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Another Personal Statement -- Does it Work?

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As the buzzer rang, my foot slipped out of the stirrup. Hands tight on the reins, I kicked my other foot loose and focused on the course ahead. Despite the setback to my ride, I won my division that day. What began as a love for horses taught me more than just how to ride. It taught me hard work, dedication, and for the first time in my life, confidence. I gained the ability to thrive under duress and succeed after failure. These qualities fostered through riding have cultivated me into a successful, resilient woman prepared to tackle the rigor of a physician assistant graduate program. With diverse experiences behind and ahead of me, I am prepared and excited for the next step in my journey: becoming a PA.


With a passion for serving others, I became an EMT. Practicing medicine has made me feel empowered. For this reason, I wish to expand my scope of practice and continue challenging myself within the medical field. Becoming a PA will allow me to practice both independent and collaborative medicine, while providing diagnosis, treatment and education with a patient centered focus. I have been able to offer compassion to patients in all walks of life, from giving a child a Band-Aid to informing someone of their loved one’s death. I meet incredible people who inspire me every day as an EMT, but I crave more than fleeting moments in the back of an ambulance. Each patient I encounter offers a new perspective and a stronger desire to pursue higher education as a PA. For the second time in my life, I am confident in my pursuit and abilities.


I joined the national bone marrow registry in college and was devoted to the cause. With the realization I could help on a larger scale, I took action and organized multiple registry drives at Virginia Tech. Organizing drives while concurrently succeeding in a rigorous academic curriculum signifies my dedication to service and successful time management. These skills will serve me as a future provider, successfully juggling multiple patients in a busy clinical setting. Becoming a PA will allow my passion for providing care and continued medical education to collide.


Part of my journey was learning how to determine the fine line between challenging myself and over-committing myself. As a sophomore, I over committed myself and struggled academically. Instead of accepting my performance, I grew from my mistakes. I learned how to appropriately manage my time and choose the responsibilities I could undertake while still being able to give a hundred percent. I demonstrated my ability to thrive by earning Dean’s List recognition three times while serving as master of ceremonies of my fraternity. Upon being granted the privilege of attending PA school, I will continue to prove my ability to effectively manage my time while making my commitment to my studies the top priority.


As a PA, I will be part of a healthcare team dedicated to caring for patients while satisfying my thirst for knowledge with lateral mobility in the medical field. The potential to continually learn and challenge myself in different specialties is an exciting prospect and allows me to continue to serve with a wide berth of knowledge. The PA profession was developed to expand medical care to those who need it most, and I look forward to serving this model. As a PA, I can begin serving and enter the workforce sooner, providing care to all.


I will also explore my desire to serve overseas by pursuing medical mission trips. My interest in global health spiked on a service trip to the Dominican Republic. The small community of El Cerrito had one clinic, and more often than not the line trailed out the door with people seeking treatment. Seeing this made me feel helpless. I want to serve medically, particularly in the community that provoked my passion.


As a reapplicant, I have dedicated the past year towards expanding my experiences, both personal and professional, continually demonstrating my commitment to the pursuit of becoming a PA. I continue to obtain patient care hours as an EMT whenever possible. I enrolled in upper-level science courses to continue fostering higher learning during my interim from school. I have dedicated time to serving as a volunteer in a hospital. I also sought out and earned the opportunity to shadow two PAs in emergency department settings. While receiving rejection letters was disheartening, I refuse to let it falter my motivation to become a PA.


The challenges and setbacks I have faced have served to mold me towards my goals. They have strengthened my determination and pursuit more than ever. The lessons I have learned will allow me to become a more proficient student as well as a skilled and empathic professional dedicated to service. I have encountered a multitude of incredible people throughout my journey, and it is my desire to continue to serve the best I can, whenever I can that propels me in the direction of a lifelong career and passion as a physician assistant.

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I should caveat my feedback by stating I have never applied to PA school before. I previously worked in undergraduate admissions and am currently struggling with editing my own personal statement.

I really like your hook and the first sentences really paint a picture. I especially love "I gained the ability to thrive under duress and succeed after failure." Your intro quickly devolves into more telling than showing (a common problem throughout). Why have you chosen this particular story to tell? Can you carry the theme of thriving under duress and succeeding after failure throughout the essay?

The essay bounced around a lot and I think it would benefit from cutting some sections and expanding others. A personal statement is not meant to read like a summary of your resume but highlight a few points. The entire essay is repetitive of the same ideas mentioned throughout, ie "there have been challenges but I am determined to succeed." Show the reader these challenges and your ability to overcome with a memory of a patient or a personal ordeal. I want to know more specifics about you as an EMT. Tell a short story to show your passion for serving others. Who are these incredible people you mention and how have they inspired you? When have you failed as an EMT and how did you succeed after? I would cut the bone marrow registry and mission trip unless you want to make one of those the main focus.

This is a good start! Keep at it!


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I tend to agree, the initial story is a good one. From then on out you are essentially restating things that are already in your application. I am curious is this essay entirely new or is it an edit of your essay from last year?

Try to think of additional experiences from your mission trips or work as an EMT that relate to your riding experience. Try to tie the two together "Because of this experience I knew I would be successful or it helped me during this low point etc". Think about the other applicants that you are up against, they also have likely had trouble balancing work and education, they also have healthcare experience and they are also likely a applicant. You want your essay to leap out at the admissions staff, not read like the thousand other essay's that the read every year.

Also any abbreviation that you use you need to define it the first use. So the first PA should be Physician Assistant (PA), likewise with EMT.

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