20 PA School Interview Questions You MUST Master

Being prepared for your PA program interview is crucial for success on interview day. Knowing how to handle any question that’s thrown at you is a good way to keep your cool during the interview, but sometimes it helps to know the questions that might be asked of you ahead of time.

The following is a list of some of the most common behavioral questions asked during the interview process. Try to familiarize yourself with these questions and come up with your go-to answers. If you have an answer ready for each of the following, you’ll ace your interview! Read more »

9 PA School Application Resources

Preparing your PA school application can be difficult without any outside help. Creating a timeline for the application process can help you stay on top of your application materials, but it won’t provide you with tools you can use to actually help you prepare.

If researching PA programs, preparing your narrative, gaining health care experience, or practicing for your interview seems overwhelming, you may want to consider using some of the valuable resources below. You’ll find that with a little reassurance, a helping hand, and some tools to rely on, you’ll be able to ace the entire application process. Read more »

Make This Summer Count With EXCELL

Are you finishing up your undergraduate degree and looking to go straight into a PA program? Are you planning on taking some time off to work and boost your resume between finishing your undergraduate degree and starting PA school?  Maybe you’re interesting in switching career paths and need a bit of guidance to start you off on the right track.  No matter what your situation may be, you’ll need to have a solid plan to prepare you for the path ahead. Read more »

The Top 5 Reasons to Become a Physician Assistant

When considering a career in healthcare, there are plenty of options to choose from.  Most people assume that becoming a doctor is the best option for working in medicine purely based on their high rate of pay, 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.  Don’t believe us? Here are just 5 of the countless reasons why becoming a PA could be a great fit for you. Read more »

Receiving and Growing From Constructive Criticism

Whether it’s been at work, school, or in a personal setting, all of us have received constructive criticism at some point.  Constructive criticism is a type of evaluation that involves both positive and negative feedback.  While this type of feedback is typically used to help improve the recipient and to encourage personal or professional growth, it has the potential to cause a negative reaction. Read more »

How to Spot Inappropriate Interview Questions

When you’re in the interview room, the last thing you want to do is lose your focus. It’s easy to lose your focus if you’re unprepared, but you can be thrown off if you’re asked a question that’s out of bounds or inappropriate, even if you’ve spent the past year preparing for your interviews.

Questions should be about your qualifications to become a physician assistant, not about your personal information. If you find yourself facing an uncomfortable or seemingly inappropriate line of questioning, know your rights as an applicant. You do not have to answer out-of-place, unrelated, or illegal questions directly and can choose to either defer your answer or address the questions as inappropriate.

The following are examples of questions that should not be posed during your interview.  Read more »

Do you know what the top PA programs are looking for?

You’ve completed your personal narrative, submitted your application, and may have even completed your interview. You know that, based on your experiences, grades, and demeanor that you’d be a great pick for any PA program. You may think you’ve got this in the bag – but do you really know what PA programs look for when judging their potential students?  Read more »

Physician Assistants: Then and Now

When you’re preparing for your physician assistant school application and interview, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the history of the PA profession.  Going into your interview without a firm understanding of the history of the PA profession will make you seem unprepared and generally uninterested in the PA career path.  Take a moment to familiarize yourself with our brief overview of the PA profession.

Physician Assistants Then…

The first PA program was founded at Duke University in the 1960’s by Dr. Eugene A. Stead.  The inaugural class included US Navy corpsmen and US Army Combat Medics, and based the curriculum off of his knowledge of the training doctors received during World War II.  The inaugural class graduated on October 6, 1967.  Now, October 6-11 is recognized as National Physician Assistant Week in their honor (this is an easy way to remember the beginnings of the profession!)

Dr. Eugene A. Stead is known as the father of the PA Profession.  Stead is well known for wanting all PAs to have relationships with physicians to increase their body of medical knowledge.  He also found the concept of distance education to be very efficient, believing that it was more valuable to know how to quickly look up information as it was needed that to try to remember everything.

…And Now

As of now, there are around 92,000 PAs eligible to practice.  By 2020, the demand is expected to grow to 150,000, making it the 3rdfastest growing profession in the country.  In fact, the PA profession has been rated as one of the top 30 careers for job satisfaction, prestige, job market outlook, and salary, and has been included in the top 10 best jobs in America on Glassdoor and Forbes for the past few years.

Still, there is a notoriously low acceptance rate for PA programs due to the small amount of available spots and large amount of applicants.  The best way to ensure your acceptance is to apply to multiple programs, have a stellar personal narrative and application, and perform well at your interview.

If you ever need a quick refresher, check out this video from the AAPA and the Physician Assistant History Society that traces the origins of PAs.

Become a part of history – start taking your steps towards becoming a successful Physician Assistant today!

Click here to request your application to our Pre-PA program


How to Deal With Perfectionism

When faced with the question “what is your greatest weakness”, many people defer to describing themselves as perfectionists, thinking it will give them an easy pass on the question.  They admit their need to always do exceedingly well and their refusal to accept any standard short of perfection as a weakness, but then always subsequently try to spin it as strength.  Truthfully, the perfectionist response is fairly stale and doesn’t actually say anything about you besides “I picked a boiler-plate response to this question.” Read more »

The Easiest Way to Gain 200 Hours of Patient Contact Experience

If you’re racking your brain to come up with direct patient contact experience, stop for a second and consider all of the direct experience you get just through the Excell Pre PA Assistant Clerkship program!

Not only do you get over 200 hours of real-life patient experience over the course of your clerkship, you’ll come out the other side being able to speak directly to your role as a patient advocate and liaison.  By the time you’re done, you’ll have developed skills in bedside manner, gotten direct patient interaction, detected and resolved patient quality of life issues, worked as a liaison between patients and staff, experienced being part of a healthcare team, and more! Read more »

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