Hey everyone, I am a recent college graduate (December 2018) and I have been interested in PA for about 3 years now and with my recent graduation I’m sure you all can relate to the panick of the uncertainty of my life that I just stepped into 😂. I’ve mostly been curious about my competitiveness for this upcoming cycle (2019-2020). Here are my stats
Last 60 hours: 3.65
Side Note: I initially had a 2.8 GPA freshmen year and worked my tail off to get where I am now. After I transferred to a new school beginning Junior year I made 24 A’s to 7 B’s with no C’s or D’s. I know schools take into account upward trends and if that isn’t one then I don’t know what is!
HCE/PCE:By time of application will have have about 750 hours with 300 being a Home Health Aid and 450 as a PT Aide. For schools who do not have rolling admissions I will wait until about late July to apply so that would bring me to around 1000 hours
LOR: Gastrointestinal Oncology PA, DPT who is my supervisor at work, Chemistry Proffesor
Shadowing: 100 hours shadowing Oncology PA, Family Practice NP; Oncology MD
GRE: Verbal: 153 Quant: 150
Volunteer Hours: Over 500hours through my fraternity,NAACP, and my own efforts. Mostly registering people to vote, educating minors on sexual health, March of Dimes, and various other projects me and my fraternity brothers could think of. I believe this will be the strongest part of my application. I have a ton of other experiences of volunteer/community service I could speak of but that would take hours to type out 😂
My personal statement will more than likely focus on my experience with the many different types of clients I have dealt with as a HHA. Going into someone’s home is a direct view into their life and lifestyle and the differences and experiences between each is so unique it’s jaw dropping. I’ve had some crazy experiences to say the least 😂
I appreciate any feedback. Thank you all!
*Added some updates so I decided to bump!
I need advice on how to handle a certain advisor at my school. There is a lot to this story but here is a nutshell: I'm majoring in Cell and molecular biology and this individual is the advisor for my degree. When I express my interest in PA school he shuts me down and makes me feel stupid for wanting to go that route (he discourages people from the medical feild even though this degree was designed for pre med and pre health students). I've gone to another professor to sign up for classes and when he found out he sought me out and said he is the only one who should be advising me. He told me I'm going to graduate in a year although that won't be enough time to finish my pre recs for PA school and when I say this he flat out talks over me and doesn't listen to me. This advisor has behaved inappropriately with me before and I have recognized him as a emotional manipulator. When I stand up for my self and don't do exactly what he wants me to do or I dont let him pry into my personal life he acts like a humongous baby and treats me like I'm a bad person. This creates an immense amount of stress and anxiety for me when all I want to do is just enjoy school and do well. I have to take 3 more classes with this person plus a senior project but I have dread about it because of the way he acts. My school is so small that the way its designed, he's in charge of much of my academics because of my degree. I've even though about transfering schools because this feels so unhealthy but I don't want to run from a problem just because its hard. Any advice?
I have written my personal statement and mentioned that I am bilingual in English and Spanish. My native language is English, but I have taken 10 years of Spanish courses and would consider myself pretty fluent (I use my Spanish daily with patients in an inpatient setting). Has anyone who has had past interviews, and is bilingual, been given an interview question in their second language? This could just be pre-application anxiety, but I see myself potentially walking into an interview already a nervous disaster and then just totally blowing it if they asked me a question in Spanish that I didn't quite understand. Thanks in advance!
I am taking a gap year following my undergraduate at the University of Idaho, and applying this cycle in May of 2019. I am terrified of being denied entry, I feel that there isn't much that stands out in my application. I am doing an impressive internship this summer, but will be applying before it begins. I hope to matriculate into a surgical career, but am keeping my options open at this point. Please give me your 100% candid feedback. I'm an Idaho resident, from a medically underserved area btw.
