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Maximizing The Experience Description Sections of CASPA

Who Should Review My Personal Statement for PA School?

One of the most popular questions we receive is, “Who should review my personal statement for PA school?” Our answer in short, as many people as possible! It’s best to have your personal statement reviewed by a wide variety of people, but MOST importantly, a physician assistant. PAs will obviously be most familiar with the pre-PA application process and personal statement requirements. And it is even better to have PAs who got into PA school read over your essay if they have participated in admission committees before! This will give you valuable feedback from people who could be your future colleagues.

I started writing my personal statement a few months prior to the application cycle opening date. During these months I submitted my rough drafts online to my university’s writing center over 5 different times. This was to gauge how well my essay was structured, to get any corrections on grammar or word choices, and to make sure I was getting my points across well. While this assisted me with creating a solid draft, I knew the graduate students at my school’s writing center weren’t well versed in the PA application process or what pre-PA personal statements should contain. But this was a good place for me to start my editing process!

To make sure my personal statement was the best it could be, I used the I purchased the “Basic Revision” personal statement editing service. The basic revision service is described on the website as follows: “A thorough revision and critique of your PA school personal statement. For your personal statement, we focus on CONTENT, which is the most important aspect that Physician Assistant programs look for within your essay. Price includes a single revision by one of our Admissions Experts, complete with recommendations, edits, and comments to ensure you are on the right track before submitting your application. Perfect for any PA school applicant who is confident that their essay is nearly perfect.” My essay benefited significantly from this service.
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What sold me the most on this service is that every essay is revised by a certified PA who knows what PA programs are looking for in a personal statement. Originally, this revision costs $149, but is usually on sale for $119. I had no clue if my essay was anywhere close to where it needed to be and the guidance given through this service was worth every penny! The person who reviewed my essay gave me great advice that included grammar corrections, content suggestions, and praise for the parts she thought were well written.

Here are some examples of comments included in my personal statement basic revision by my editor:

  • “I think this is a great way to begin your essay! You will definitely hook the reader’s attention. And it’s smart to mention your trip to Ecuador right out of the gate, as that shows that you’ve got a wealth of various healthcare experience. Well done!”
  • “I don’t think it’s important to highlight the different things you had the opportunity of observing if they didn’t help solidify your interest in becoming a physician assistant.”
  • “None of the reasons you list here are specific to the PA profession. We really need to specify/highlight the unique aspects of the PA profession that interest you.”
  • “You’re on the right track, we just need to take things a step further to highlight the PA’s role and why it interests you.”
  • “You’ll want to make the reader feel like becoming a PA is the ONLY option for you! There is no other position that would give you the same satisfaction. What weren’t you satisfied with in that role?”
  • “Overall, this is a very strong essay. My main concern is that we don’t talk enough about the specific aspects of the PA profession that interest you. But see my comments/suggestions throughout and email with any questions you have! Keep up the great work!”

These are only some of the constructive comments left by my editor throughout my essay. As a pre-PA student, I would have never thought of some of these edits! I found every piece of advice extremely necessary and made revisions accordingly. My personal statement improved immensely, and I am so thankful I stumbled upon this great resource.

It is also helpful to have a close family member or friend read your personal statement to gauge how well it captures who you are and why you want to be a PA. Your essay should feel genuine, and the people closest to you will be able to judge this better than anyone. The personal statement is one of the few opportunities you have throughout your CASPA essay to express yourself in a professional manner and represent yourself aside from your grades, PCE hours, GRE score, etc. Another great tip for your editing process is reading your essay out loud to a family member, friend, or even just recording your own voice on your phone can help you detect parts of your essay that do not sound great or do not flow well.

Your personal statement is so important, don’t be afraid to ask for advice!