Welcome to the second video in our Mock PA School Interview Series: Ten blog posts featuring ten amazing Pre-PAs who have graciously shared their recorded mock PA school interviews with one singular intention: To help you achieve success on your path to PA school and be more confident on the day of your PA school interview.
Today's interview is with Lily Boyle, a PRE-PA and second time PA school applicant who is a high school chemistry and physics teacher in Chicago's West Side. She has spent four years working as part of Teach For America and has an MD father who feels PA school is a much better path for Lily than medical school.
Lilly is a passionate, kind, remarkably down-to-earth, and hard-working Pre-PA whose journey to PA school has been nothing short of inspiring.
Above is the entire 45-minute video interview with Lily and below is the transcript of our interview including our per-question commentary.
Questions asked in this mock interview:
- Tell me a little bit more about yourself and why you want to be a PA? Follow-up: Why did you go into education first?
- What are your weaknesses or one of your weaknesses?
- Tell me what your least favorite class in college was?
- There is a push right now to change the title of the profession from physician assistant to physician associate. What are your thoughts on that?
- What would you do if a patient refuses to be seen by you because you are a PA and not a physician?
- What patient population you least like working with while you are accruing your patient care hours?
- Can you tell me a little bit about a time when you had to work with a supervisor that you disagreed with?
- Can you tell me what you think your biggest challenge of PA school will be?
- For the next question if you want to answer it with the program that you're interviewing with in mind, tell me why you feel that program is the right fit for you and you are the right fit for the program?
- If they ask if you were not accepted into our program, what do you think the reason would be?
- If you would tell me about a time that you surprised yourself?
I hope you enjoy this mock interview with Lily as much as we loved recording it.
Interested in having your own recorded mock PA school interview? Click here
Question by Interviewer:
1. Tell me a little bit more about yourself and why you want to be a PA?
Response by Interviewee:
Okay, well, right now I'm a teacher on the west side of Chicago. I teach high school chemistry and physics, and I really love what I do and I love the kids that I work with but I've always known that I want to go into medicine. I thought for a long time I was going to be in the capacity of like being a PT or working in sports medicine, but after working with some colleagues in college that sort of steered me the other way, I realized that being a PA was actually one of the best fits for me in terms of how much time I want to go back to school for, how soon I could actually start helping people, the type of collaborative work that I'm used to doing and think I'm actually really successful at, and also just the amount of time that I get to spend with people.
Because building relationships have been one of the most important parts of the job that I do right now, even though it's an education as opposed to medicine, I really think that you become more effective as a person whether you're a teacher or PA the more you have a relationship with other people. And I just know that being an MD or working in another capacity you don't have a luxury of spending all that time with a patient, and sometimes you don't get to form the relationship that I think is really important to me to do as a provider. So for reasons like that I am excited to make a transition out of education and into medicine and to fill a role as a PA.
Analysis: Awesome. That’s great. So for feedback, I think you just really did an excellent job on that. Just as a quick thing you might introduce yourself, if that hasn’t happened in the interview yet just in case. The other thing is … Is everything okay?
Analysis: So building relationships I think was an awesome thing that you brought into, and I loved how you connected it, like you connected it between the PA profession and the education profession that you work. I think putting the focus on that makes it very understandable why you would want to be a PA. If I were your interviewer and I was going to follow up with you I would probably ask why you went into education first, and find out your thoughts on that, which you’re welcome to tell me if you want to. Otherwise, we can move into the next question.
Follow up question: why did you go into education first?
Response by Interviewee: No, sure. I joined education out of college because I joined Teach for America, which is an AmeriCorps program that places people in areas of high need for a two-year commitment. And they’re usually people like they have no experience in education, so it’s really a wild ride that a lot of people leave after two years because that’s when you’re technically done. But … And I thought I was going to be one of those people, and I’m here four years later still teaching the same kids at the same school, the same subject because I really fell in love with doing it.
