Interview

Guest Post from Jamie - The Unexpected Expenses of Interviewing and Attending PA School

This post was originally posted by Jamie on Reddit, but has been published here with her permission.  I'm really excited to introduce you guys to Jamie.  If you haven't ever heard of Reddit, you're missing out!  The prephysicianassistant sub-Reddit is awesome and a great place to get questions answered.  And FYI, some of the links in this post are affiliate links with Amazon, which means Jamie gets a couple of cents if you buy something, you don't pay more, and we can keep giving you awesome information for free! 

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The Hidden Costs for Physician Assistant School

I wanted to write a post about expenses because a lot of this stuff caught me by surprise. Please keep in mind while reading this that these are expenses specific to my experience and my university. I imagine many of them will be pretty universal, but some may differ by school.

A few that are universal about interviewing:

  • Purchasing your interview outfit. You need to dress professional – that means a full suit for men, and either a business dress (sheath dress, or something similar) with a blazer (think Claire Underwood from House of Cards), pencil skirt with a matching blazer, or pantsuit for women. If your interview is over the course of two days, inquire to your program about the attire. Your actual interview day will always be professional, but you may be able to get away with business casual, or even casual on the meet and greet day. Regardless, you can’t wear the same professional outfit both days, so you need at least two nice shirts.
  • Cleaning up before the interview. For example, I got my hair cut because my hair was kind of crazy looking. Looking clean and put together will give a good first impression. I’d love to live in a society where we aren’t judged by our appearance, but we don’t, and you have to look nice. You just need to look somewhat put together, but even a $12 haircut will add a bit to your interview costs!
  • Potential hotels or transportations: maybe you need to fly to the schools you applied for, maybe you need to stay in a hotel.
  • Days off work: if the interview falls on a day you usually work, you will have to miss a day of pay. While that doesn’t literally cost you any money, it does take away a day from your paycheck. Consider switching shifts with someone if that makes a big difference in your budget for the week or month.

A few that are universal (probably) regarding school itself, once you’re accepted:

Vaccinations: Hep B is the only one you can decline at UDM. Others are required: rubella, measles, mumps, varicella. For UDM, you must have titers done to prove that you are immune to each. It’s probably smart for them to do that because I had vaccination records of Hep B and rubella/MMR, but my titers came back negative. I had to re-do those.

Physical: Typical physical + Tdap and TB test (If your TB test is positive, you then have to follow up with a chest x-ray or you can ask your primary care provider for a blood-based TB test instead)

Dress code: Some programs require a specific scrub color or require only professional attire - if you have to buy either of those, that will cost you a decent amount, especially for nice dress clothes. Definitely check out Marshall's or TJMaxx if you're on a budget. My favorite dress clothes come from Express, but I wait until there are sales and I have a coupon. Thankfully I'm able to wear any color scrubs, and I have a ton from being a CNA!

Equipment: (Do not buy these based on this post, but wait until you get a list of requirements from your program! Yours may differ or they may require specific brands or something. Just gives you an idea of what to expect.)

  • You will absolutely need a stethoscope. A nice Littmann Cardiology III runs about $150, a little more if you engrave it or something, a little less if Amazon has some sort of sale or you pick an ugly color that no one buys.  You can absolutely buy a cheaper one or a more expensive brands, but this is the most recommended by the MDs and PAs that I have spoken to, both in real life and online. I love mine, it’s my favorite color and it was engraved with “Jamie Nicole”.
  • Diagnostic kit: Otoscope/ophthalmoscope set. Welch Allyn comes highly recommended and is VERY expensive. Somewhere between $300-$1000 depending on the handle material and used/new condition. You could definitely buy a cheaper one from Amazon or something, but you won’t be able to see as well and may need to borrow a friend’s for exams (I’m on the fence about buying one).
  • Lab coat, probably. Sometimes 2. Usually embroidered with program name, your name, and PA-S or sometimes just student.
  • Pen light (okay, you can buy this one if it makes you happy, it costs like $2 – some other cheaper things are latex-free gloves if you have an allergy, tongue depressors, gauze pads, alcohol wipes)
  • Sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) – these aren’t too expensive and a lot of you probably already have one for some reason or another.

Some that might be unique to UDM, but may happen to you:

  • Fingerprinting (Michigan legislature changed RIGHT after I paid to be fingerprinted, and the State will no longer release finger print information with criminal records, so UDM dropped this requirement and half of us had already paid for it and had it done, so that sucked. Way to go to the procrastinators! Your program may not make you do this, or they may pay for it, or you may not have to do it at all).
  • Drug testing (You will absolutely have a drug test, but your program may pay to have it done instead of making you pay for it).
  • Criminal Background Check (same as drug testing, it varies by program who pays for it).

