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  1. This is copied from paadmissions "Ask a PA Admissions Director." I found it hiding in the bowels of that forum (page 81), and I figured placing it here would make it very handy for those perusing personal statements and seeking advice. Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:46 PM Hi guys! I've put together some hints for writing a good personal statement below. These hints were gathered from several medical school websites and from our own experience with our program. Hope this helps! The personal statement is required as a part of any application to PA school. Many applicants make writing a personal statement a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Below are helpful hints and topics to avoid that can help you write a good personal statement. Topic: Why you want to be a PA? Personal Statement Helpful Hints: · Engage the reader and create interest. · Get to the point. There is a character limit for personal statements. One page is usually all it takes to make your point. · Avoid using flowery language and/or big words throughout your statement. · Make sure the statement is structured in a logical order and flows nicely so it is easy to read. · Do not restate your resume. · Incorporate how your healthcare experience and non-healthcare experience (academics, volunteer, and leadership positions) prepared you for PA school. · Be insightful and analytical about your understanding of the role of the PA. Use your clinical experiences to draw this conclusion. · Call out the elephant in the room. If you had a “hiccup” in your academic career, you should BRIEFLY address it (i.e. death in the family, immaturity factor, poor study habits), state what you did to overcome it, and what you have done to sustain an upward trend in your academic performance. · If you have a strong desire to enter a certain field of medicine, explain why. For example, if you want to go into primary care, what have you done to prepare yourself for this field (i.e. clinical experience opportunities, skill sets, are you from a disadvantaged background, etc.), and the challenges PAs face, if any in the particular field. · Have more than one person review your statement. An advisor, career services representative, or a writing center are good resources to utilize. · Avoid contractions. · Avoid acronyms that the common person would not know (this is especially true for military applicants). Qualities to Portray · Maturity · Reflectiveness · Honesty and integrity · Clarity of thought · Passion · Individuality · Positivity · Logic · Distinctiveness · Commitment · Ability to relate to diverse people · Insight into the chosen health profession · Compassion and empathy · Genuineness and sincerity · Leadership · Insightfulness · A realistic perspective · Lessons learned · Self-awareness Themes to Avoid · Clichés: Avoid starting a statement with a famous quote or with cliché’ filler statements like: “I want to be a PA because I like science and I want to help people...” “Ever since I was five I played with my mom/dad’s doctor’s kit..” “I loved to play the game Operation as a child and that sparked my desire to be a PA...” “As I watched my beloved family member pass away, I knew then I wanted to be a PA...” · Restating your resume’: We have already read the majority of your application up to this point, so do not retell your life story again. · Story Time: Limit your personal stories about a patient or incident in the clinic to ONE no more than TWO. The statement should focus more the topics mentioned above. · The “epiphany into medicine”: Your pursuit of the PA profession should be based on your adult experiences up until this point, NOT an instantaneous realization. · Manifest Destiny: You have not always known you want to be a PA and the fact that someone tells you “you’ll make a great PA one day” does not justify why you should be a PA. · Grandiosity: Claiming that you plan to eliminate all the healthcare problems in an area is not realistic and shows a grave lack of understanding of the profession. · The “humble brag”: Of course you’re special, but claiming “you probably do not see many applicants like me” is not only arrogant, but is likely untrue. We’ve seen it all! · Remember your audience: Remember people do have other biases and views that may not agree with yours so avoid controversial topics and statements that could offend someone. Also, remember the admissions committee can be made up of all types of members of the healthcare team. Avoid statements like “I want to be a PA because PAs spend more time with their patients in comparison to physicians.” These types of situations are not always true and you do not want to stereotype an entire profession when you’ve only been around .00000001% of them. · “I am a victim”: Victims are never attractive applicants and any difficulties along the way should be dispassionately addressed. These explanations should be brief and also address what you have done to overcome the situation and what you learned from it. · Excuses: Never, ever blame anyone else for difficulties in your life or academic career. Topsy's 2 cents: Show, don't tell. Don't tell me you're great at multitasking. Show me! Describe it instead: "Despite having to care for my ailing mother at home, work the graveyard shift at the hospital, and help victims of abuse at the women's shelter, I still managed to keep my by grades by merely studying instead of sleeping." What makes the PA profession personally meaningful to you. Do not reiterate catch phrases like autonomy, flexibility, and all those other words that you can find on countless websites/blogs. Do mention personal things you've seen! Like the time you shadowed a PA talking to a family who was strapped for cash, and the PA was sensitive and attentive enough to notice the dilemma and was kind enough to provide their family with ample samples. Again, show, don't tell. Overall, a great personal state can be achieved by getting the reader think - yes. I want to meet the person who wrote this.