And I knew I was eventually going to leave and it wasn’t going to be my career path, but I’ve learned so much and I’ve just really grown as a person. It’s like thinking back it was only four years ago, but like I was just a completely different person even if my goals were very similar. The way I thought I was going to approach it and the things that I thought I was good at and need to get better at, they’re just completely different now and I just have a very different set of skills that I think will actually translate into medicine, whereas before it’s just sort of more of a goal or a hope, and I think thrill.
Response by Interviewer: That’s awesome, such a good answer. Yeah, I think that’s … It’s a gorgeous answer actually. So my prior job was working with education pioneers. I don’t know if you’re familiar with our organization, but we hire a lot of people from Teach for America. So anyway, I’m pretty familiar with that. But I think it also worked and the way you described it is amazing. You could reinforce what I’m assuming is probably the case is that you just … you fell in love with the work, you fell in love with working with those kids too.
Response by Interviewer: You didn’t say that outright but I could tell from the way we’re talking. And that just is going … it’s just going to emphasize the fact that you’re a good relationship builder and that’s going to only help you in PA school, it’s going to help you out of PA, so yeah, great.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah. And I love that your work on the west side of Chicago, because Chicago kids need all they can get.
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I work in West Garfield Park.
Question by Interviewer: All right, so here we go. I'm going to start with a question nobody likes anyway so you only have to talk about it for one minute.
2. What are your weaknesses or one of your weaknesses?
Response by Interviewee: Just one. No. I thought a lot about this because I think in my work a lot of the work we do in the around reflection and around thinking back even on a day to day basis, like what went well, what could have gotten better. I think at a certain point you have to look at that in a larger scale about like what about me, what do I do well, what do I not do so well. And I think in terms of like working with other people I love being in a position of leadership, I love delegating and sort of helping to form a plan and execute it, and being responsible for a lot of things at once.
And I think I noticed it more because I work in the Midwest, but like I'm very much like, "Okay, let's do this, and let's do this, and let's do this, and let's do it this way. And what's the most effective thing to do?" In the Midwest they're just like not in the same rush as I'm in for one thing, but I just think it's a different style of leadership for different people and one thing you learn about just working with all sorts of people is you just don't always mesh in the way that you would do things, and I think that's just part of learning how to be a better leader. So for me that's really something that I want to work on.
Analysis: Yeah, great. I think that’s a great thing to note about yourself. Knowing that you have … if you could come up with like a couple sentences to add about how you recognize it when that happens and what you do to kind of stay away from that. If it happened to you before where you’ve found yourself in that situation and you realize you need to pull back, maybe have an example in mind if they ask you any questions about that.
I think that’s a really strong answer though because it shows … it’s showing a positive while it’s talking about a real weakness, which is a good thing so I think it’s great.
Response by Interviewee: Okay, yeah, no. It’s just hard to like think about how to like kind of explain it in the right way without seeming like I’m just saying that I like step on toes.
Response by Interviewee: I really do notice it more like in the like cultural setting, but I just think … I mean, that’s important too, not everyone’s going to be from the East Coast when I go to school there too, so sort of what it is.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah. I’m trying to think whether it’s good to bring up that part about the Midwest or not. It probably doesn’t matter. You know what? I think maybe avoid that, and just say different styles, just focus on different style. In that way just in case someone would take that the wrong way you don’t have to even worry about it. You know what I mean?
Question by Interviewer:
3. Tell me what your least favorite class in college was?
Response by Interviewee: Calculus. Definitely calculus, that was just ... I talk about it a little bit on my application too. I think there's kind of like ... it's almost like a stigma where people assume like if you have a science brain you also have a math brain, like they're just one and the same. And I've just never really fed to that category, even in high school like Algebra 2 was my nemesis, I remember that clearly. And then in college, I knew I had to take calculus 1 and 2, even though I was a biology major and I put it off for a long time. I eventually took it, and I really was not successful at it at first. It's my only D on my college transcript, and it embarrasses me in a lot of ways.
But I learned from that, and I had to take calc 2. I got a tutor before the class even started. I worked with him daily, and in the end, I got a C which is like really not that impressive at all, but for me, math was like a constant area of anxiety. It was something that like I just wasn't used to struggling at something that was supposed to be so similar to the thing that I'm good at. So that was my least favorite class, but I like to think that I got through it.