MISC

  • MOVING: If you get into a program away from home and need to move, you may need a wide variety of things! You might live with your mom now and need furniture for your first solo place. You might have a place already but need to rent a moving truck. You might have to buy all your friends pizza or beer or both for helping you assemble Ikea furniture.

Feel free to comment with anything I may have missed or things required for other programs!


Hi all. Thanks for reading! I'm Jamie Murawski, a physician assistant student at the University of Detroit Mercy. I have a Bachelor of Science from Grand Valley State University. I'm a Michigan girl through and through. 

I'm growing my online presence in the PA community through Reddit, where I moderate /r/prephysicianassistant along with some other pretty cool PA students. I also have an Instagram where I pseudo-blog about my journey (@jamienicole_pa.s). Please feel free to follow me or message me with any questions, I'm happy to help!


Interview FAQ: Thank You Notes?

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A question that commonly comes up in regards to appropriate etiquette following the interview is what now? Should I send thank you notes? An email? Who should I send them to?  Will it look bad if I don't send them? 

No matter how you look at it, it’s always nice to get a handwritten note. If you are wanting to send something to the program to say thank you, sending an actual written card in the mail is a great option. If that's not your cup of tea, it's alright because we live in a technology era where email has become the norm. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! An email is a quicker option to send your thanks to your interviewers. If you are planning on sending a note of thanks, it doesn’t matter which you choose, so go with whichever option you feel more comfortable with.

To know who or where to send your note or email can be a hurdle to actually being able to give your thanks. Try to get this information at your interview, whether it’s provided on a handout or by asking the program coordinator. If you forget (probably due to nerves, which is completely reasonable), contact the program coordinator after the interview, and see if they can provide the mailing address or emails that you need. If you don’t recall your interviewer’s name(s), then you may be out of luck with getting this information at a later date.

You can keep your note short and sweet because you want to be respectful of your recipient’s time. Thank your interviewer for taking the time to interview you and the opportunity to learn more about their program. If there’s anything memorable or specific that you discussed during your time with the interviewer, you can refer to that in your note to help your interviewer recall you more.

While thank you notes are a nice gesture, you don’t need to feel like they are an absolute necessity. At the end of the day, it’s a courtesy, and not a factor that will have an impact on your acceptance to PA school. So don’t let the idea of getting names and addresses and writing thank you notes stress you out. If it’s too much to handle right now, that’s ok!  To be perfectly honest, I did not send thank you notes.  When I went on my interviews, I was in the middle of finals and actually had to reschedule some of them, so that was my priority at the time.  And I was still accepted!  

Leave any advice/questions you about thank you notes in the comments below!


So Why Do You Want to Be a PA?

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This is a question that you can be expected to answer multiple time, even daily when you make the decision to become a PA.  Here is one PA's answer to the common question of "Why PA?"


I stumbled upon the profession by chance. I was a junior in high school when a friend of mine casually brought up the title Physician Assistant. I had no concept of what it meant to be a PA but I was intrigued. Luckily for me the internet was swarming with information so I quickly learned the vital role PAs play in medicine.

Once you graduate from a PA Program and receive your license you can start working in the specialty of your dreams - it seemed unreal. In addition, as a PA you have the autonomy to actively manage patients beside a doctor. Your job description can widely vary depending on the area of medicine which you are employed. Although all PAs require a "supervising physician" in order to practice, this does not mean that a doctor is present during all of your patient interactions. Many PAs actually have their ownschedule of patients they independently care for. Picture this: You see a patient, obtain a history, perform a physical exam and find that they have developed an infection. As a PA you are then able to initiate a treatment plan. If your plan includes ordering lab tests and writing a prescription for antibiotics, you can make those decisions without having to consult with a doctor. However, if something seems unusual or you are not quite sure how to proceed forward, you have the comfort of asking your supervising physician for guidance. I feel that is actually one of the most comforting aspects of the profession, I am never alone. I always have someone I can bounce ideas off of and to rely on if I hit a crossroad.