  2. I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread for people to post their successful CASPA essays so that new applicants can get a better idea of what schools are looking for as they write their own. I will begin by posting a link to mine below (it is posted in my blog). Please comment with your own examples if you are an accepted student. My CASPA Personal Statement (as an example)
  3. Hello! So I am definitely reapplying this year. Last year was my first time applying and I made the mistake of sending my application in summer instead of when the portal opened. Since then I have taken a few extra courses, acquired more HCE (almost doubled) and am planning on changing jobs to get a different experience. I was wondering how I should adapt my essay to this new cycle? Obviously I do not want to send in the exact same essay, but my feelings about being a PA are still the same. I was interviewed by a few top ranked programs but did not get in because of the large applicant pool (according to the admissions offices). I usually do well in job interviews so I would hope my interviewing skills are not terrible, but maybe they just don't stand out as much when there are many others because I'm not a complete extrovert? I'm not really sure what exactly went wrong there. Also, should I reapply to the programs that interviewed me and rejected me as well? I would appreciate all the advice I can get! Thanks! :)
  4. Good afternoon everyone, I just want to know any suggestions for the personal essay. Any suggestions on how to go about it? A lot of the stuff I have read seems very broad. I just do not want to sound cliche or over dramatic with my writing. Thank you and have a good one.
  5. I am having trouble with starting my personal statement. People keep telling me to start it off with an experience or anecdote to draw the readers in..There is not just ONE experience that sparked my dream of working in the medical field. I feel as though the various experiences I have had collectively have drawn me into the medical field. Here are a few topics I was thinking of starting my personal statement with..Please give me any feedback! (I am interested in specializing in dermatology, but by no means am I committed to this specialty!!) 1.) I currently work as a medical assistant in dermatology..maybe I could talk about some of the experiences I have had doing this such as surgery, dealing with patients, etc... 2.) My personal history of malignant melanoma, and how that led me to volunteer for the melanoma foundation, become a public speaker and tell my story to educate/raise awareness to young adults/teens...now I work as a derm medical assistant 3.) (Completely unrelated to derm) Worked in a nursing home and happened to be at the right place at the right time when a resident was having a stroke...(this was an experience to remember, but not my topic of choice) I would then discuss shadowing PAs and MDs and why I want to be a PA....bla bla bla Please let me know what you think! I am lost right now! I appreciate your help!
  6. I've been working hard on my PS. I trashed my first one and rewrote a complete new one, and this is what I've revised a few times, so I'm curious what others think. Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks! I'll attach it below, so just click on the file! Personal Statement version 3.docx
  7. I researched and researched online and every thing I read said to try and make myself shine as much as possible in my personal statement. "Try to be authentic and be yourself" I felt like I did just that and a proof reader told me my essay was immature and if I submit it I wont get into PA school. I wanted to ask anyone kind enough to read my personal statement their opinions please!! I am the child in my household that is responsible for all of my parents’ grey hairs. My mother constantly told me, “Bradley, do not touch the stove. It is hot!” What did I do? I touched it and then ran to the bathroom to douse my pulsating, burned hand in cold water from the faucet. Luckily, curiosity never killed this cat. Eventually, I matured out of the frequent hospital trips and turned my curiosity to something else. I became a male cheerleader in high school because I loved doing flips and cheering athletes on to win the game. The bullying I received from my classmates for being a male cheerleader encouraged me to explore my identity. First, I went to an out of state college where I could reshape the identity that my high school world had given me. Then, I studied abroad where I was entrenched in a culture that labeled me as an outsider and thus always treated me differently. First my curiosity turned inwards towards myself and I constantly thought, “Who am I?” I then it turned to the world and instead asked “What is this world?” My roundabout journey to becoming a patient care associate prepared me to immerse myself in a new, unknown environment and quickly adjust, but still remain true to myself. I entered Lorraine’s room early in the morning at the start of my shift. She was still sleeping while I wrote my name and work phone number on her white board. I could not help but notice the abundance of “Get Well Soon” cards and a very colorful piece of construction paper taped to her linen closet. I cheerfully greeted Lorraine with a “Good morning!” and asked her if she had a great night. She half-smiled back and told me that it had been one of the worst nights of her life. I enticed her with some delicious pancakes for breakfast and asked her if there was a way I could make her day better. She touched her grey fluff of hair on her head and asked if I could “really” shampoo it since she cannot take a shower and the shampoo shower caps just do not do it justice. “Of course!” I replied. After getting vitals and breakfast orders, I began to clean her up and then moved on to her hair using a shampoo board and lavender scented shampoo and conditioner. Lorraine gave me a huge smile once I started to lather the shampoo into her hair. Then I asked, “Who made you that colorful piece of artwork hanging up on the cabinet?” She replied, “My grand kid made it for me! He is just so wonderful! He made one for his mommy and me for Mother’s Day!” While I listened, I shifted her grey curly locks into the center of her head and said, “Now imagine if your grandson saw you with this mohawk I just made in your hair!” She laughed and thought the mohawk was hysterical. Afterwards I applied the conditioner and told her she will smell like lavender for the next couple of days. Later in the day, she called me to help her onto the bedpan. I walked in the room and saw that she was resting in the armchair after working with physical therapy. I said, “Mrs. Lorraine I cannot get the bed pan underneath you unless you are in the bed. Do you want to try to make it to the commode?” She instantly replied back, “NO! I just need the bedpan. I am too scared to walk! I’m not walking to the commode and then have to walk again to get back to bed!” I reassured her and told her I would call the nurse in to help provide an extra hand. I scooted the armchair close to the bed and said, “I moved