Analysis: Well done, that was an awesome answer. I love that … There are a couple of things that you’re doing that I just think are really great. You are completely yourself. I don’t feel like you are selling me a load of anything, like you’re just being who you are, which I love. I think it’s just like you’re … you seemed very down to earth, you’re very open, like you’re willing to talk about things that are maybe not that pleasant. But the way you talk about them it’s like … I don’t know, there’s something about the manner that you have, the way you’re presenting if it shows that you’re not going to let something be a hindrance to you. So like, yes, you got a D, it was embarrassing, it sucks, but then you weren’t really super hard and you got a C. And yeah, it’s not that much better, but hey, it was great, and you did it, it’s behind you.
And I feel like that tone that you have, the way you’re saying sort of like, “I did it. It’s behind me. And now I can move on.” Like, it kind of shows a little bit about your personality in the same way as maybe that leadership style you’re talking about. Like, I feel like it’s showing a lot of you’re going to have a lot of initiatives, you’re going to have a lot of drive. It’s revealing in a way, and I think you’re doing … It’s a nice thing. So basically what I’m trying to say is that you’re letting you personality come through very well, and you seemed very genuine.
Question by Interviewer:
4. There is a push right now to change the title of the profession from physician assistant to physician associate. What are your thoughts on that?
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I think that's really interesting. I've been doing some research just on the history of PAs in general, and at first I was startled that like there's been like all these little changes, like it was physician's assistant. And I can see why that connotation got changed pretty quickly, that seems like almost ... not derogatory, but like a different kind of relationship that I really envisioned having with the physician that I work with, but I do ... I've gotten feedback from people like when I was first talking about becoming a PA, people saying like the word assistant being in the name like is somehow indicative of like a plateau for me in terms of professional ladder climbing or something.
And I think at first maybe I thought that too, and since I've sort of learned about the way that that dynamic works, it doesn't bother me at all. But I think because there is so much that PA does with respect to what a doctor does, I mean, they can do like 85% of the things that an MD can do in terms of things in the exam room, ordering scripts or labs or what have you, it does make sense to sort of have the name reflect even leadership between the two positions. I think even though I understand the term assistant to not mean a negative thing, from outsiders looking in I think it just presents a little bit more of a united front to have that language in there.
Analysis: Okay, great. So I think incorporating some of the stuff you’re talking about with the history of the profession is good, and it shows that you’re really paying attention to those things and educating yourself. I think if I were you I would add a little bit more about how the name might affect the patient and the stability of the profession. So people are really just starting to understand what PAs in that anyway. So some of the arguments against changing name are like, well, if we change the name does that destabilize it, do people start saying like, “I thought you guys were physician and this, blah, blah, blah.” But the other hand it does make it … maybe makes it more clear to patients what your role is, so that you don’t seem like an assistant you do seen as like in a leadership role.
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I never thought about that question before but that’s a good point. My dad’s a family doc, and he is really one of the people that have encouraged me to look into PA, to PA school. Like he says going to med school is overrated, which I think he really has a good point. And he talks about referring to them as like mid-level practitioners and giving them a more like … again, like a name that reflects like the dynamic that actually exists and like getting away from this assistant connotation. So that does make a lot of sense. But I see people are saying about like when there’s a name change like people can’t always keep up and like it can hurt it.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, so I think the important thing on that too is just to know that people on the committee are probably going to have different opinions on it. But it probably isn’t really that important which side you take, it’s just being able to make it.
Question by Interviewer:
5. What would you do if a patient refuses to be seen by you because you are a PA and not a physician?
Response by Interviewee: Well, I think if there's an opportunity to speak with the patient then that's always positive for me. I think not on a confrontational way at all, but for me going forward it's just I think that any feedback is good feedback. It's nice to know whether or not I'm going to change the patient's mind, it's just nice to know like where they're coming from in that sense. Is it something like as simple as the word assistant being in my title that makes them feel not comfortable being treated by me, or have they had a negative experience with a PA before or do they really just love this doctor? It's just if there's the opportunity for growth in any way then I think I like to take advantage of that opportunity.
