Your PA personal statement is one of the most important PA school requirements. Writing a stellar PA personal statement is difficult for many students, however, this statement is vital for distinguishing your application from all the others and getting into the best PA schools. A well-crafted, memorable statement is your golden ticket to a PA school interview, so in today's blog, you'll learn what to include in your PA personal statement, common mistakes to avoid and you'll even be able to review PA personal statement examples.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Listen to the blog!
PA Personal Statement Example #1
During my kindergarten graduation, I walked on stage and gave my exit speech: “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher because it’s easy.” Reflecting back, I see the comedy in my naivety as every profession has its own unique challenges. I had no intention to pursue medicine, as I often had a sense of jealousy towards the field. Growing up, my mother was also attending school, first undergraduate then medical school. Exposed to the rigor and competition of higher education, she felt the need to share the importance of dedicating my time to education. While my classmates had work-free weekends, I spent my time completing extra homework, assigned by my mother. Initially, I misinterpreted her teachings as favoritism for studies over spending our days indulging in games.
My passion to become a physician assistant took root the day my grandmother fell from the top of a ladder. My mother shouted for my help with two simple tasks: grab a blanket and call 911. Trapped by fear and hesitation, I was unable to react. This response may seem understandable; however, I was my harshest critic and felt shame from my inability to aid. Sitting in the hospital waiting room, I reflected on my actions and vowed to never again be a mere observer. With this experience, my outlook on the medical field began to change from that of jealousy to intrigue. I started to understand that my mother’s intentions were not to spend less time with me but rather she aspired to be in a position where she could offer herself to support others, an attribute I strive to emulate. My kindergarten dreams to teach were expanded to embody care and compassion, with goals to empower and provide protection to others feeling helpless.
Aware of my lack of knowledge pertaining to handling trauma, I enrolled in an emergency medical response course that equipped me with the skills to handle unforeseen situations, and the strength to grow from criticism. Others questioned my ability to complete this physically rigorous course, given that my stature is a mere four feet and nine inches. Using this criticism as motivation, I excelled in the course and partook in a twelve-hour responder shift. This exhilarating experience strengthened my ambition to study medicine, as my interests lie in the shortcomings of human-design.
As an emergency medical responder, I felt qualified to take care of my grandmother who had developed Alzheimer’s. Having younger siblings, I am accustomed to watching over others; however, caring for someone suffering from disease requires a greater state of patience and serenity. When her memories began to slip away, I felt uneasy trying to converse about false stories and recollections. As I spent more time with her, I became accustomed to quick-thinking and no longer felt nervous or scared. I was able to speak with her about any topic and noticed an overall improvement in my confidence. My role as a caregiver tested my ability to handle stressful situations as I learned to deal with feelings of both frustration and anxiety, improving my compassion and understanding of others.
Losing my grandmother sooner than anticipated fueled my drive to provide quality care. Physician assistants require more than academic knowledge, additionally keen characteristics of sociability, emotional and mental strength, and the ability to educate. I have been fortunate to have adopted these lessons and skills. In an effort to pay these gifts forward by healing, supporting, and teaching, I began to shadow a physician assistant in internal medicine.
My experiences alongside my grandmother are not unique to me. Through shadowing, I have seen various forms of physical and emotional trauma that patients face. However, unlike my grandmother, not everyone has a support system. When it comes to dealing with such obstacles, I have a passion to serve as a guide; always trying to consider different perspectives. Some may see my empathetic nature as a weakness, but in a healthcare setting, it is my greatest strength. When rooming patients at the doctor’s office, I would converse and inquire about not only their medical concerns, but their feelings and experiences. When nervous patients thanked me for making them feel comfortable, and patients struggling emotionally held my hand for comfort, I knew I had succeeded in passing on both strength and encouragement.
Although I was raised in a household where education was prioritized over indulgences, I matured to form my own beliefs. Life is not about choosing between learning and pleasure, but rather intertwining the two. I have found a field of study that to me is both a sweet and bitter indulgence, but gratifying nonetheless. Medicine is balanced by both miraculous and shattering moments each requiring their own forms of nurturing. Negative occurrences do not weaken my belief in medicine but rather serve as my motivation to continuously learn and be active in political and research-based medicine. Similarly, positive patient outcomes serve as a reminder for why I cannot let setbacks get in the way of working towards progress. I promise to use my knowledge and experience to foster a tangible outcome of health and manifest invaluable relationships.
