Once you click the “Submit Application” button on CASPA’s website, it’s over. Not only are any mistakes you have made while filling out transcripts, etc. finalized, but you won’t have any opportunity to make changes to your personal statement, so you need to make sure your essay is as good as it can get. While applying early is a great idea, taking your time and ensuring that your essay is flawless will give you the best opportunity to get invited for interview.
Here’s a last-minute checklist to help you make sure that your essay is ready to submit:
Never write “Physician’s Assistant”- This is a sure-fire way to lose favor with admissions committees. You should know at this point in the process that the correct spelling of the profession is “Physician Assistant” (or just stick with PA!). This is an easily-correctable mistake that will ensure that you are taken seriously as an applicant.
Make sure you use the correct punctuation- Please don’t use unnecessary commas and throw in semicolons at random. The reader will be able to figure out that you aren’t a good writer (unless you have a professional proofreader… see www.myPAresource.com for help with that) if you’re inserting random commas or have run-on sentences. Our editors are experts at both grammar and content, but make sure you utilize someone (ANYONE) that can help make sure that your punctuation is on point.
Explain why you want to be a PA- Basically the entire purpose of the personal statement: “explain how your experiences have influenced your decision to become a Physician Assistant.” This seems simple and straightforward/obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people are off-the-mark when it comes to the main theme of the essay. Make sure that your PA school personal statement highlights specific reasons why you have chosen this profession.
Don’t focus too much on your struggles- Three-quarters of your essay should not be about how you ended up with a C in organic chemistry because your dog died sophomore year but it proves that you are compassionate and want to help others cope with the loss of a loved one (yes, we’ve seen an essay similar to this). Even if you have a blemish or two on your application, don’t bring too much attention to them. Supplemental applications (that come after the initial CASPA application) usually give you an opportunity to explain things like this. It’s okay to struggle sometimes! But we don’t want to jump right in and ruin our first impression to a PA program to highlight them.
Talk about your strengths as a future PA STUDENT- Remember: the position you are applying for when you submit your CASPA application is to be a physician assistant STUDENT, not a practicing PA. Going into detail discussing how your history as a medical assistant taking blood pressures shows that you will be a great PA is irrelevant. Talk more about how your experiences will help you be a successful STUDENT, as that’s ultimately the position we want (for now)! PA programs LOVE a diverse class, so use your own unique experiences to set you apart!
More tips and tricks can be found in our personal statement workshop! Click the link below to ensure that your PA school personal statement is ready to submit to CASPA!