Hi! I finished a draft of my personal statement and would be very appreciative if someone could critique it.
This is what I have. Character count at 5712:
One night, around 3:30 am, a 17 year old girl woke up crying in pain as she laid balled up in bed in a fetal position. The girl’s roommate came bursting through the door, offering to take her to the ER. She had just woken up to the most excruciating abdominal pain. The random pain subsided, so she decided to wait until the morning. The following day ended with her leaving student services disappointed after being told nothing was wrong. This girl spent the next few years in and out of urgent care and express care offices only to be told the same thing, with no further diagnosis.
This young girl was me. After finishing college and returning home, I eventually changed doctors. I was told if I wanted to be seen quicker, I could see the Physician’s Assistant (PA), Laura, instead. As Laura had enough to spend with me, I was able to give her a full history of everything that I had been experiencing. She was able to hear all of my frustrations and pain. Laura suggested an ultrasound to confirm what she already knew the problem was. The ultrasound tech, along with the nurse, performed my ultrasound. A team of doctors discussed the images. A few days later, Laura had me come in for a visit to explain to me the results. She must have spent 30 minutes with me, answering all of my questions and ensuring me everything was OK. Now imagine if healthcare facilities across the nation, were able to collaborate effectively to treat patients as Laura and her team did. This was my initial encounter with a PA. Laura became my new found inspiration to become a Physician’s Assistant.
As I started researching Physician Assistant schools, I started to believe I was at a disadvantage. I questioned my decision to take away my love for math and science. I had changed my major from Biochemistry to Public Health at the end of my second year and started my journey towards working with people. When I initially changed my major, I was sure I wanted to become a Public Health advocate. After my peers and I rallied with an initiative called “Smoke Free Horry”, I was planning to work in public policy. I even figured I could study the distribution of diseases and work in epidemiology. I always knew I would end up doing something that improved the health in others. Laura and my own experiences helped me realize that this would involve individual health. I spent the next two years acquiring the required prerequisites. My public health background now gives me the confidence that I can provide optimal care that stem from different influences. As a PA, I will be able to become that link in a healthcare system where medicine meets interventions and education to treat present health issues and prevent future ones.
To intentionally advance my understanding of medicine in a hospital setting, I work as a patient care technician at Roper Hospital. In my role, I have been introduced to many health care disciplines such as: phlebotomy, respiratory care, use of EKG machines. I have learned how to use and identify medical equipment, effective methods of infection control, and gained experience with geriatrics. Not to mention, my instinctive traits that are required to ensure patient safety and recovery have been emphasized like strong attention to details, communication skills, and having a good memory. I did not realize though, that the prior years I spent working as a therapeutic assistant at a children’s behavioral health center would prepare me for my future role as a Physician’s Assistant as well. At that time, I was looking to generally broaden my health experience with children. This exposure gave me hands on understanding in human development as well as intervening in crisis situations. It helped me realized I enjoyed being in direct contact with young patients while working to increase their overall health.
Immediately after college, I spent a service year tutoring elementary and middle schoolers in English and math. Although not directly related to health, I spent time with a group of students overcoming their unexpressed, emotional and socioeconomic issues that created barriers to their learning, just as I plan to do with my future patients to overcome any health barriers. Because of my degree in Public Health, I realize some social determinants of health include economic status, physical barriers, and racial aspects due to community and family history. These specific understandings will help me to be a successful PA. My Americorps experience encouraged me to be flexible and easily adaptable to change. Adolescent aged students are often capricious, which required me to quickly realize my lessons couldn’t always go as planned. I appreciate the flexibility of PAs. I would like to receive broad training to build a multitude of skills and deliver comprehensive medical care.
After successfully completing a PA program, I plan to work in PEDS or women’s health. After years of working, I eventually want to go into private practice while committing 1-2 days a week to an area with a known health professional shortage. I look forward to completing clinical rotations in internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN. I anticipate gaining my Masters in Physician Assistant studies at a program that I believe will encourage their students to be public health leaders while teaching them to adequately apply medical principles. With every interaction I have with a PA, from my personal visits to those I work with at Roper Hospital, I continue to realize their significant role in modern medicine. I can not wait to be a vital character in a system that encompasses compassion, consideration and duty to all of those with a medical need or health risk.
I am looking to submit by tonight and would appreciate the help. I would prefer if you are a PA, work at the pa school, admissions, or something of this sort but all help is definitely welcome.
Please PM me if you can provide some assistance
Undergrad Ed School: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Major (GPA) // Minor (GPA) : Biology (3.58) with 2 minors in Chemistry (2.9) & Psychology (4.0)
Cumulative Undergrad. GPA: 3.68
Science Undergrad. GPA: 3.58
Post Bachelor GPA: N/A
Age at application time : 22
1st GRE - V: 141 Q: 150 W: 3.0 // I unfortunately scheduled the GRE after taking 2 summer finals (Physics and Psychology of Individual Differences) so this score is pretty much a baseline for how I would do with minimal / no studying.
2nd GRE - V: 149 Q 161 W: 3.0 // The GRE prep I used was Magoosh and they did not have an analytical practice section so my AW score was the same, but my verbal and quantitative scores improved tremendously! Magoosh usually has pretty good sales for a 6 month subscription for $125 (regular price of 1 month subscription) around January and July.
Direct Patient Care : (Patient Care Technician / CNA)
Cerebrovascular / Diabetic floor (2 years ~2,500 hours)
Float pool / Anywhere in the hospital (~500 hours)
Extracurricular / Leadership / Research Activities:
Greek organization // Junior and Senior scholarship committee
Pre-PA club // Treasurer 2 full terms
UTC Medical Society // Member
Volunteer for local hospital, Adult and Children's Emergency Room (200 hours) Children's Believe Campaign and St. Jude Up till Dawn participant (~25 hours), Girls on the Run (~10 hours)
Supporter of various organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Make A Wish foundation, TC Thomson's Children's Hospital, Girl Scouts of America
PA in Neurosurgical and Spine Unit (Shadowed 150 hours)
RN who's director/manager of Neuroscience (Known for 2 years)
RN Clinical Staff Leader (Known for 1 year)
Professor who I had 3 classes in Microbiology (B) , Immunology (A), and Microbial Ecology (A)
Saving one more recommendation request for a potential PA or MD
Personal Statement Topic: I talked about my personal childhood struggles with many health issues in my family & how I wanted to pursue a career that provides access to healthcare . I then weaned into my work experience at the hospital and mentoring. Ended it with a description of the PA I shadowed and all the qualities that I believe I had to be an important asset in healthcare.
Schools Applied: Six. UTHSC, South College - Knoxville, South College - Nashville, Lincoln Memorial University, Lipscomb University, and UAB
Application Submitted Date:
06/03 for UTSHC, LMU, and UAB
Late June for South College Knoxville and Lipscomb
Mid August for South College- Nashville
Schools Received Application Date: Most of the schools received my application in less than a week after it was verified. Verified 2 days after I submitted my CASPA application.
Interview Invites: LMU
Attempts: 2nd (Applied pretty late 1st cycle to 1 school because of graduation/deadline issues so this theoretically would be my 1st real application cycle)
Plan B if all else fails:
1. Pursue an accelerated Masters in Pharmacology to compensate all this waiting since most of these PA schools matriculate in August 2019
2. Take the MCAT. Some PA schools allow MCAT scores and would be a good refresher in basic prerequisite courses.
3. Shadow MD's, PA"s, NP's, PT's
I would greatly appreciate all the strengths and weaknesses in my current application. Any other ideas to improve my application would be helpful as well. Thank you guys so much!