What makes this statement great
- This statement utilizes strong transitional sentences to link paragraphs which creates an easy-to-read essay with excellent flow.
- At the end of each experience, this student does an excellent job of reflecting. They discuss what they learned, why it was significant, and how it will help them in a career in medicine.
- Instead of discussing a variety of different experiences, the student focussed on quality experiences over quantity. This allows each experience, whether the experience with their grandmother or the experience as an emergency medical responder to really develop throughout the essay, ultimately creating a unifying theme that ties together well in the conclusion.
- The essay really comes to life due to the inclusion of details that describe experiences and interactions that were significant to the student such as time spent with their grandmother and patient interactions during shadowing.
Why Your PA Personal Statement is Important
The PA school personal statement is one of the most important of the PA school requirements.
Before you begin writing your physician assistant personal statement, it's important to understand the purpose of the personal statement. Essentially, your personal statement will serve as your introduction to admissions committees. It's a way for you to demonstrate why you have chosen to pursue medicine, and why you want to become a PA specifically.
Admissions committees want to understand where your first interest in becoming a physician assistant began, what memorable experiences you've had since that moment, and what steps you've taken towards turning that initial interest into desire and passion for the profession. As with all types of personal statements, your personal statement must address the “why” behind the profession. In this case, why do you want to be a PA? Why did you choose PA school over a related discipline, such as medical school or nursing school? What about the PA profession appeals to you and what have you done to explore the field? What contribution can you make to the PA profession?
Your PA personal statement is the first introduction of who you are and serves as a first impression to the admissions committees. It’s also a way to clinch a PA school interview and move on to the final round of admissions evaluations.
Keep in mind that you'll also be expected to answer this question, and other common PA school interview questions during your interview, so be sure to reflect a bit on your answer and craft a strong response for both your personal statement and your interview answer. Similar questions to this can come up during your PA school interview essay or you can explore your “why” when you’re asked “tell me about yourself” during your interview.
In short, your personal statement is an important tool to getting through the initial rounds of PA school admissions, it provides background information on you to admissions committees and puts a face to your application.
Here's a summary of the requirements for PA school:
How to Write A Killer PA Personal Statement
#1 Be honest.
No two personal statements should be alike, each person has had their own set of experiences that have led them to want to pursue this vocation. So don't try to fabricate your statement or exaggerate your experiences. Instead, be honest, tell the admissions committees about your exposure to medicine, what you've learned, how you've grown, what you have accomplished, why it was important and how all of these experiences led to you wanting to become a PA. Don’t try to butter up the admissions committee or make grand statements. Stick to the main reasons why you want to be a PA and why you want to pursue the profession specifically.
#2 Highlight your experiences and skills appropriately.
You want to highlight a few experiences that have helped you understand more about the life and work of a PA and ultimately helped solidify your decision to pursue this field. You can talk about your reasons for choosing PA vs MD if its relevant to your experience. Reflect on the instances that sparked your interest in the field or made you consider a career as a PA. Think about your volunteering, shadowing, and clinical experiences and reflect on any moments that have stood out for you or were significant in developing your interest in the profession. Remember to use details and specific examples to highlight the skills and lessons you earned from these experiences. Perhaps your participation in creating a treatment plan for a particular patient stood out for you or you witnessed an interaction between a physician assistant and a patient during your shadowing that gave you further insight into the profession. In short, you need to be able to answer why the PA is the best route for you, and what you’ve done to prepare yourself for this career.
Additionally, you can draw on related experiences and skills you’ve developed that will help you reach your goals as a future PA. For example, if you want to work specifically with underserved communities, and you’ve taken on volunteering opportunities that put you into contact with such communities, this is a great experience to include in both your personal statement or as some of the best extracurriculars for PA school. If you want to work among immigrant or refugee communities and took the time to learn a new language in order to better communicate with these individuals, that will not only show initiative, but also dedication to effectively communicating with patients you want to help serve in the future. Also think about which of the PA specialties you might want to work in and what experiences you have which can contribute to this specialty.
