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  1. Hi there! My name is Hailey and I am a first-round applicant for PA school. I have gone to a handful of interviews, and have a few acceptances. I believe my personal statement was very strong, and I am wanting to help other prospective PA students get an acceptance on their first round also. I have quite a few friends already attending PA school, and those about to start. I have edited their personal statements as well. I am willing to edit your personal statement, have brainstorming phone calls and answer any questions about the PA admissions process in general. My services are FREE OF CHARGE. However, I do ask that if you feel you've benefited from my help that you give a small donation, whatever you can, via venmo to my PA school tuition fund. ~karma~ If you are interested, please email me at AcceptedPAstudent@gmail.com. I look forward to helping all you prospective students! Best, Hailey xox
  2. If anyone is willing to check out my second draft, I would appreciate it so much! Just PM me and I will send it your way. Also, for those who need feedback, I am completely willing to swap. Feel free to send me any drafts you have!
  3. I have written my personal statement and mentioned that I am bilingual in English and Spanish. My native language is English, but I have taken 10 years of Spanish courses and would consider myself pretty fluent (I use my Spanish daily with patients in an inpatient setting). Has anyone who has had past interviews, and is bilingual, been given an interview question in their second language? This could just be pre-application anxiety, but I see myself potentially walking into an interview already a nervous disaster and then just totally blowing it if they asked me a question in Spanish that I didn't quite understand. Thanks in advance!
  4. This week, I am continuing my series on the most common personal statement mistakes. If you didn’t catch part one, check it out here. Below, you can find five more mistakes that applicants make when writing their personal statements. Writing About Something That Makes You a “Good Applicant” - Referencing being a “strong applicant” in a personal statement is not something I am a huge fan of. Your goal throughout your academic and clinical experiences should be to build a foundation that will make a better PA student and a stronger PA. It should not be about checking off boxes just because you think that it's what adcoms want to see. Don’t list off your extracurriculars in your personal statement, including things because you feel that they make you a “more competitive” applicant. This essay is not a resume. Instead, write about experiences that you’ve had that are central to your decision to pursue this profession, not about those that you think adcoms want to hear about. Addressing Difficult Topics the Wrong Way - To include or not to include… that always seems to be the question. Whether it’s bad grades, mental health issues, struggles with addiction or other life tragedy, it’s hard to know what should be addressed in a personal statement. I find that when applicants choose to include difficult topics, they focus too much on the negative without emphasizing the positive while including lots of unnecessary details. They often don’t even mention how their experience was relevant to their journey towards the PA profession at all. The big takeaway here is if you are going to touch on a difficult topic in your personal statement, make sure that it's an integral part of your journey before dedicating characters to it. If you have decided to include it, the best thing you can do is be concise about shortcomings/difficult subject matter/etc. Don't dwell on the negative. Instead, emphasize how you addressed the issue whether it's mental health, grades, chronic illness or whatever other issue or circumstance you experienced. Did you grow from it? Did it push you towards the profession more? Did it motivate you to change something? Explore that. Forcing the Reader to Read Between the Lines - I can’t tell you how many times I highlight a sentence and make the comment, “Why?” Applicants will often say something like, “Being a paramedic/scribe/MA/EMT made me want to become a PA. It was a great experience.” But, why?! What exactly was it about this experience that drove you to pursue your goal of becoming a PA? When sharing your experiences, make sure you say exactly what you want to say. Don’t force the reader to make inferences about your feelings and insights. Using Passive, Questioning Language - This one seems minor but it can change the entire tone of your essay. Let me give you an example - “Some of my grades in my undergraduate career were not stellar, but I think that with my recent successes I am likely more prepared to take on PA school. I know it will be a challenge but I feel I could be ready.” Try to avoid using terms like, “I feel… I think… Could… Would... Probably… Likely…” when projecting your future success. Be certain of yourself in your language and your tone. Reframing this and emphasizing some stronger language - “Although I occasionally struggled early on in my undergraduate career, my more recent successes are a reflection of my true academic ability. PA school will be a challenge, but I know that I am ready and more prepared than ever to take it on.” In this iteration, you’ve said that your recent successes are reflective of your abilities, not that “they might be.” You have said that you “know” you are prepared to handle PA school as opposed to just “thinking” you could be ready. Flowery Language - Last, but definitely not least, flowery language. This one is an essay killer. “The morning was crisp and bright when I stepped out my creaky, old door. I noticed the beautiful, pink rose sprouting from the green bush, covered with dew droplets on petals that were as bold and stunning as they were fragrant.” This is drowning in unnecessary descriptors. Please, don’t do this. Adcoms don’t want to read this. You probably don’t even want to read this. It’s all filler. Tell an engaging story but avoid using flowery, overly descriptive prose that says absolutely nothing while taking up an offensive amount of characters. Be concise and intentional with your writing.