Paid PCE: ~800 hours as a surgical floor CNA
Unpaid PCE: 221.25 hours ED volunteer
Scribe Hours: 45 hours Free clinic
PA shadowing: 80 hours (FP, Surgical Speciality)
MD shadowing: 15 hours (FP, Orthopedic Surgeon)
Volunteer hours: ~300 Muscular Dystrophy Association, Environmental, Greek
Definitely applying to: Northern Arizona, Samuel Merritt University, Western University of Health Sciences, Idaho State University, Cornell University, PACE University (Lenox Hill)
Maybe applying to: Carroll University, Salus University, Sullivan University, Albany Medical College, Touro University
This week, I am continuing my series on the most common personal statement mistakes. If you didn’t catch part one, check it out here. Below, you can find five more mistakes that applicants make when writing their personal statements.
Writing About Something That Makes You a “Good Applicant” - Referencing being a “strong applicant” in a personal statement is not something I am a huge fan of. Your goal throughout your academic and clinical experiences should be to build a foundation that will make a better PA student and a stronger PA. It should not be about checking off boxes just because you think that it's what adcoms want to see.
Don’t list off your extracurriculars in your personal statement, including things because you feel that they make you a “more competitive” applicant. This essay is not a resume. Instead, write about experiences that you’ve had that are central to your decision to pursue this profession, not about those that you think adcoms want to hear about.
Addressing Difficult Topics the Wrong Way - To include or not to include… that always seems to be the question. Whether it’s bad grades, mental health issues, struggles with addiction or other life tragedy, it’s hard to know what should be addressed in a personal statement. I find that when applicants choose to include difficult topics, they focus too much on the negative without emphasizing the positive while including lots of unnecessary details. They often don’t even mention how their experience was relevant to their journey towards the PA profession at all.
The big takeaway here is if you are going to touch on a difficult topic in your personal statement, make sure that it's an integral part of your journey before dedicating characters to it. If you have decided to include it, the best thing you can do is be concise about shortcomings/difficult subject matter/etc. Don't dwell on the negative. Instead, emphasize how you addressed the issue whether it's mental health, grades, chronic illness or whatever other issue or circumstance you experienced. Did you grow from it? Did it push you towards the profession more? Did it motivate you to change something? Explore that.
Forcing the Reader to Read Between the Lines - I can’t tell you how many times I highlight a sentence and make the comment, “Why?” Applicants will often say something like, “Being a paramedic/scribe/MA/EMT made me want to become a PA. It was a great experience.” But, why?! What exactly was it about this experience that drove you to pursue your goal of becoming a PA? When sharing your experiences, make sure you say exactly what you want to say. Don’t force the reader to make inferences about your feelings and insights.
Using Passive, Questioning Language - This one seems minor but it can change the entire tone of your essay.
Let me give you an example - “Some of my grades in my undergraduate career were not stellar, but I think that with my recent successes I am likely more prepared to take on PA school. I know it will be a challenge but I feel I could be ready.” Try to avoid using terms like, “I feel… I think… Could… Would... Probably… Likely…” when projecting your future success. Be certain of yourself in your language and your tone.
Reframing this and emphasizing some stronger language - “Although I occasionally struggled early on in my undergraduate career, my more recent successes are a reflection of my true academic ability. PA school will be a challenge, but I know that I am ready and more prepared than ever to take it on.” In this iteration, you’ve said that your recent successes are reflective of your abilities, not that “they might be.” You have said that you “know” you are prepared to handle PA school as opposed to just “thinking” you could be ready.
Flowery Language - Last, but definitely not least, flowery language. This one is an essay killer. “The morning was crisp and bright when I stepped out my creaky, old door. I noticed the beautiful, pink rose sprouting from the green bush, covered with dew droplets on petals that were as bold and stunning as they were fragrant.” This is drowning in unnecessary descriptors. Please, don’t do this. Adcoms don’t want to read this. You probably don’t even want to read this. It’s all filler. Tell an engaging story but avoid using flowery, overly descriptive prose that says absolutely nothing while taking up an offensive amount of characters. Be concise and intentional with your writing.