#3 Paint a picture.
When it comes to sitting down and writing your PA personal statement, it's important to note that the most successful statements are those that tell a story. Not unlike a medical school personal statement, your PA personal statement is not a recitation of your CV. Listing accomplishments, awards, and your education will not interest the admissions committee. That information is already available in your medical school resume and elsewhere in your application; the personal statement is a piece of art, not a dry informational document. It should allow members of the admissions committee to gain insight into your personal story and take them on your journey to becoming a PA.
Stories are excellent for a few different reasons. First, stories are interesting. As humans, we tend to be drawn to stories, we love books, movies, articles - anything that allows us to be transported to another time, another place, another experience. If the story is well written, it moves us by eliciting an emotional response from us. Whether that is happiness, sadness, compassion, love, desire, or amusement, stories have the power to affect us and that's exactly what you want the admissions committees to experience: emotion. Emotional content is powerful content, and it leaves an impact. It's memorable, it stays with you, and it stands out.
In addition to being captivating, writing your personal statement in the form of a story is also beneficial because it helps tell your story in a chronological manner. The last thing you want, other than a boring personal statement, is one that doesn’t make sense and leaves admissions committee members confused. Jumping from one point in time to the next, from one experience to the next without order will only create a disjointed, unstructured essay. Instead, tell your story chronologically, beginning with an introduction to your interest or exposure to medicine, flowing into a few significant experiences throughout your life, and ending with a powerful conclusion that ties the entire essay together.
#4 Be Original.
You are not like anyone else; despite what you might think, you're an original personal with individual thoughts, experiences, and interests. Don't get sucked into using clichés, common quotes, and unoriginal statements. It's not about writing what you think the admissions committee wants to hear such as “I want to be a doctor because I want to help people” or “I've always dreamed of becoming a doctor”.
Let your personal statement highlight what makes you unique as an applicant, how your personal qualities complement the profession, and what skills and key competencies you can bring to the entering class. Overall, it's important to consider what experiences and skills distinguish you from other applicants. Admissions committees will be reviewing hundreds if not thousands of PA school personal statements; what is going to make your statement stand out? What do you have to offer? How can you contribute to the profession?
What makes a strong PA personal statement?
Why show, don’t tell is the #1 rule to follow for personal statements:
Common PA Personal Statement Mistakes to Avoid
#1 Reciting your CV.
Admissions committees already have this information so this isn't suitable for your personal statement. Focus on quality of experiences. When brainstorming, write down the most significant experiences, either professional or personal, which led to you pursuing a career as a PA.
#2 Casting yourself as the victim.
Many people have experienced difficult situations, such as emigrating from another country or suffering an injury. This can be powerful to discuss in your PA personal statement, but only if you can show resilience and ensure you're not playing the victim. As a general rule of thumb, be sure to only include an experience if you can discuss how it shapes you as a person, how it helped you grow, and will help you become a better future physician assistant.
#3 Telling instead of showing.
It's not enough to say statements such as “I am a good listener” or “My experience shadowing has made me compassionate”. You need to show, or demonstrate, how you are a good listener, and how shadowing has helped you become compassionate. Discuss how interacting with patients helped you develop compassion or how your listening skills helped a specific patient with their problem. Discuss real experiences that can support and provide evidence for any statements.
#4 Failing to create a standout opening sentence and paragraph.
The opening sentence in your PA school personal statement is the hook for your entire essay. If it's not enticing, unique, and memorable, you risk your essay blending in with the thousands of other admissions essays and ending up at the bottom of the pile. Your opening sentence and paragraph need to be engaging, you want to create a sense of desire so that admission committee members won't want to put down your statement, they should want to continue reading to find out the rest of your story. Remember that admissions committees tend to read these essays quickly, so if you don’t grab their attention right away, your essay will be quickly forgotten. PA school personal statement editing can be a big help in rewriting or tweaking your essay so it is polished and engaging. It’s always a good idea to get another set of eyes on your essay, too, to make sure there are no mistakes or get objective feedback. For students who want professional feedback on their work, expert physician assistant application help can be a great resource to use.
