20 Frequently Asked Interview Questions - Answered
Last week, we posted a blog article on the most common PA school admissions questions. We have received ton of feedback on how to tackle some of these questions. So, this week, that is exactly what we will be doing.
It is important to note, that these answers are a blueprint for you. In the sense, try to build up and personalize them to your story, to your journey. As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact us.
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1 . Tell me about yourself. (i.e. elevator pitch)
This is a question you should be able to answer in 2-3 minutes, within 4-5 sentences. It should be like movie trailer, tells enough about the plot to keep to interested but doesn’t give away the entire movie. Your elevator pitch to highlight who you are as a person and in the light you would like to display yourself. Leave room for the interviewer to ask you questions.
2. What is a PA?
Definitely know the official definition of a PA (easily found on the AAPA website) but also know what that means to you. Anyone can memorize a definition. Interpret it and include your view in your answer.
3. Why do you want to be PA as opposed to any other medical professional?
Include why you chose this profession, what sparked your interest, include experiences in which you’ve interacted with PAs
4. What is your idea of what a PA does?
This circles back to question 2. Along with the definition, what do you think a PA does. What does a day in the life of a PA look like to you?
5. What challenges do you think you would face as a working PA?
Every profession faces challenges, which will impact you as a working PA. Challenges at a personal level, challenges with peers, challenges at the professional level.
6. What challenges do you think you would face as a PA student?
PA school is quite difficult, in terms of academia as well as in a student’s personal life, What challenges do you think will come up for you? Try to present the challenge as a hurdle that you have begun to prep for. I.e. if time management is difficult for you, that would definitely be a challenge in PA school, however maybe you developed a schedule which you plan on strictly adhering to.
7. What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of?
You’ve accomplished so much to arrive at the place you are now. Which accomplishment stands out to you?
8. What is a challenge you have overcome?
Challenges are a part of everyday life. The best way to answer this question is focus on a point in your life, academic or not, when you thought to yourself “how am I ever going to get through this?” Talk about how you overcame that, the steps you took and how to plan on facing upcoming challenges.
9. What has prepared you to the rigorous program ahead?
PA school is quite rigorous. Most commonly referred to as trying to take a drink of water from an open fire hydrant. What has given you the resilience and determination to take on PA school?
10. What has prepared you for the profession?
The profession has its pros and cons. It includes a great deal of autonomy, yet requires some level of supervision. What has prepared you to be an autonomous medical practitioner?
11. What makes you stand out from the crowd of applicants?
PA schools get hundreds of applicants a year, what makes you stand out from the rest? Is it your journey? Is it your passion? Is it your nonmedical abilities?
12. Describe a time where you were under tremendous stress at work or academia. How did you deal with it?
Stress takes many forms in all stages of life, whether it be at work, at school or at home. No doubt you will encounter it during your educational years in PA school, how did you handle it in the past and how will you handle it in the future? Maybe you tried a couple tactics that didn’t work in the past and you have new ones. Maybe you have tried and true methods.
13. You mentioned **** on your essay. Can you explain/expand on that?
Interviews will always read your essays/statements. Be ready to give more detail about any aspect on your statement.
14. Why this school?
Why did you click submit on your CASPA application for this particular school? Was it the class sizes? Was it the qualifications of the professors? Was it the connections the school had to the hospitals nearby? Was it in the heart of a city you dreamed of being in? What drew you to this school?
15. What do you do in your free time?
When you weren’t learning all that college had to teach you, or getting in all your PCE/HCE hours, how did you spend your time? Did you spend quality time with family? Did you read all of Americas greatest novels? Did you walk dogs? This question is just to get to know you as a person, not a trick question to see how much of a humanitarian can you be.
16. Aside from school, what else is important to you?
Obviously academia is important to you, you are striving for a graduate school education. What holds importance in your life? Again, another question to better get to know you.
17. How you plan on balancing your personal life with school?
PA school takes up majority of your time. I’m sure you’ve all seen that meme of PA school, a pale monster-like creature emerging from a cave and desperately calling for its family and friends. That is reality. How do you plan on balancing your personal life with PA school?
18. What is your biggest weakness as an applicant?
There is no such thing as a perfect applicant. What is your biggest weakness? Take a positive spin on this. This is why it is a weakness, what are you doing to change that? How will you turn it into a strength?
19. What is your greatest strength as an applicant?
Just as your application has a weakness, it has many strengths. Which is your greatest strength? Which makes you the strongest/best candidate in the bunch? Why?
20. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Five years down the life you’ll have graduated, passed your board and in the early stages of your career. What to you want to accomplish by then? What will your new goal be?
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