Hello Future PA,
So you’ve finally decided to try to fulfill your life’s dream, and one of your first steps is to apply for the Physician Assistant Program. Your heart is really in it, and you’ve already proven your commitment through ongoing work and/or study. But now you have to write a personal statement for the admissions committee, and you have to fit it into a limited space.
Where do you begin? What do you include? What do you leave out? Above all, with thousands of others choosing the same path, how do you stand out?
PA admissions essays have certain requirements that offer several immediate challenges. One of them is the need for Comprehensive, relevant content—This means answering all the important questions an admissions officer might have. The thing to remember when doing this is that the overall question that you’re answering is whether you have what it takes to be a great PA. Here are the main ones:
• What experience—often a significant turning point—first motivated you to become a PA? Describe this as though you were telling a friend.
• Was there one person—usually a PA—who stood out to you and inspired you? Why? What did he or she do or say? What personal and professional qualities did this individual exhibit?
• What is your relevant work and/or study experience?
• What significant obstacle(s) have you overcome in your life, and how did you grow through the experience?
• Are you a good team player? How can you indicate this?
• Are you committed to helping people and expressing compassion, even under stressful circumstances?
The last two items can be expressed by describing either your own or another’s actions. The important thing is to convey your awareness of their value.
Remember to keep your essay personal, direct, and detailed. Many applicants know to begin with a specific significant anecdote in their lives, and that’s great. Beginning on a human note instantly tells us who you are. In the same way, ending on a humane note lets us know that you care.
Hope that helps,
“The PA Coach”