Having trouble writing a good introduction? Check out our tips:
#5 Failing to have a strong conclusion.
Just like a strong introduction, a good conclusion bookends a strong PA personal statement. A strong concluding paragraph not only sums up the main points of your previous paragraphs, but it should end on an engaging note. You want to leave the admissions committee wanting to know more about you, as this makes them more likely to call you for an interview. Your conclusion should be more than just “this is why I’ll make a good PA”, or “and that is why the PA profession is for me.” Your conclusion should bring back your main points, but an excellent closing statement can call back to your engaging opening sentence while also inviting the reader to continue the conversation.
#6 Relying on clichés.
The purpose of your PA personal statement is to stand out, not blend in. So don't use clichés and popular quotes that are tired and dry. Be original and use your own thoughts instead of the thoughts of others. It can be easy to fall into the habit of using common phrases or cliched language, but revising your draft can help you pick these out and rewrite them.
#7 Failing to reflect.
Any experience you describe in your PA personal statement should be followed by thoughtful reflection. You can't simply state that you worked as a research assistant in a lab and contributed to a publication. Think about why you want to discuss an experience in the first place and always be answering, why was it significant? What did you learn from it? How will it help you in your career as a physician assistant? How did this experience encourage me to become a PA? Your personal statement should demonstrate a deeper understanding of yourself and your goals, so self-reflection and self-insight is key here. While you’re brainstorming ideas for your personal statement, take some time to ask yourself these questions.
#8 Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
Your PA personal statement should be free from all errors and mistakes. Keep in mind that your personal statement is a direct reflection of who you are as a person. Mistakes indicate that you rushed your statement, are not detail-oriented and that you're not really invested in your potential career. An excellent PA personal statement has been through many revisions and has had multiple reviewers. It's a good idea to seek professional help such as a medical school advisor not only to ensure your statement is free from errors but so that you can receive personalized feedback on your statement to ensure you are putting your best self forward.
Want more PA personal statement tips?
7 More PA Personal Statement Examples
PA Personal Statement Example #2
PA Personal Statement Example #3
PA Personal Statement Example #4
I have one person to thank for inspiring me to become a physician assistant: my great-grandmother Lucia. She was the catalyst behind me entering health care, and she is also the reason I’ve decided to change my career and apply to PA school and start a new direction in my professional life. My great-grandmother was never the sort to be content with simply standing still or not taking chances, and from a young age she encouraged me to chase my passion and pursue work that fulfills me. Having reached a point in my professional life that I need to take a chance, I recalled my great-grandmother’s sage advice.
As a child, my family and I visited my great-grandmother at her nursing home whenever possible. Although the drive was long, it was worth it to spend a few hours in her company. She was a funny, bright and charming woman, and to a child, her stories of growing up on a homestead in the early 20th century were fascinating and eye-opening. She never seemed to be afraid of anything, whether it be moving across the country, welcoming another child or standing up for herself. Spending time with my great-grandmother and her neighbors gave me an appreciation for seniors and the stories they could tell me. Now, I remember pieces of stories from people who came from all diverse backgrounds and circumstances: a retired police officer from St. Louis, a former nanny who spoke 4 languages, a classical musician who once played in Carnegie Hall. My experiences with my great-grandmother and her neighbors stayed with me as I grew up, and after graduating I decided to become a CNA. I worked in several nursing homes and eventually, I began working as a hospice care worker.
Working in hospice was a fulfilling experience for me because I was able to spend longer periods of time with patients and once again get to hear their stories and all about their lives. I met many incredible people, including a Vietnam war veteran, a former jazz singer, and a housewife who raised 8 children, had never learned to drive but tried skydiving for the first time when she was in her 60s. Hospice care allowed me to form stronger bonds of friendship with the seniors in my care, and it reignited the spark I’d felt when visiting my great-grandmother, who at that point had passed on. In my work I found the passion that Lucia told me to look for and also the fulfillment of knowing that I was providing meaningful physical, mental and emotional care to my patients.
