Your CASPA Application: Early Deadlines 2017

The first group of PA programs have deadlines coming up in just over a week!  If you haven't finished your application, be sure to get your materials together ASAP!  Hopefully by this point you've started!  See all of the early deadlines below:

July 15, 2017:
Missouri State University
Saint Francis University
University of California- Davis
University of Kentucky
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

August 1, 2017:
Augsburg College
Bethel University
Butler University
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
Indiana University
James Madison University
Louisiana State University
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Milligan College
Northeastern University
Ohio University
Oklahoma City University
Saint Catherine University
South University (Richmond)
South University (Savannah)
South University (Tampa)
Tufts University
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of Bridgeport
University of Charleston
University of Evansville
University of Missouri, Kansas City
University of New Mexico
University of the Cumberlands
University of Utah
University of Wisconsin- La Crosse
University of Wisconsin- Madison
Westfield State University

September 1, 2017
Anne Arundel Community College
Arizona School of Health Sciences
Baylor College of Medicine
Bethel University
Central Michigan University
Charleston Southern University
College of St. Scholastica
Concordia University
Dominican University
Drexel University
East Carolina University
Eastern Michigan University
Gardner Webb University
Marquette University
Medical University of South Carolina
Mouth St. Joseph University
Northern Arizona University
Oregon Health & Science University
Pace University
Pacific University
Quinnipiac University
Red Rocks Community College
Rutgers University
Stanford University
Sullivan University
Touro University Nevada
Towson University
University of Colorado
University of Florida
University of Nebraska
University of North Dakota
University of South Carolina
University of South Dakota
University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
University of Washington
UT Southwestern
Wake Forest University
Wayne State University
Yale School of Medicine

As we usually suggest, APPLY AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE!  You don't want to wait until the last minute to submit your application!  PA schools won't wait to start interviewing!

Guest Post from Savanna Perry, PA-C, of The PA Platform- Personal Statement 101: Editing

This is sound advice from Savanna Perry of The PA Platform.  She is so passionate about helping pre-PA students achieve their goals.  Her blog is FULL of tips and tricks to help applicants navigate through the application process.  See below for her advice on personal statement editing!


Once you have a rough draft for your essay, it's time to start editing.  When reviewing your essay, you need to be looking at a few different elements: 

  • Content 
  • Grammar
  • Flow

Editing for content - Are you providing important information and not wasting space with unnecessary details and words?  Are you answering all of the essential questions and not leaving anything unanswered? 

Editing for grammar - Your essay should be easy to read, and errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar should not be included in your final draft.  While this isn't an essay for literature class, it is probably the most important 5,000 characters you will ever write.  You don't want poor grammar and careless mistakes to distract your reader.

Editing for flow - Is your essay easy to read?  Does it make sense?  The experiences you discuss in your essay should make sense chronologically and be easy to follow.  A confusing essay is one of the worst kinds.  It makes it difficult to focus on the content when I'm just trying to figure out how everything fits together.  

While you will obviously want to edit your essay yourself, you need to have others read it as well.  A family member or friend's opinion is great, and they may be able to help you with grammar, but that isn't the most subjective option.  Since you're writing an essay to try to get into physician assistant school, you need a PA to read your essay.  This can be someone you have shadowed or worked with, or you may consider a revision/editing service.  These services will NOT write your essay for you, and I would discourage you from pursuing any avenue that offers to do this.  I work with myPAresource because they only use PAs, many of which have served on admissions panels, and the feedback you receive is honest and extremely helpful.  If you decide to use the services over at myPAresource, make sure to use the code "thePAPlatform" for a discount! 

To end the discussion on editing, I have to give you a caution.  Please do NOT have someone random on the internet that you talk to in a forum or group edit your essay, especially if it is a fellow applicant.  You can't know someone else's motives, and you don't want to take the chance of someone else plagiarizing part of your essay or stealing your ideas.  Make sure anyone who is reading your essay is someone that you know and trust, or a secure service.

