Pa program application essay

Well, because they want to know whether you're a good fit for their program. Think of it this way: your main application speaks to whether you're ready for any PA school. Your supplement helps them to drill down further on whether you're a match for their program.

Just as with the CASPA personal essay, elements of your application can show up in your supplemental essays, but the focus of your responses should be on what ties those factual pieces together: your motivations and goals. So, let's talk about a general approach and then go through some of the most prevalent supplemental application essay prompts. At first glance, supplemental essays may seem to overlap with the main CASPA application essay, but they are distinct.

Unlike the vague direction of the CASPA essay, to "write a brief statement expressing your motivation or desire to become a physician assistant," supplemental essay prompts are direct. Likewise, your responses should be straightforward. Supplemental essays are often short, usually around words. You don't need to build in narrative or work to create a scene. Unless a prompt directly requests that you tell a story, attempting to use an anecdote in an essay of this length is likely to feel awkward, and programs aren't expecting you to try.

These short essays intend to feel out if you're a good match for a program, and getting right to the point with your response will allow the people reviewing it to make this call easily. So, think of supplemental essays as pre-interview questions, because schools certainly are. Your primary goal in approaching a program-specific essay is to answer the essay prompt, first and foremost, just like an interview question. While you're at it, you can probably let a reader get to know you a little better. But don't force in a story about your high school water polo team where it doesn't belong.

Maybe you'll get there as a bonus. In the meantime, avoid molding an essay around what you're dying to include but couldn't fit into your personal statement. Your first job is to answer the prompt. When supplemental essays are requested, they can vary, program to program, by topic, number of questions asked, and length limit. Given that the specifics of supplemental applications are decided at the program level, there could be, in theory, hundreds of different supplemental prompts. But, fortunately, many programs ask similar questions.

So, while the wording of the prompts may vary a bit, you can save time and effort by employing the same strategies to comparable questions. Let's take a look at some of those common supplemental application essay questions and strategies for tackling each.


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One of the most common supplemental prompts asks you to tell of your reasons for choosing a PA program. This question can be asked in several ways:. Can you describe your reasons for applying to this program? What about this program stands out to you as an applicant? Why do you think you would be a good fit for our PA program? These questions all get at the same idea.

The goal in responding to any of these questions, or others that are similar, is to reference specific elements of a program why you chose a program and tie these reasons to your own experiences why you're a good fit. Regardless of how a program poses the question, incorporating both sides in your response is essential. It's not enough to point out things you like about a program. Any applicant can do that.

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You have to prove those things are important to you through your own experience. So, if you want to mention the unique opportunity that a program offers for participation in a student-run health clinic, prove that program feature is important to you by also discussing the value you've gained from your own work at a free clinic.

If you'd like to reference the extra elective rotation of a program's clinical year, show that it matters to you by discussing your shadowing experiences in four different specialties. Aim for relatively unique program features. When you try to create a more extensive list, some reasons will be weaker than others and harder to back up with your own experience.

It's okay if some reasons for choosing a school could also apply to other programs. With this prompt, you should still work to prove why something about a program is important to you by relating it to your experience. However, rather than tying your background to a program feature, you'll work to connect it with a program ideal. Let's say a portion of a program's mission statement is "to prepare culturally competent PAs committed to continuous learning who will provide compassionate, patient-centered care within their communities.

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Before you dive into trying to cover every bit of that passage in your answer, take a pause. Simply regurgitating the words of the mission statement doesn't make for a good reply. You want to choose the elements that you can most strongly support with your experience, thereby proving that your values align with a program's ideals.

So, let's use "culturally competent" as a focus. Could you name this program value and discuss how your extensive international travel has broadened your cultural horizons? Or explain your work in community outreach? Or relate it to the lessons you've learned in your current career as a school teacher? Like with the "why this program" prompt, include just a few to highlight so that you can do them justice.

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Here's the other differences between an essay question about a program mission and a why-this-program prompt: a mission question asks you to discuss the future. Therefore, after you prove that you and a PA program have shared values, discuss how you'll work to fulfill them as a PA, as requested. Within the supplemental application, some programs ask you to clarify any less than stellar grades or withdrawals that show up on your transcripts. That's an opportunity to share something more than the day to day kinds of things that you've done to prepare yourself for graduate medical education and future practice.

Interviewer: It seems like something else you might want to keep in mind is that you want to be human.

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I mean, you want to reflect that humanity, which a lot of us tend to not want to because it makes us vulnerable. Doris: I think vulnerability is a plus. We do want to have candidates who are able to share that they are very passionate about patient care, that they are compassionate people who are going to be a good fit for medicine.

Doris: I like something that's really heartfelt. Interviewer: How often do you just get in a paragraph into it and you just quit? Is that crucial or does everybody always read through the whole thing. Doris: We will read the entire thing. I have seen personal statements that didn't quiet start out and then had some really good stuff in the middle of it, maybe a strong, maybe not a strong conclusion.

But what can you share about yourself beyond the fact that you are just as reasonably qualified as everyone else? Interviewer: I'm going to say try to start strong, though. Interviewer: Structuring a narrative can be difficult because sometimes there's a lot of different ways to tell a story. What do you recommend? Doris: Feedback from others. Your personal statement should be well structured and have a flow. Not everyone is a good write, and a lot of people will require some help and there's nothing wrong with that. But your personal statement really ought to be well written and have a flow, so that it's easy to read.

You don't want your reader to lose interest.

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Doris: Making the effort to have a good personal statement that reads well, that's easy to read and really share something about yourself will certainly make a difference. Interviewer: What are some of the pitfalls that applicants make, some of the common ones? Let's go with three. Doris: Generic statements. Doris: Could have been anybody, anybody could have said that.

Share something from your personal experience. Doris: You don't want your personal statement to read like an essay of what is a PA. We know that.

Careers in Health Care: Writing a PA School Essay That Will Get You Noticed

A bunch of PA's are the ones that are reading your personal statements. I know that candidates are trying to communicate that they understand the role of the PA and they would like to be it in the future, but that something that you're going to waste space on. Interviewer: Okay, finally, any resources that you recommend books, websites when it comes to writing that personal statements or that essay? Doris: There are some resources out there and you can certainly tap into books on how to get into medical school, advice on writing the personal statement regardless of what profession someone is going into in healthcare can certainly have very similar advice.

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