the chair closer to the bed that way it won’t be so scary and you only have to take a few steps.” She stood up and then immediately closed her eyes and whispered, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this!” I was right beside her holding the gait belt and offering encouragement, “Lorraine, you can do this! You made it to the chair, you can make it to the bed. I will make sure you will not fall. You need to be able to walk to get better and go home to see your grandson.” Through sweat, self-denial, and a few tears she made it back to the bed to use the bed pan. I was ecstatic and told her “Great job!” A few days later when Lorraine was being discharged I told her, “Listen here. I do not want to see you back in here again. It would be awesome to see you out and about, but not back in the hospital!” When I walked into Lorraine’s room that morning I became a part of her world. I had the privilege to serve as her personal cheerleader to help her overcome the worst day of her life. The small amount of curiosity I showed about the colorful card hanging up allowed me to make a connection with Lorraine. That little moment of curiosity snowballed to help encourage her to fight all her doubts to get back home so she could be with her grandson. My patients encourage me to hang on to that curious little boy that was burned, that adventurous teenager pursuing an education at an out of state college, and that adaptable college student faced with such a drastic culture change during a semester abroad. It is a unique privilege to be a part of a patient’s world and what they do not know is that they in turn become a part of my world.
  8. I have revised my PS after I was given help with my rough draft from ajames, and I was curious what some of you thought of it. It is under the 5000 character mark, so I'm happy about that. Feel free to leave any critiques; things to add, cut, etc. I will gladly go over someone else's if they would like! Thanks! PA personal statement revision.docx
  9. EMS calls ahead, and gives report "66-year-old female patient, unresponsive, multiple epis given, amio drip, bicarb, CPR, intubated … asystole, 15 minutes down time, will arrive in 10 minutes," is what I overhear over the radio while I am working in catching up with my charts. EMS arrived with the unresponsive patient, everyone in the ER rapidly working together trying to save her. The doctor frantically giving orders, asking EMS for more information. As per EMS, the patient was in dialysis when she suddenly collapsed. Sadly, after an hour of attempting resuscitation, it was time to call it, time of death 1:11 pm. It is difficult to watch someone die in front of you; no class can prepare you for it. But it is even more difficult when the family arrives, you have a front row seat to their cries, screams, shock, and disbelief. It was not my first time seeing someone die, but this death stayed with me more than the others because my grandma passed away the same way while getting dialysis. As you stand there, in the middle of it all, you wonder-- is there anything I could have done to prevent this? I found my answer in the PA profession. I believe that most medical problems can be prevented with the right care and knowledge, or medical conditions can be stopped from progressing. I want to become a PA to keep people and their families from experiencing the pain my family and I went through with my grandma. As a scribe, I have worked closely with PAs in the emergency department. Every day, I am amazed by their skills and knowledge. With every shift, I learn something new such about a new technique, diagnosis, or treatment. Working alongside PA's has taught me the significance in positive findings during a physical exam and their indications, analyzing blood work and imaging, and collaborating with the attending physicians, radiologists, and specialist to achieve the ultimate goal of treating the patient successfully. Learning about the medical field and how to provide optimal patient care has been exciting. Scribing has given me a VIP seat to what being a PA entails, but it leaves me with the desire of wanting to do more. The PAs I work with are never intimidated by how complicated a patient might present due their preparation before encountering them. They exude confidence because of their ability to ask questions with a supervising physician. One of the main reasons the PA profession is so appealing is because of the comfort in asking for guidance from an SP and the flexibility it offers in specializing due to my multiple interests in subjects. From my experiences, I love working in both the clinical setting and the ER. By becoming a PA, I would have the opportunity to practice in either setting. As a future PA, it is my goal to provide the best patient care I can by being prepared to take on difficult medical cases and work as a team to deliver optimal patient care. As a scribe working in the clinic, I have seen the high demand and need for PAs in South Texas, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley is a highly medically underserved area. The doctor I work with has over 1,000 patients assigned to her. If it were not because of the PAs, she would not be able to see all of them and provide the healthcare they deserve. They say clinic care is not exciting, but the PA's in the clinic have caught a couple of MI's or patients with sepsis, so that is a very inaccurate assumption. Those patient's lives were saved because of the PA's. I have seen first-hand the positive impact PA's have in clinic and ER. I have heard the patients "thank you's;" I have seen their faces of worry transform into faces of relief, their pain disappear. I want to be a part of that. The Valley is known to be made up mostly Spanish speaking residents, but a majority of the providers are only English speaking, or their Spanish is very limited. I know that being bilingual will help me in closing this language barrier. I love South Texas and know that I can positively impact the community when it comes to their medical needs because I know their language and the culture. My goal is to enroll into a PA program that will prepare me with the adequate skills and knowledge that are necessary to provide the best medical attention to the people of The Valley. I know that the PA journey will be challenging and difficult, but I am prepared for it. I spent 12 years of my life crossing the border every day for school and waking up at 5 in the morning to have the opportunity at a better future, I know challenging. The journey to get here has not been easy, I have overcome language barriers, I knew no English on my first day of school in the US, now I am fluent in it. Not only did my parents sacrifice allow me to graduate from a US high school, it also gave me the opportunity to attend a US university with a full ride scholarship. Everything I have done up to this point, I have done in order to succeed in this career. I know this career requires excellence, and I am prepared to give it all that I have in order to succeed as a physician assistant. I will continue to work hard until this goal is achieved.
