It is exhilarating the first 48 hours after a PA school interview has been given. This exhilaration is also closely accompanied by nervousness, which often lasts much of the time leading up to the big day. This anxiety is understandable because your interview for the physician assistant program is the last obstacle you have before admission. You aim to sound as good on your CASPA application as you appear. Just like any other exam, planning is important. Although receiving great grades, a well-rounded application, and being simply awesome, it takes practice to express why you are a great choice for the admissions committee. This article will help you with some of the sample PA school interview questions.
The type of interview you may go through may vary widely in many PA schools. Others use panel interviews, faculty member interviews, or group interviews, while others in the interview process use different mini-interviews or even current students. Your interviewer is searching for a candidate who can answer questions correctly and convincingly, no matter the interview style.
Let’s concentrate on knowing the 5 most popular types of interview questions you will be asked in your PA school interview instead of Googling a long list of questions and being totally frustrated. This offers you the chance to use formal mock interview sessions to practice.
A PA must pass an examination to be admitted, unlike a nurse practitioner and many other healthcare professionals. We have broken down PA school interview questions into the 5 most popular forms, with each segment containing 10 sample questions. As you read, note similar questions and consider how you can answer them during your PA interview to help create a cohesive message. This form of understanding will help narrow your answers and ensure that your responses are consistent.
PA School Interview Questions
Questions in the biography: Who you are and why you want to be a PA?
The bread and butter of every interview process is biographical questions. They are the basis for learning about your history, education and training, character, personal experience, and values, which is why they are some of the most relevant common concerns. Actually, you might have to guess the majority of the questions your interviewer is going to ask, but you can be sure they’re going to ask your background questions.
The PA program needs to accept applicants they know, like, and think they’re going to do well. Until they get to know who you are, they can’t do that. And while you know your history very well, that doesn’t mean that you’re good at talking about it. The questions that PA students ignore during training are often biographical questions since they feel it will be easy to speak about themselves.
However, it can be difficult to tell your story in a truthful and authentic way, which is why you need to practice. Your basic knowledge of the field will also be answered by some questions, which means you need to know the basics.
Just 31 percent of applicants go to a PA school on average. Figures are better in some areas and worse in others, but generally speaking, your chance is one out of three to make it this year. Taking into account that individuals normally apply to 8 to 12 PA schools over an application cycle, the average performance rate is typically much lower. Below 5%, to be precise…
Getting to a PA school is potentially more complicated than getting to a med school. In order to terrify or discourage you, I am not writing this. I just want you to understand that if you actually get an opportunity to interview at any PA school, you should do your very best to prepare for your interview. You have not got a lot of other chances since this year.
What’s a PA?
A PA is a licensed provider of healthcare who operates under the guidance of a doctor. Many cooperate closely with their supervising doctor, and others with a lot of discretion. PAs consult with patients who diagnose diseases and accidents, order diagnostics, and recovery preparation. In addition to these details, I believe that in our healthcare system, PAs fill a need. They are first qualified as providers of primary care but have some flexibility to specialize, teach, and organize care.
Why are we supposed to pick you?
Many of my experiences have been about helping people who are not as lucky as they were, and what matters to me is what my experiences mean a lot. I’m not only suggesting that I want to support others, I’m illustrating that I have. Also, I believe that my personality is an advantage. My friends say I am hopelessly optimistic and enthusiastic, and that is also shown by some of my extracurricular interests. My role as a participant in multiple activities points to that as well.
What are your weaknesses?
Knowing that I’m a person who is really motivated, I need to be careful not to be a bull in a china shop. I can’t let my passion and drive alienate my friends, and through any challenge, I can’t blindly charge; I have to ‘negotiate’ them. Like when I came up with a new system at doctor’s office to monitor lab specimens. There were some “old hands” there who may have been rubbed the wrong way by my proposal. So, I took sure to include them and to ask for input from them. It got me a buy-in of theirs. Driven is good, but I’ve found that it just comes across as overbearing if it’s not balanced with versatility and collaboration.
Why PA School?
I want you to know something before you read any further: you’re not going to get in with average interview responses, saying the same things everyone says in interviews. You can only afford such answers with a decent GPA, and even a stellar student’s credibility. Like any other scenario, in your interview, you can come up with something new. Today, people will say in general that they have a calling to support others, that they have always wanted to work in healthcare. Or that in a local community or in their country, they want to make a meaningful change. These answers are OK, but they are too common, as I have already said, and many people will use them.
I suggest you try something different: a story to tell them. This could be a story about a serious injury you’ve sustained, or someone close to you. An empathetic and intelligent PA came to the scene, saving your life or helping you recover your full health. You were so impressed with their bravery, their empathy, their ability, and basically how they handled you, that they became your role model and encouraged you to pursue the same career path…This is, of course, just one example of a good-feeling story. You can only tell them your own story. Don’t forget to include numbers and dates in your response, and to be precise. In the eyes of the questioning team, figures and specifics lend your story credibility, and they also make it easier for them to imagine your story.
