Even if you’re passionate about becoming a PA and have readied yourself for your physician assistant school interview, there is one fatal mistake that can sink you.  The mistake is failing to adequately answer the very first question: “So tell us why you want to become a physician assistant.”

It probably doesn’t sound like a tough from where you sit in the comfort of your home reading.  But the WHY physician assistant interview question is commonly botched.  It just seems too easy, and it gets overlooked.  To rise to the occasion, you need to…

ANSWER THE RIGHT QUESTION

Most PA school interviewees answer this question with some form of “I love the healing professions because…” or “I have always liked medicine’s combination of science and helping others.”  Unfortunately, the question isn’t about why you want to go into medicine.  It’s about why you want to become a physician assistant. Why did you choose to become a PA instead of a physician, phlebotomist, a nurse, or a taxidermist for that matter?  Answering the right question requires you to…

PROVE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO

Share your knowledge of the field.  This is easy to prepare for if you do your homework.  Study up on the physician assistant profession. Know what a typical PA’s workday looks like.  Know some of the big issues in the field right now.  Shadow a PA.  You might be shocked at how many people apply to PA school with only the vaguest idea of what a PA is!  The more you know, the easier it will show that you have thought this through, and it’s the right choice for you.  To show that PA is right for you, you will need to…

CONVINCE THEM YOU ARE THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB

All interview questions , on some level, are aimed at learning who you are.  The WHY physician assistant interview question is no different.  Now that you’ve proven to them that you understand what being a PA is about, it’s time to teach them about you–the real you, not the one on a paper application.  Why is being a PA a good match for who you are?  What do you have to offer the profession?

With a little preparation, the WHY physician assistant interview question becomes a great opportunity to shine.  So don’t get tripped up on the first, easiest-to-prepare-for question you’ll get.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Louis Pasteur