Physician assistant admissions committees can be tough to please. A reader emailed us this week with a question about it:
Hey, guys. After exploring your site, I’m convinced that PA is a better fit for me than MD. My question is: how does one convince a physician assistant admissions committee? Any help in the matter will be much appreciated !
It’s a huge question–one we could write a whole blog on (wait – we did!). So we tried to focus on the big picture here. What do physician assistant admissions committees see that sets an applicant apart from the crowd? Here are a couple tidbits that seem relevant to us:
So here’s the email we wrote back to Mike, our curious reader:
For starters, be honest! The truth is convincing. Stay POSITIVE. If there’s something that doesn’t appeal to you about becoming a physician, that’s fine. But instead of focusing on what you don’t like about becoming a physician, focus on the positive aspects of becoming a PA. Third, what excites you about being a PA? PAs are proud of who they are and what they do, and the vast majority would rather stay PAs than become MDs.
Finally, letting your personality show to physician assistant admissions committees can only help. You don’t need to be an attention-seeker – just be real. PAs, though professional, are not a serious and stodgy bunch. Working as part of a physician-PA team makes you a little more down to earth, by necessity! So take advantage of this, and by letting your colors show. PAs have full lives and appreciate others who have them too. Share your odd hobbies, your opinions, and even your flaws (in a positive and/or humorous light). If you do these things, you will succeed, be it in a CASPA essay or PA program interview.
Obviously, grades, health care experience, and other factors are a big part of your application too. But none of that matters if a physician assistant admissions committee glosses over them because your application looks pretty much like everybody else’s.
For more on this topic, we refer you to a similar article we did a while back: Getting Your Physician Assistant School Essay Noticed.