PA School Prep

As a PA school applicant, it's vital that you make it a point prepare for this next step in your academic career.  PA School Prep contains everything you need to know before you start PA school.  They have partnered with Medcomic and DoseofPA.blogspot.com to provide future Physician Assistants with the education they need to be successful on their journey through the rigors of PA school. 

As a future Physician Assistant, you have made the commitment of being a lifelong learner.  And right now is the perfect time to fine-tune your study habits and invest in your success.  The stress of PA school is real.  PA students EVERY YEAR go through the entire application/interview process only to be put on academic probation and/or excused from their programs because they weren't ready for what was waiting for them in PA school.  Don't become one of those statistics!

Included in the price of the course is a complete review of Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, lectures structured by PA program adjunct faculty, and system-based quizzes to ensure your understanding of the material.  When you complete the course, PA School Prep notifies your school that you are ready to hit the ground running when matriculation begins. Perfect for waitlisted candidates too!

Check out their website at www.PASchoolPrep.com!

 

Common mistake: How a single letter could make or break your PA school application

Here is an example of why our service is so valuable:

Recently we received one of the overall BEST essays we've ever read.  The flow of the essay: superb.  The structure, grammar, punctuation: outstanding.  This essay was the seemingly-flawless "diamond in the rough" that every applicant strives for.  Except for this one thing...

The letter "s."

Generally the letter "s" helps those of us that speak the English language communicate multiples, possession, even contractions.  But there is one area that the "s" does not belong:  in "Physician's Assistant."  

The name of the career you are so passionate about and have attempted to convey your lifelong devotion to should be known by the time you are applying.  By adding an "s" at the end of "Physician," you are implying possession.  Also, by not knowing the correct title of the profession, you are bringing attention to your ignorance, something that shouldn't be advertised to those deciding your future.  

PA schools want to know that their applicants are familiar and knowledgeable about the Physician Assistant profession.  It's important to sound as mature and knowledgeable to the PA school admission panels in your personal statement in order to come off as a strong applicant. While this error might not seem like a big deal to you now, trust me, once you start practicing you'll understand.  

Simple errors like this can ultimately make the difference between being considered a serious applicant or brushed to the side for another year spent on the waitlist.  Don't let a simple mistake decide your future.  We are here to help ensure that your personal statement shines above the rest of the PA school applicants.  

Be well,

 

So... why Penlights?

You'll notice that recently we started offering Penlights to all of our clients with the purchase of a revision.  Why?  Because we are confident that our service will help you get into PA school.  

But then what?  We have already edited your personal statement for PA school.  You've submitted your application to CASPA.  We didn't want our service to end after you were accepted.  We value your education and look forward to everything you are able to achieve once you graduate.  We want to be there to aid in your Physician Assistant training.  

The Penlight is a common tool you will use almost everyday when you examine your patients. You'll be able to use this tool during your head-to-toe physical exams in order help diagnose and treat those in the community you serve.  Heck, you can even use it if the power goes out!  But we want to aid in your training to become the BEST physician assistant you can be.  

It's a small token of appreciation that you've made the choice to pursue this rewarding career.

Be well,

 

Most Common Themes in PA School Personal Statements

A few years ago, the PAEA, or the Physician Assistant Education Association, released an article detailing the most common subjects mentioned in Physician Assistant school essays.  As you can see from the image above, some of the most common words are "patients," "care," and "experience," among others.  It's important to note that these three areas are among the most important to focus on when brainstorming ideas for your personal statement subject matter.  

In addition to the word cloud, see the table above.  In this image, you can see which subjects those that ended up being accepted (or matriculated) into a PA program.  The most common theme discussed, by both those who were/were not accepted, in the personal statement is clearly experience.  Your resume can only give the reader a finite amount of information.  It's the responsibility of your personal statement to fill in the blanks.

The absolute MOST COMMON themes discussed in personal statements are as follow:

  • Altruism and desire to help people
  • Challenges or hardships
  • EXPERIENCE
  • Key accomplishments
  • Personal Characteristics
  • Positive perception of PA career attributes
  • Role models
  • Religious or spiritual quest

Having a hard time putting it all together?  We can help.  Visit our homepage at www.myPAresource.com to find out more information.  Or, click the button below:

The full article discussed above can be downloaded at the PAEA website HERE

Forister, J. Glenn. "Thematic Analysis of Personal Statements in Physician Assistant Program Admissions." The Journal of Physician Assistant Education.  Volume 22 Number 2.  2011.  6-12.

