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How to Get Into Your #1 PA Program as a Physician Assistant Student

Do you know what else it takes to get into your dream PA program?

It’s time! Time to start thinking about the kind of PA program you want to attend. This can be daunting. Graduate programs, especially graduate programs for medical-based careers, can be competitive and stressful, but hey- it’s good practice for when you land your first PA job in the real world! However, to even land that job, you have to get into a great PA program. That means your school application needs to really make an impact with admissions. (AKA you need to kick things off with a great GPA). For a new and improved way to study, check out Picmonic! Picmonic is a visual study guide that helps you succeed in school and score big on the PANCE. But do you know what else it takes to get into your dream PA program? We’ve put together a little list for you to consider before applying.

Understand Your Role

Do you really know what a PA does? Like, really. Not just from a clinical standpoint, but an emotional one, too. If you don’t, admissions faculty will see right through you. It’s important to demonstrate just how much you want to be a PA in the essay portion of your admission packet. Good grades and having a great recommendation from someone you shadowed is one thing, but putting all that information into an essay that explains why you want to be a PA (and what kind of PA you intend to be) is a major part of getting into your top choice PA program.

Nix the Drama

Speaking of essays, it’s crucial to know what to include and what to leave out of your essays. Yes, it’s important to show that you know your stuff, that you are a special individual perfectly capable of being an awesome PA, and that helping others is important to you, but what’s equally as important is being sure not to include drama-filled stories about your life. Admissions is looking for an essay that doesn’t make them feel like they’re in a CW soap. So explain how you overcame a hardship to become a better person, but leave the drama for Felicity reruns.

Be a Shadow

While studying is required to get your GPA to good place and score big numbers on your PANCE, it’s the real world application of your studies that makes a big impact with admissions. Find a way to shadow a PA for at least 40 hours. Many schools require this, but even if they don’t, shadowing gives you a better idea of what you’re in for once you graduate from your PA program.

Numbers Are Super Important (But So Is Being Well-Rounded)

While good grades and near-perfect test scores are a key part of your application process, more and more often admission experts are stressing that they aren’t accepting students based on numbers alone, but rather their entire academic career. That means you need to have amazing test scores and be a well-rounded person who engages in extracurricular activities and gives back to their community. If you’re saying studying takes up all your time, stop cramming and let us introduce you to Picmonic. Our visual study guides will help you learn more in less time, freeing you up to volunteer and get some IRL healthcare experience that’s perfect for your PA school application. Plus, using our Daily Quiz with Spaced Repetition will keep your knowledge totally locked in. For forever. (You’re welcome!)

Give Good Face

One of the biggest hurdles PA school candidates face is interviewing in person for a position in a program. Sure, looking good on paper is great and will get you in the door, but showing up unprepared to an interview can destroy any chance of getting into a PA program. Remember to dress professionally, arrive on time, and stay confident during your interview. You wouldn’t have been called in for face time they didn’t have interest in you!

Be Prepared for Your PA Program

Being a PA means patients may see you more than the doctor. You’ll often be the first to evaluate a patient and you’ll need to really know your stuff even long after you take the PANCE. That’s where Picmonic’s mnemonic visual study aids come in. Forget cramming! Picmonic is the best online study guide out there, helping you to retain up to 331% more than just re-reading notes and your textbook. Picmonic’s practice study guides, spaced repetition, and daily quizzes will give you the boost you need to ace every test and totally remember what you learned. Plus, you’ll learn faster with our visual study aids, freeing you up for more time to practice for your big interview. What a win-win. Sign up for a free trial of Picmonic today!


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