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The Top follow-up questions YOU should be asking at your PA school interview

More often than not, your interview panel will ask if you have any questions for them at the end of your interview. Out of all the questions asked during your interview, the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by the very last question!

PA interviews are designed so the program can gauge whether or not you’re a viable and valuable candidate for their program, but they’re also set up so YOU can get a good sense of a program and whether it’s a good fit for you and your goals. By asking some of the following questions as a follow-up, you’ll show that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about that specific program while showing that you’re a competent and observant individual. Here are the top questions you should be asking:

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Working Through Constructive Criticism

Whether it’s been at work, school, or in a personal setting, all of us have received constructive criticism at some point.  Constructive criticism is a type of evaluation that involves both positive and negative feedback.  While this type of feedback is typically used to help improve the recipient and to encourage personal or professional growth, it has the potential to cause a negative reaction.

It’s important for physician assistants to have the ability to receive constructive criticism graciously. You can be sure that a physician assistant will receive plenty of constructive criticism over time, especially in the early part of their career.  In some ways, it’s the nature of the profession, but it can also be the nature of practicing medicine as there’s always more to learn and there will seemingly always be someone more knowledgeable than you.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of constructive criticism, how can you work through it in an affective and tactful way?  Framing your criticism positively is arguably the easiest way because, if you think about it, most constructive criticism already includes at least one “positive” you can focus on.  For example, if you keep making the same mistake but it’s coming from a place of good intentions, reassure yourself that your intentions and motivations are the “positive” but you need to change the actions you’re taking to help improve the “negative”.   This will allow you to focus on the steps needed to correct your actions rather than turning inwards and questioning yourself.

There are two phrases that should never come out of your mouth- “I can’t” and “I know”.  Saying “I can’t” is extremely detrimental psychologically to a person who hopes to pursue a career in medicine.  The rigors of the education alone require an extremely positive attitude to achieve success.  Similarly, saying “I know” makes you seem like a know-it-all while not actually acknowledging the things that may need improvement.  If you respond to every critique with “I know”, you come across as arrogant, disinterested, and closed minded.  If you’re perceived as a closed off person, you could inadvertently lose some important opportunities for growth and personal improvement.

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How to Demonstrate Professional Integrity During Your PA School Interview

During the PA school interview process, you will be asked a handful of ethical questions.  These questions are designed to evaluate your professional and academic integrity, as well as your sense of morality.  These questions are a way to see how you would react in situations that challenge your ethical standards, and generally place you in an uncomfortable scenario.  In these scenarios, you’ll likely have to balance your emotional response, moral code, and understanding of what a PA can and cannot do when providing care.

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How Important is PA Program Length?

It seems like many PA programs are increasing the amount of months it takes to complete their curriculum. The average PA program length has increased to around 26 months, with some spanning 36 months or more.  While some may argue that the quality and depth of PA training will increase with more program time, this approach isn’t necessarily true.

Longer program lengths do allow for additional training and projects, but they also come with some negative consequences. Read more »

Weighing Your Options: PA or MD?

If you’re interested in working in the medical field, you may be overwhelmed with the number of different positions and job titles available.  Many people assume that they need to be a Medical Doctor in order to make a great living as a medical professional, but the MD path may not be right for everyone. Trying to get a sense of which career path suits you can be difficult, so we’ve pinpointed the finer points of each profession. Take a look below to see the pros and cons of becoming a Physician Assistant vs. a Medical Doctor. Read more »

How To Choose Quality References for Letters of Recommendation

More often than not, applicants don’t focus enough of their attention on their letters of recommendation.  Many pick a handful of references, provide them with the information needed to submit their recommendations, and completely forget about them.  While you can’t involve yourself to the point where you’re editing your own letters of recommendation, an outstanding letter of recommendation could very well be the difference between landing an interview and being passed over by admissions committees.

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Make a Great First Impression With These 8 Steps

People often get first impressions of others- like judging a book by its cover, a restaurant by the pictures on its menu and even cities or whole cultures by the first person they meet from that city or culture. Although it is human nature to make judgments at first sight, there is a way for you to get ahead of that reflex.

If you break down the different phases of approaching your interview, you’ll find that there are 8 key steps to mastering your first impressions:

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How to Pick the Perfect Physician Assistant Program

Searching for the perfect PA program can be a daunting task.  Weighing the pros and cons of each program on your radar can be stressful and may even 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.

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How Should You Begin Your PA School Narrative?

The introduction can make or break an otherwise well written personal narrative.  It sets the tone of your narrative but also serves the purpose of establishing themes that may persist throughout your narrative.  It also plays a large part in establishing your tone and conveying your distinct voice to the reader.

If you have great content for your narrative but find that it’s hard to lead into it or connect it all together, there are a few techniques you can use to create a stellar introduction.  It’s not necessary to use these techniques if you find that your narrative is strong, reads well, and does a good job of communicating your voice and purpose to the reader, but they can act as a placeholder or even help you find a way to tie your narrative together if it feels disjointed.

Here are just a few ways you can begin your PA narrative:

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Adapt, Improvise, Overcome – Three Traits PA Schools Are Looking For

“Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” is an unofficial slogan among the Marines.  Regardless of who you are or what you do, the ability to put these words into action leads to accomplishing your goals and overcoming any hardship.  These three words are also the keys to being a standup PA student.

Let’s dig into each word to see how they apply to successful PAs.

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