7 things to think about when writing your PA school personal statement.

When creating a draft for your PA school personal statement, it's important to cover all of the main topics ADCOMs look for in their applicants.  Keep in mind that Admissions Panel Members (like those here at myPAresource.com) read HUNDREDS of personal statements every cycle, so it's important that your essay stands out from the rest.  

You would be surprised how many essays are submitted to PA schools with obvious mistakes, making it clear that little attention and focus were given to the task.  It has been recommended by PA students and faculty alike to get your essay proofread before submission to avoid any costly mistakes.  You want to come off as a well-educated, motivated future Physician Assistant.  And you can accomplish this by reviewing the topics below:

1. Create a strong introduction
The introduction is the most important paragraph in your essay.  Why?  Because PA school Admissions panels read HUNDREDS of personal statements every cycle.  By creating a strong introduction, you ensure that your essay will stand out above the rest. 

Begin your essay with a story/experience that YOU think someone else would be interested in reading about.  Talk about the time you witnessed a PA step in a help a patient at a critical moment.  Talk about a traumatic event that happened right in front of your eyes that spring boarded your interest in medicine.  Whatever it is, make sure your first sentence grips the attention of the reader and makes them want to keep reading on, interested in learning more about you as a candidate. 

2. Prove you know what a PA is
It's incredible to read personal statements for PA school without any evidence that the person applying has ANY idea what a PA is.  The word "Physician Assistant" or "PA" should present itself within the first half of your essay, if not the first 2 paragraphs.  It needs to be clear that you are applying for PA school.  This leads us to topic number 3...

3. Prove you know what a PA does
It is not good enough to simply state, "I know I want to be a PA because it is a great fit for my personality."  What?  No.  Prove to the reader that you have done your homework and spent the necessary time/effort to research your future career.  There's no telling what percentage of PA school applicants heard in a news journal that Physician Assistants were one of the best upcoming jobs to have.  Don't be one of those people and be lumped with all the band-wagoners.  

Prove that you know what a job as a Physician Assistant entails.  What interests you about the position?  Why not pursue another career in the medical field?  

4. Discuss your time spent shadowing a PA
It's not a bad idea to take a paragraph and show the reader what you learned during your time spent with a PA.  This topic could be covered in your introduction (if you're interested in using one stone to kill 2 birds).  Why is this important?  Because your personal statement's purpose is to prove that you are educated on this career that you are applying for.  Show them what you learned during your 20 hours shadowing Mr. What's-his-name at the orthopedist's office and that the time spent walking around the clinic wasn't a waste. 

5. Don't be cocky
Yes, you need to promote yourself in your personal statement... but don't overdo it.  There is a fine line between offering information and bragging.  Please don't say, "I am the best" (it's been done).  You want to make the reader THINK you are the best without actually saying it.  Does that make sense?  Throughout your essay you need to highlight your strengths as a candidate without coming off as arrogant or entitled.  

Writing an ideal personal statement truly is an art.  The trick, as mentioned above, is to make the reader THINK you are the best applicant applying to their PA school.  By keeping the reader interested while also highlighting the strong points of your application, you'll impress the reader while not coming off as arrogant.

6. Take it seriously
Trust us.  ADCOMs will be able to tell if you simple wrote a few paragraphs and submitted the essay to CASPA.  TAKE YOUR TIME!!!  This is not a simple task.  Every single PA school reads every single personal statement.  And they take it seriously.  Your personal statement can ultimately determine the difference between an invitation and a denial.

7. Be honest!
Now is the time to dig deep and really prove why a career as a Physician Assistant is perfect for you.  Especially in your conclusion, make one final stand and talk about why a life as a PA is what you were meant to do.  Leave it all on the line.  Finish your essay with one final "push" to show the reader why you were MEANT for this profession.  This is why you should take some time to brainstorm your personal statement.  PA schools will be able to tell if you are BSing them or not.  Don't make a costly mistake.