Another appealing facet of the profession is you can work as little as 3 days a week in some specialties and consider yourself full time! In other words, working as a PA it is possible to establish a great work life balance. In addition, if your ever need to supplement your income there are ample opportunities to pick up extra shifts. I am constantly receiving job opportunities from recruiters for per diem and locum tenens positions. Working part time or even taking a hiatus from your career is not uncommon. In 2015 the NCCPA found 1,481 PAs were not in clinical practice due to family responsibilities. For example, I am taking time off from my clinical duties to be at home with my newborn daughter. I love having the comfort in knowing that when I am ready to re-enter practice again, I will be able to find a job suitable for me.

Duke University established the first PA program in 1965. For a profession that birthed its first three PAs in 1967, PAs have come a long way. At the end of 2014 there were 101,977 board certified PAs in the country. I consider myself lucky to be a part of the movement, and so should you!

Charishma Nayyar Mankikar, PA-C, is a plastic surgery physician assistant and the founder of PAsRISE.com


3 Questions You Need To Know For Your PA School Interview

JORGE MUNIZ, PA-C, President at Medcomic.com
 

Congratulations! The moment you receive news that youve landed an interview for PA school is an exciting time.  The next step is to prepare and practice the types of questions youll most likely encounter during the interview process.

If youre currently a Pre-PA student, you may have done some research and found a list of popular questions to review prior to your interview. However, have you really given thought to how your answers will differentiate you from the other candidates?

Before we talk about specific questions, I think its important to make a note on the delivery of your responses. Keep your answers succinct, dont go off on tangents, and remember to smile!

With over a thousand qualifying candidates applying each cycle, getting into PA school is becoming more and more competitive each year. Here are three questions I believe you should put at the top of your list as you prepare for your PA school interview.

1.     How do you think youll be able to handle the workload?

A common analogy used for the amount of new information we consume in PA school is that its like drinking water from a firehose. How will you convince your interviewers that you can handle this daunting task? I like to turn this question upside down by eliminating the burden from the proposed workload.

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Remember that medicine is your passion. Passion is work that you enjoy doing so it doesnt feel like work. This makes accomplishing the task easier because you dont mind putting in the time and effort to complete it. For instance, learning to play guitar isnt easy. It takes weeks to build the callouses to eliminate finger pain. For most, it takes months or even years to become proficient with the instrument. These people push through each day because the process of practicing their passion doesnt feel like a burden.

Similarly, you can tell your interviewers that the workload in PA school is something you welcome as part of the process to practice your passion. Youre already an avid reader and you love learning. Be confident, tell them to give you a second firehouse.

2. Why are you interested in our PA program?

Just as you should be mindful of differentiating yourself from other candidates, dont forget to identify the the characteristics that makes one PA program unique from another. This will support any reasons you give for being a good fit for their program. Some PA programs may have a focus on recruiting local students that want to practice medicine in rural areas, while others may place more value on a students ambitions to have their research published in journals. Always take a look at their curriculum and mission statement to get a better idea if one particular PA program over another is a better fit for you. Be ready to give your concise answer.

3. What is your favorite hobby?

I like this question because its more informal and gives you the opportunity to showcase your interpersonal skills. Your hobbies and extracurricular activities can give the interviewer a good idea of the type of person you are. Its also a good time to provide an answer that demonstrates balance in your life, something that is essential during PA school.

Conclusion

The PA school interview is a big deal. In my opinion, its the most important part of the application process. Not everyone with a 4.0 GPA that gets interviewed makes it into PA school. Remember to be confident in your answers. When possible, choose responses that are unique to you. Youll be interviewing with the top qualifying candidates, why should they choose you?

One final recommendation. Before getting into PA school, I read a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Despite the odd title, its a great read that made me more aware of how important interpersonal skills are in business and in life. Pick it up and give it a try.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32217894@N03/6122032240

About the Author: Jorge Muniz is a board-certified Physician Assistant from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Master's in Medical Science in 2013. Jorge is also a self-taught cartoonist and the founder of Medcomic, an educational series of illustrations that makes studying medicine entertaining and fun. To view his work visit http://www.medcomic.com


Top 100 Interview Questions for PA School

Interview Questions for PA School:

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Here are my top 100 interview questions that I have come up with from personal experience and research.  During Mock Interviews, we run through some of these questions and any others that may be specific to your application, and then discuss your answers to determine any flaws or weaknesses.  It's also important to identify any bad habits you may have.  Comment below with your answers to these questions and we can evaluate your answers!

For more questions and interview advice, check out the Physician Assistant School Interview Guide

 

Traditional

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  2. Why do you want to be a PA? (as opposed to a doctor or NP?)

