8 Tips For The PA Application And Process

By Jessica Mehraban


Meet PA Student and Certified Holistic Health Coach @healthylifebyjess

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Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Mehraban and I recently got accepted to PA school. I’m extremely grateful for pursuing my dream and I wanted to make it a little easier for all of you who are going through the same journey.

Here are my top 8 tips for those of you going through the application process:

1. Apply early.

It is always a good idea to apply early.

Applying early can help you avoid delays, allow for timely processing and improve your chances of being admitted to schools using rolling admissions.

Rolling admissions means your application will be evaluated in the order received.

This alone can increase your chances of securing a seat since most PA programs have very limited seats.

2. Volunteer as much as you can, medical and non-medical.

I cannot emphasize enough how important patient care and volunteer hours are.

Simply put, the more healthcare and volunteer experience you have the higher your chances to receive an interview.

Not only will you be able to impress the application committee and be able to answer those “random challenging” interview questions, but also you will be more prepared for PA school.

If you’re wondering how you can increase your hours, become an EMT, medical assistant, or another position where you are directly responsible for a patient’s care. 

3. Shadow PAs in different fields to enhance your knowledge.

Shadowing is super exciting, you truly get a solid grasp of what it’s like to be a PA.

Before attending PA school, I shadowed an Internal medicine PA, Dermatologic PA and an Emergency Medicine PA.

You’d be surprised how much medicine you can learn just by watching from disease processes to medications.

One thing I loved about shadowing was observing how autonomously a PA interacts with patients.

If you are proactive and enthusiastic, you’ll pick up all kinds of things that will be tremendous help in the future. 

4. Do mock interviews for interview preparation.

Okay, let’s be honest… PA interviews can be nerve racking, especially when you don’t know what to expect.

Find a trusted friend or mentor who will help you prepare and try to simulate the interview experience – you can even apply for a mock interview program!

The more you practice, the more at ease you’ll be. Many questions have no “right” answer.

You want to answer professionally and establish a connection that makes your interviewer remember you.

Just remember, don’t memorize a script and be your unique self.

5. Ask for Letters Of Recommendation as soon as you can.

Most PA programs require three letters of recommendation.

CASPA requires evaluations from three references for your application to be considered complete.

Believe it or not, it takes time to secure an agreement from writers and for your reference to actually write their letters and submit them.

The last thing you want is not being able to send in your application early because you’re waiting on a letter of recommendation.

6. Research the mission of the schools you apply to.

PA Programs have very different requirements and missions, and it’s important to strategize which program’s mission you personally connect with and can envision yourself engaging in for the next couple of years.

Some school’s mission will emphasize integrative health while others focus on homeless care.

Your program will be uniquely created based on the mission so it’s vital to feel a connection!

In addition, most schools will ask questions related to the program’s mission during interviews. 

7. Attend campus preview days (even if it’s via Zoom!)

Attending campus preview days will give you the chance to make connections with students, professors, and staff in the program.

You will also have the opportunity to ask general questions.

As a plus, you’ll get a better understanding and impression of what it would be like to spend the next couple years in that particular campus environment.

8. Absolutely, know how to answer “Why PA?”

You will be asked many different times, Why?” This was a question that was asked in almost all of my interviews….

You might even be asked why don’t you just go to medical school or NP school?

My biggest tip is to be true to yourself when answering these questions, think about a story, patient interaction, or even a volunteer experience that really sparked your interest in becoming a PA.

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Mehraban and I recently got accepted to PA school. I’m extremely grateful for pursuing my dream and I wanted to make it a little easier for all of you who are going through the same journey. 

Final Thoughts

Most of all, remember to be yourself. You are unique in your own way.  Use words of affirmation to build your confidence… you got this! 

xx #healthylifebyjess


For more tips and inspiration follow @healthylifebyjess


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