As personally fulfilling as my position was, I knew that it would not be a position I could stay in forever. Hospice care is a professionally demanding job, and it can be emotionally and mentally challenging. When I reached a point of having itchy feet, as Lucia put it, I knew it was time to think about next steps. I briefly returned to working in a local hospital as a CNA and shadowed two nurses and a PA to get a better idea of the kind of work I could transition to. After examining my shadowing experiences, my work history, and listening to Lucia’s voice in the back of my head, I knew that applying to PA school was the next step. Being a PA would let me keep working closely with the patients I loved working with, but allow me flexibility and variety—a breath of fresh air and a welcome change.
I know my great-grandmother Lucia would approve of my choice of work and my care of others, and that she would smile at seeing me stop thinking and do something to change my life when I’m not satisfied. Most of all, I thank her for instilling in me a sense of care and helping me be attuned to myself, so I can confidently start this new path in my life. (656 words)
Need help writing your personal statement? Here’s what students say about our services:
PA Personal Statement Example #5
I started caring for my first patient when I was 8 years old. My younger sister, Amelia, was only 3, and because of her chronic health conditions, including asthma and various allergies, our mother frequently brought her into the health clinic for check-ups, blood draws and chest scans. Since I was too young to be left alone, I was part of the after-school doctor’s visit routine. My sister, who like many children dreaded the phlebotomist coming at her with a needle, hated these visits. To help her feel better and manage her fears, I took on the role of sisterly caregiver. I held her hand during every blood draw, talked her through every scan and did my best to distract her from anything new and scary. Seeing how my efforts calmed her and made the doctor’s visits less anxiety-inducing, I committed to being her “doctor-buddy” and going with her for any health-related appointments.
After dozens of appoints, both for my sister, myself and other siblings, I began to recognize our regular nurses and medical assistants by name. They were always kind to me and my siblings, offering comforting words and lollipops. I began to anticipate seeing the various nurses, phlebotomists and scribes, talking their ears off about school or soccer practice. The doctors we met rotated with every visit, and our time with them was always short, as they had many other patients to see at the busy clinic.
Thinking that being a nurse was more fulfilling than being a doctor, and having acted as my sister’s carer, I decided in high school that nursing school would be my goal. I worked hard at school, taking the necessary courses and taking a volunteer position with a mobile health clinic that served hard-to-reach areas in our community. All too soon, I found the work dissatisfying. Because we were a mobile clinic, we were always on the move to the next patient. I couldn’t take my time with each patient and form a bond, as I had with my sister and her nurses. I didn’t feel I was getting the experience or developing the level of patient care I aspired to. I switched to working in a nearby rural St. Joseph hospital as a medical assistant, and there I found the work experience I was craving. I enjoyed working with underserved patients in the rural areas, but I wanted to spend more time with patients instead of paperwork, and I liked having a home base to stay at.
It was here that I met Carmen, one of a handful of physician assistants in the area. She was a constant presence a St. Joseph’s, and since everyone knew everyone, everybody knew Carmen. She had a warm personality and a well-known sharp wit, so she was a great teammate to work with no matter your position in the hospital. When it came to patients, she knew everyone. When a long-term care patient had a birthday, Carmen was organizing the celebration with other residents. When a child came in for a check-up, Carmen was right there asking them about school and family. Carmen exemplified the kind of personalized patient care I aspired to and knew that patients like my sister and I appreciated so much.
Carmen became a mentor to me, and I asked her about her journey to becoming a PA. Since Carmen knew my plan was to become a nurse, she told me “we have many excellent nurses her, but we need more excellent PAs to fill the gaps between nurses and doctors—there are too many patients and too many health workers spread thin. PAs can be the bridge that our patients need.”
Carmen’s words stuck with me and realizing that she was right inspired me to reroute my intended path into healthcare. There is a need for diverse healthcare workers of every discipline, and PAs are underrepresented compared to nurses and doctors. As a PA, I know I have a better chance of increased patient interaction and entering the kind of workplace environment I enjoy. I believe as a PA I’ll be able to excel in work and bring my passion for patient-centred care to my job every day. (698 words)
PA Personal Statement Example #6
Synergy has always been important to me. I’ve always liked balance and seeing projects through to completion. The sense of fulfillment of a job well done is a satisfying cap for any task. Teamwork and collaboration are important values for me in both personal and professional environments. These values were never more apparent to me than when I played college volleyball.