  10. How is it that sometimes we find our purpose in tragedy. I lost my grandma to diabetes. Diabetes did not take mercy on her. It took her slowly, until there was nothing else to take. It started with her kidneys, they slowly stopped functioning, so she had to be placed on dialysis. Lucky for her, my aunts cared enough to be trained on the process, and she was able to have it done in her home, that's if you consider that lucky. The next thing diabetes took was her sight. It continued taking from her until there was nothing more to take. As if losing your sight was not enough, it took the sensation off of her feet, then it decided to take her toes and eventually her feet. What happens to a person that needs to be dialyzed every other day, can no longer see or walk? They slowly lose their will to live, until one day, that will is completely gone. It is an extremely difficult thing to watch someone you love, suffer on a daily basis. At the end of their journey, you find comfort in knowing that they are no longer suffering, but you also wonder, is there anything I could have done to prevent this? To my previous question, the PA profession was my answer. I believe that most medical problems can be prevented with the right care and knowledge, and if they cannot be prevented, they can be stopped from progressing. I want to become a PA because I want to keep people and their families from experiencing the pain my family and I went through with my grandma. I know it is not possible to save everyone, but I want the opportunity to at least try. I have always known I wanted to be a part of the medical field. Every time someone asks me, why do you want to be a physician assistant, my response is always because I cannot imagine being anything else. I placed myself in a job that would allow me to experience the duties of a physician assistant. I have seeing the ins and outs. I have been a part of it, not as a PA, but as scribe that works very closely with them in the clinic or in the emergency department. Every day, I am amazed by their skills and knowledge. I learn something new, a new approach, a new technique, a new diagnosis, a new treatment with every shift, and I just want to keep on learning. I have learned how to differentiate a Bell's Palsy from a TIA or a stroke. I have learned the importance of the NIH stroke scale and the importance of properly assessing the score. I can tell you that a sudden sharp pain to your back and a positive CVA most likely means a kidney stone or pyelonephritis due to a urinary tract infection. A pain to your RLQ with a high white blood cell count and a positive McBurney's point could definitely be a sign for acute appendicitis or how an elevated amylase/lipase level accompanied by nausea and vomiting probably means pancreatitis, especially if that pain occurs after eating greasy/spicy foods. I have loved every single minute of working as a scribe. I cannot wait to start this career and apply everything I have and will learn. Physician assistants are not afraid or intimidated by how complicated a patient might be because of how prepared they are. They have this confidence because if they have a question about how to proceed with a patient, they have the benefit of consulting with the attending physician. There are limitations to how much we know, which is why this is one of the great benefits of the physician assistant career. My main goal as a provider would be to offer the best care to a patient, and knowing that I have the opportunity to ask for help or guidance from the supervising attending would allow me to do that. I also like the flexibility of the PA career. As a PA, you have the opportunity to work in different specialties, for me that is essential because I have multiple interests. I love working in the clinic setting as well as the ER, and by becoming a PA, I would have the opportunity to work in both. As a scribe working in the clinic, I have seen the high demand and need for PA's in South Texas, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley is a highly underserved area, especially when it comes to healthcare. The doctor I work with, has over 1,000 patients assigned to her. If it were not because of the PA's, she would not be able to provide the care they deserve. They make a huge difference. The gratitude they receive from the patients is unlike any other. I love South Texas and know that I can positively impact the community when it comes to their medical needs My goal is to enroll into a PA program that will prepare me with the adequate skills and knowledge that are necessary to provide the best medical attention the people from The Valley deserve. I know that the PA journey will be challenging and difficult, I am counting on it. I know this career requires excellence, and I am prepared to give it all that I have in order to succeed as a physician assistant. I understand my grades my first three semesters are not the best. It was not easy adapting to college after being in the same school for 12 years. Those grades do not reflex who I am as a student, once I adapted and found a new study method that works for me, my GPA improved. . I will continue to work until this goal has been achieved
  11. I spent the day writing my personal statement. I feel like it's not complete but I'm well over the 5000 character mark. It's around 7000, I believe. If anyone would like to see it and possibly critique it/make edits, I'll appreciate any advice. I could have talked more about other things, like taking care of my grandfather for three years after his heart surgery and all, but this seemed more relevant towards approaching healthcare as a team. I've been looking at it too long, though. A fresh pair of eyes would help, thanks. PA personal statement.docx
