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Pa school personal statement: complete guide + examples.

how long is the personal statement for pa school

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 11/6/23

If you’re applying to a Physician’s Assistant program, you will be asked to write a personal statement. Continue reading as we outline the dos and don'ts of your PA school personal statement. 

Male physician's assistant consulting with female doctor

Are you wondering how to write a unique, stand-out personal statement for PA school? We’ve got you covered with our complete guide to writing a stellar personal statement. 

This one document has the power to set you apart from the competition, giving admissions committees a deeper understanding of who you are beyond your academic achievements and test scores. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the dos and don'ts of crafting a compelling personal statement that will leave a lasting impression. 

Get The Ultimate Guide on Writing an Unforgettable Personal Statement

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How To Write a Strong PA School Personal Statement

The first step is understanding what a personal statement is. A personal statement is a piece of writing that shares who you are to admissions committees. Many programs like humanities and social sciences ask applicants to write personal statements to learn about the applicant on a more intimate level. 

Unlike a statement of purpose, a personal statement focuses more on you and your interests and hobbies rather than academic achievements and accomplishments. 

A personal statement is usually less formal and may take a storytelling approach as you share how your experiences have shaped you and led you to apply to the specific program. 

While the tone is less formal than a statement of purpose, make sure your personal statement is well-written and engaging to your reader. You should proofread and edit your writing multiple times before submitting it. 

When writing a personal statement, think about answering some of the following questions: 

  • Why did you pick this program?
  • What experiences do you have that makes you a good candidate for the Program?
  • What can you bring to the program?
  • What can the program bring to you?
  • What achievements are you proud of?
  • What setbacks or challenges have you overcome?
  • What are your career goals, and how does this program help you achieve them? 

As most personal statements are about 500 to 600 words, or two pages double-spaced, you won’t have the space to answer all of these questions. Pick a few to focus on. 

Now that we have a pretty good understanding of the expectations and tone of a personal statement let's discuss how to write a strong personal statement for PA school. 

The first thing to do before you begin writing is to read the school’s instructions carefully. Different schools may ask you to include specific pieces of information in your statement. The key to impressing the admissions committee is to demonstrate that you are detail-oriented and have actually read through the instructions. 

Admission committees for PA schools want to know if you are right for the field before admitting you into the program. If they think you won’t make a good PA, then they most likely won’t accept your application. 

Your personal statement for a PA school should demonstrate why you want to be a Physician Assistant and why you would make a good PA. When writing your statement, highlight specific attributes and characteristics that make up a good PA. Some specific traits to highlight may include:

  • Attention to Detail 
  • Compassion 
  • Confidence 
  • Problem-Solver
  • Emotional Intelligence 
  • Commitment 
  • Professionalism  

All of these traits make up a successful Physician Assistant . Use specific examples from your personal experience to show off your great traits. As the saying goes, show, don’t tell. Pick a couple of examples that demonstrate you possess one or more of these traits for your personal statement. 

Successful PA essays are not about job experience; in fact, you should think of a well-rounded approach to medicine. For example, think of extracurricular activities that have shaped your interest in medicine and helped you grow as a person. 

Make sure to work on your personal statement well in advance of submitting your application. This will help ensure you have ample time for revisions, meet the application deadlines and can present the best possible version of yourself to the admissions committee.

Person typing essay on laptop

What To Avoid In Your Personal Statement for PA School

There are a lot of tips on how to write a good personal statement for med school that you can use for a PA personal statement. However, it is important to know what to avoid doing as well. 

Don’t be dishonest and disingenuous in your personal statement. Admissions committees read thousands of personal statements and can spot those who feel off or insincere. 

You don’t have to be a perfect person or perfect applicant to get accepted; be yourself and be honest. In fact, acknowledging challenges or setbacks that you have faced and overcame is a great way to demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving skills that make you a stronger candidate! 

Also, avoid generic clichés and overused quotations in personal statements. This can include statements such as “I want to be a PA because I love helping people.” General statements such as this are overdone and come across as dull and impersonal. 

