Everyone wants to know how they can be the best applicant possible, right? Well, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting accepted to PA school.
- Apply early! - Many PA programs have rolling admissions, which means they will evaluate your application as soon as it is complete. If you wait until later in the cycle, there's a chance that the interview slots will already be full. Typically, May or June is still considered early.
- Focus on your weaknesses. - When you evaluate your application, what do you see as your limiting factor? If you have a lower GPA, it can sometimes be easier to just keep getting patient care hours, but you really need to work on the factors that may hold your application back. Figure out what you're lacking in the most, and work on it. If you need help coming up with a plan, consider a Pre-PA Assessment.
- Apply broadly. - If you want the best chances, you'll likely need to apply to more than a couple of programs. The average number of programs applied to for students who were accepted to PA school is 6. If you can swing it, I recommend 10-12.
- Make sure you meet the requirements. - When choosing programs to apply to, don't waste your time or money if you can't check all of the boxes. Requirements are not flexible, and schools do not make exceptions. There are plenty of people applying who have completed all that is asked of them.
- Make your application as complete as possible before submitting. - While it is very important to apply early, the more complete your essay the better. Try to get your classes, experience, and GRE completed before submitting if possible.
- Have a killer personal statement. - I've said it before, but your personal statement is what gets you an interview. It's your one chance to show the admissions committee who you are and why you deserve a spot in their program. If you need help with editing, check out myPAresource and use the code "thePAPlatform" for a discount!
- Triple check your application. - There's no reason to have any errors in your application. Make sure the information you entered is correct without any typos. This is an easy one, but you don't want to look careless.
- Apply with the mindset of reapplying. - It's not uncommon to apply to PA school more than once these days. After you submit, go ahead and start thinking about reapplying. You don't get to take a break and if it comes to that, you should be able to show that you have improved your application since the last cycle.
- Make sure you're prepared for interviews. - The interview is what ultimately gets you accepted to PA school, and sometimes it's easy to be a little too nonchalant about this step. Even if you have a great personality, put some work into your interview prep. Check out the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide (Amazon affiliate link) as a first step.
- Follow up on your applications. - While waiting is the most difficult step, you can be proactive by keeping tabs on your applications. If you get a rejection, try to find out what you can improve on. In that waiting phase, you can send updates on any additional hours or coursework you're continuing to work on.
Those are just a few suggestions to take into consideration, but ultimately, just don't give up! If becoming a physician assistant is your dream, keep pushing forward.