I’m a fairly independent person, but competing on my college’s volleyball team allowed me to appreciate the synergy of a team sport. As someone who abhorred the lack of synergy and teamwork in most academic group projects, competing with my teammates was a great balance between relying on my own independent skills and knowing I could count on the efforts and skills of other players. Alone, I knew I could score a point, but as team, we could win a tournament. In fact, our volleyball team won nationals two years in a row, and we completed the Wild Rose Collegiate Volleyball Tournament undefeated. I found that seeing my teammates work so hard made me strive to work just as hard. To push myself and become a better player so I could be a better teammate in turn.
Just as my volleyball team was able to work in sync to achieve our high-level goals, the medical team was a perfect example of teamwork and collaboration. They cared for the team’s players throughout our seasons, monitoring their health or jumping in to tend injuries or handle crises whenever needed. All parts of our team worked together to help each other excel, and the resulting synergy meant we could achieve remarkable things.
Since I excelled in school and was always drawn to the science of sports, I started exploring a career in sports health. I talked often to the volleyball medical team, curious about the ins and outs of a career in sports medicine and what the possibilities were. I also knew sports medicine would provide that special blend of teamwork and independent work, of science and health I was seeking.
Knowing of my interest in the field, my brother offered to introduce me to his college hockey team’s medical officer. A physician assistant by trade, Adam had been working with the team for several years, and like me, he shared an interest in sports and medicine. I asked to shadow Adam for a season, and he agreed. Whenever a player was injured, I assisted Adam in treating it. When Adam conducted regular check-ins, I served as his assistant, getting to know the players on the team and collaborating with Adam on treatment plans. Especially rewarding for me was creating a physiotherapy treatment plan with Adam for Blake, a player who tore his ACL. Where insurance fell short of covering his sessions with a licensed physiotherapist, Adam and I created a personalized plan for at-home treatment, and we followed up with Blake every week during practices to check on his progress. Seeing Blake through his recovery and back onto the ice was immensely satisfying, and the collaborative energy of Adam and I working together and problem-solving was an incredibly rewarding experience.
Adam was my guide to the PA profession, and offered me invaluable insights into what the work is like, especially getting into a niche specialty like sports medicine. He helped solidify my position to apply to your school, and he has graciously written me a recommendation letter for my application.
I have never been satisfied with one thing or the other, always looking for that perfect combination. That perfect niche. I think becoming a PA is the right foundation for my ultimate goal of specializing in sports medicine, and it will embody that synergy of multiple disciplines coming together to create something altogether better. (623 words)
PA Personal Statement Example #7
In 2009, I was one of the only women in the world to perform a triple twisting lay out on the floor exercise in gymnastics. The skill was rare because of the combination of proprioception and technique required. Even the most minute error could spell disaster, which is exactly what happened during a NCAA competition. I executed the skill at an extreme angle, rupturing my Achilles tendon as I launched into the air. Feeling lucky to have landed on my feet, I collapsed to the floor after a few clumsy steps. The athletic trainer immediately assessed my injury calmly and purposefully, which left a lasting impression. Not only did she take care of me in that moment, she continued to support me through my surgery, 8 months of physical therapy, and a successful comeback to the sport. As a college student, I was uncertain of my future career, but this moment inspired me to make it my mission to be equipped with the skills to be of use in a moment of need, and support others in recovery and success. However, it would take ten years, a teaching career, a job lay-off and an insightful conversation to find my way to physician assistant (PA) school.
Before embarking on my journey to become a PA, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in communications, and I went on to work in Madrid, Spain, where I taught English and learned Spanish for 3 years. I strived to tailor my instruction to the unique needs of each student; a skill that has prepared me to provide individualized care to meet patient’s needs. One of my students wanted to become more marketable to jobs. I curated lessons to build grammar and vocabulary while incorporating resources he was interested in such as sports podcasts. I helped him practice interviews and draft emails until he landed his dream job at a multinational company. This instilled my confidence in supporting the success of my students and it felt rewarding to pave a way for more opportunities in their lives.