Also, steer clear of fixating on salary details. Focusing too much on the money aspect might make it seem like your main motivation for becoming a Physician's Assistant is financial gain, rather than a true passion for patient care and healthcare. Instead, let your personal statement shines with your real-life experiences and genuine enthusiasm for this profession.

Instead, try some suggestions for engaging ways to start your PA personal statement from Hamilton University: 

  • Standard: Simply state what you will be talking about in your paper, basically like a thesis statement. 
  • Creative: Find a creative and unique way to begin your personal statement. For example, you can start your piece with a relevant quotation that speaks to you and relates to your experiences. 
  • Action: Begin in the middle of a story to draw your reader right into the action. 
  • Personal: Start off your statement by revealing something personal about yourself that has led you to your interest in medicine. 
  • Informative: State a fact that leads into your personal experiences. 

Avoid academic jargon or overly complicated language in your personal statement as well. Keep it simple and easy to read. Being over-dramatic can be off-putting and impersonal. Your personal statement should reflect who you are, so be authentic and genuine. 

It can be difficult to write something intimate about yourself for strangers to read. It can also be hard to balance between humility and boasting. If you need some extra help, you may find some tips on how to write a recommendation letter for yourself helpful. 

While a personal statement is not the same as a letter of recommendation, there are some core similarities. 

Person typing essay on laptop next to stethoscope

PA School Personal Statement Example

Now that we have discussed the components of a personal statement for PA school, let’s check out some essays that were accepted for PA programs to give you an idea of what a good personal statement looks like. 

Here is an example of a well-written personal statement: 

“Hey Doc, you might want to have a look at this.” On my computer rested a radiology report for a patient I saw with my rural preceptor. She came to the office with left upper quadrant pain, early satiety, and abdominal distention. Due to the patient’s age and family history, I was worried that her vague symptoms could be related to ovarian malignancy; thus, I enquired to my preceptor if he thought ultrasonographic imaging would be appropriate. He readily agreed with my rationale. This report reflected my gut feeling that something was wrong: “There are multiple solid masses in the liver…dominant mass measures 17.0 x 12.9 x 18.1 cm. Follow-up CT recommended.” Although it may sound strange, reading those words convinced me I wanted to become a radiologist. 
I wanted to be the person to give an answer for that patient. I wished I could have performed the patient’s ultrasound examination and subsequently analyzed the findings. One of my family medicine patients suffered mortal complications from the rupture of a massive basilar artery aneurysm, and I used his tragic CTA findings to give insights on how to understand the Circle of Willis and how its anatomy explained the patient’s unfortunate condition. 
I had done research one summer centered around using microbubble contrast-enhanced ultrasound to characterize indeterminate renal lesions. I began the project as someone who was incapable of understanding what those series of words actually meant, but by the end I was trying to explain the various septations and wall patterns of lesions suggestive of malignancy to my exasperated, but thankfully supportive, parents. It is this constant teaching aspect of radiology that attracts me to the field. The most obvious instruction one gives as a radiologist is assisting physicians with disease diagnosis and pathology localization, but I see a burgeoning, ever-questioning group of pupils waiting ahead for radiologists: their patients. 
As society becomes increasingly tech-savvy, there will be an increasing desire from patients to access their medical images digitally. With that, there comes the concurrent expectation that radiologists will have to be responsible in disseminating this information, as well as explaining the abnormalities. As this latter role has traditionally been in the hands of primary care physicians and/or specialists, radiology will have to adapt and rise to this challenge. 
I am looking for a residency program that wants to prepare its students for this inevitable future. Such a program would obviously need to be strong in giving its future radiologists extensive breadth and depth in commonplace and emerging image modalities with distinguished skills in fostering student independence. As part of that independence, the program must have a strong emphasis on how best to explain radiologic findings for both physicians and laypeople. Additionally, I hope for ample opportunities for resident research, as well as strong mentorship from both upper level residents and faculty.”