  5. Hey y’all! I just posted a new article geared towards pre-PA students. It’s part one in a two part series about the biggest mistakes I see when critiquing and editing personal statements!
  6. Hey y’all! For those of you that don’t know, I have started a personal statement editing service. I have read more than 100 statements over the last year working with PA school applicants and have really honed in on what makes a good essay. I was fortunate enough to have significant support from this community as well as r/prephysicianassistant with my own essay, and I want to pay it forward. For those of you working on your personal statements right now, feel free to DM me and I would be happy to give you some feedback on your draft for FREE. No strings attached. If you like the initial feedback I provide on your essay and you’re interested in using a service for your PS, we can talk more about working together! I want to say that there are plenty of applicants who DO NOT NEED TO USE AN EDITING SERVICE. There are people here and over on the prePA subreddit who will offer to help with your personal statement. Use them. Seriously. That being said, some essays need a lot more work than others, and in those cases working with a service (any personal statement editing service with a solid reputation, not just mine) can be helpful. Either way, I’m happy to read through things and give you some pointers, even if you’re not interested in using my paid service. If you want more information about my service, would like to check out reviews from students I helped this past cycle or are interested in reading articles I have written about the writing process, you can take a look at my page here: https://m.facebook.com/thepersonalstatementproject/
  7. Writing a personal statement is one of the most difficult parts of the application process. For some, it may be the single most daunting and intimidating aspect of applying to PA school. The personal statement is something I have discussed here before, with previous articles addressing what the personal statement is and the best way to go about writing it. If you already have a solid understanding of the purpose of the personal statement and have an idea of how you will approach the writing process, you may be thinking about what pitfalls you should try to avoid. After reading and critiquing nearly a hundred personal statements over the last year, I’ve learned that most applicants are all making the same mistakes when writing their essays. In a two part series over the next two weeks, I will be sharing the biggest mistakes applicants are making when writing their personal statement. Here are the first five: 1. Forgetting the Question at Hand - This one is huge, and I tend to make comments about this concept on almost every essay that I read. The purpose of the personal statement is to explain who you are while answering the question, “Why PA?” It really is that simple, and because of that it’s so easy to lose sight of why you’re writing in the first place. I get to the end of so many essays and think, “I have no idea why you want to be a PA.” Which is a huge issue. My advice is to make sure you aren’t getting so caught up in the details of sharing your story that you forget the question at hand. When speaking about your experiences, work to explain how they furthered your interest in the PA profession. Continue to speak directly to that idea throughout the entirety of your essay. 2. Speaking in Generalities - Many applicants write about how they’re interested in medicine or healthcare… but there are so many careers that allow you to work in medicine and healthcare! Be sure that your essay is addressing the PA profession directly. Don’t say that you want to work in healthcare, or that your goal is to be a great provider. Say that you want to be a PA, and tell the reader explicitly why. 3. Telling too Many Stories - Applicants often tell too many stories centered around other people in their personal statement. Often times, each paragraph is a patient story, or a story about a provider they shadowed or have worked with. Your personal statement should not be a series of observations about others. Tell one or two stories about other people, max. Make sure sure that your essay is still about you. And be certain to share your insights on how these experiences furthered your desire to become a PA. 4. Not Telling a Coherent Story - Oftentimes I read through an essay and find that there is nothing that is connecting each of the individual paragraphs. The essay will feel disjointed and scattered, creating a big distraction for the reader. One remedy for this is to identify a theme. You don’t necessarily need to construct a dramatic literary device - a theme can be subtle. Having some kind of running thread throughout your essay that can provide a backbone to relate all your stories helps with continuity. Overall, a theme can make an essay much easier to read. 5. Transitions - This is my absolute, number one personal pet peeve. Seriously, it kills me. I would say that in about 80% of the essays I read I end up writing, “How does this paragraph relate to the last? These are two completely unrelated ideas and you’re in need of a transition.” I find that applicants will regularly paste five paragraphs into a document, with each paragraph having no connection to the next. Starting a new paragraph is NOT a transition. Transitions are so important, as they’re the glue that will hold your essay together. Do not abandon basic grammar and writing rules just because the personal statement is a format that you’re uncomfortable with. Be sure that each paragraph feeds into the next. Much like a theme, transitions create flow throughout an essay and they’re integral to creating a seamless, easy to read personal statement. Keep these common mistakes in mind throughout the writing process. Check back next week when I will share five more of the biggest mistakes that applicants make when writing their personal statements.
