As you’re applying to PA programs, you should know what you bring to the table before you set foot in the interview room. In addition, you should know exactly what each program is looking for in an ideal candidate. With enough preparation, you’ll be able to highlight all of the great things you offer as a candidate that fall in line with exactly the trains the program wants.
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On interview day, the last thing you should be worrying about is “what will my interview panel ask me?” If you don’t already know what you’re going up against, you may find yourself lacking for answers in the interview room. Don’t let yourself get blindsided by the hundreds of potential interview questions you could be asked.
If you’re considering becoming a PA, you’ll often find that many programs require a certain amount of patient contact or shadowing experience. Patient contact experience often comes from shadowing working Physician Assistants, so the most important step is finding and securing a shadowing opportunity. As you may know, PAs can be very busy people when on the job, but the overwhelming majority love talking about their profession and answering questions- you just need to find a time when they can talk!
So how does one go about finding a PA to shadow?
With any task, performing to the best of your ability is much easier if you know what criteria you’re being judged against. Having an idea of what your interview committee is looking for during your interview can help you prepare more efficiently and answer questions in a more effective way. Think about it- it’s much easier to get a high score on a test if you know how you’re being scored, so why not apply this to your interview? Read more »
Applying to become a PA can be a very stressful process. Between researching schools, writing your personal narrative, getting your application materials together, and making sure you have enough patient contact experience, you’ll have suffered through enough stress before you even step foot into your interview.
The stress felt prior to the interview room can be a bit easier to manage because you’re not necessarily put on the spot. Yes, you have a great deal of preparation to do and a lot of work ahead of you, but the stress can be managed on your own time. On interview day, the stress you feel must be dealt with and suppressed in that very moment, so it makes dealing with the stress all the more difficult.
Higher education is an investment, and one that doesn’t come cheap. For most, finding a way to afford their education is difficult and requires assistance from multiple sources. Regardless, finding a way to pay for PA school shouldn’t deter you from applying to your top PA programs.
Other than applying to the top 10 most affordable PA programs, here are a few resources you can use to help you afford your education.
Your personal narrative is arguably one of the most important aspects of the entire application process. Without a compelling, unique, and well written personal narrative, you may not even get a shot at interviewing with your potential PA programs. Think of it as the ultimate sales pitch- you want it to be clear, concise, but really drive home the points that argue why you’d be an exceptional PA.
During your interview process, you’ll undoubtedly be asked behavioral questions. The goal of questions like these is to flesh out examples of skills, characteristics, and experiences that directly relate to your value as a potential PA student. These questions are vital because they give your interviewers clear, concrete examples of who you are as an individual, so you’ll want to make sure your answers are not only full of detail, but clear and concise.
It’s important to note that nothing sets you up for success like prior preparation. Taking the time to go over the most common behavioral questions asked during an interview is a great place to start practicing. On top of prior preparation, you’ll easily be able to answer any behavioral question thrown at you by using the following tricks.
When choosing the best PA program for you, it may be hard to weed through all the choices. The stress of figuring out which programs you’re a strong candidate for may obscure the fact that you should be looking for the right school that fits your needs. If you’re too focused on being a perfect applicant, you may end up applying to a program that doesn’t end up serving your best interests.
If you’re racking your brain to come up with direct patient contact experience, stop for a second and consider all of the direct experience you get just through the Excell Pre PA Assistant Clerkship program!
Not only do you get over 200 hours of real-life patient experience over the course of your clerkship, you’ll come out the other side being able to speak directly to your role as a patient advocate and liaison. By the time you’re done, you’ll have developed skills in bedside manner, gotten direct patient interaction, detected and resolved patient quality of life issues, worked as a liaison between patients and staff, experienced being part of a healthcare team, and more!