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The personal statement requirement for PA school is one of the most important parts of your application. Your personal statement gives the admissions committee an inside look at your personality, aspirations, and experiences. This is an opportunity to show PA programs why you chose to pursue the PA field and why they should choose you to be a part of their next cohort of student. Use your personal statement to your advantage as an applicant! Expand on yourself and the experiences that ultimately led you to pursue the PA profession.

Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” for the PA school personal statement:


Do: Grab the admission committee’s attention in the introduction paragraph right off the bat.

Tell a story, explain an experience, or make a strong statement. Imagine how many essay introductions admissions committees will read… how will yours stand out? Use your unique journey to capture the reader’s attention.

Don’t: Start your personal statement off with a cheesy quote, a cliché, addressing the reader directly, or with a joke.

Although it is important to stand out, do not start your essay in an unprofessional way. This personal statement is supposed to encompass your passion for the profession and prove to admissions committees why you are a mature applicant who is ready for PA school. Keep it formal and do not address the reader directly anywhere in your essay.


Do: Use formal language and correct sentence structure.

Since this a professional essay, it should be written like one. Use full, complete sentences, proper punctuation, and always spell check. You may get creative with your writing style, but do not include anything that could take away from the overall message of the essay.

Don’t: Use informal language, unnecessary adverbs and contractions.

Avoid using informal language, such as slang words and contractions. Unnecessary adverbs, such as “very,” “really,” and “truly” should be cut out because they take up more space and lack authenticity. “I am dedicated to the PA profession” reads much better than “I am really dedicated to the PA profession.” Also, do not use abbreviations or acronyms without writing out the whole word first. For example, write out physician assistant (PA) once, then use PA throughout the rest of the essay. Since every character counts, you do not want to waste them by repeatedly writing out physician assistant.


Why PA:

Do: Emphasize why the PA profession is the only profession for you.

Show admissions departments your commitment to the PA profession through your personal statement. Demonstrate your knowledge about this profession and the specific aspects that draw you to it. Use firsthand examples of how you know this specific career is the right path for you.

Don’t: Mention other healthcare professions and go on a tangent about why being a PA is better.

Do not bash other professions or say that the PA profession is better. As a PA, you will work in a team of healthcare providers to care for patients, including physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, etc. Do not say anything offensive about these professions. Instead, focus your essay on “WHY PA,” and not “why not every other profession.”

Show, don’t tell:

Do: Include the most impactful moments in your life that solidified your aspiration to become a PA.

No two people have the exact same experiences, so use your unique encounters to stand out from other applicants. This could be from when you were a child, completing your patient care experience hours, shadowing, participating in a mission trip, etc. Always relate your stories back to the main point of the whole personal statement— why you are interested in being a PA student!

Don’t: State a list of adjectives to describe yourself.

It is great and important that you are a kind, caring, hard-working, dedicated individual… but use the space in your personal statement to show this to programs. Use specific examples of times you demonstrated perseverance, were impacted by a patient, inspired by a fellow healthcare worker, learned something significant from a shadowing experience, etc. Avoid making statements that could better be understood through a short anecdote.

You are applying to be a PA student, not a PA:

Do: Reinforce why you are qualified for PA school and will be a successful PA student.

Being a successful PA student means staying dedicated to the long years of furthering your education. Express your desire to learn and willingness to put in the work to complete the rigorous coursework required in PA school!

Don’t: Focus on being a practicing PA-C and what specialty you are interested in.

Although it is exciting to think about your potential future as a PA-C, do not create made-up scenarios of you as a practicing PA. Also, avoid stating the specific specialty fields you are interested in. As a PA student, you are trained as a generalist. Picking one specific “dream” specialty may deter admissions committees, especially from programs that have a focus on primary care.



Do: Summarize your passion for becoming a PA and leave the reader wanting to invite you for an interview.

This is the last paragraph of your essay that admissions committees will read, make it a good one! The conclusion should wrap up all key points of your essay in a new way. Tell these schools why they need you as a PA student and how you can contribute to their next cohort.

Don’t: Repeat sentences already stated in the essay.

You only have 5,000 characters for this essay, so do not repeat any sentences or phrases already stated. It is okay to repeat main ideas, but do not use the exact same phrasing.