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Best PA essay to date. Please review and tell me what you think

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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.

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A lot of the content you have works well, but you use quite a few unnecessary words.  When the application has a word count limit, these unnecessary words take up valuable real estate.


Here are some examples:


1) "Currently, at the age of thirty and unmindful of medication..." -- could be "Now thirty, and unmindful of medication...".


2)  "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."  -- could be "There, I learned about determinants of health, such as behavior, income and social class."


You've got some great experience.  I'd like to hear a bit more about your non-medical background, and more about how the opening scenario informed your decision to apply to PA school.  Cut those extra words, and you can let more of your life experiences shine.


Good luck!

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Thank you, I really do appreciate the feedback. I honestly had a great way with words thanks to Toastmasters (speak well write well), but never had a keen eye for identifying unnecessary words. @jlumsden, i don't mean to pry but i was reading one of your posts and I see that you are currently working international. I'm just curious to know if you have an MPH just because only PAs with MPHs can join doctors without borders and that was one of the reasons why I choose to complete my MPH before and separate to a PA degree to get the full meaning without being bias to just healthcare alone. If not, than what organization are you operating under? Thanks once again for the feedback...

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Some of your thought process seems a little jumbled. The passages take abrupt logical leaps of reasoning when there should be more gradual transitions along with context and qualifications for specific statements. Often times you're inserting things that seem unimportant to the context of the sentence. Like here, "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." Does getting an A grade average really seem necessary in this sentence? Keep your thought process concise. "Following undergraduate studies, I chose to gain a better understanding of the communities that I will one day influence by obtaining a Masters of Public Health" is fine. If you want to boast about grades, you are going to need to elaborate why getting good grades is important, and how that exactly increases your understanding of the communities. Qualify your statements, don't just simply make arbitrary statements. Create reasoning behind those statements and communicate that reasoning to your reader.

The initial story is good content wise, but the way in which the story is written is poor. Not too many descriptive words, it's hard for me to actually put myself in your shoes. Here is a quick example of how you can use descriptive words to provide atmosphere to the story.


It was the most frightening day of my life. Flames and smoke billowed menacingly from the walls of the apartment we called home. My father, an EMT and firefighter found us in the room and shouted, “We have to go!” . He led us crawling, one by one, through the unit, covering our faces until we made it outside. Second degree burns served as a reminder of that fateful night and what could have been if not for the courage of my father. It was the day I learned that if one cannot run, then walk, and if one cannot walk, then one must crawl. It does not matter how long the path is…. Etc etc. 

I wrote this kind of quick, but hopefully it illustrates my point a little better.

Overall, not bad content wise, but the presentation needs work.

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christopher --  At this point, I am a student at the University of Washington.  I don't hold an MPH, although in a past life, I studied linguistics.  We are now on break, and for my capstone project, I am working on kidney disease in Central America, independent of any organization.  


PM me if you would like more information.

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  • 9 months later...

Overall, a well worded essay. However, after reading it: I know where you went to school, I know your GPA and I know your resume. All of these are elsewhere in your application. I don't know why you want to be a PA. You've sold your background, but I don't feel you answered the question.

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I'd just recommend not bunching all PAs and MDs together. Some PAs see 50 patients a day while other MDs see 15. Is this the norm, no. But It does happen. I personally don't like the blanket statements, especially without a qualifier, but that's just me.


Also be really careful when talking about having to re-educate patients following visits with docs. While I think it's awesome and something I did myself as a MA working for an orthopedic surgeon, you don't want to offend an MD on admissions. Maybe focus more on a specific experienced that you grew from and less about calling all MDs poor patient educators.


Overall good essay but again, as Cop to PA said, it still needs a little bit of work to answer why do you want to be a PA.

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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.

Just a picky grammar thing. "...if one cannot run, THEN walk. If one cannot walk, THEN crawl. No matter how long it may take to reach the end, optimism and determination will push you through to finish." Try to avoid long, run-on sentences if you can.

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