EXAMPLE: I’ve read about many systems, and yours with its curriculum seems progressive. For instance, the online tools for physical examination learning show me how hard this program has worked to stay up to date and evolve with medical technology. I want to attend a school where the faculty really cares about what I am taught and how. The fact that many of the courses are taught in small group sessions shows me that it is a priority for student interaction and association with faculty. With that, I know I’m not just going to be a number. I love that I will have the chance as a student to put my new experience to use by participating in student-run programs right away. I have already worked at community hospitals, and I am refreshed by the focus on supporting the community!”
Where do you want to work after you graduate from PA school?
PA school is rough, and many graduates come out of it with a big debt. If you do not know what you want to do with your degree, applying for a PA school, let alone studying there, makes no sense. You’ve got a strategy to have. Now, in my view, you have two options for a good response, for a good strategy: Choosing a specific organization, an NGO, an organization where you want to work. In the first row, physician assistants also operate. If this is your goal, aim to find one or two organizations where you would like to work, to support the neediest or wounded, to have as much direct interaction with patients as possible. Getting concrete objectives and plans helps with motivation a lot. And to tackle your research, you will need a great deal of encouragement. That’s why this answer is a good one.
The second choice is to tell them that you would love to work in the same area, or even that their school cooperates with one of the hospitals/clinics. In their own backyard, schools like to see their best students working. They don’t want to see you fly to and practice on the other side of the world or globe… So, if you’re not sure, or if you don’t have a specific healthcare organization in your mind, tell them you want to work in their city or region. You’ve always wanted to live and work there, and whatever.
Can you explain the background of the PA profession?
Although the entire sequence of events that led to the establishment of the PA profession and every move from that initial class of PAs to today does not need to be memorized, you should have a sense of how and why the profession started, the context from which it originated, the needs it sought to address, and some milestones in its growth.
What is the distinction between an NP and a PA? Between an MD and a PA?
It is important to consider the distinct positions of various medical practitioners, as the increasingly diversified medical workforce implies a network of different specialists with different practice scopes and areas of expertise. You must be able to demonstrate that you thoroughly understand your course and have unique reasons to follow that particular medical career. When you inquire ‘Why do you want to be a PA?’ ‘It’s going to be helpful. You should like to become a PA because of the place and ethos you represent (in contrast to, say, the “safety net,” of this career, if you don’t attend medical school, that’s a “red flag”!).
Why the school of our PA, why not some other place?
You have two choices for an insightful answer once again, one for which you can stand out. Brutal honesty is the first choice. You’ve applied to 15 schools, but only two have invited you for an interview. And you blew up the other interview, and this is your last chance, basically. You want to be a PA and don’t want to resume training for another year. Your first choice, therefore, is your schooling, since it is your only choice. But you don’t buy boards and content from leadership, saying one school is better than the other. At the end of the day, every school has good and poor instructors and the standard of your education absolutely depends on you, on your efforts and encouragement, on your ability to sacrifice for your success. But it doesn’t matter whether you’re studying here or there. You are good to go… trust me that there isn’t much courage for applicants to be frank in interviews as long as they give you a good chance! Therefore, with this reply, you may gain several points.
The second choice is to thank their college for everything. You should try to be very precise in your response in this situation. Do not only say they have a fantastic reputation, program, students, or that their research work impresses you. Choose specific things that have attracted your attention. For instance, you read a certain research article or a certain topic that you did not find in a curriculum of other PA schools you applied to, etc. Needless to say, you can devote ample time to your research to find the stuff in the interviews that you should applaud.
PA school is very difficult. What are you planning on doing to control the workload?
Stop hollow sentences and the bragging of ego. It won’t make an impact on the people on the interview panel to say that you are such a fantastic student that you can manage anything easily. In all interviews and later in their research, people who are modest in their aspirations and see their own imperfections have a much greater chance of succeeding.
Tell them you’re going to sacrifice everything for your studies, maybe even the whole two or three years of your life. You are an enthusiastic person and have a lot of interests, and maybe you enjoy doing a part-time job, too. But everything, once you remain, will become secondary to you.
What are you going to do while not studying in your free time?
Let me suggest, once again, two good replies. The first is that you are not planning on having a lot of free time. You want to be completely committed to your studies, and you want to do better than any of them. This involves reading books, participating in some fieldwork, and finally spending all your days and weeks studying and related material. Of course, you’ll need to recharge the battery once in a while. On Saturday, you can go for a run or even spend a night at a club. Again, however, you will return to your studies.
Another great choice is to tell the community at the University you want to give something back. In the meantime, you intend to apply for an office in residence, or for a position in a student council, in order to engage effectively in the life of the school. Naturally, as I said earlier, you must not adhere to your interview commitments. However, if you want to get in, tell them what they want a great candidate to hear and try to get your replies across.
Have you got any questions for us?
- Two examples of good questions to ask are here:
- In the next two years, are there any big improvements you expect in the program?”
- Can you tell me about the experiences you have with sites of clinical rotation?”
Interviews are highly demanding for PA school enrolment, regardless of whether you are interviewing in front of a small group or doing the MMI style. You’re going to compete with many other candidates, all equally motivated to do well with their answers and outclass you. Your best opportunity to succeed is to strive to stand out for both your answers and interview appearance. It can be made much easier for you by some unique answers to all difficult interview questions and a guide on how to win over the interviewers. I wish you good fortune!
Also read Questions to ask in an interview?