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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Work Through Your Interview Anxiety In Real Time

Applying to PA school is stressful. Between researching schools, writing your personal narrative, getting your application materials together, and making sure you have enough patient contact experience, you’ll have your fair share of stressful moments- and that’s all before you even step foot into an interview room!

Managing stress outside of an interview is easier because you’re not put on the spot and actively being assessed by other people. 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 and in private. On interview day, the stress you feel must be dealt with and suppressed in the moment and in public, so it makes dealing with stressors all the more difficult. Read more »

What Really Motivates You To Become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your PA school personal narrative, it’s crucial to understand what motivates you.  It’s unlikely that your interview panel will directly ask what motivates you, but they may ask about the reasons you chose to become a PA.  If you’re just looking for notoriety, a decent salary, or for the opportunity to “help people” your motives will undoubtedly be questioned.

To present your story most effectively in your narrative and at the interview, it’s imperative that you know yourself it the context of what motivates you.  There are six major motivating factors and most people are influenced by two or three of these.  Here’s a breakdown of each factor.

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