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Personal Statement Critique/Editing Help

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Hello all,

I realize I am late/early to the party but was hoping to have someone critique and possibly edit my personal statement I will be using next year. I appreciate all the advice and help in advance. I really want to knock this out of the park. Thanks. 

Personal Statement.docx

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I think it needs a lot of work (i say this nicely).  Here's my feedback. 

For the past six years I have had the privilege to work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist at the Cleveland Clinic main campus [unneccessary detail, taking up characters] in the cardiothoracic anesthesiology department, where we have been rated as the number one heart center in the United States for the past 25 years by U.S. News & World Report. [Unneccessary to state this, no need to give out data or rankings, many providers and Adcoms know what the Cleveland Clinic is]. I have been blessed to be a part of a team that provides world class care to some of the most critically ill patients in the entire world. Every day I get to work in a team-oriented environment with some of the finest RNs, NPs, PAs, and physicians to prepare a tailor-made plan of care for each of our patients. When I first started, I was extremely intimidated by our critically ill patient population, but now I view it as more of a strength. Our team of RTs, NPs, and physicians helped me learn to perform an assessment and see the full spectrum of your stable patient as opposed to the one who is about to crash. [ These last two sentences are not strong. AdComs know that there is a learning curve in every job when you start, avoid making it seem like you had no idea what you were doing. What do you mean by seeing it as a strength? What is the strength behind being intimidated by very ill patients?]

Grabbing onto any opportunity the Clinic offered to help me learn and grow, I became a member of the cardiac emergency response team (CMET), as well as becoming a heart/lung transplant and heart device specialist RT. [not bad, this gives the reader an idea of what your role was].  We provide expertise in the areas of evaluating high risk patients, tracking patients with difficult airways, attend high risk transports, respond to all emergencies, as well as being a resource to all caregivers. For our heart/lung transplants we provide specialized care with a lung protective strategy not normally used in other patient populations and I enjoy every minute of it. In our severely critical patients, we will use ECMO devices where our goal is to rest a patient's lungs or provide enough support to make them comfortable in a careful balancing act. They demand a special kind of attention that I thrive on. [ Using to many "we" and "ours"; sounds like your speaking on behalf of the team and not your unique experience. Additionally, the PS is not the place for job description, this will go into CASPA when you enter your work history. Aside from the first sentence, I would remove this paragraph entirely.] 

Despite my love for my current career it seemed like something was missing [what was missing from your RT job that the PA profession will provide you?]. We often look to our PAs and physicians for guidance and they encouraged me to look into advancing my education. I immersed myself into researching advanced degrees, trying to better understand each role of various providers to see what career best fit my goals and kept coming back to the PA profession where I have not looked back.[ what have you done and what experiences have you had that has solidified that the PA profession is the one for you?]  The PAs at the Clinic use a medical generalist approach which is very attractive.[unclear what a medical generalist approach is , clarify or don't mention. It may not be a widely utilized approach.] It was very appealing to find out that PAs have the freedom to traverse across a variety of medical specialties. Being able to train in the medical model of a physician was desirable because it will allow me to better understand an evidence-based approach how to treat a disease. [yes, lateral mobility is a plus to the PA profession. But why would you enjoy that?] 

*complete disconnect from the previous paragraph to this one. Your essay needs to flow. If you want to include your upbringing and how it has shaped you, weave it into the essay or begin with your story in a compelling way* All my life I have been overcoming adversity and using it as an opportunity to grow that I feel will prepare me to enter a PA program. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio to poverty. We were homeless for a little under a year as a child, but my parents never gave up and we eventually found our footing. Through our faith in God, my parents served as an example of how to proceed when life gets tough, because it does. I joined the Army to pay for college at eighteen years old, serving my commitment honorably with a 15-month tour of duty in the Iraq War, receiving accolades along the way. My experience in the Army helped prepare me to get into healthcare and utilize a team-oriented approach. [what experience? what preparation did you have that sets you apart? don't state something, show it!] My faith helped form the foundation of how to proceed through life, my parents and the Army helped mold me into the man I am today. [fluff sentence. End each paragraph strong. ]