My next opportunity would prove less rewarding but pivotal. When I returned to the United States, I landed a job at a marketing firm that would fold and lay off its entire staff two years later. This ultimately led to a conversation with my friend, a urologist, which opened my eyes to many unmet medical needs and the growing demand for PAs. I saw my use through the combination of my ability as a teacher to help others succeed and my experience recovering from my gymnastics injury to be an integral source of support and care. I felt the pieces of my mission fit together and embarked on my journey to become a PA.
I took action to get health care experience as a medical assistant (MA) and physical therapy (PT) aide. Working as a MA at memory care facilities, I have gained insight into patient interaction and built my compassion by spending time with each patient to explain procedures in a slow and concise manner to gain their trust. As a PT aide, I collaborate with the physical therapist but independently administer treatment to diverse patients with a patient-centered approach. On one occasion, I supported two patients recovering from a hip replacement. I intended to give them both the same exercises for treatment, but I learned that Patient A had neuropathy in his feet, making standing exercises unsuitable due to his inability to balance. I modified exercises to be done seated and provided balance support when necessary. Additionally, Patient B’s religious values precluded her from accepting therapy in the communal treatment area, so I set up a private space for her. Accommodating these specific medical needs and sociocultural values helped me understand the importance of providing individualized care that is attuned to patient’s unique circumstances. Though these roles have been formative, I feel a nagging sense of futility when patients come to me for additional medical treatment beyond my scope, which fuels my ambition toward becoming a PA. I aim to have the medical knowledge to comprehensively treat with a balance of autonomy and collaboration.
I observed this balance when shadowing Sallie C., an otolaryngology PA. She assessed a patient with a foreign body in his ear, planned a procedure for removal but proved to be unexpectedly complex. She collaborated with the physician and the case was resolved with surgery. Through this, I also saw how PAs fill gaps in the healthcare system by treating, diagnosing, and prescribing medication, thus increasing the number of patients that are treated every day with quality care.
I aspire to fill these gaps and provide quality care and support to patients in moments of need, much like my athletic trainer did for me. If compassion, collaboration, and versatility make a successful PA, then the combination of my experiences has uniquely prepared me to succeed.
At the core of my teaching and health care experiences is my desire to become a PA to grow my medical skills to serve diverse individuals and ensure their health needs are met over the next ten years and beyond.
PA Personal Statement Example #8
When I was sixteen, I was diagnosed with a fibroadenoma in my left breast. Although the mass was benign, I was concerned about potential complications of breast cancer and made the decision to have it surgically removed. After I recovered from the anesthesia, my surgeon pulled up a chair beside me and gave me his undivided attention. He reassured me that the surgery was a success and that my recovery would be uneventful. His compassion and unwavering support during this difficult time inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. Today, I strive to become a physician assistant (PA) so I can embody the same level of empathy and care with my future patients.
During my internal medicine rotation at Richmond Medical Center (RUMC) in 2010, I acquired the skills necessary to succeed in the medical field. There, I was responsible for taking histories, conducting physical exams, creating patient management plans, completing morbidity and mortality rounds, and attending lectures with the residents. During rounds, I introduced patients to the attending doctor and discussed plans of care. I also helped interns by following labs, imaging studies, and reporting any concerns or complaints. I learned good bedside manners and how to effectively communicate with patients and their families. Not only did I understand how to establish rapport with patients, but I also learned how to respond to criticism constructively and confirm suspected diagnoses. I also understood how to apply my medical knowledge to manage and treat conditions such as asthma, COPD, and urinary tract infections. As a PA, I will continuously build on my expertise to improve the care of my patients.
