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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The 5 PA School Interview Questions You Need To Know ASAP

When you wake up on interview day, you shouldn’t be wondering what the interview panel will ask you. If you don’t know what you’re going up against because you haven’t taken the time to prepare for your interview, you may find yourself at an extreme disadvantage.

Listed below are the 5 most common interview questions potential PA students are asked. You should take ample time before interview day to prepare answers to these questions- doing this can save you from poor interview performance.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to brainstorm the answers to your questions but also internalize them.  Having these questions memorized to the point where you can answer them as quickly as “when is your birthday” will help you stay relaxed on interview day.

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Finding Shadowing and Patient Contact Experience for PA School

Let’s face it- finding patient contact experience can be hard if you don’t know where to look. Patient contact experience often comes from shadowing working Physician Assistants, so if you don’t already have access to patient contact experience, finding and securing a shadowing opportunity is very important.

As you may know (and will learn soon enough), PAs are very busy – but don’t be discouraged by their intimidating schedule.  The overwhelming majority of PAs really love talking about their profession and answering questions because they love what they do!  The trick to gaining shadowing experience is just finding a time when they can talk and taking it from there.  So how do you go about finding a PA to shadow?

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Application Magic: How To Turn Your Weakness Into A Strength

As you’re writing your personal narrative, you may come across an anecdote or experience where you need to highlight your weaknesses as well as your strengths. You may ask yourself why you would want to include your weaknesses if you’re trying to convince the reader that you’re a standout candidate for the PA program at hand. The answer is simple: interview committees want well rounded, humble candidates that can honestly speak to their personal growth. Interview committees see right through self-acclaimed “superheroes” that refuse to address their own shortcomings, especially when those shortcomings are apparent in other ways.

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A Guide to Picking The Right PA Program For You

One of the hardest parts of applying to PA school is actually choosing which programs are right for you. You should be looking for the right school that fits your needs while simultaneously compiling a list of schools where you’d be a good candidate. When searching for programs, ask yourself the following questions about each school.  You’ll find that by doing this, you’ll have a better sense of what each program has to offer.

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