Why this personal statement works : The student clearly outlines their goals and how these goals relate to the PA program. The student also clearly demonstrates how their background and personal experiences support their career goals which shows the reader that they are capable of being a great candidate for a PA program.  

Here is another excerpt from a statement that shares a personal story: 

“Do you think we can take in a 2-year-old?” Unsure if my wife was joking, I stopped midway up the steep hill on 19th Street in Birmingham to catch my breath, which was now short for reasons other than the strenuous walk. My wife went on, explaining that her niece, Gabby, needed a home. Nobody else in the family was able to help, and if we didn’t, she would likely end up in foster care. Though we later discussed it at great length, my mind was made up before I submitted the hill. My parents, who worked at a children’s home in Alabama for most of my life, showed me the impact a loving home could have on a child’s life. I couldn’t imagine saying no to this little girl. Less than a month later, we received full custody of Gabby and it became the three of us (plus the cat). It was my first year of medical school, my wife worked full-time, and we were the sole caretakers of a toddler. Through all the stresses of those early times, one thing stands out in my mind as perhaps the most stressful of all—her nighttime cough. That cough kept us awake at night. Each time Gabby let out a string of coughs, I crawled down to the edge of the bed and put my hand on her chest to make sure she was still breathing. We had been told that she might have asthma, but that was all we knew. We didn’t have any of the documentation most places required for care. We had no Medicaid information, Social Security number, birth certificate, or medical history—only a piece of paper signed by a judge that said we were responsible for her. My wife and I were at a loss—how could we care for this child if we could not get her most basic healthcare needs met? Thankfully, we stumbled upon Christ Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health center (FQHC) in Birmingham. 
Christ Health Center was exactly what our family needed. In addition to caring for Gabby’s needs when most other places would not, I saw there a model of the sort of clinical work I intend on doing after residency. I was so impressed I signed up to do an elective rotation with them between first and second year. Prior to that, I was fairly certain I wanted to practice family medicine and work with the underserved in some way; after my first day at Christ Health Center, there was no doubt left in my mind. My draw to family medicine in general, and FQHCs in particular, is the potential for community change. At Christ Health Center, patients often came in with their entire families and everyone in the room had an issue to address, medical or otherwise. I learned some of the nuances of working with a community and gained skills necessary to help meet these needs. Usually, it was just a word of reassurance; other times, it was patient and family education; and occasionally, it was setting them up with resources for food and housing. 
The lessons of those few months are often in my mind as I see patients. During my family medicine clerkship, I was tasked with doing the H&P for three different children in the same room. Inside, I found a frazzled mother completing paperwork while the kids scrambled about the room. She tried her best to calm them as I started on the histories, but to little avail. She grew more and more dispirited as she continued answering, “I don’t know.” Finally, on the verge of tears, she said, “I’m so sorry. I just got custody of all three of them and don’t know anything about their histories.” I paused, remembering Gabby’s nighttime cough. Finally, I said, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of them. I know exactly how you feel.” 

Why this personal statement works : This student takes a slightly different route than the first example but is also an effective way to write a captivating personal statement. 

This statement reads more like a story, and the reader gets to know the student on a closer level. 

By creating this sense of intimacy, the student demonstrates that their empathy and their ability to overcome personal challenges makes them a great candidate for a PA program. 

Both examples are strong, so the route you want to take is up to you.

Doctors looking at xray

Still have some questions? Keep reading as we answer some of your frequently asked questions. 

1. What Should Be In A Personal Statement for PA School?

You should highlight some of your traits and experiences that make you the right fit for the program and the field. Make it personal and make it about you, but remember to also be genuine and humble. 

A personal statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee. Think about how you want to present yourself and what you want the admissions committee to know about you. 

2. How Do You Write A Unique Personal Statement for PA School?

The most important piece to writing a unique personal statement for PA school is to be yourself and write from your heart. 

3. How Long Should a PA School Personal Statement Be?

This all depends on the school and their instructions. However, most personal statements range from 500 words to 1,000 words. Unless stated otherwise, they should never be longer than 1,000 words. 