  12. How is it that sometimes we find our purpose in tragedy. I lost my grandma to diabetes. Diabetes did not take mercy on her. It took her slowly, until there was nothing else to take. It started with her kidneys, they slowly stopped functioning, so she had to be placed on dialysis. Lucky for her, my aunts cared enough to be trained on the process, and she was able to have it done in her home, that's if you consider that lucky. The next thing diabetes took was her sight. It continued taking from her until there was nothing more to take. As if losing your sight was not enough, it took the sensation off of her feet, then it decided to take her toes and eventually her feet. What happens to a person that needs to be dialyzed every other day, can no longer see or walk? They slowly lose their will to live, until one day, that will is completely gone. It is an extremely difficult thing to watch someone you love, suffer on a daily basis. At the end of their journey, you find comfort in knowing that they are no longer suffering, but you also wonder, is there anything I could have done to prevent this? To my previous question, the PA profession was my answer. I believe that most medical problems can be prevented with the right care and knowledge, and if they cannot be prevented, they can be stopped from progressing. I want to become a PA because I want to keep people and their families from experiencing the pain my family and I went through with my grandma. I know it is not possible to save everyone, but I want the opportunity to at least try. I have always known I wanted to be a part of the medical field. Every time someone asks me, why do you want to be a physician assistant, my response is always because I cannot imagine being anything else. I placed myself in a job that would allow me to experience the duties of a physician assistant. I have seeing the ins and outs. I have been a part of it, not as a PA, but as scribe that works very closely with them in the clinic or in the emergency department. Every day, I am amazed by their skills and knowledge. I learn something new, a new approach, a new technique, a new diagnosis, a new treatment with every shift, and I just want to keep on learning. I have learned how to differentiate a Bell's Palsy from a TIA or a stroke. I have learned the importance of the NIH stroke scale and the importance of properly assessing the score. I can tell you that a sudden sharp pain to your back and a positive CVA most likely means a kidney stone or pyelonephritis due to a urinary tract infection. A pain to your RLQ with a high white blood cell count and a positive McBurney's point could definitely be a sign for acute appendicitis or how an elevated amylase/lipase level accompanied by nausea and vomiting probably means pancreatitis, especially if that pain occurs after eating greasy/spicy foods. I have loved every single minute of working as a scribe. I cannot wait to start this career and apply everything I have and will learn. Physician assistants are not afraid or intimidated by how complicated a patient might be because of how prepared they are. They have this confidence because if they have a question about how to proceed with a patient, they have the benefit of consulting with the attending physician. There are limitations to how much we know, which is why this is one of the great benefits of the physician assistant career. My main goal as a provider would be to offer the best care to a patient, and knowing that I have the opportunity to ask for help or guidance from the supervising attending would allow me to do that. I also like the flexibility of the PA career. As a PA, you have the opportunity to work in different specialties, for me that is essential because I have multiple interests. I love working in the clinic setting as well as the ER, and by becoming a PA, I would have the opportunity to work in both. As a scribe working in the clinic, I have seen the high demand and need for PA's in South Texas, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley is a highly underserved area, especially when it comes to healthcare. The doctor I work with, has over 1,000 patients assigned to her. If it were not because of the PA's, she would not be able to provide the care they deserve. They make a huge difference. The gratitude they receive from the patients is unlike any other. I love South Texas and know that I can positively impact the community when it comes to their medical needs My goal is to enroll into a PA program that will prepare me with the adequate skills and knowledge that are necessary to provide the best medical attention the people from The Valley deserve. I know that the PA journey will be challenging and difficult, I am counting on it. I know this career requires excellence, and I am prepared to give it all that I have in order to succeed as a physician assistant. I understand my grades my first three semesters are not the best. It was not easy adapting to college after being in the same school for 12 years. Those grades do not reflex who I am as a student, once I adapted and found a new study method that works for me, my GPA improved. . I will continue to work until this goal has been achieved
  13. Help! This is my second time applying and due to family stuff I am applying later than I wanted to. If anyone is willing to edit my personal statement I would greatly appreciate it. Sending good vibes, Tegest :)
  14. So I work as a phlebotomist for a staffing agency for a big healthcare company and had a placement in a health center where there are about 8 or so doctors, a PA, and an NP. During my lunch breaks I would see one of the doctors in the break room and we began exchanging pleasantries and I made him laugh once at a joke and we introduced ourselves. His office was right next to the break room and I always saw him with the door open. This was my 2nd week at this new job and I approached him and mentioned how I am interested in becoming a PA and heard there was a PA in the health center and inquired if I could potentially shadow him. The dector was very friendly and offered to introduce me to him and walked me across the center to the PA's work area where I was told to wait for a few minutes until he comes back out and I can introduce myself to him. So I did. The PA was very friendly and open to having me shadow him but advised me to talk to the health center manager first about the health center's policy regarding shadowing. So I walked over to the office manager and told her I spoke with the PA and he is willing to have me shadow him and instructed me to come see you about getting whatever approval I need. She seemed very open to the idea and said she will check into it because she isn't sure and for me to come back the following day. I come back the following day on my lunch break and she has papers ready for me to sign. I jokingly apologize and say sorry I don't mean to be a pest or anything but I am trying to become a PA and shadowing is an important step in that process. She said okay now I will send this in and we will see what happens basically. So I come back the next day and she says she had to send it to her boss's boss and it's in the hands of administration now so we just have to wait, and to not worry, that we'll take care of you. So I say great, thanks, I'll check back next week. 2 days later I am let go and am removed from that assignment and am given a "do not return" by my staffing agency to that location. My staffing manager said that the complaint that the health center had about me in their report was that I made the office manager feel uncomfortable, awkward, that it was inappropriate how I asked to shadow, and that I should have spoken with the office manager first. Did I do something wrong?
