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Willing to read and provide feedback to your personal statements

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Hi everyone,

As I excitedly await to begin the PA program I will be attending this fall, I realized that I will have some spare time to help Pre-PA individuals with their personal statements. I hope to provide some insightful feedback. Forewarning: It may take me a while to get back to you all, but I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. I will probably stop reading personal statements and giving feedback around July.


I know how stressful it is to write a stellar PS. A PS is crucial in setting you apart from the many applicants out there competing for the select few spots available per program. I was fortunate enough to find a few people on this online forum to review my PS. I found that they were some of the most helpful pieces of advice as they were the least biased sets of critiques I've ever had. As for my journey through the application cycle, I applied to around 14 programs and interviewed for 12 and got accepted to 10. I've gotten accepted to many of my top picks, including my number one choice. I felt very fortunate with the outcomes of my applications. I applied right out of undergrad and had the minimum patient care experience for many of the programs (~1000 hrs). I spent a lot of time writing my PS, knowing that it would be something that could offset some of the weak points of my application.

As a personal preference, I will choose not to share my own personal statement. I highly encourage you to post your PS here as it'll open opportunities for other people to read and possibly provide additional feedback.  

Good luck to you all! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can remember waking up in the recovery room and seeing my parents waving at me with big smiles on their faces. After having heart surgery at the young age of seven, it was comforting to have this be the first sight out of the operating room. Throughout my post-surgical hospital admission I developed an interest in what was happening around me and since that time I have been eager to learn more about the human body. I can remember being excited to go to doctor appointments growing up, and on my last visit with my pediatrician as a senior in high school I told her that I was going to take her spot one day. My early life experiences contributed to my interest in science and medicine, but it was experiences in my adult life that lead me to the decision to become a physician assistant. 


As a young freshman in college with minimal experience in the world of health professions, I chose biology as my major and was on the pre-medical track. I have always enjoyed science classes, and particularly loved anatomy my senior year of high school, so I decided that majoring in biology would be the best way to continue taking as many science courses as possible as an undergraduate. In addition to my coursework, I joined the pre-medical society, was a volunteer at the Children’s hospital, and was a member of multiple honor societies. One memorable experience during my undergraduate career was volunteering as a counselor at Camp Rhythm, a camp for children born with heart defects, which was organized by the hospital where I had my surgery as a child. This experience not only made me grateful that I was able to help my campers by relating to them in a different way than most of the other counselors, but also confirmed my desire to be able to help children like them as patients in the future. 


When it came time for graduation I knew I wanted to practice medicine, but I was not convinced that I was ready to go to medical school. In order to become more familiar with medical providers and how they practice, I took a position as a scribe at a local emergency department. My passion for medicine continued to grow with each shift and I was always eager to see what the day would bring. I developed close relationships with the entire healthcare team in the department, and I became familiar with the role of nurses, patient care technicians, radiology technicians, pharmacists, paramedics, respiratory therapists, and, of course, physicians. I excelled in my career as a scribe, which lead me to receive the “Scribe of the Year” award two years in a row, a promotion to floor trainer, and subsequently a promotion to project leader. During my time as a project leader I enjoyed meeting providers from different parts of the country while hiring and training scribes to work in various departments. I got to train scribes in both a classroom setting and a floor setting in which they were actively working with the providers. I was passionate about my work and went above and beyond to ensure that the new scribes had an equally positive experience with scribing as I did. For example, one of my scribes was struggling to learn all of the information in the beginning and needed some extra help. I offered to add more training shifts to the schedule and let her come in and shadow me so she would be able to reach the proficiency needed to work on her own. She later ended up becoming chief scribe of her department and is now in medical school. It is rewarding to know that by taking extra time out of my schedule I was able to contribute to someone being able to pursue their dreams. 


Although I loved project leading, I eventually obtained a position as a clinical research coordinator on the breast oncology team at Washington University in St. Louis. This allowed me to have a more typical schedule with less travel so I could start taking classes in order to be a more competitive applicant for graduate school. Working in clinical research was very interesting, however, the time I got to interact with the patients was minimal compared to what I was expecting. I missed having the ability to be present in the medical decision making process and found myself making excuses to run errands near the infusion center so I could go check on my patients while they were receiving chemotherapy. My desire for close interaction with patients lead me to working as a physician facilitator, which was a job that was recommended to me by a physician that I previously scribed for. 


