help.


    Robert A. Chavarin PA-S

  2. I watched all of your videos and I got an interview! I felt the interview went well but now I have heard nothing. The school uses rolling admission so the longer I hear nothing means my odds are getting slimmer. Do you feel it is appropriate if I am not accepted to ask the admissions panel what they would like to see me do before applying again?

    1. Nathan, be a bit more patient. Hopefully you will hear something soon. To answer your question, YES it is ok to ask the committee for advice. Keep us posted.

  3. Hello Mr. DuBose, thank you for the insight and great suggestions… I really appreciate it and hopefully they take me closer to becoming a great Physician Assistant one day…! I can honestly say that I want this more than I have wanted anything is my life thus far… Unfortunately, I find myslf struggling with my pre-reqs at this time… Im planning on retaking the classes in which I got less than Bs, hopefully that doesnt hinder my possibilities.

  4. I have decided to pursue a career as a PA, but that first requires being accepted and doing well in PA school, but with a bunch of Prerequisites and seemingly forever in regards to the length of time it will take, I don’t know how possible this goal is. I am 30+ with a family. I currently work in the Health Care field. This is something I feel I should have done over a decade ago when I was a Bio major in my undergrad. I keep hearing from my mentors and folks who have trained me in my EMT that it is very possible for me because of my character and abilities, but am I overreaching???

  5. Vincent, you are absolutely NOT overreaching! Don’t let age become a factor in your decision to pursue your dreams! Best of luck to you my friend.

  6. Hey Dave,
    Thank you so much for all your videos. I just watched all your videos and they were really helpful. I’m currently working on my Pre-reqs right now and studying for my GRE test which is in 2 weeks! I’m really nervous that this might be a deal breaker for me because I’m not a great standardized test taker. How important do you think the GRE is? I feel like it would not show how successful I would be as a PA student. I also just applied to be a medical scribe so that I can have more experience with physicians and patients. I have been working in a lab for three years, but I’m not sure if this experience would enhance my chances of getting into PA school because I don’t work with my hopes are to get this scribe position. Thanks again!!

  7. Hello Dave!
    I have been watching your videos and they obtain very powerful and valuable information! God bless you for they great and honest advice you offer us who are seeking to become PAs. I’ve known I have always wanted to be in the medical field but I never knew exactly what. I friend advised me to look into the physician assistant career. I have researched this career and wow this is everything I have always wanted to be!! I just feel I’m at such a great disadvantage because my gpa is not a 4.0; it’s actually a 3.18. I attended an information session for the p..a. program and they made the same points you make in all your videos!! I do plan on shadowing a P.A. in the summer to get an even better insight. Thanks Dave!!

  8. Dave, how do admission committees view humor in the narrative? If putting in something about how excited you used to get to share new information you learned about a disease made you feel a little nutty, but so happy to have patients and their families better understand the process of their diagnosis is appropriate?

  9. Kris, a little is humor is fine as long as it’s tasteful and appropriate. Remember the AdComm members are “human”. We all like a to chuckle. :-)

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