But again, a lot of people if they're in a situation where they don't want to see you in a clinical setting they might not want to have the conversation with you anyways. And at a certain point you just have to accept that, and maybe try to reflect on your own. But again, if you can have the conversation I'd always rather do that than not.
Analysis: Awesome. That’s great. Emphasizing that communication really lends itself to reinforcing the idea that you’re a relationship builder which is incredibly helpful. One thing you might talk about is if you have to offer to help them reschedule with a physician, maybe mention some of the drawbacks like increased [cross talking] and things like that, just so you can give the patient the big picture as well. But yeah, overall I think that you’re spot on. The really important part of that is the respect for the patient’s preferences. You answered perfectly well, so that’s great.
Question by Interviewer:
6. What patient population did you least like working with while you were accruing your patient care hours?
Response by Interviewee: I think that because I have such an appreciation or have always sort of had an appreciation for serving people who need it more, it's honestly harder for me or not as exciting for me to treat people that I think will be successful or be okay no matter what. It's the same way with teaching, like I think about if I went and I taught at a school that had kids that looked like me with backgrounds like me, like I find that it was as rewarding and I don't think I would, they would be successful no matter what and they don't need me to be there to do that.
It's the same thing with patients, like not everyone has the compassion and the patience and just the mindset to help people who are traditionally underserved. So for me sort of the flip-flop, I find it less gratifying to work with people who have a certain amount of privilege, especially when they're not aware of it. And maybe that's ironic because for a long time I was like that, I have a certain amount of privilege just because I'm white or what-have-you. But now that I'm so aware of it it's like I can't ignore the fact that like there are certain values to me that make a big difference in terms of population that I serve.
Analysis: Great. I think that’s a really awesome answer. It aligns perfectly; I really understand it coming from their educational background and what you’ve told me. I think you didn’t sound negative at all towards people with privilege I guess, that’s probably not the thing. If you are pressed, so they might say, “Well, what do you do when you’re in a situation where you have to care for those people? How do you treat them equally to others?” So you might just kind of reflect on that and think about how you would address that if they ask. But I think you’re spot-on with that.
Does the program that you’re applying to, do they have a focus on underserved population?
Response by Interviewee: Not specifically, but they do have like certain programs … like with they have one program that’s really cool, that’s with Harvard, where they have like some clinics. These like collaborative clinics, and one of them I was reading about is in Chelsea, it’s in this one neighborhood where they like specifically serve people who have recently been released from jail and other like immigrants and refugees, which is not something that I’ve done before, but that’s kind of like more of the demographic that I see myself serving if I have a choice. So that was pretty cool.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, very cool. So you could mention that as part of your answer there, just saying, “This is part of the reason I apply.” Just to make them feel … Show them that you know that part of their program I guess.
Question by Interviewer:
7. Can you tell me a little bit about a time when you had to work with a supervisor that you disagreed with?
Response by Interviewee: That's a hard one. Well, actually, no, it's not. Because my first year of teaching when I started at the school that I'm still at I had a principal who like on paper I can see why they hired her, she's so fantastic, she had all this experience and spoke with confidences, and she was really a woman that I thought I would emulate at first. But sort of as we all got to work with her it became clear that she sort of led through fear in a lot of ways and really intimidated people that work beneath her, and also students too.
And the thing was like I didn't know any better, like this was my first job out of college and I didn't know that you can work for people or be supervised by people that don't necessarily thrive on you're being afraid of them or you're being too scared to make a mistake. So with that, I mean, I took a lot of her advice and I tried to implement what I could, but I also think I really struggled with how to also sort of walk on eggshells around the person that I really wanted to respect in a lot of ways.
So for me it came down to relying on the people that I worked with, the people that I knew are also struggling on a similar situation. It's funny the way that like a common enemy kind of creates a stronger bond between other people. And I think we all became closer as a staff that year because we struggled with being led by someone who really was not a good leader. And ultimately you sort of felt validated by the end of the year when she was fired in the third quarter, and so I was like, "I'm not crazy. This isn't actually normal."