Once you read over these topics and use them to your ADVANTAGE, you should be on your way to creating a strong PA school personal statement.  If any of the topics were unclear or you have further questions about how to write a strong personal statement, feel free to email us at info@myPAresource.com
 

The Basic Revision PLUS

We've added a new service!  Because of the recent popularity of The PA School Interview Guide with our clients, we are now creating a package that not only creates incredible personal statements, but also prepares applicants for the next step in the process: the INTERVIEW!  

The Basic Revision PLUS package includes:

  1. a single revision of your personal statement
  2. an expedited delivery time of 48 hours
  3. review by one of our sought-after Admissions Panel Members
  4. a copy of The PA School Interview Guide

That's a $150 value for only $109!  It's no secret that our clients receive more interview invitations, so this package offers incredible value.  After your order is complete, you can rest assured that you'll impress PA programs with both your essay as well as your preparedness for your inevitable interview.

The PA School Interview Guide

You've applied to CASPA and now you're playing the waiting game.  Nobody likes the waiting game.  But rather than sitting there checking your email every 15 minutes, keeping your phone at your hip 24 hours a day, and basically stalking the mailman, why not make use of your time and get some answers?  

www.PAschoolinterviewguide.com has compiled a list of every PA school in the country and provided pertinent information including when Physician Assistant programs send out interview invitations, how many people they typically interview, and what their interview day consists of.  The guide also comes with a foreword from Brian Palm, PA-C, founder of www.myPAresource.com.  Brian uses his experience on Admissions panels to give applicants a look at what to expect and how to best prepare.

We highly suggest that all of our clients purchase The PA School Interview Guide to give themselves an ADVANTAGE when interview day inevitably comes.  There are a number of different books out there that claim they help pre-PA students prepare for their PA school interviews, but the school-specific details in this book are not available anywhere else.  Stop wondering when you'll hear from your top choice PA school!  The answers are available at www.PAschoolinterviewguide.com!

Top 5 things to include in your personal statement

While it's important not to be cliché while writing your personal statement for PA school, there are certain subjects that EVERY narrative should have prior to submitting to CASPA.  Be sure to do your best to set yourself apart from other applicants while discussing these topics!

1. Why do you want to be a PA?

This should be pretty self explanatory.  CASPA's prompt for narratives states, "write a brief statement expressing your motivation or desire to become a physician assistant."  You'd be surprised how many applicants fail to include this pertinent information in their narrative.  Don't make this mistake!

2.  How/when were you first exposed to the PA profession?

This should be pretty easy to include as well.  Obviously you heard about Physician Assistants, were treated by one at some point in time, or came across a PA while volunteering, so be sure to mention where your exposure came from.  

3.  Healthcare experience

While ADCOMs will have all of your HCE, volunteering, and work experience, don't hesitate to delve further into what you learned throughout all the hours you invested in medicine. Many applicants simply "review" their resumé and merely mention the jobs they had, but it's important to show the reader how your time spent has made you a better applicant for PA school and your future as a physician assistant. 

4.  Your strengths as a candidate

The goal of your personal statement is to "promote" yourself to the reader and prove why you are the BEST candidate out there.  Highlight those aspects from your academic or healthcare experience to help you stand above the rest.  

5.  WHY YOU?

PA schools generally have HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of applications each cycle.  It's important that you explain WHY you deserve a seat in the class above all the rest.  Generally you want this information to be in your conclusion to leave a lasting impression on the reader.  Some estimates have shown that many schools have 25 applicants for every seat in the class.  Show the reader why you will make a great Physician Assistant.

Creating a draft and implementing these top 5 things into your essay will make for a great starting point.  While there are other important subjects to include in your personal statement, you'll be on the right track if you start here.  

Our admissions consultants are standing by eager and waiting to help you achieve your goals.  Don't make the foolish mistake of applying to PA school without the complete confidence that your personal statement will stand above the rest. 

Deadlines are fast approaching!

We realize that CASPA "just" opened in April, but believe it or not, PA school deadlines are just around the corner.  In two weeks the first schools close their doors to applicants.  If you haven't started putting your application for PA school together yet, NOW is the time.  