Final Thoughts

A personal statement is a key piece of your application. Like your interview , it’s your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and really stand out amongst other applicants. A PA school personal statement is also a great opportunity to show off your writing and communication skills. 

Remember to read through the instructions posted by the school, keep it personal and honest, and proofread and edit before submitting. Follow these key steps to write a personal statement that will impress admissions committees.

how long is the personal statement for pa school

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Write The Perfect PA School Personal Statement [With Examples]

Typerwriter and rocket

Filling out your PA school application is exciting and overwhelming. You’re beginning the first steps to your career goal, but it includes so much!

You’ll need to complete your application through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants ( CASPA application). The application includes letters of recommendation, service hours, and a personal statement.

Your personal statement is one of the most important pieces inside the CASPA application. A PA personal statement is really a personal essay that offers you a time to shine.

The goal is to pique the admissions committee’s interest in you, in hopes they will contact you for a school interview.

Your PA school wants to learn more about you and your past experiences. If you’ve kept a journal of your healthcare experiences, it will make the process a little easier. If not, take a week to think through your past medical experiences, patient interactions, and shadowing experiences.

Your goal is to be accepted into a PA Program, become a PA student, and join the PA profession . To get there, you have to complete your application essay. So, let’s get started!

What Is the Purpose of a Physician Assistant Personal Statement?

Your PA personal statement might be the toughest part of the application process. Ultimately, your application essay is a sales piece about you, and that can be difficult to write. Inside the application, your PA school sees an academic background that talks about what kind of student you are.

Your work history tells them about what you’ve done professionally. Your letters from your PA evaluators show what others have to say about you. This is the only time in your PA school application that you hold the pen.

The American Academy of PAs recommends you pay attention to a few dos and don’ts as you consider what to put in your personal statement. Remember there is a 5,000 character limit. This means you have 5,000 characters, not words, in which to complete your essay. Often, this will come out to be about 800 words.

In your essay, clearly state why you’re pursuing the PA profession while demonstrating your knowledge of it. Communication skills are a necessity in the PA profession, and this is a chance for your communication skills to shine. Use your personal essay to communicate why you’re up to the challenge.

Don’t be vague, don’t use abbreviations, and don’t use informal language like contractions. Instead, write formally and identify the theme that brings the whole essay together.

Be sure to make every word count. Most importantly, do not make your personal statement a reiteration of your application. The admissions committee has already read your application. This is time to make yourself unforgettable.

As you are brainstorming, outlining, and writing your application essay, keep your audience in mind. Admission committee members are physician assistants, and they’re looking for good future PAs.

They’re interested in your desire to be part of a growing profession and your passion for patient care. Communicate this through your application essay.

Your PA School Wants To See You Shine in Your Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your unique story of why you want to become a physician assistant. To tell your story well, it’s important to do your homework on your audience. Start by investigating the physician assistant school and take note of their mission, ideas, and values. You can find most of this information on their website.

Look for the emphasis the school places on primary care or specialties. Do they encourage out-of-state applicants? What’s their vision for the future of education? As you find these answers of the PA program you hope to attend, ask yourself—How am I a match? Answers to these questions will help you as you write your personal statement.

Medical school yearbook

Each week, skim through the articles that pop up in your news feed to get to know your intended school. The key word here is “skim;” it’s not necessary to read each word. You only need to read enough to find information to include that will help set yourself apart from other candidates.

Unless you’re perfect, you likely have had to overcome some challenges in your education or your personal life. Recount these challenges in your application essay and identify how you’ve overcome them. Above all, be human in your essay so the admissions committee connects with you and is excited about meeting you.

Prepare, Then Write Your PA Personal Statement

Let’s begin at the beginning. Don’t procrastinate! Some prospective PA students put off writing until they feel inspired or they feel the deadline is disturbingly close.

Sadly, this only feeds the anxiety that often accompanies writing a physician assistant personal statement. If you avoid procrastinating and instead use the process below, it becomes easier. The process includes brainstorming, outlining, and finally writing. But first, let’s start with the structure of the personal statement.

