What Do You Have to Offer a PA Program?

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.

You admissions committee will be looking for three things:

1. Knowledge-based skills

This would be your ability to organize, lead, counsel others, and how well you manage time.

2. Transferable Skills

Among these are communication, organization, teaching ability, and conflict resolution- really any skills you’ve picked up along the way that are useful as a PA.

3. Personal Traits

These are qualities that cannot be taught or learned that exemplify your uniqueness (things like patience, ability to stay calm in a stressful situation, etc.)

A great tool for figuring out your individual skills for each category is the Three-P Exercise which in practice will facilitate your acceptance to a PA program.  The Three P’s are:

  • Portable/Transferrable Skills
  • Previous Experience/Education
  • Personality Traits

When practicing the Three-P Exercise, you’ll want to focus on measuring and identifying the skills you already have, NOT the ones you’re looking to gain.  The exercise is very simple: go through each of the P’s and list all of the skills and traits you think fit within each category.  Take the time to write them all down as well.  You’ll see that as your lists grow longer and longer, you’ll realize all of the things you’ve already accomplished and will be in a much better position to highlight your most desirable qualities.

The combination of skills and experiences you have amounts to what you have to offer any given PA program.   Take stock in your skills and use them to build a strategy to achieve optimal success.  You’ll find that by harnessing these skills, you’ll be able to easily sell yourself to any program of your choosing!