Eight Tips to Make a Stellar First Impression at your PA School Interview

You never get a second chance at making a first impression. Just like judging a book by its cover or a restaurant by its pictures on Yelp, people often judge each other immediately upon meeting.  If we apply this to the PA school application process, this means you’ll be judged as an applicant the moment you walk into the interview room.  To help maximize your first impression, you first need to identify what aspects people focus on when forming an opinion about a person they don’t know.

The following items comprise the Eight Stages of Approach, a foolproof list of attributes we use as the criteria for evaluating another person. To ensure you make a memorable first impression on interview day, you’ll want to focus on each of these items individually before interview day.

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10 Important Things to Consider Before Starting PA School

Picture this; you’ve been accepted to your top PA program. Your application and interviews are a distant memory, you’ve celebrated your acceptance, and the reality of starting school is starting to kick in.

Regardless of your previous academic or personal experiences, Physician Assistant school will be a new type of challenge you likely have not faced.  If you want to maximize your PA program experience, familiarize yourself with what you’ll be getting into (just like you did when you were preparing for your interviews). You probably already know you’ll be spending a lot of time studying, but there’s much more to doing well in PA school than hitting the books.

We’ve compiled the top 10 things pre-PA students should consider before starting their PA school journey. Read more »

Pre-PA Shadowing Tips

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 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? Read more »

Elements to Gather Before You Start Writing Your Personal Narrative

The largest and most intimidating part of the PA school application is the personal narrative. Writing a compelling narrative about your experiences is a daunting task in and of itself.  When that narrative also has to sell your merits to an admissions panel, it can seem almost impossible to accomplish.

Before you start writing your personal narrative or even drafting an outline, take some time to ruminate on the following topics. All of these elements are important pieces of your narrative, and having one lackluster component can mean the difference between being invited for an interview and being passed up.  By taking time to gather this information on yourself, you’ll have a wealth of options to choose from when planning your narrative roadmap which will make the writing process much easier. Read more »

Navigating the Ethics of Healthcare

Healthcare: Entitlement vs. Right

In an era where the face of healthcare is rapidly changing amidst an affordability crisis, the question on everyone’s mind is simple: is healthcare a right to all that live in our country? This question is difficult and goes into the entitlement vs. right debate. As a future physician assistant, you must bear in mind that it is our obligation as health care providers to provide care to everyone, giving them the best care possible.  That being said, we need to always make sure we act ethically and base our decisions around providing the best possible care without bringing our own biases or morals into play. Read more »

The Dos and Don’ts of your PA School Interview

The interview process for a PA program can be slightly different for each candidate.  As the interview unfolds, the questions being posed and topics being covered will vary wildly depending on your unique experiences and responses.  That being said, there are a few steadfast rules you should follow in the interview room.

Here are a few of the most important do’s and don’ts for your interview.  Keep these in mind when prepping before interview day and try to remember them right as you set foot in the interview room. Read more »

5 Great Reasons to Become a Physician Assistant

If you’re considering a career in healthcare, there are plenty of options to choose from. Most people assume that becoming a doctor is the best option when working in the medical field solely based on their notoriously high salaries, but this simply isn’t true. If that logic were applied to other fields of work, we’d have a surplus of architects and no carpenters, or an abundance of chefs and no farmers.

Becoming a PA is a rewarding way to provide hands on patient care without many of the barriers MDs face along the way. It’s also a great way to work as part of a healthcare team- directly alongside MDs. Don’t believe us? Here are just 5 of the countless reasons why becoming a PA could be a great fit for you.

  1. You Make a Great Salary
    Yes, doctors tend to earn some of the highest salaries, but PAs make a fantastic living as well. In fact, the average rate of pay for a PA continues to rise year after year due to increased demand. PAs can even earn a six-figure income by working in high paying specialties like dermatology or emergency care.
  2. You Get to Work as a Team
    Teamwork makes the dream work, and this is especially true for PAs. Doctors tend to be leaders who often find themselves at the head of a department or practice. The extra responsibility or burden of being the “decision maker” can separate doctors from their co-workers in a way that doesn’t typically happen for PAs. If you love working as part of a team, you may find the PA career much more rewarding than working as an MD.
  3. You Get a Flexible Career and a Great Work-Life Balance
    Doctors train for years just to work in one specialty and they’re typically locked into that specialty for good. PAs have a huge advantage because they have the qualifications needed to work in virtually any medical specialty, and can transition from one specialty to another without needing to go back to school. PAs also work more regular hours. This means that you can work a fulfilling career and fulfilling life outside of work without having to compromise.
  4. You Spend Less Time (and money) in School
    Medical school is no laughing matter. If you compare the 7-8 years of school and residencies a typical doctor needs against the 2-3 years required to become a PA, there’s no question that PA programs are the fast track to a rewarding medical career without the burdensome debt. Becoming a PA is no easy feat, but you’ll be able to start working and paying off the debt you may have incurred much faster than an MD.
  5. Being a PA is Rewarding
    Many of us try to find a working environment that fits our personality and satisfies our occupational needs. While doctors and PAs do much of the same work, PAs have a higher focus on patient care. You get to spend your time providing top notch patient care without worrying about the rest of the bureaucratic mess that comes along with being a doctor.

If you want the flexibility of changing specialties, the freedom to provide a high level of direct patient care, the balance of a fulfilling career and home life, plus a great salary without the burden of medical school debt, becoming a PA may be the right move for you!

The PA School Application Process Timeline

Before you begin the physician assistant program application process, you’ll want to create a basic timeline that you can refer to. This timeline will help you figure out which tasks need to be done by when, but it will also help you organize your application materials. Think of your timeline as a master schedule- it’ll help keep you on top of the application process and plan for the unexpected.

Applications are usually submitted a year prior to attending, but you’d be surprised how quickly a year can fly by! Applying early helps you avoid those unexpected delays, allows for processing time, and may even improve your chance of admission to programs that utilize rolling admissions. Read more »

The Dos and Dont’s of your PA School Interview

The interview process for a PA program can be slightly different for each candidate.  As the interview unfolds, the questions being posed and topics being covered will vary wildly depending on your unique experiences and responses.  That being said, there are a few steadfast rules you should follow in the interview room.

Here are a few of the most important do’s and don’ts for your interview.  Keep these in mind when prepping before interview day and try to remember them right you step foot into the interview room. Read more »

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