  3. What is the difference in the nursing model and medical model for teaching?

  4. What does a PA do?

  5. What makes you a good candidate for our program?

  6. What qualities or skills do you have that you think would make you a valuable student and classmate?

  7. What would you bring to the class?

  8. How have you prepared to be an effective PA?

  9. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing PAs?

  10. Why do you think you would be successful in PA school?

  11. How do you study best?

  12. How do you deal with stress?

  13. How are your time management skills?

  14. What was your most challenging course of undergrad and why?

  15. Why do you want to go to this specific school?

  16. What is appealing about “location” of school?

  17. What are you looking for in a PA program?

  18. Have you applied elsewhere?

  19. What is your biggest weakness?

  20. What is your biggest strength?

  21. Do you work better by yourself or with others?

  22. Is there a specific specialty or ideal job that you see yourself in as a PA?

  23. What qualities make a successful PA?

  24. How do you feel Obamacare will influence PAs?

  25. How do you see the role of PAs changing in the future?

  26. What are some difficulties that you feel like PAs are facing?

  27. Do you feel like you would be limited by any of the regulations on PAs either nationally or in the state you plan to work in?

  28. Are there any laws that you feel like limit the PA profession unfairly?

  29. Are there any laws that you feel should be passed to further the progression of the PA profession?

  30. How would having a family/children affect your performance in PA school?  (This is a valid question if you mentioned anything about this in your personal statement, or if you bring it up.)

  31. How do you think being a younger/older applicant may affect your performance in the program?

  32. Tell me about your support system?

  33. What are your plans if you are not accepted to a PA program this year.  

  34. What are your thoughts on the newer online PA programs?

  35. What are your thoughts on the new bridge programs from PA to MD?

  36. What are your thoughts on the name “physician assistant,” and the push for a name change to "physician associate." 

  37. Tell me about your support system

  38. Reassure me that you are not going to fail out

  39. What do you know about the history of the PA profession.

  40. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

  41. Can you explain your….lower grade/low GRE/lack of shadowing or HCE?

  42. If you could do anything differently in undergrad, what would it be?

  43. Who is the most important member on a healthcare team?

  44. What are your goals in medicine?

  45. Tell me about the last physician you worked for.  

  46. What are some possible negative parts of being a PA?

  47. When did you decide to pursue PA school?

  48. Was there anything unique you observed while shadowing?

  49. Define professionalism.  

Behavioral Questions

  1. What is the most selfless thing you have done?

  2. Describe a time when you have had to overcome adversity.

  3. If a student fails a test, is it the student’s fault or the teacher’s fault?

  4. Describe a situation you have had with a difficult patient.

  5. Describe a situation with a patient that had a significant impact on you.  

  6. How do you deal with high stress situations.  Give an example

  7. Describe a time that you have struggled academically, and how you dealt with it.

  8. Your supervising MD asks you to go administer a medication to a patient.  You do not agree with his decision and feel it could harm the patient.  What do you do?

  9. You see a co-worker taking medication from the dispense cart and putting it in their bag.  What do you do?  

  10. You are at a baseball game and the woman in front of you has a very suspicious mole that you suspect could be melanoma.  What do you do?

  11. You are in a surgery and the anesthesiologist starts making inappropriate comments about the patient once they are asleep.  What do you do in this situation?

  12. A patient you are seeing insists on seeing an MD.  How do you handle this?

  13. Describe a situation you have had with a patient who made an impact on you.  

  14. You have a patient who is not proficient in English, and you do not know their language.  What can you do to assist with their difficulties?

  15. Describe a time you had to make an ethical decision.  

  16. You’re in an OR and have suspicions that the surgeon may be intoxicated.  What do you do?

  17. You are about to leave for the day and realize that you gave a patient medicine they are allergic to.  What do you do?

  18. You are seeing a Jehovah’s Witness patient that does not accept blood transfusions due to religious reasons, but it would be life saving.  What do you do?

  19. Your patient is diagnosed with HIV, but doesn’t want to tell their partner.  What do you do?

  20. A classmate offers you an old exam they have before the test.  What do you do?

  21. Tell me about a time you’ve had to use teamwork to solve a problem.  

  22. Do you think it’s more important to get patients seen or spend time with patients?

  23. You prescribed a 13 year old birth control, and the pt’s mother calls and is angry.  What do you say?

  24. Sometimes you may disagree from others in instances that you think they may be making a mistake.  Talk about a time when you had to disagree with someone else to get a positive outcome.  

