Pinpointing Your Best Attributes To Strengthen Your PA School Personal Narrative
Writing your PA school Personal Narrative is the ultimate sales pitch. In order to get sales-pitch ready, consider doing some self-assessment to pinpoint your best attributes. If you’re not sure what you should be focusing on or even where to start, you can refer to our list of the most sought after qualities for a PA Candidate below.
GPA (overall and science)
GPA is one of those measures that everyone looks at, but did you know some schools weigh your overall GPA and science GPA differently? In fact, your GPA from the most recent 24-monhts may be weighted more simply because most of your harder classes would’ve been later in your college career. When applying to PA programs, take a look at the admissions requirements to see what GPA components they’re looking for. And remember, it never hurts to reach out to the admissions department with any questions you have about their GPA requirements.
Total hours of patient contact experience
Every program is going to be looking for a particular amount of patient contact experience. While some have more strict requirements on what type of interactions count towards your overall hours, showing any initiate to seek experiences where you get direct contact with patients shows initiative! If your GPA is lackluster, consider highlighting your patient contact experiences.
Quality of patient contact experience
PA Programs understand that not every student will have had access to the same level of patient care. It’s always impressive to see a perspective PA student with lots of hands on patient contact, but not everyone will have these types of opportunities, and this is ok! Your involvement in not just patient care but patient caring can be important to your assessment.
Make sure to include any loose patient contact experiences such as shadowing, time spent working in a care facility, or even in a medical-based office. Assisting in quality of life or just having any involvement in resolving issues the patient may have can be an excellent demonstration of your patience contact experiences.
Non-patient contact experience
Your ability to communicate effectively with others in a non-medical but professional setting can be very important if you don’t have much patient contact experience. Don’t downplay these experiences and successes just because you don’t think they’re relevant. Outlining your past contact experiences (such as working in retail or customer service) can provide a clear example of the skills you can take from your previous position and transfer towards the PA profession.
Distinct life experience
We’re all individuals, so don’t try to tell the admissions committee what they “want to hear” in your personal narrative. Everyone will be in a different stage of their life and will have gone through unique life experiences by the time they’re applying to PA school, so use your vantage point to your advantage. You’ve certainly undergone hardships or triumphs that have made you exhibit traits such as commitment, compassion, sensitivity, patience, communication, or empathy, so make sure to showcase them. Even your personal motivations, diversity, and causes for your enthusiasm are fair game for your personal narrative. Just remember to keep it focused and original- your story should be about you and should be one of a kind!
Honors and awards
You’d get a gold medal in forgetfulness if you didn’t include your honors and awards in your personal narrative! Receiving any type of honor or award, even if it was in a non-medical or science related field, is an obvious testament to your best qualities such as dedication, hard work, and outstanding work ethic, so let them speak for you!
Showing that you’re able to communicate well with your patients as well as work well within your team is extremely important. Look for times when you’ve had to provide excellent communication- whether it was with patrons, customers, or even with co-workers.
Leadership ability and experience
Leadership is one of the best transferrable skills to have as a perspective PA student and it’s one of the easiest to showcase because it can be found in almost anything you do! Think of a time when you had to take the reins on a project or activity, had to make a quick decision and stick to it, or when you had active and ambitious participation in student organizations, clubs, sports, or work environments. If you doubt your leadership experience as it pertains to the PA profession, keep in mind that having a more observational role during your earlier patient care experiences is fine and that showing that you took initiative towards providing quality of life assistance or other hands-on work can showcase your leadership qualities.
Knowing exactly how to sell yourself and what details to include in your PA school personal narrative make you seem much more attractive as a perspective PA student. Not only will your admissions committee get the information they’re looking for, but they’ll be getting it in a manner that reads as an interesting and unique personal story.