  8. The Finer Details of the Personal Statement By Hannah Turner Writing is a special form of masochism. You construct something you’re deeply proud of, fretting over the mechanics of each sentence and the placement of every word, only to ask peers and editors to tear it apart completely. You take in their criticisms, ditch the bad ideas and get right back to work on the next draft. Along the way you have to let go of concepts that you were deeply attached to, and it hurts. In the end, the writing process is satisfying in its own right - in search of perfection you can create something really remarkable. The personal statement is an especially challenging form of writing, mostly because it’s so… deeply personal. The ideas and words that you choose to share are reflective of who you are; not only is it difficult to write about and articulate your own personal experiences and feelings, but you then have to submit this material to the editing process, which at times can be brutal. When applying to PA school, the personal statement is a challenging rite of passage that each of us must endure. So, what exactly is the PA school personal statement? At first glance, the parameters appear to be simple - it’s a 5,000 character essay which asks the question “Why are you interested in being a PA?” Although this question seems direct, there are nuances to the essay that are left unstated. First and foremost, implied in any personal statement is the idea that this piece of writing should explain who you are. That means that this is your chance for the admissions committee to get to know you. In addition to answering “Why PA?” and “Who are you?” your personal statement should also chronicle your background, experiences in healthcare and understanding of the PA profession. Although the prompt asks a singular, unassuming question, it quickly becomes a complicated web. A good personal statement will integrate the answers to all of the stated and unstated questions seamlessly. A big piece of understanding the personal statement is recognizing how programs utilize this portion of your application. The admissions committee will have your transcripts, summaries of clinical, volunteer and non-healthcare work experiences, information about awards or scholarships and explanations of any extracurricular activities. Although this is a major part of your application, a lot is left unsaid. They have your resume, but that doesn’t encompass who you are as a person. Are you are deeply passionate about caring for the medically underserved? Do you have a desire to work in primary care so that you can give back to your community? Tell the admissions committee about it! Here is your big opportunity to shine and leave your mark. The personal statement can also give you the chance to discuss any personal issues, discrepancies in your application or bumps in the road. Some applicants choose to address their upbringing or any disadvantages they experienced in their childhood and adolescent years. Others will briefly touch on academic struggles and extenuating circumstances they dealt with that caused disruptions in their coursework. The floor is yours to expand on anything you feel isn’t clear. Writing your personal statement will almost certainly be challenging, but it’s a necessary evil. This essay will allow admissions committees to understand who you are and what has been driving you towards the PA profession. It will give them an idea of what was happening in all of the space between the lines of your resume. Be genuine and get personal, because the personal statement can make or break your application. No pressure. For tips on writing your personal statement, check out this article about the five steps that make the process easier.