A PA is more impactful than people realize. At RUMC, I was inspired by one PA in particular. Intrigued by her competency, I often inquired with her about the profession. Her continuous emphasis on the patient-centered approach is what initially drew me to the field. My interest in becoming a PA solidified when I was able to put this approach into practice. During one of my rotations, a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient was admitted to the unit with a urinary tract infection. Quickly, she became restless, irritable, and confused, and she tried to pull out the IV. Since the attending physician was unavailable, I proceeded to care for the patient. While holding her hand, I reassured her that we were there to help, and I explained that she needed the IV medication to get better. Soon after, she calmed down and we were able to continue the treatment. At that moment, I understood why I wanted to be a PA. From my personal experience I know very well that being sick can make one feel vulnerable and scared. I also know that having empathetic medical professionals can make a big difference in the patient experience and the outcome of care. I aspire to be a PA not only to be skillful and competent in my profession but also to be fully present for my patients and to extend a compassionate hand to them when they are at a low point in their lives.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been volunteering in a free clinic where I extend empathy and care to the underserved community. Last year, I attended to a homeless patient named James. He complained that his eyes and skin were yellowing and that he was bruising easily. When I took James’s history, he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder and was unsuccessful in AA. Based on his history and physical exam, I suspected alcoholic liver disease, so I ordered various clinical tests to confirm the diagnosis. The next day before we could discuss his test results, I found him lying near the front door of the clinic, unconscious. I called 911 and performed CPR until he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for an upper GI bleed. Two months later, James passed away from severe recurrence. Through this experience, I recognized the importance of conducting thorough patient screenings and extensive clinical tests to facilitate a prompt diagnosis and an early treatment plan. While it was already too late to save James, as a PA I will ensure that patients in my care receive timely preventive care to reduce the risk of future health complications.
Throughout my life, I have learned that I am strong and competent enough to relate to other people’s suffering without falling apart, and that I have a good work ethic with the intrinsic motivation necessary to get the job done. When I get admitted to the Miami Dade College Physician Assistant Program, I will contribute my life experiences, my determination to overcome obstacles, my desire to work in teams, and my enthusiasm to learn. Five years from now, I see myself working as a competent physician assistant, providing healthcare services to medically underserved residents in urban and rural communities. This time, I will be the one who pulls up the chair and provides my patients with undivided attention. I will be their reliable source of compassion and support.
1. How do I structure my personal statement for PA school?
Your personal statement will be structured as a short essay, with an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. Your opening paragraph should serve as a short introduction of yourself and why you want to become a PA. The body paragraphs will outline specific examples or experiences you have which contributed to your journey to become a PA, and the conclusion will sum up your statement while inviting the reader to continue the conversation.
2. What is a good personal statement for PA school?
To write a good personal statement for PA school, you’ll need an intriguing and engaging introduction, 1-3 significant experiences or examples of how you are suited for the PA profession or why you want to become a PA, and a strong conclusion which invites admissions committees to learn more about you.
3. How long should my PA personal statement be?
Your PA school personal statement should be between 500 and 750 words. The typical limit for personal statements if 5,000 characters, with spaces included.
4. What do PA schools look for in my personal statement?
PA school admissions committees are interested in your personal statement because they want to know more about your background, personal qualities and why you want to become a PA. It should include significant personal and professional experiences you have which led you to the profession and contributed to your desire to become a PA. Admissions committees expect to see some self-reflection and insight into your goals and motivations. They also want to see that you have the skills and qualities of a good physician assistant.
5. How do you stand out in a PA personal statement?
The best way to stand out in a PA personal statement is to have both strong writing and a strong story. Admission committees will read thousands of personal statements outlining many different stories, but you can stand out by providing interesting details and weaving an engaging story. The details of a personal story will be remembered more clearly by your reader than generic statements about your experience shadowing a PA, so remember to personalize your essay and make it unique!
6. What should I not say in my PA personal statement?
In a PA statement, avoid reciting your resume or relying on cliches. It’s also important not to have any grammar or spelling mistakes. Most importantly, don’t talk about pursuing a career as a PA due to a failed medical school application or because you view it as a “back-up” option. You should have a strong reason for applying to PA school specifically, not because it is “easier” than medical school or related professions.
7. Can I use the PA abbreviation in my personal statement?
Yes. You should write out “physician assistant” in the first instance, but you can include the “PA” abbreviation in follow-up instances.
8. What is a good way to start a PA personal statement?
Your opening statement needs to “hook” your reader or engage them right off the bat. A good way to start is with a personal story or statement that sums up the key theme of your essay.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!