But in certain situations you do have to just respect the person for the position that they're in and try to assume that they're coming from a place of best intent, assume that they actually do really want you to get better. And if all else fails lean on the people that are beside you that you know you can count on.
Analysis: I think that’s a really good answer. It’s super honest. And I think it’s probably a difficult one to balance being honest and not super negative about it. But you did a good job with it, especially talking about relying on the people around you. And bringing in the fact that it was your first job so that also helps for you to be able to be I think a little bit more honest and be like … It’s just easier to be I think a little … You can say something more negative because you were observing it, and it was also your first position so you weren’t really sure if what you were observing was accurate. You know what I mean? So that makes it seem a lot more … not judgmental, but just like what’s happening. It’s more authentic.
Response by Interviewer: Exactly. But I think also the way you ended that answer is really strong with giving the person the benefit of the doubt, saying that ultimately you have to trust that they really do want you to succeed so that they will be successful as well. I think that’s probably the best way you could really answer that question. And talking about the building up of the rest of your team is a great thing too.
Question by Interviewer:
8. Can you tell me what you think your biggest challenge of PA school will be?
Response by Interviewee: I think that my biggest challenge ... I mean, I won't say that like the coursework, and everything doesn't intimidate me, I mean, there's a reason that it's this selective and there's a reason why the first time I went through this process I wasn't successful. I'm competing with people that are truly super intelligent and qualified, and that I would be really proud to work next to. So yeah, it makes me sort of bewildered to think that like here I am now and in two years I'll be able to walk into an exam room, have a patient tell me what's wrong, and then like tell them how to fix it. That's wild to think about for me, because right now like my world is so much different than that.
But I think that with the program and the way it's designed in this like team-led collaborative manner of teaching, which is something that I'm already really comfortable with, that's the way I'm going to get through the struggle of like having to learn a lot of things in a little bit of time and become really good at it.
I think that the impact program that like really is designed around interdisciplinary education, and like learning how to work not only with the other PAs, but also with the nurses and the docs and the MAs and patient, like that can only really strengthen how good you are in the exam room but also the way that you treat things that maybe you didn't understand at first glance. That allows you to be comfortable asking for help, which is what I'm not afraid to do.
Analysis: Awesome. That’s great. That’s another good example of just how genuine you come across. I mean, I just feel like you’re really, really excellent at being honest and being yourself. You seem very comfortable and very natural which is great; I think it’s exactly what you need.
Response by Interviewee: I was nervous to like say that like the coursework is intimidating to me, because like I feel like my GPA is not as high as everyone else’s and I’m afraid that like I have to like explain the D on my transcript and stuff like that. So I didn’t know if it would work against me to be like, “Yeah, I mean, classes scare me.” But that’s the truth.
Response by Interviewer: There’s something in your answer that you said that made me feel good about it. It was … I can’t remember how you phrased it, but it was very decisive in terms of like – I will get through it. So you spoke in a way that was like you weren’t doubting your ability to do it. It was excellent. You might just throw in some things about classes that you did excel in, I mean, I’m assuming there were definitely classes that you were great in, that you’ve done well. And they already know your GPA, right? So you’ve already done that part.
Response by Interviewer: I’m kind of a bit advocate of just being honest about it and saying, “I’m hesitant to say that I am intimated by the coursework. But I feel like I need to be honest and say this is a huge project to undergo, but I’m very enthusiastic about it. I’ve been a good student in the past and I know I can do it.” You could kind of be honest like that if you felt like you needed to.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, I don’t think it’s a bad answer but I do see what you’re saying. I don’t know, I don’t feel like it’s a problem but I would hate to tell you that it’s fine and then it not be fine with other people. You know what I mean? I really respect and respond to honesty like that, but …
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I guess I don’t really know what my other answer would be. I thought about like … I don’t know, supporting myself financially and like being in school, like that’s real, but that’s not really like practical for the interview.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, do you think it’ll be a difficult thing for you to move or go back to school full-time after being in the workforce for a while, those kinds of things? And they may not be like your ultimate challenge but …
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, maybe moving. I mean, like leaving my school, leaving my kids.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, there you go. You could … So if you choose that instead, it’s a little bit of a safer answer but it’s probably still true.