  15. Ok guys, I need some guidance and advice. I applied to about 15 schools this year, a bit late in the cycle (verified in August, but submitted from August-September). I definitely wasn’t prepared for how competitive the application process was, I had the bare minimum in terms of patient care experience and shadowing, and I had a really difficult time getting professors and managers to submit letters of recommendation on time. Needless to say, the best news I got was a “waitlist to interview” from two schools, and rejections from the rest. Here are my stats so you get a better idea: Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Biology, double major in Dance CASPA cGPA: 3.48 CASPA sGPA: 3.34 Age at application time: 24 GRE: Quantitative 154, Verbal 158, Analytical Writing 4.5 Direct patient care: ~1000 hours at application as a CNA/Clerical assistant on a cardiology unit at a hospital, (had only been employed for 6 months at time of application) but still currently working full time Shadowing: 24 hours Cardiology PA LOR (5): Physiology professor, assistant nurse manager, charge nurse, PA I shadowed, and MD whose mother I cared for as a CNA. However, all except the professor I hadn’t known for very long, so I feel like the letters were not as strong as they could have been Extra Curricular activities/ other employment: Former professional ballet dancer, camp counselor/group director, dance teacher for children ages 5-17 Research: my senior thesis project was on muscular imbalances/injury prevention in dancers, not sure if it applies to PA school. So my current game plan is this: Continue to work full time as a CNA to get more patient experience (aiming for well over 2000 hours by next cycle). I also accepted a PRN position as a telemetry technician and will watch the heart monitors occasionally. Increase shadowing hours, hopefully shadowing a physician as well Work on volunteer hours: I already have some days scheduled at our local food bank next week, will continue there and am considering volunteering at another hospital Apply EARLY. Aiming for May 1 Take a medical terminology course online, possibly a developmental psychology course to open up more schools I can apply to I’m a little concerned about my GPA, especially considering I had a rough time dealing with some anxiety issues junior year and received a C+ in anatomy, which I feel is a pretty important prereq. In all my other classes I received As and Bs, except for OChem 2 (C+), which isn’t considered a prereq for the programs I applied to. Do you think I should retake Anatomy to get a higher grade in it, since my GPA is a bit on the low side? It will be stressful with working full time and taking those other 2 classes/volunteering/shadowing, but if it is going to make or break my second round of applying I’m willing to do anything. Or if anyone has thoughts on what they think my main focus should be for next cycle, I’m open to any and all suggestions. Sorry for the long post, whoever has made it to the end of this, God bless you.
  16. To help you write your own personal statements, I have decided to post my own essay as an example. It is not my best writing, but it got the job done. I was offered interviews at four competitive schools and was accepted at three (I turned down the other interview). My CASPA personal statement is reproduced in its entirety on my blog, linked below. Enjoy! http://pajourney.com/2015/03/13/my-caspa-personal-statement-as-an-example/
  17. Curious what everyone thinks about including quotes in personal statements and/or statements of purpose (in supplemental apps). Are they too lame to include or, if short and appropriate, a good idea?