July 15- UC Davis, Kentucky
Aug 1- Augsburg College, Bethel University (MN), Butler, LSU, MGH Institute of health professions, Missouri State, Ohio University, Red Rocks CC, Saint Francis University, South University (FL and GA), Tufts University, University of Bridgeport, University of Charleston, University of the Cumberlands, University of Missouri, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse

The first step in ensuring a solid application is putting together a rough draft personal statement for PA school.  THIS WILL TAKE THE MOST TIME.  Create a draft, take a day or two to put the rest of your application together, and by the time you're done with everything else your personal statement will be ready to submit to CASPA.  

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!

Don't become a Statistic!

Every year, thousands of candidates like yourself take the leap and apply for PA school.  Thousands of people are fighting for the same seats as you.  In many cases, PA school applicant pools can reach nearly 2000 applicants for 50 seats.  In those cases, after applying, you have a less than 5% chance of being accepted to a program of your choice.  

Let's take your average PA school: 1500 people submit applications.  PA schools generally invite 30 people per interview date.  An average PA school will schedule 5-6 days for interview per cycle.  This means that 150-200 people will be invited to interview, which is about 10%.  The average PA class is approximately 50 students, which means of the 1500 people that apply, only 3% are actually accepted.  

Confused?  Let us simplify this: you need all the help you can get to receive an invitation for interview.  Want to take your chances and apply without a leg up?  More power to you.  We exist to help those that don't enjoy wasting time get accepted.  A majority of candidates will not receive interview invitations.  Give yourself the unfair advantage by writing the perfect personal statement.  We will ensure your narrative portrays you as the ideal candidate, focuses on your strengths, and engages the reader.  

Don't leave your future up to chance, and don't become a statistic!

Things you need to know before being interviewed:

A topic we get frequent questions about is the interview for PA school itself, specifically what types of questions are generally asked during the discussion.  Luckily our team is made up of the same people that field those same questions!  Below we'll review a selection of some of the most common questions asked during the interview for physician assistant school.

Before attending your interview for PA school, you need to realize that you will be asked questions that there are not necessarily right answers to.  Questions like "why do you want to become a PA?" and "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" are almost guaranteed to be asked, so it's probably a good idea to have an answer prepared.  Other questions like "What was your biggest struggle in undergrad?" or "why do you want to come to our program, specifically?" are also common, so be prepared to have answers ready.

It is extremely important to know about the program you are interviewing for.  Our panel members have asked numerous students specific questions like how much the PA program costs, the previous year's PANCE pass rates for the institution, the length of the program, and what a candidate thinks of our mission statement.  Obviously there are right and wrong answers to these questions, and while answering these questions wrong won't necessarily make-or-break the interview, a correct answer will sufficiently increase your favorability with any program.  Each of these questions can easily be researched on the main page of any PA program's website.  It's worth spending 5-10 minutes reviewing this information prior to your interview, even if it's the morning-of.  In a situation the latter questions aren't asked, making your knowledge of a program's mission statement or details of the PA school itself could impress your interviewers.

While canned answers are nice, sound natural.  Your panel will know when you have an answer prepared and will try to throw you off your rhythm to see how you react under pressure.  Don't be surprised to catch some off-the-wall questions during your interview.  Again, there are no wrong answers, but a large reason for the interview itself is to witness your demeanor, character, and intelligence.  Think about it: once you are invited for an interview, they know your GPA and test scores from your transcripts, your work history from your CV, and your background from your personal statement.  The interview allows for a "test-drive" of potential students to make sure you aren't "too good to be true."  

The most important thing during the interview is just to relax.  Remember, it's only your future ;)

Take this quiz before your interview to refresh your knowledge on the PA profession!

http://goo.gl/WshxW5

If you have any comments or additions, feel free to comment below!

A message from CASPA

From CASPA's website: 

"THE 2015-2016 APPLICATION CYCLE WILL OPEN ON APRIL 22ND, 2015. Applicants wishing to apply for the 2016 cycle may not create an account or send documents or tests scores to CASPA prior to this date. Documents received by CASPA prior to this date will not be accepted."