  9. Hey all! This is going to be my 2nd time applying, and I'm in the middle of re-writing my PS. Long story short, the reason for not getting accepted the 1st time around was largely (if not entirely) due to my low GPA. I just finished my masters in science (3.91 GPA for my master's degree), so hopefully I'll have a little more luck this time. My question is mainly if I should directly discuss my GPA from college or not. I know they will obviously still see the GPA, but I feel like doing well through my master's degree with mainly all science classes should also help to show that I am serious about my academics and have the ability to do well. I want my PS to have a positive tone, so I don't want to spend a huge amount of time focusing on the "bad" parts. Would it be frowned upon if I didn't really mention the low GPA (like they're expecting me to address it or give some sort of reasoning?) or will it be okay to just maybe say a sentence about overcoming the low gpa, something of that sort? Any suggestions? Thanks!
  10. Hi all! This is just a rough draft, so I am just curious if I am heading in the right direction! I realize the flow is kind of shaky, so any and all critiques are most welcome! Thank you! The past summer I spent working at the Inn at Belden Village Assisted Living showed me an entirely new aspect of my desire to care for others. During the time I spent working there I flourished in the opportunity to demonstrate care with integrity and purpose. I also solidified my desire to give care to others in a higher level in the medical field as a Physician Assistant (PA). In particular, having worked in a special care unit with individuals I was able to learn how debilitating health issues can be when they progress throughout a person’s life into their final years. This experience has further motivated me in that I hope to work with patients to help possibly prevent various health deteriorating conditions, before they render a person to Hospice. Furthermore, working with residents who are dying has enriched my sensitivity and empathy for those in such circumstances. I have always been a compassionate person. Even as a young child I never failed to attempt to rescue a stray dog, at times forcing my mother to pull over the car so I could bring the animal to safety. My love for animals has endured, which initially enticed my interest in biology. These classes were a gateway in high school, where I was allowed to explore various career aspects. I realized my compassion for caring for animals extended beyond to people health care. Additionally, while many things in life can be in a grey area, I was drawn to the finite answers that could be reached in the exploration in science. I found pleasure in reaching a conclusion through critical thinking, experimentation and analysis- I still do enjoy this process. Around the end of my senior year of high school, I began to wonder how I would be able to apply both my compassionate and analytical skills to any career. I didn’t see how sensitivity could ever fit into the hard factual world of science. It was a simple suggestion by my mother to look into a profession I had never heard of that ultimately sparked my interest in the career as a PA. It was a dream come true for me as I realized that I could provide quality health care to patients and yet still maintain my dreams of having a family. The profession resembled the exact balance of compassion and tactfulness I ultimately want in my life. I have always prided myself on being a calm and levelheaded person in all that I do. I have the ability to evaluate a situation from all aspects before making a purposeful decision, which has helped me not only academically but also in my relationships. However, my junior year of college presented me with challenges I was unable to match. Amongst taking some of the most difficult courses of my academic career, I was plagued by an uncertain diagnosis of PCOS. Unfortunately, my emotions and stress about my health affected my performance in the classroom, which lead to mediocre grades. At the end of my junior year, I learned to better cope with the condition and chose to rise above the circumstance and brought what remained of my grades up. I have also elected to retake a course, as I am confident that the previous grade does not fully reflect my abilities. I have also gained insight about life management, so that were I to be thrown into a similar circumstance, my academics would not suffer due to my personal crises. In my pursuit of my dreams, I shadowed a number of PAs in the emergency room. These opportunities have furthered my ambitions, as I was able to encounter a wide variety of patients, each with unique health cases. There were more than often times when the PA I was shadowing was faced with predicaments that would test their morals- anyone and everyone is permitted to pursue care from the emergency room. I was subjected to everything from traumas to heartburn. Often, patients would be misinformed regarding their perceived health concerns, yet every PA calmly and respectably addressed and corrected their knowledge. The PAs demonstrated authority with integrity over each individual case. Their relationships with their physicians were also ones of mutual respect and comradeship. The physicians trusted the PAs’ decisions and the PAs revered all interventions of the physician. Shadowing has shown me that I possess numerous desirable qualities in order to excel through the doctor PA patient relationship. I am understanding, empathetic, practical, and collegial. I was given the unique opportunity in my life to not only research various aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, but also work very closely with a community of people that happen to suffer from dementia. Throughout my research I have learned a number of things, the human body is a complex and devious machine that needs to be respected and admired. There are still so many things that we do not understand yet, and getting to take a first-hand part in this type of research has been enlightening. My undergrad research has been enriched by my work done at the retirement home, as I was able to experience this disease through another lens- the human eyes. Often times, research can be viewed as a cold field that lacks the intrapersonal aspects of other careers. By having an experience in both fields, behind the microscope and with the living people, I was able to realize that I crave equilibrium of the two. In being a PA I will not only be presented with health problems that need to be solved, but I will also get to directly express my care for people.