Anatomy of a Physician Assistant Personal Statement

The first thing you need to understand is the structure of the document. Once you know that, it’s easier to brainstorm the type of information you’ll need to write it. A PA personal statement includes an opening statement, a body, and a strong conclusion.

Opening Statement

Your opening statement sets the tone for the rest of your essay. It must grab your reader’s attention and make them want to stay along for the ride. This is where your research into the school comes in handy. Some schools prefer a straightforward statement while others are looking for a compelling story that sets the stage for your desire to become a PA student.

Opening statement stories can recount:

  • When you were cared for by a physician assistant.
  • What you learned from your personal medical experiences.
  • What you discovered from a friend or family member in the healthcare field that touched you.
  • Your volunteer experiences.
  • What it was like to live in a medically underserved area.

Providing a personal experience helps the admissions committee decide if they want to invite you to a school interview. Be sure to brainstorm multiple personal experiences to use in your opening statement. That way, as you move forward and start writing your first draft, you can change the opening statement to fit the flow of the rest of the essay.

Body of the Essay

This part of your essay tells the admissions committee why you decided to apply to their physician assistant school. Include in the body of your essay how you built an understanding of medicine and what drove you to want to become a physician assistant.

For instance, shadowing other healthcare professionals, reading, healthcare experience, and personal experience are ways of showing your knowledge and passion for the medical field.

It may also help to touch on why you chose to be a physician assistant and not a nurse practitioner or an MD . Remember, you’re speaking to PAs who already know what a PA does . Instead, address what it is about being a physician assistant that speaks to you personally.

Mention specific skills that make you a great PA, such as teamwork, communication, compassion, and your desire to work as a healthcare provider.

If you were faced with challenges and obstacles during your high school or college career, address them and discuss how you’ve grown from the experience. Don’t make excuses; just take ownership of the situation and address it honestly.

Strong Conclusion

You’ve finally finished the body of your PA school essay. This last paragraph of your personal statement should reemphasize your desire to attend physician assistant school, and, specifically, that school’s PA program. In your last paragraph, let your empathy, passion, skills, and dedication shine through.

Make a Personal Statement List, Then Check It Twice

If the process makes you feel overwhelmed, be assured you’re not the only one. However, taking these next two steps can make writing the essay much easier and less intimidating. Let’s start with a personal statement list from which you will later write an outline.

Schedule a date for when you’ll start writing your first draft. Mark this date in your calendar so you won’t forget or procrastinate. Then, on your calendar, mark one week before your “start writing” date. This is your brainstorming date.

On your brainstorming date, make a list of points you want to cover in your application essay. Because this is a brainstorming session, you don’t consider the character limit, it does not need to be in logical order, nor does it all have to follow the same theme.

Your list should include from 3 to 5 experiences that demonstrate the path you’ve taken to become a physician assistant. Patient interaction, academic experience, shadowing, clinical experience, and volunteering all fit the bill. If you have a particular story that you would like to weave throughout the essay, then include that on the list as well.

If you’re considering beginning your application essay, with a story, it’s helpful to brainstorm multiple ideas. A good opening story will build the structure of the document, so add all potential ideas to the list. Again, this is brainstorming, so there’s no need to nail down your opening story right now.

Now, put the list off to the side for at least 4 days. This will give you a chance to mull over your ideas without pressure, so when the time comes, the essay flows naturally.

Create an Outline of Personal Experiences

After 4 days, pull out the list of your personal experiences and begin to structure your essay in the form of an outline. An outline can help you organize your thoughts, so your content flows together.

Remember, there is a 5,000 character limit, so the outline will help you stay on track as you write on the proverbial paper (because you’re writing it on the computer, right?). .

Most pre-PA students write their essays in chronological order. And, truth be told, this is also the best way for the admissions committee to absorb the information. If you do choose to flashback, make it clear so your reader isn’t confused.

Do not try to be perfect—neither in your writing style nor in how you portray yourself.