Response by Interviewer: But it’ll come across the same way I mean as genuine. You could … Some tips for like talking about how you’re going to acclimate to the environment would just be trying to build relationships with your classmates and with your instructors, trying to be a part of this will be involved in it rather than just to … an observer or somebody who’s there but not really dedicated and really inserting yourself into it. And then talking about the community and how you might be able to be involved in the community, finding your own place like coffee shop or your own … your own places that are special to you and it’ll make you feel at home, so just some thoughts on how to … If you decide to go a different way with it.
Response by Interviewer: I really like the honesty in your answer though.
Question by Interviewer:
9. Tell me why you feel that this program is the right fit for you and why you are the right fit for this program?
Response by Interviewee: I feel that this program is really made for me and like will allow me to be successful because it has such a focus on team-based learning. It is really designed around discussion and application of knowledge and critical thinking. I mean, these are all things that like I've strived to have in my own classroom for years and I know how difficult it is to accomplish, but I also know how successful that can be for students. I mean, I can say firsthand how like the idea of flipping the classroom and having the students do a lot of the lifting and the learning ahead of time and during class as opposed to like assigning all this homework and things to do when there's no one there to collaborate with. I mean, it makes a big difference in terms of actual comprehension and the longevity of that knowledge. You're not just memorizing it for a test, you actually understand it, can apply it, and see the application of it in real-world situations. So for me that makes the most sense and I really wouldn't want to learn how to do this any other way.
Analysis: Great. It’s fantastic. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. I mean, I think that being that specific is a nice thing, it’s very succinct and it shows what’s really important to you. If there are other things that you … If you get the sense that you should be talking more, like if they want a broader answer, talk about the things that they brag about themselves, the things that they’re excited about, and how you’re excited about being a part of them too. But I think that’s great.
Question by Interviewer:
10. If you were not accepted into our program what do you think the reason would be?
Response by Interviewee: I think it would be because perhaps on paper academically I'm not as competitive as I am with some other applicants that perhaps studied harder or were more passionate in undergrad, and had more direction than I did. I think I'm kind of a late bloomer when it comes to that, but all I've done since I've graduated from college was thought about breaking into medicine, how I'll do it, how I can be a better student. I mean, even though I'm not a student now I'm in the classroom every single day of my life and I teach kids how to study better and I teach kids the emphasis on having goals and on having forethought and chasing after things that maybe they don't think are possible for them.
So on paper academically my past doesn't really speak to the knowledge that I have now and the drive that I think I'm capable of showing. But if I weren't accepted it would probably be for an objective reason like that.
Analysis: Such a fantastic answer, Lily. You have to follow up with me and tell me when you get in, because basically I just can’t imagine that you’re not going to. I think you’re a great candidate for this. Your answers are so great. There’s nothing that I could tell you to improve that, it’s perfect. It was poetic almost with being in the classroom every day and motivating the kids, I think it’s great.
Response by Interviewee: Okay, awesome. Thanks. Sometimes I feel like I steer away from the question just to like say other stuff, but I think that’s the stuff that they want to hear anyways, even if that’s not really what they’re asking. Or maybe not, like in that question I wasn’t just saying why, I was also like bragging about all these things that I do every day and like how I would be better or like … You know what I mean?
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, I think … I mean, it all made sense to me, like explaining, “Okay, maybe my grades don’t stack up, but here’s how I’ve been focusing on grades basically and academic performance here,” even if it’s not your own, so to me it made … you made perfect sense.
Question by Interviewer:
11. Tell me about a time that you surprised yourself
Response by Interviewee: I think I'm really surprised myself when I was accepted into Teach for America. I kind of entered the process on a whim because I wasn't really ready to make the decision about graduate school, and I didn't know what my next step was going to be after college. And I also didn't realize how passionate I was going to be about serving people who were less privileged and marginalized from the standpoint of being a science teacher. And it was really through the very short application process that I very quickly realized that that's something I'm actually really passionate about.