  25. Give an example of a situation in which you did more than was expected of you.  

Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)

  1. If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?

  2. If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

  3. If you were dressing up to go on a halloween party for kids, what would you dress up as and why?

  4. Who, living or dead, would you invite to dinner and what would you serve them?

  5. What kind of car would you be?

  6. What would you do if you hit your neighbor’s dog?

  7. Give directions to someone for how to put on gloves

  8. Help this student complete the following task…

  9. Interpret the graph shown in the room.

  10. You discover that one of your classmates has become romantically involved and moved into a house with her community-based clinical preceptor in your health professions training program. What should be done, if anything? Enter the room and discuss your position with the interviewer. (Jones, et al., 2011)

  11. A friend in your class tells you his mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  He is overwhelmed by his studies and may drop out of the program to spend time with his mother.  How do you counsel your friend?

  12. Joe is a pizza delivery worker. The pizza shop he works for has a 30 minutes or less delivery guarantee or else the customer does not have to pay. On Joe’s most recent delivery, he spots a woman bleeding on the street. There is no one else around and the woman seems to be unable to move by herself. However, Joe knows that if he returns empty handed again, he will be fired from this job which he most desperately needs. What do you think Joe should do? Justify your solution in terms of practical and ethical considerations.

  13. “Liberation Therapy” (LT), a vascular operation developed to potentially cure multiple sclerosis (MS) in certain patients, has recently come under very serious criticism - delaying its widespread use. Among other experimental flaws, critics cite a small sample size in the original evidence used to support LT. As a healthcare policy maker, your job is to weigh the pros and cons in approving novel drugs and therapies. Please discuss the issues you would consider during an approval process for LT.

  14. Because of federal and provincial subsidy policies and return-of-service agreements, international medical graduates (IMGs) now make up an increasingly large proportion of rural doctors. As a consequence, the shortage of doctors in rural areas has prompted many family medicine residencies to increase their quotas for IMGs in their programs. Effectively, this development is leading to a relative reduction in spots available for Canadian medical graduates. Please discuss the pros and cons of such a development.

  15. Discuss one of your pastimes outside of school and how the skills you acquired from this activity will help you in your career.

  16. You are a family physician seeing Jane, a 67 year old woman with a recent history of multiple fragility fractures. You diagnose her with osteoporosis and prescribe some bisphosphonate drugs and other pharmacological treatments. Jane tells you that she has heard some good things over the internet about alternative medicine treatments such as Chinese medicine, and she is adamant on trying these as well. You are concerned about the use of these alternative medicine treatments and the possible negative effects they could have on Jane’s health. How would you handle the situation and what would you recommend Jane do? Discuss any ethical considerations that are present.

  17. You are on the committee for selecting a new Dean of Science. What characteristics and/or qualities would you look for when selecting an effective dean?

  18. In June 2011, the infamous Vancouver riots took place after their hockey team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. Stores were ransacked and cars were burned. Hundreds of people were injured and sent to overcrowded hospitals. As the police chief in Vancouver, what measures or policies would you put in place to make sure this does not happen again?

  19. Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile) is a type of bacteria that increases its activity with most antibiotic use, and is therefore very difficult to treat. Research shows that the most effective way to prevent the spread of infection is frequent handwashing. However, many people have flat-out refused to wash their hands in hospitals. The government is contemplating passing a policy to make it mandatory for people entering hospitals to wash their hands or else risk not being seen by doctors and being escorted out of the building against their will. Do you think the government should go ahead with this plan? Consider and discuss the legal, ethical or practical problems that exist for each action option and conclude with a persuasive argument supporting your decision.

  20. Discuss an experience that allowed you to learn something important about yourself. How will this lesson help you succeed in your career?

Random Questions

  1. If you could have any other job, besides being a PA, what would you do.

  2. If you were to win the lottery for 100 million dollars.  What would you do? Would you still want to be a PA?

  3. What is the last book you read.

  4. What is your life saying?

  5. What are your hobbies outside of school?

  6. Is there anything else I need to know about you?

Preparing for Interviews for PA School

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So once your application is complete, the waiting begins!  And it's pretty terrible.  It's always difficult waiting on the call or e-mail that could have a big impact on your future, but while you're waiting there are some things you can do to prepare.  Then when you do get that exciting invite, you'll feel like you're ready to own the interview that you just prepared for!

