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The Best Questions to Ask During Your PA School Interview

More often than not, your interview panel will ask if you have any questions for them at the end of your interview. Out of all the questions asked during your interview, the last thing you want is to be caught off guard by the very last question!

PA interviews are designed so the program can gauge whether or not you’re a viable and valuable candidate for their program, but they’re also set up so YOU can get a good sense of a program and whether it’s a good fit for you and your goals. By asking some of the following questions as a follow-up, you’ll show that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about that specific program while showing that you’re a competent and observant individual. Here are the top questions you should be asking: Read more »

The Essential Personal Narrative First Draft Guide

If you’re having a hard time starting your personal narrative, don’t feel discouraged! Many intelligent pre-physician assistant students struggle with starting their writing process because of how open-ended and overwhelming the prompt can be. After all, there are infinite reasons why you want to become a physician assistant and you have a lifetime of experiences and motivations to pull from. Combine that with the fact that your admissions panel will be looking for unique, convincing, well written, and well intentioned personal statements, and it seems almost impossible to write a strong personal statement. Read more »

How to Get The Best Letters of Recommendation

More often than not, applicants don’t focus enough of their attention on their letters of recommendation. Many pick a handful of references, provide them with the information needed to submit their recommendations, and completely forget about them.  While you can’t involve yourself to the point where you’re editing your own letters of recommendation, an outstanding letter of recommendation could very well be the difference between landing an interview and being passed over by admissions committees. Read more »

The Top 3 Criteria PA Programs Use to Judge Candidates

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?

Knowing what each program looks for in their applicants and how they’ll be assessing both your interview performance and application materials is crucial for determining your success.  Think of it this way- it’s much easier to do well on a test if you know how you’re being scored.  The same concept rings true for your acceptance into a PA program. 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 »

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 »

What Can The Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship Program Offer You?

If you’re interested in our Pre Physician Assistant Clerkship, you’ve probably already read our basic breakdown of the program.  Between the 200 hours of real-life patient experience, patient advocacy experience, the mentorship portion, online coursework, and mock interviews, you’ll be learning and growing rapidly over the course of this 16-week program, but do you have a good sense of what particular skills you’ll be developing?

Here’s a quick breakdown of our PA Clerkship program AND all of the great benefits each component provides!

Patent Advocacy Experience

  • What You Do
    • Act as a patient liaison, quality assurance team member, and healthcare team member
    • Deliver quality of life patient survey
    • Attend weekly directors meetings
  • How You Benefit
    • Develop skills in bedside manner
    • Develop patient interaction/interviewing skills
    • Gain real life experience in detecting and resolving patient quality of life issues
    • Earn hands-on experience as liaison between patients and staff
    • Gain experience creating plans of action and following through on them
    • Learn how to function as part of healthcare team

Physician Assistant Mentorship

  • What You Do
    • Shadow and be mentored by a working Physician Assistant
  • How You Benefit
    • Learn about the PA profession through direct observation
    • Observe interactions between a PA and their patients
    • Observe the collaboration between a PA and Physicians
    • Directly observe PA medical practice

Online Coursework

  • What You Do
    • 36 Didactic training modules in written communication and one on one verbal communication.
  • How You Benefit
    • Huge boost in communication skills for interacting with coworkers
    • Opportunity to hone communication skills with patients (aka your bedside manner)

Mock Interviews

  • What You Do
    • Participate in two videotaped mock interviews
    • Have your strengths and weaknesses evaluated by our interview panel
  • How You Benefit
    • Increased self-assessment skills
    • Highly develop your communication and critical thinking skills
    • Improved self confidence

Graduate Project

    • What You Do
      • Administer and assess Quality of Life Patient Survey
      • Present Plan of Action to faculty and administration
    • How You Benefit
      • Gain a sense of contribution to quality improvement
      • Improve presentation skills

Those are just a few of the benefits you’ll gain from choosing the Excell Pre PA Clerkship and Mentorship Program.  No matter what level you may be starting from, the program is guaranteed to improve your confidence as well as the basic skills needed to ace any PA program interview.  Still not convinced?  Take a look at some of the testimonials from past Excell program graduates.

The EXCELL Fact Sheet: What can our Pre-PA program do for you?

Did you know the national acceptance rate to PA schools nationwide is only 6.7%? Compare this to the 97% acceptance rate for EXCELL clerkship graduates and you’ll see exactly what the EXCELL has to offer!

The EXCELL Pre PA clerkship is a fantastic way to secure your future by taking a huge, proactive step towards becoming a PA. Everyone applying to PA school will have shadowing experience, but few will have the experience and mentoring hours you’ll have after completing our program. Read more »

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