As a physician facilitator I was able to scribe for providers while also functioning as a patient care technician. It was during this time that I got to work closely with physician assistants and began to understand their role in the healthcare team. Many of them held previous positions in different specialties and some even continued working in other specialties while picking up urgent care shifts as needed. This was something I was drawn to, as I like the idea of being able to practice in various patient care settings without having to complete a new residency each time. The collaboration with nursing staff and physicians was also something about physician assistants that was appealing to me. I firmly believe that the team approach to patient care is essential for the future of healthcare and helps to minimize medical error. Overall, this experience lead me to realize that my desire to practice medicine would best be fulfilled by becoming a physician assistant. 


Since I had been out of school for a while when I decided to apply to physician assistant school, I enrolled in a formal post-baccalaureate program in order to prove that I was able to handle the rigorous courses required for PA school. I found that studying was much easier in my post-baccalaureate career because my work experiences had motivated me to become a PA, which is reflected in my 3.9 GPA. In addition to my exceptional GPA, I was recommended to be a teaching assistant by my organic chemistry professor and taught one semester of undergraduate general chemistry lab. I also continued scribing part-time because it has always been a positive experience for me and I wanted to continue working in a healthcare setting. 



My life experiences have provided me with the knowledge, patience, and maturity that it takes to be successful as a medical provider. My desire to become a PA stems from a working knowledge of their role in health care and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve my goal of providing patient care as a physician assistant.

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Guest HanSolo

Hi rr,


I'm by no means an expert at this, but I read your statement and thought I could offer a few suggestions! Take them as you will. 


1) First impression, without even reading it, was that it looked too long. It's almost 1,200 over the character limit, so you're going to need to cut a few things or be more concise. 


2) Opening paragraph is cliche and, frankly, uninteresting. Look around and you'll find countless essays about people's experiences as a patient in the hospital as their opener. Maybe pick a more recent event that demonstrates a positive quality about you, a lesson learned, etc. Avoid stating you wanted to be a doctor. That's not what this essay is about. 


3) The entire statement reads like an annotated resume. This is a common place to start, but I would pick a few individual experiences that were important and really flush them out. Try to do more "showing" and less "telling." Things do not have to be chronological. They have your resume and details about your experiences with CASPA. This is your chance to expand. How did these experiences impact you. What did you learn. How has that prepared you for school. Make it personal! Inject emotion into this. Many times it reads like you were observing your life as a third party. 


4) Consider picking a theme. Right now I can see teaching as something you've enjoyed and is important to you. Role with it. PAs are teachers.


Right now it reads like a standard personal essay. It sounds like you're driven and respected based on your accomplishments, which is fantastic, but you need to show the reader why you would be a good provider


Best of luck! Feel free to repost any further revisions. 

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Only my first draft, definitely not close to the final! 

I have a BS in biology, cGPA 2.9. 

MS in Toxicology, cGPA 3.3; took very rigorous classes, some with MD residents. 




As a child, every day I received so much excitement from running around in the empty fields behind my house doing what all boys do best. I could, and in fact did, spend hours out in those very fields without a care in the world, simply chasing bugs and playing in the dirt. I was just like a pig in sunshine, my only cares were that of the sunshine, dirt and the beauty of each minute I had to spend in it. In the gentle winds blowing through the fields, I found a sense of peace.

Days and months went by as developers began building in that very field that I once found so much excitement in. The grounds that exemplified my youth were now covered in concrete pads and wood frames. I continue to search for that field, longing for the resemblance to the peace at mind and excitement it always brought me. We all hope to find that source of unbound peace and excitement every day, in our life and in our career.

            To think back to what ignited my burning passion for medicine is much like a game of mental gymnastics; there have been so many instances that have molded who I am and what I want to do for the rest of my life. The most prominent[Office1]  instance was that of a lady named Alice. Alice is one of my mother’s great friends that was diagnosed with stage IA laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma.  When I received the news, I was just beginning my academic journey as an undergraduate, states away from home. Something inside me was so eager to learn more about the diagnosis, various treatment options and the basic science behind all of this. Frequently, I found myself scouring through PubMed literature regarding the latest therapeutic options for various malignancies, this is something I now do daily. I then began working as a research assistant at an animal cancer center that was associated with my university. It was there that I thought I had found my calling, moreso, a piece of my calling. I loved everything about cancer research, from the specific therapeutic mechanisms to histology[Office2] . It was so fascinating and affects every single walk of life. As my undergraduate years went by I continued to crave more knowledge in cancer research, but I started to feel as if something was missing. I graduated from my undergraduate program and decided that I would pursue a Masters in Toxicology because I enjoyed so much the mechanistic chemistry behind pharmaceuticals, their adverse effects and pharmacokinetics. It was then that I found the missing puzzle piece – I want to help make a difference now, I want to form a bond with the patients that are going through such a scary time in their life, I want to be on the forefront of helping them fight that battle. As soon as I figured out that was what I was missing, I began trying to supplement that more into my research and day-to-day interactions with patients. I need to expand here!!!!!!![Office3] 