1. Interview attire:

A SUIT!  For PA school interviews, I'm a firm believer in wearing a suit.  Once you're done and it's a job interview that may be a little more laid back and business casual is okay, but for this all-important interview I recommend a suit.  For guys and girls.  This is going to sound a little sexist, but some advice I was given before my interview was that females should wear a pants suit (as opposed to a skirt) because it is one less thing that differentiates you from males.  I don't know if there is truth in that, but I wore a pants suit and all of the females who were accepted from my interview group were wearing pants.  I think they were saying it is less of a distraction and makes them judge you a little less on appearance.

I don't think a suit has to be boring either.  Most people think all suits are black and that's not true today (mine was light gray).  The most important things are that it fits well and looks professional.  For girls, you can always show a personality with a little color or jewelry choices.  So once you're done applying, if you do not already own an appropriate outfit, I suggest looking for a good professional suit that you will be comfortable in.

2. Do your research.

You probably have already spent a good deal of time looking into the schools you're applying to, but dig a little deeper.  Figure out what is unique about each school you are interested in and what you have questions about.  Write this stuff down and take it to the interviews if you have to.  The program's specific website will obviously be a good resource.  Check out my "Program Spotlight" series, and if there's a school you would like covered send me an e-mail or leave a comment!

Another website that is extremely helpful is The Physician Assistant Forum.  This is the most active forum I've found of pre-PA, PA-S, and PA-Cs on the internet.  They have specific sections for each school where people post their status of the application and often the interview layout and tips on the interview.  They will also start posting when they get accepted, so you can know what to expect and hopefully find some of your classmates when you are also accepted!

3. Figure out what you want them to know about you.

This is one of my favorite tips, and one that I think possibly helped me the most!  An interview coach at UGA told me to write down everything I wanted my interviewer to know about me so those topics were my focus, and then when they asked me questions I could bring it back to these topics and try to incorporate them.  This was great for me. A lot of times when we get into high pressure situations, like a PA school interview, our thoughts just fly away!  By preparing ahead of time and knowing what you want them to know about you, it's easier to stay focused.  This could include anything from specific personal experiences, struggles you've experienced, or specific qualities about your character.

4. Mock Interviews

This is another thing that I think helped me the most.  I had a mentor who I casually met with and she asked me questions similar to the ones she was asked.  I don't think I answered many of those questions well, but it helped me to think about what I did want to say when I was asked again at my real interview!  It also helps nerves to be answering a question that you have practiced answering.  *Shameless plug alert*  I would love to help you prepare and offer that as part of my PA Coaching Services, but if you have a mentor or teacher they may be able to help too.  Sometimes undergraduate schools will have a Career Services division as well that may offer some resources.

5.  Get Up to Date with Current Events

If you're not someone who follows the news very closely, do some research and familiarize yourself with some current events in the nation and the world.  Specifically, pay attention to events that have to do with healthcare or Obamacare.  Schools love to specifically ask about these things, and it can really throw you off your game in an interview if you aren't prepared for it.  Sometimes they will ask how current insurance changes may specifically affect PAs, so knowing what's going on and how it could affect YOU (as a hopeful PA-C) in the future is very important to know.

6. Be Prepared to GO!

A lot of these programs do not give much notice for interviews, and if you are possibly taking someone's spot who cancelled it could be even shorter.  I think a month prior is about the longest I've heard of, but sometimes the call will come on a Friday for an interview the following Monday.  So be on your toes!  And check your spam folder often!  One of my best friends missed her interview because it went to her spam folder, and luckily they let her come to a later date.  This short notice can be tough with jobs and childcare, but try to let them know at work that you may be needing some time off and have your friends and family on standby if possible.

7. Prepare financially.

For the majority of PA school interviews, you are expected to pay for travel expenses, meals, and hotels.  If you've applied to multiple programs and are hoping for multiple interviews, go ahead and get your finances in order to be able to cover these.  Put a little extra into savings or skip eating out during interview season if you are concerned about being able to afford going to interviews.

8.  And the most difficult one, be patient.

Waiting is so tough, and patients is a virtue right?  It can be very tempting to call the programs you applied to multiple times to make sure they have your application and see why they haven't sent you an interview invite yet, but this can backfire as well.  As good as it is to make sure they know you are very excited about their program, use a little self restraint.  It's fine to call or e-mail if you have a legitimate question, and if you know you have submitted everything and haven't heard back I would say give it about a month before contacting them.  And if they tell you to just wait, then do it.  On the other hand, if it's getting towards the end of interview season, and you've been waiting, and been patient, and STILL not heard anything, I think it's fine to check in on your status at that point.

That's all I've got for today, but what are your biggest tips for preparing for interviews, and the waiting period?

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