You heard it here first!  What does this mean for you?  It means that you need to have your personal statement and application ready to submit on April 22.  As soon as you submit your entire application, CASPA will forward your documents to the PA schools you choose.  As we have mentioned before, the sooner you apply, the better.  Once the application cycle opens, physician assistant schools begin pulling applications and reviewing them to set up interviews.  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!  

Now is the time to begin working on your personal statement for physician assistant school.  If you haven't started brainstorming yet, now would be a good time.  After you complete a rough draft, submit your narrative to us to review.  We'll have it back to you in a few days to submit to CASPA.  The earlier you start putting together your application, the earlier schools will want to send you interview invitations.  Start now.

The best time to submit your CASPA application

We simply CANNOT stress this enough: the BEST time to submit your CASPA application is the day the cycle opens, usually at the beginning of March.  Although many PA schools have rolling deadlines, most schools begin reviewing applications the same day CASPA makes the cycle available.  

Why is applying as early as possible important?  Because the earlier you apply, the less competition you have.  It makes sense.  By being one of the first to apply, you are compared to 100 applicants rather than 1000.  During this time the odds are in your favor.  

Why do we bother bringing this information to your attention?  Because March is less than a month away.  Physician Assistant schools reward those who have their business together.  "The early bird gets the worm."  By submitting an application that is complete at the time applications are being accepted, PA schools will notice your punctuality and responsibility.  By having your paperwork completed and submitted as early as possible leaves a fantastic first impression.  

Our advice?  Begin working on your personal statement now.  Your personal statement for PA school is not some essay you can crank out in 30 minutes; it is a representation of your life and experiences.  The personal statement is the picture you want portrayed that accentuates your application.  It should not be rushed.  Take your time.  And when you are ready, send us your essay and we will ensure it leaves the lasting impression admissions committees look for.

Our PA personality survey

If you haven't already, be sure to check out our PA personality quiz!  Our team had a little fun compiling this list of questions to help you figure out which specialty suits you best!  We've had people from all around the world take our little quiz.  Does it have anything to do with personal statements?  No!  But sometimes you should be allowed to have a little fun :)

Be sure to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!  Take the quiz by clicking on this link: http://goo.gl/C2KVxz .  Enjoy! 

Top 5 reasons to use myPAresource

1. Avoid costly mistakes

We can't tell you how many times we see personal statements that, to the writer, seem PERFECT, only to find out they say "Physician's Assistant" or the inappropriate spelling of "their." Many candidates post their essays on forums.  We can assure you that getting your statement reviewed for free, in a public setting, by an anonymous person competing for the same spot as you IS NOT a good idea.  Which brings us to our second reason:

2. Get your essay edited by people that actually know what they are doing.

Other editing sites are generally comprised of recent college graduates clinching to their English major.  Our employees graduated from college too (some with their English major), but they also graduated from PA school.  And some even graduated from Medical School.  Then, after graduating, our employees accrued years of experience reviewing the applications of your peers.

3. Our experts will tell you EXACTLY what you need to change to separate you from others.

As a team we have read and reviewed COUNTLESS personal statements from those applying specifically to physician assistant school, and despite more and more people applying every year, the statements get more and more dull.  Our job is to get your an interview; to portray you, the candidate, as someone PA schools WANT to meet.  We want to portray you as driven and determined, and our admissions consultants ensure they will.

4. It's cheap!

Our prices are set at the minimum rate as requested by our employees, meaning IT DOESN'T GET CHEAPER THAN THIS.  We have done our research of the competitors and we are still FAR below what other GENERIC sites cost.  With us you get more experience for less money.  What else could you ask for?

5. It's your future.

How much does a mistake cost?  Are you willing to risk giving your dream up because you're "pretty sure" it's a good essay?  Run it by us.  If it's great, we'll tell you.  If it's not, we'll tell you how you can look better to those reading your personal statement.  Heck, we may even give you some of your money back if there's nothing for us to recommend.  But don't take a chance.  Allow us to be the professionals.  Applying to physician assistant school isn't easy, but it can be a success.  And we can help.