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First PA draft - please critique

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Hello all.

This is my very first draft of my personal statement for PA school. I touched on a few things that are important to me, such as my mission trip, but I feel like it may have gotten jumbled. I really wanted to focus on my desire to help people before they develop chronic conditions. Please critique and let me know which parts I should stress more and which I could do without. Also, I'm still working on a stronger conclusion. Right now it's 4341 characters with spaces. Thank you.


“Can I listen to your heart?” Kayla, the physician assistant (PA), asked the toddler crawling under the examination table. His mother had brought him to the emergency room (ER) for a fever and persistent cough. As a shadow, I was able to witness the patience that Kayla had for this restless child. She squatted to his level to make him feel comfortable and took the time to explain to his mother what she was looking for in terms of signs and symptoms of any serious illness. This pattern continued as she attended to patients with sprains, pregnancy complications, lacerations, etc. When she needed to examine an x-ray or test result, there was always the option to consult with the doctor for a second opinion. During my time as a shadow, I have met nurse practitioners, doctors, and other physician assistants who all work independently, yet as a team, to provide care for the ER patients. Mike, another PA I shadowed at that ER, has worked in several different specialties over the past 20 years, but enjoys emergency medicine because he can apply all of his skills. This ability to care for people in such a versatile, independent, caring manner is what attracted me to the PA profession.


As a child, I actually wanted to become a veterinarian because I loved caring for my pets. Whenever my dog got sick, I always volunteered to give him his medicine. However, after my senior year of high school, I became part of a team to go on a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. During this trip, we played with children in dirt streets, encouraged women in a jail, and sang with a youth group. Despite how I felt about animals, I could not forget the deep sense of fulfillment that comes with bringing a smile to a person’s face. From then on, I decided to modify my career goals from one that cares for pets to one that directly impacts a person’s life.


During my undergraduate studies, I applied this goal as a math tutor. I enjoyed spending extra time with my students to ensure they were confident in their understanding of a certain topic. All of my students were unique; therefore I initially assessed them to determine what kind of problems they had and which approach I should take when explaining a topic.

Until my last years of undergraduate studies, I did not know about the versatile profession of PAs. Prior to this discovery, my eagerness to help people and learn human biology led me to consider going to medical school. The more I researched, the more I learned about the similarities of PAs to doctors, particularly the ability to assess patients, prescribe medications, and even perform surgery. Once I recognized that PAs lack the stress of owning a practice, while gaining the flexibility to practice different specialties, I was swayed away from medical school and towards becoming a PA.


In order to gain more exposure to the healthcare field, I became an emergency medical technician (EMT). Over the past year, I have gained valuable experience in assessing patients and learning about various medical conditions. I treat each of my patients with the utmost respect, knowing that I may be in any of their positions one day. Most of my patients are from convalescent homes in medically underserved areas and have a list of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and renal disease.

There are no definitive cures for these conditions, but there are preventions. A few years ago, both of my parents went through a detox program run by a PA at our local family and urgent care center. She ordered blood tests to determine their levels of cholesterol, vitamins, and nutrients and met with them regularly to help them through the program. As people become more concerned with their health, the need for health professionals to assess and treat them will escalate. As a tutor, I taught students about math concepts they did not understand. As a PA, I would like to teach patients about their health to help them thrive and live a sustaining life.


Through tutoring, volunteering, and healthcare experience, I have learned compassion that I can apply to my future patients. The beauty of PAs is that I can specialize as I feel the desire to do so, while still being able to return to other fields. They are more affordable for the general population and more available for the increasing number of patients.

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I think this is a good start because you were able to include your wide variety of experiences. But I think some parts should shift focus. The intro paragraph is all about PAs you shadowed with one sentence on how it pertains to you at the end - I think it's good that you included the shadowing but all the details may be unnecessary and it might be more beneficial to write more on its relation to you. You might also consider using a different intro - I only say this because many applicants will have shadowing experiences and this will likely not make your paper standout. 


I liked that you included reasoning behind your decision to focus on PA school from medical school. 


Again, your second to last paragraph is focused on others until the end. The conclusion has a good start, but the ending is a little off. Sure, the affordability is great, but you want to leave them with a sense of why you should be chosen for the program, and not a general statement about the profession. 


Overall, it's a good start - maybe include more on your work as an EMT? It consists of direct patient care and would be more focused on you as a candidate - just an idea. 

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