            Although my grades suffered during my last semester of my undergraduate degree and the first semester of graduate school, I learned a lot about myself during that darkest time. Trying to make ends meet holding a full-time research job, a side job during the evenings, dealing with my family falling apart states away, plus being a full-time student, was no easy balance. After many months of soul searching, I managed to make the best out of the situation at hand and began to thrive the rest of the way through my academic journey. My grades began to reflect that when I challenged myself with many rigorous classes that medical oncology residents were taking. I was able to gain even more strength and perseverance from that time and it further solidified my passion of becoming a health care provider, despite any endeavors I may face along the way.   [Office4] 

With over five years of combined experience in oncology as an oncology clinical trials research assistant and now an oncology clinical research associate, I have found my field of tranquility and excitement that I have been longing for. However, there is only one thing missing and that is the patient-healthcare provider interaction. [Office5] There is nothing I enjoy more than having the chance to form a relationship with someone who has received such tragic news and helping them along that journey, both emotionally and medically. I am overly eager to take my medical knowledge and passion to the next level, providing an unsurpassable level of care to each person I cross paths with and assuring them they will never be in the battler alone; we are in it together. The synergy of medicine and helping others never fails to bring me much excitement and I hope to exemplify that in my future role as a physician assistant.

 [Office1]Need diff word

 [Office2]better word

 [Office3]Not really sure how this sounds to the reader? I feel like it should be more focused, but it also sounds pretty good to me??


 [Office5]Should I delete this? Sounds repetitive…

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Hi, please can you give me some feedback on my rough draft?  Thank you in advance!


“No let’s take her to the hospital, no let’s take her to a native doctor, the hospital is too far for her to make it there alive” I heard some voices in the living room from my way back from playing at the park. It was my uncles and aunts arguing on whether to take my great great grandmother to the hospital or take her to a native doctors as her medical condition worsen out of the blue. They all agree to take her to the native doctor because the closest hospital from the village was too far for her to make it. Once at the native doctor, he did what he could and finally said there was nothing he could do about it and that her conditions was way to bad for him to do something about it. My uncles and aunts started panicking and tried to rush her to the hospital but unfortunately for us, she could not make it at the hospital. I was still in class 3 at that time and this was the first time the idea of pursuing a degree in the health care cross my mind because I wanted to help people from my village and other communities with lack of health care facilities from going through the same tragic experience that we and maybe other families in the community went through at that time.

With time going by I moved away from the idea of pursuing a degree in the healthcare to pursuing a degree in accounting. It was not until form 4 that I made up my mind to pursue a field in the health care. This was because of a biology class I was taking at the time.  It was a challenging course in which a lot of students were struggling in it while I was excelling. I finally made up my mind when we were studying the human heart because I understood and could draw and label every part of it. After this course, I thought to myself if I could master one of the most valuable organ of humans I could surely be of help in some underdeveloped communities. Since then, I have pay more interest in science courses with the hope to someday acquire this valuable skill that will enable me to help underserved villages.  

Over the course of the years, I have encounter many challenges that hinder my education. The most difficulty I have had is when I moved to the USA, it was really hard for me because the language and the culture was novel to me. I struggle in classes and I took longer hours than most student to do my homework. I had to put in a lot work to keep up with other students in class. This experience taught me to be patient and hardworking which I think will help me in the health care which is a demanding field.

In college, I have been involved in organization such as the PASOS (helping underserved high school students with questions about college and encouraging to continue their education). I have also been involved in the men's soccer team which have helped me to be discipline and to do my homework on time. My goal in the next few years is to become a physician assistant and to work in underserved communities being in the USA, South America or even back in Africa where I will be of help to more communities.

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