  18. For anybody looking for real world examples of physician assistant school personal statements we have compiled a list of 31 essay samples submitted through our free personal statement review service. Just a reminder Don’t copy (plagiarize) from samples, examples, or anything not an original thought. 31 Physician Assistant Personal Statement Examples These sample essays should help you as you decide what to write, or what not to write, on your PA school personal statement. It is important to note that these are examples of what other PA school applicants have submitted and are not meant to be examples of what you should write. We have left a very brief comment at the end of each essay, which was meant to provide the writer with some help and direction. A great essay is seamless, it's smooth, it feels effortless yet, it is anything but. After our our interviews with PA school administrators one things became extremely clear: The admissions committee wants you to cut to the chase, eliminate the drama and tell a fluid story. Feel free to read through these example essays and take notes of what you think works and what doesn't. Note common mistakes and common spelling errors that get people in trouble. - Stephen
  19. Everyone always seems to have that “ah ha” moment, that one specific life altering experience that solidified their want to be a physician assistant, but for me, it’s different I’ve had half a lifetime of those moments. It started freshman year of high school when my younger sister sliced her leg on a nail. It was a deep slice that had gone down to the muscle, blood was gushing everywhere and I was in awe; I just kept staring at it and poking around. At that point in my life I knew very little about the human body yet it was captivating. This was my first, relevant, interaction with the idea of working in the medical field. But it was only freshman year, there were years before a career would become a priority. Before I knew it senior year and I was in a Health Careers dual enrollment program through my high school that allowed me to do rotations every other week at our local hospital with the purpose of helping me get a feel for different areas that the medical field had to offer. All though I saw so many amazing career opportunities it was my PA rotation that stood out the most to me. The way they built relationship with their patients, how confident they were in everything they did regardless of the area of the body they were focusing on, and the way they weren’t afraid to ask the physician for a consult. Everything they did seemed to come with such ease but also an immense amount of consideration and emotion. After high school I became a CNA, jump-starting a career in the medical field with minimal education but still allowing my passions to shine. I continued my work as a Direct Care Worker all throughout my college career. With college came a lot of new experiences, one being a study abroad program to Belize that allowed me to experience health care from a foreign perspective. I remember the trip like it was yesterday but it was one specific day that stands out the most; it was 110 degrees, we were swamped with patients and I was working with four younger girls just doing simple routine vitals, when one of the girls became frantic. She didn’t understand what I was doing and didn’t want me to touch her or her friends. I began to listen to her concerns and handed her my stethoscope, holding the bell over my heart. The girl looked at me with concern at first but I could tell by the look on her face the moment she heard it. I explained to her how that was my heart and that if she would allow it I would like to hear hers. For the next hour that young girl stuck by my side and she was able to listen to the hearts of every patient I saw. To some, that day might have been no big deal but to me, it was everything. It set the foundation of wanting a career where I would be able to help people in more than one way. I wanted to diagnosis illness, but also express compassion and understanding, all the while building relationships and educating my patients. I continued to expand my experience with medicine when I began an internship in cardiac rehab. The first half of it was spent building relationships with the patients while they worked out. I saw the same faces, every other day for 8 weeks and in that short amount of time I gained such insight. Not only was I learning about cardiac diseases, I was writing exercise prescriptions and educating my patients on the benefits of exercise, all while building those strong relationships that allowed them to open up to me and be more receptive to the things I was saying. Leaving that rotation was incredibly hard on both my patients and myself but my next rotation brought with it something I had yet to experience, surgery. Up to this point in my medical experience I had yet to see real surgery, I had worked on cadavers but that was nothing compared to this. From aortic valve repairs to coronary artery bypass grafts, pacemakers and stents, each one was more exhilarating than the next. With so many great experiences that were different in a countless number of ways how could I choose just one area to specialize in? Then it hit me, these differences weren’t a bad thing, they were another thing. I know I have a love for medicine, that’s a fact, but choosing what specific area of medicine I love the most, that’s a lot harder to narrow down. By being a PA I would have the option of experiencing the diversity the world has to offer while offering myself back, being able to expand my knowledge and understanding of the body while always remembering that that “body” is a human who deserve compassion. I put my all into everything I do and everything I have done has led me to this. This moment when I solidify all of my hard work and dedication for becoming a PA; working to gain patient care experience while also attending school full time, traveling abroad to experience medicine in a different light, retaking classes to better my understanding, spending my summers taking classes or applying myself in internships. All of it has helped prepare me for this precise moment.
  20. I have heard differing opinions and sides as to whether or not to talk about some bad grades throughout undergrad in your personal statement... Is this something you should definitely include? Or would focusing more on patient experiences/more impactful work that led you to the PA profession be more beneficial? Or should you figure out how to include a couple bad grades and good patient experiences all in one? Any and all advice much appreciated. Thank you.