Your ability to be vulnerable about your challenges makes you more of a real, relatable person. Set aside 2 or 3 days to nail down the outline for your personal statement. Not 2 or 3 full days, but 2 or 3 days to write, mull, and contemplate over the structure, stories, and theme you’ll use.

Start Writing Your Personal Statement: It’s Time to Put Pen to Paper

It’s time to start writing. Set aside quiet time when you won’t be interrupted, and find a space where you can relax. Turn off your phone notifications and shut the door. Take time during the process to do what helps you to calm the butterflies. Simple exercises, music, prayer, and meditation are all popular methods of quieting your mind.

Then start writing using the outline. As you write, remember this is a first draft; you’ll spend time editing, rearranging, and proofing later. Writing your first draft might be one of the fastest steps in writing your personal essay. This is because you’ve already put in the time and effort to develop the ideas. Now is the time to depend on them.

If you feel stuck, many writers find freewriting loosens the creative juices and helps the words flow.

Freewriting is the practice of continuously writing the thoughts that come to you. It was discovered by Peter Elbow in 1973, and it’s been found to help “un-stick” content development. Plus, since you’re using a keyboard, this technique is much easier for you than it was for Mr. Elbow using pen and paper.

After you write your first draft, you’ll need to edit it. One editing technique is to speak your essay out loud as if you were telling it to someone. Use a recorder so you can playback your thoughts—especially those well-worded statements you can’t seem to recreate later.

Seek a Personal Statement Review

Once you’ve polished your personal statement to the best of your ability, it’s time to seek a personal statement review. This is a review process undertaken by an expert, licensed PA who can help improve the flow of your essay and guide you to produce your best possible personal statement for PA school.

Your PA school essay should not be the area of the application process that limits your acceptance.

Potential PA students do well to have a personal statement review, so they don’t get lost in a sea of applicants. The admissions committee is not looking for a cookie-cutter essay, but rather your strongest response to their prompt.

Some PAs that do personal statement reviews also offer services to review CASPA applications. Consider this when choosing a PA to perform your personal statement review. As you weigh your options, costs, and timing, remember the importance of the personal statement to your PA school application and ultimately getting a school interview.

Examples of a PA School Essay

It’s always easier to understand how to write your essay after you’ve read several examples. The PA Life published and analyzed 31 examples for you to read through. At the end of each of these real-world examples are brief comments to help guide the writer to produce a better essay.

The first time you read through a personal essay example, you may miss some points, so be sure to read through examples multiple times.

Here are two short examples using different perspectives to help you determine what the best option is for your personal statement. Neither of these meets the 5,000 character limit since the objective is to offer you different options in the way they could be written and not to develop a full physician assistant program essay.

Paper role and tensiometer

Personal Statement: Example One

I was seven and my mother was once again giving me cough syrup. I took it standing over the toilet because the cherry flavor made me nauseous, and I was sure I would throw up. This went on for years.

Years of springtime coughing and cherry cough syrup. Years of coughing all night and well into the day. Years and years—until as an adult, I realized I had allergies. In those years, I was cared for by my family physician who was gentle, caring, and took the time to talk with me and my parents.

Over the years I have been treated by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians. Thankfully my lungs have healed well, and I use my inhaler once every two to three years.

But in those years, I grew to have an understanding of the different roles of mid-level providers and physicians. And, from that understanding, I grew to appreciate the flexibility, professionalism, skills, and abilities that a physician assistant brings to their practice each day.

During my hours of healthcare experience as an EMT, I have also had the privilege of working alongside physician assistants who have demonstrated the unique combination of communication skills, teamwork, and compassion that I believe I also hold.

My desire to practice as a physician assistant is driven by my own healthcare experiences as well as those I have witnessed at work.

Over the past five years, I have volunteered at homeless shelters and nursing homes, while working as an EMT. In that time I have come to realize I am driven to help others, and being a physician assistant is the best way for me to fulfill that life mission. [Character count: 1588, Word count: 281]

Personal Statement: Example Two

In the past three years, I have held the hands of children as they died, comforted their parents, and watched their siblings mourn. For three years I have watched the doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in our hospital work to save lives, and I have seen the difference they make.