  11. Any comments would be greatly appreciated, applying this coming cycle! Picture this: a first post-operative visit, open reduction and internal fixation of a tibia/fibula fracture with the dressing being taken down, and then a four year old vomits on my shoes, and he wasn’t even the patient; the patient, shortly thereafter, became lightheaded and proceeded to pass out. Despite this less than appealing day in healthcare I still want to be a physician assistant (PA). I’ve witnessed medical tragedy, triumph, and mundane days in healthcare, and at the end of all of them I am yearning to become a PA. I come from a diverse medical family and have been exposed to medicine my entire life. My father, a 35-year veteran firefighter/paramedic, and my mom, sister, and grandmother, all registered nurses (RNs), helped expose me to healthcare. My mother is a RN, but also a first assist (FA) as well as a practice manager for a very successful plastic surgeon. From a young age I was not only submerged into the lifestyle of medicine, but also allowed the opportunity to observe, what I would later realize was the foundation of my medical career. At the age of 14, I witnessed my first surgery, which was a facelift and chin augmentation. After that first real exposure to medicine, I knew that medicine was my calling, and finding what avenue of medicine would be my mission. Upon entering college, I began to search for what part of medicine I was meant to achieve. I began my journey spending three years of my undergraduate career shadowing a well-respected general surgeon who specialized in surgical oncology at Tampa General Hospital. Throughout those years I was required to become certified in sterile technique allowing myself to not only observe, but occasionally assist, as well as help set up surgeries. Additionally I rounded with the surgeons, residents, PAs, and RNs; and began to learn more about what the job of a PA really involved. In watching all the parts of the medical team work together in an operative and post-operative manner only reinforced my appreciation of collaborative medicine. Outside of spending my days at Tampa General Hospital, I also began to volunteer regularly at Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa helping coordinate and plan events for the in-patient children and their families. I was in charge of weekly volunteer days with a medical organization at school spending time with the kids helping them and their families get any amenities they made need as well as assisting the medial staff in any way possible. I was able to allow the family sometime to themselves while I stayed with the kids, whether it was coloring, playing video games, making crafts or just conversing about their day. Additionally, my observations of the PA’s that were interacting with the patients expanded my understanding of the role and leadership a PA has in healthcare. While in my final year of undergraduate, which has continued through to present day, I was given the opportunity to work in a major, high volume, orthopaedic practice helping perform various tasks within a clinical setting. On a daily basis I am involved in the perioperative course of patient care, including some outpatient surgical procedures. I interact daily with medical doctors (MDs), PAs, nurse practitioners (NPs), and other members of the clinic staff in helping diagnose and treat patients. Some tasks included triaging the patient, to assisting in minor in-office procedures, to relaying information to the MDs, PAs, and NPs. My experience at this orthopaedic practice has allowed me to take part in a team-based approach to patient care. Medicine has always been a part of my life, and becoming a PA is my next step towards a fulfilling career in healthcare. Working alongside PA’s has taught me many valuable skills such as communication, teamwork, and attention to detail. I know my dedication, determination, and willingness to learn will provide me with the essential tools towards becoming a successful PA.
  12. What are some classic do's and don'ts for your CASPA personal statement, or even your supplemental? I'm looking for a check off list. Do's: explain how the PA profession fits you one personal thing career satisfaction something current and your understanding for the need for PAs and changes in healthcare. Don'ts: start off with "every since I was five years old...." They've heard it before. Don't be melodramatic or write a hollywood movie script --but where is the balance betweeen being personal and melodramatic?
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