Just rewrote my whole Personal Statement the first one was awful. Can someone tear this apart and send me feedback? The more criticism the better, trust me. My feelings will NOT be hurt.
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.
I recently started a job as a pharmacy technician two weeks ago but I submitted my CASPA about a month ago. I wanted to go in and include my new job on my CASPA to show that I was hired and that I will be working as a pharm tech from now on, but I am not sure if this information will be distributed to schools or how to even update my CASPA. Has anyone done this and if so, how did you do it? Thanks!
Hi guys! I graduated in 2017 and on my track to dental school. I actually applied to dental school that year but got rejected to all because I took my DAT too late. However, later tht year I decided that dentistry isn't for me, plus I'm not ready to take on a huge debt afterwards (300-500k sounds scary too me). So i'm changing my goal towards PA.
I started researching PA programs and most of them accept my dental assistant hours as PCE. I have around 400-500 hours so i'm planning to finish my prereq (anat, physio, micro) by the end of this fall. Then do either CNA or phlembotomist programs and work for 1 year and a half to collect hours. I'm aiming at 2000-3000 hours. Do you guys think this is a good plan? Or do people generally have way more hours than this?
I'm also concerned about why PA schools actually accept dental assistant hours? I know DA have patient interactions but aren't those more towards dental school? Won't they question why am I even applying to PA schoool? If i use those hours, will they ask why not dentistry? I mean i think it's probably gonna come up during the interview anyways. But will it look bad to have DA hours?
Also, most programs require one letter from a clinician. I 'm still looking for a doctor, PA, or NP to shadow. I'm puttin NP on my list since PA and NP are so similar. I'm wondering if it's necessary to shadow a PA? I know some programs said it's 'recommended' but would it be ok if i shadow NP (i'm planning to ask my NP if I could shadow her).
I'm also wondering about LOR. Since most schools want LOR from any clinician, would it be okay if I actually use my dentist's LOR tht I used to apply to dental school?? I'm not sure if it will look bad for PA schools but im actually really close to my dentist since I worked and shadowed him for almost 2 years. and I outlined my own LOR for him to edit so i know it's a strong LOR too lol
Also, how wuld the schools confirmed that our hour are accurate? Will the schools need our clinicians to sign somethng? I don't have such form from my dentist or the physicians I shadowed back 4 years ago
Sorry, I'm still new to PA field and still doing research about it. So if some of my questions are too easy to answer, I apologize in advance!!