And it even became clear to me as I was in the interview, and I was talking about ... sort of being asked these provocative questions that the answers that I was giving surprised me. I mean, they were completely genuine but I didn't even realize the way I felt about some of these issues until they were presented right in front of me. So I was surprised that I had this sort of fervor towards something that I didn't really think about as much as I do now. And when I got in I was just as surprised that they recognized it in me, and I'm very grateful for it.
Analysis: Awesome. Great job. There’s definitely no right or wrong answer to do that one. So yeah, it’s really nice. And I do love the fact that it ties into … you’re kind of mentioning for working in health care too, it really enforces that.
So that's all the questions I have. Do you have any questions for me about this process that we just went through, or do you want to run by probably the questions that you might ask in your interview?
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I was thinking about that. Like, well, I mean, I've really just been Googling stuff because I don't know, like I mean I think of certain things but I don't really want to just ask any old question. I think it should be a little bit thoughtful. So some things that I was looking at were like what ... Well, asking them like what sets your program apart from others. But I think I was thinking that question before I really kind of knew the answer for myself, so I don't know if that's necessary or if they feel like put on the spot by that. I don't know.
Or like do you find that your graduates are more likely to work in a particular field, like just seeing the trajectory that people go on from this program. Or like what relationships do you have with clinical rotation sites?
Response by Interviewer: I like that too. I think if you ask them about working in a particular field, the graduates, be prepared to answer that for yourself in case they follow up with you and want to know. Yeah, and I think your first question it might put them on the spot, it also might be a little ... Well, I mean, you know the program so well that it also might seem like an odd question just because ...
Response by Interviewee: Like you don't know it or something, yeah.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah. I don't think it'll put them on the spot because I'm sure people ask it, but there's probably a better question.
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, I agree. Yeah, those were like my only two that I was like, "Okay, that's real. I actually wondered that."
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, stick with the ones that are real for you because everything else about this interview has definitely been like you being very genuine, so that's the strongest part of your interview. You come across as just like 100% who you are.
Response by Interviewee: Yeah, okay, cool. I feel really good about that. I mean, I'm nervous but I really just want to like get there and do it.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, you're going to do well, I can tell. One quick thing that I did notice when you were talking a lot of times you aren't looking at the person, it could just be because of the video thing too, like it's hard to make eye contact with a video screen. But I did notice that a lot, so it's totally fine to do that when you're collecting your thoughts, but just like if you catch yourself remember to focus back in.
Response by Intrviewee: Yeah, no, that's like my thinking face. It's like ...
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, that's all right. Yeah, so I think you're in really good shape, and I am really excited. I hope you follow up with me and let me know how it goes, because I'll be very curious.
Response by Interviewee: Awesome. Yeah, I will let you know. This has been really fantastic and worth it for sure. So I'm really glad that I did this. Thanks so much for help, Sarah.
Response by Interviewer: Yeah, definitely. Let me know if you have any other questions in the meantime, or if a question trips you up tomorrow and you want to talk about like how you could answer it better next time or something like that, just let me know, I'm happy to help.
Response by Interviewee: Okay, that's great. All right, thanks so much.
Response by Interviewer: Thanks, bye.
Response by Interviewee: Bye.
Thank you, Lily!
I hope this interview with Lily Boyle will help you as you prepare for your very own PA school interview. Thank you, Lily, for sharing your interview with all of us here at The PA Life community!
If you are interested in your very own mock PA school interview we are here to help. We offer 60 minute recorded live interviews, just like this one. Complete with feedback and suggestions for improvement, unlimited discounted follow-up interviews, and a privately recorded video of your interview that you can use to fine-tune your responses.
Don't wait until interview day to face those tough and difficult to answer questions. We'll help guide you every step of the way so that come interview day, you know you are 100% prepared for whatever the admissions committee throws at you!
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