*Again, big disconnect in thought from the previous paragraph* I obtained my bachelor's degree from Youngstown State University in Allied Health, which provided me a more diverse outlook into healthcare areas of education, management, and informatics.[Where you attended school is on CASPA, the PS is not the place to reiterate what they have already seen. What diverse outlook into healthcare? This does not answer the question as to why PA]  Redoing prerequisites with growing girl/boy twins while maintaining a fulltime job was difficult but I enjoyed it.  [disconnect between the previous sentence to this one. Unneccesary detail of your personal life that doesn't contribute to answering 'why pa'] I had my share of ups and downs nonetheless I persevered. During the fall semester of 2018 my wife had serious health issues where she could not work. This required me to take over all responsibilities within our family for two months. Although my grades suffered during that semester, I stuck it out and grinded just like I was taught. As a result, I feel I am better prepared for the upcoming challenges. [This is not a great way to end the paragraph. Adcoms will read this and question whether your capable of handling PA school with kids and a wife. You need to state what you learned through this experience and how it has allowed you to become a better student and ultimately able to balance different responsibilities. Family members get sick and life happens, it's important that they are reassured that you wont flunk out of school and that your capable of sticking it out. Show, don't tell!] 

Looking back, I never would have imagined having the opportunity to be where I am today. Growing up as a child in poverty, going to college and working towards an advanced degree seemed so out of reach. My childhood and military experience encouraged me to want to serve underserved populations and veterans.  [you mentioned serving in the third paragraph and bring it up again in the end. Expand on this earlier on the essay when you first mention being a veteran. Again, what experience? You need to be very clear and descriptive. Don't assume they know because they don't!]I want to make an impact and help bridge the gap in physician shortage areas. What can I say, I am a late bloomer, but it was my faith, upbringing, the Army and experiences at the Clinic that brought me here. [Too casual of a sentence for a PS] I was able to see that obstacles were meant to be overcome and used to build character. I look forward to improving my knowledge and clinical skill set as well as help lead and work within a caregiver team. I believe my ability to lead, multitask, communication skills, current clinical knowledge, and strong work ethic will make me an ideal candidate for any PA program.   [weak ending sentence. When did you lead, multitask and communicate? You cannot list things, you must provide concrete examples. Show, don't tell.] 

Big pointers:

1. WHY PA? Why not NP or MD? Both roles are providers that can treat the under served, diagnose, examine etc. You need to be crystal clear why you choose PA. 

2. Saying that the PAs you worked with suggested it to you and now your pursuing the career seems like you didn't do enough research and soul searching. You need to show passion and why you wouldn't entertain the idea of any other role. Did you see a PA perform something and that caught your attention? What about the job attracts you? 

3. Your essay is very disconnected and your paragraphs and stories jump from one thing to other. You need to create a cohesive story and paint a picture in your essay. Where were you before PA, why PA and what has led you to the PA profession? 

4. Not once do you mention patients. Have you had an important and impactful interaction with a patient as an RT? What was that experience? How did it solidify that you wanted to provide further care to them beyond your RT role? These are all questions you need to answer in a story-telling way. 

Just my quick feedback. Feel free to PM if you have questions!

You can do it! Best of Luck ! 



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Holy cow this was exactly what I needed, you're amazing! Thank you for taking the time. I really appreciate it and look forward to doing some major tweaks.

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On 11/14/2019 at 7:58 PM, ClevelandJ said:

Holy cow this was exactly what I needed, you're amazing! Thank you for taking the time. I really appreciate it and look forward to doing some major tweaks.

post your rewrite so we can see the progress you've made! I'm invested now lol

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1 hour ago, ClevelandJ said:

Hello all, here is my next draft. I appreciate all the help and look forward to your feedback again. Thanks.

PA Statement #2.docx 13.88 kB · 2 downloads


I am Isaac, and I will be starting PA school in May at Wayne State University in Detroit. My stats were average-below average, and I feel like my personal statement was the reason I was offered interviews and acceptances, so I know how important this is. With that being said, reading your new draft I can say that it is honestly a completely different paper that actually has a flow and theme! Love the new draft, but I would suggest working on your tenses and making them consistent. Also instead of 'we were homeless' specifically say 'my family' since you did not establish who you are talking about. There are other grammatical errors that can be ironed out, but the foundation is there and it is strong! I loved reading it, and wish you the very best moving forward. Keep me updated! Also, if you apply to any schools in Michigan, I can give you some tips so feel free to message me. 🙂

Edited by JacKasmi94

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