As a nurse, I had always assumed I would go on to become a nurse practitioner, so I could see my own patients. But, in the past three years, I have had the chance to see these professions in action, and I have come to realize my goal is to become a physician assistant.

Growing up I lived in a medically underserved area of our large metropolitan city. I saw first-hand the injustices that led to the loss of life or permanent disability. Today I am a nurse in a large city hospital serving those same people, the people from my neighborhood.

In these years I have developed strong communication skills that have served me well as I teach my patients how to care for themselves at home. My experience has been that positive patient outcomes rely on patient understanding and a belief in their necessary care.

My patients and colleagues have taught me the meaning of teamwork, compassion, and understanding of cultural differences. In watching the practice of different medical professionals, it has become obvious that physician assistants are the embodiment of the kind of care I want to offer my patients.

Each medical professional comes from different backgrounds, with different perspectives. I know that my perspective has been impacted by the neighborhood and community of my childhood.

I believe this impact has been a positive one, as it has driven home the need for people who are sensitive to cultural differences, have the time and desire to work with patients, and who have the skills and knowledge to care for them. These characteristics describe me, and I believe they are a deep and integral part of the physician assistant’s practice.

During my freshman year of undergraduate school, my grades faltered as I was learning how to live away from home and control my own schedule. By my sophomore year, I understood what was needed to get the grades I desired, and I achieved high marks through the rest of my education.

To achieve my goal requires my diligence, focus, and ability to absorb and utilize knowledge. I believe I have demonstrated these characters in my undergraduate degree and during my work experience. I am confident in my ability to successfully complete my education and close the gap in healthcare as a primary care provider. [Character count: 2,562 Word count: 444]

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PA School Personal Statement Top Tips

  • December 4, 2022
  • Rebecca DePalma

The personal statement is arguably one of the most important aspects of your PA school application. Anyone can take science classes and be involved in extracurriculars, the real differentiator from one person to another is most clearly seen through their statement.

The first step is to make sure you meet all required aspects a program requires, which is searchable through myPAbox . The second step is to round out your other application aspects such as the personal statement. As a prior PA applicant, current PA and statement editor, these are my main tips:

1. General writing perfection

I know the word perfect is intimidating and often unattainable, but if there’s ever a time to attain perfection it is in the spelling and grammar of your personal statement. This means you shouldn’t have any simple writing errors.

Obviously not everyone can write a masterpiece, and it doesn’t have to be, but it should be free of general common writing errors. This also includes professionalism and no errors in the word or pluralization of PA/PAs/PA’s. Make sure you proofread your statement many times and have at least a couple others look over it as well.

2. Goals of each paragraph

Equally important is the content of the statement. I recommend writing a list of aspects you know you want to include in the statement and impart to admissions. Then figure out how you are going to structure/organize that content into a logical order.

For example, maybe one paragraph focuses on clinical experience you have had that has led you to want to become a PA, so on and so forth. Just make sure each paragraph has an organized goal that is clear to a third party reader.

3. Unique to you

So you have the content, and it is free of grammatical error. Going further, try to add information that is unique to you. Each sentence should be rich with concise detail, as to differentiate your statement from the 100s-1000s of others that admissions is reading. As a brief example, “I learned a lot from my patient” is not a good use of characters. Rather, writing “I learned XYZ from my patient in the X unit” etc. is a way to fill in the uniqueness of your own personal experience.

4. Connection

Delving even deeper, if you really want to put your statement on the next level – try to connect aspects of your statement, weaving a path through it. This can be done through a general theme, or connecting various work/volunteer/hobbies with a common strand of interest. This not only ties your statement together in a cohesive manner, it also differentiates you in a thoughtful way. It helps you stand out and be memorable to admissions amongst the piles of other personal statements. This isn’t required in any way, but a nice touch to consider.

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how long is the personal statement for pa school


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