  21. My dad knocking at my bedroom door shouting, “we have to go!” turned out to be the most frightening day of my life. The apartment building we were in was engulfed in flames! From previous training as an EMT and Firefighter, my dad displayed an immense amount of courage instructing my brothers and I as we covered our faces and crawled behind each other until eventually we made it slowly outside with second degree burns. This was the day I learned that if one cannot run, than walk, if one cannot walk, than crawl and no matter how long it may take to reach the end it is optimism and determination that will push you through to finish. Thus, my path leading to medicine is distinct from others from previous struggles and experiences, but it is optimism and determination that is pushing me to become a phenomenal Health Practitioner. Following my dad’s footsteps, I became an EMT at the age of sixteen, but it was through unusual circumstances that I knew a career in medicine, specifically preventional medicine. Receiving wisdom from various patients as an EMT, one in particular stood out that I will never forget. This individual was plagued with diabetes at the age of nineteen. Currently, at the age of thirty and unmindful of medication, he one arm and bilateral leg amputations and almost complete blindness in both eyes. While speaking to this patient, I saw myself in his position lying on the stretcher with acute hypoglycemia because just like him, I too am an African American male with parents who suffer from diabetes. This was the moment my path towards medicine officially begun. Thus, from personal experiences I choose to dedicate my educational career around health prevention and understanding various causes that hinders medicine in the underserved and minority communities. I enrolled and graduated from Howard University with a major in Exercise Physiology with the ambition of entering the medical world. During undergraduate studies, I participated in a Summer Medical and Dental Education Program through the school for those interested in the field of medicine. Within this program, I received the experience of a lifetime by shadowing different facets of medicine from a medical director to clinical rotating physician assistants in an underserved environment. Through this program, I learned that everyday lived is a gift presented upon itself to benefit others in various positive and meaningful ways. Following undergraduate studies, I choose to gain a better understanding of the communities that I will one day influence by enrolling and completing a masters level degree in Public Health with an A grade average. Through this program, I gained knowledge and a better understanding of what affects different levels of life ranging from health, behavior, social, income, environment, and the list can go on. Studying within an underserved community, I have seen negative outcomes of racial disparity, such as perceived self-worth and futuristic outcomes. Hence, I eventually would like to alleviate such disparities resembling disproportional communities where I have been educated and grown by educating the community that is both comprehensive and applicable that focuses on the barriers within medicine. Concurrently with graduate studies, I worked as an ER Tech with a phenomenal team consisting of numerous welcoming Physician Assistants. As an ER Tech, I became more aware of the benefits surrounding the role of the PAs and how they support both physicians and patients. With a smaller patient load, PAs are able to provide a more intimate relationship with each patient and spend a greater amount of time understanding their individual needs and circumstances, which is something I truly do value. I have witnessed this directly lead to an increased satisfaction of patients, which I admire with a background as an EMT and in public health. Within these professions, presenting a great amount of empathy and compassion can open up many doors of information that people normally have a difficult time displaying, such as a previous history of drug abuse and sexual victimization. This differs from my experiences I have had when working with physicians when heavy volume of patients are too to allow such relationships. It became too frequent that I was asked to decipher physician's plan of care after the physician performed a rapid assessment in a comprehensive way. This observation allowed me to evolve as an individual to develop effective communicational skills. All-in-all, a career as a PA is ideal for me because compassion and confidence is instilled within every decision. From my past I've learned from my mistakes and as a person I've grown, matured, and have different priorities and skills than when I was 18. I hope that achieving a master degree with a 3.52 with my work history and job roles proves to you what I am truly capable of and what kind of person I am today.
  22. Hey guys, If I'm reapplying to a program that I was previously interviewed/ waitlisted at the previous cycle, should I mention that in my supplemental essay? I'm trying to figure out if I want to mention that I was previously waitlisted in my essay or if I should just expect they'll know that when they receive my application... i.e. I'm trying to figure out what to write that may convince them to accept me this time :) All opinions/ responses are appreciated!
  23. Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to review my essay.
  24. This is the ONE question that you are sure to be asked by every school. In fact, you will be asked this multiple times and by multiple interviewers. And they way you answer might determine whether or not you are accepted. It follows that there is NO excuse for being caught off guard. And you better have a darn good answer. So let’s tackle this question together. Please read more from my blog post on this topic and let me know your thoughts! http://pajourney.com/2015/01/07/why-do-you-want-to-become-a-physician-assistant/
  25. Hi everyone, I was trying to search for this discussion but I didn't find anything. I didn't make it into any of the programs I applied to (applied to 3 total; interviewed at 1) and I'm trying to figure out how to improve for next year. These are my main stats: Science GPA: 3.49 Overall GPA: 3.32 HCE: Medical Technologist for 3 years Volunteer: Interpreter and Administrative assistant at Free Clinic, where a PA practices Shadowing: ER PA for 7.5 hours GRE: 149 verbal, 159 quant (I know) The way I look at it is that my application was good enough to get me an interview. So I know that I'm moving on the right track. I had some pending courses when I applied so that might be why some of the programs didn't even get me an interview. At my interview, I honestly was a little nervous and I don't think I expanded on my answers as much as I wanted to. I prepared for traditional and situational questions but I still felt like I was put on the spot. So I know I have to improve on that somehow. I'm thinking that I should shadow more PAs to really get a good perspective on the profession. I was also thinking of getting a CNA license so that I can do actual patient care at the free clinic like triaging and assessing patients. Also, regarding my essay, should I keep it as is? Or should I update it and mention that I'm reapplying? I would really appreciate the feedback. Thank you!
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