Are you struggling to write your PA School personal statement?
Are you afraid your essay doesn't stand out, it's over the character count, or worse yet, it doesn't even answer the simple question: "Why do I want to be a PA?
Well, you are not alone!
This year, as part of our PA school collaborative essay submission process, we asked those submitting essays to share their biggest personal statement struggles.
The following are over 200 responses we collected over the last several months.
What's the #1 PA school Personal Statment Struggle?
By far, the most significant struggle we hear about regularly is addressing low stats —specifically, a low GPA.
Other common problems are trying to stand out in a crowded field, staying within the 5,000 character limit, and dealing with self-doubt. Some are trying to refresh their essays as a reapplicant, or they are having difficulty creating persuasive introductions and memorable conclusions. Many have struggled with grammar and flow, handling sensitive topics, finding cohesion within a theme, and many, many others.
Join the Crowd
If you find yourself struggling with your PA school personal essay, browse some of the 200+ responses below, and know you are not alone.
If it's true that misery loves company, then it's good to know you are in good company. It's even better to know that we have helped 1000's of Pre-PAs just like you overcome these challenges through our PA School Personal Statment Collaborative. We can certainly help you overcome any struggles you may be facing.
215 Pre-PAs Share Their #1 PA School Personal Statement Struggles
"My greatest struggle is having to explain my abysmal undergraduate GPA from 13 years ago. I fear that it has overshadowed all the handwork I've put in over the past ten years, and it does not accurately convey the sacrifices I have made. These include my husband and I leaving our jobs in London, uprooting our lives with two small children, and moving in with my parents so that I can pursue my dreams of becoming a PA here."
"My essay is too long, I want it to be more concise and yet still capture my abilities, experiences, and passion for inclusion and eliminating medical health disparities and poor outcomes for at-risk communities. I include people with disabilities in my essay, but I ran out of room to talk about my passion for social justice and speaking for people of color like me."
"My greatest struggle currently is creating a cohesive story with my narrative. I have several anecdotes that I attempted to put into my essay but wasn't sure if it matched with my overall theme. I tend to have difficulty expressing myself on paper, and I was worried it might seem like I am rewriting my resume in my essay. Additionally, I had trouble making myself seem unique from other applicants/essays."
"I am a reapplicant, and I have reused multiple paragraphs in my new statement but changed some of the stories. I worry my statement is not different enough from last year."
"I am quite over the character limit, but I am having a difficult time cutting down. I also believe that I did a fairly good job of expressing my own qualities, as well as those that drew me to the PA field. However, I feel that overall, it does not flow well transition wise."
"I am having a hard time getting my strengths, experience, and skills translated into my essay in a conducive way."
"I did not get great grades in college, and I am on the low end for my science GPA. I am at a loss for deciding if I should take the extra space in my personal statement and in supplementals to explain what happened. There were several extenuating circumstances, but I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for myself. I never failed a class I just usually got B's and some C's, which is not the work that I can do."
"I am struggling to figure out how to write a strong but concise essay that captures who I am and why I want to be a PA. I have a hard time deciding what will make me stand out and how to present things in the best way."
"On the application, the only issue I may be struggling with and do not know what I should write about is the part that mentions "childhood environment." I want to make sure my personal statement is cohesive."
"Without my last two classes (I am still waiting for grades) my GPA is on the lower end at 2.78. My GRE score is ok, but I am going to retake it (verbal 152, quantitative 147, analytical writing 4.0). I do not know if my essay conveys all the experience I have. I do not have many honors or memberships with clubs and organizations. I repeated a few chemistry classes. I did apply to CCNY's PA program 2 years ago thinking I was ready, but I really was not, only that program."
"I have a high GPA, feel confident in my academic performance portion of the application. I also have a good amount of patient contact hours and am a well-rounded individual. I am stuck in my personal statement and supplementals. I feel I talk in circles. I know I have a deep-seated want desire for this career, but I don't know if I am displaying it the way I feel it or think it in my mind. I also don't know if my story is interesting enough. I wonder if I am picking the right experiences. I also was a two-year captain for soccer at my college and volunteered in South African townships but wasn't sure how to tie those ideas in even though they taught me a lot. I wrote about the ones in my draft as they seemed like they had the best relationship to medicine."
"My greatest struggle is having all my points flow nicely with one another. I am not a strong writer, and grammar can also be an issue."
"I am struggling with condensing it. I'm not sure which experiences are more valuable or stand out more. I wanted to talk about my diverse experiences and how it can connect to the diverse areas of medicine PAs can go into, and the diverse population PAs work with. I'm not sure how I can do that without sounding like my resume and without expanding the essay too much."
"The personal statement has been difficult for me because it was hard to talk about my path to the PA profession without addressing my own struggles with mental health. I asked for advice, and everyone told me not to talk about it in my personal statement, but this feels less sincere because it does not tell the whole story."
"Trying to fit in all the experiences I want to include and trying to express what I want to say in shorter sentences. Finding a theme or just having my essay flow better. Figuring out what to take out and what to include."
"I really want to ensure that I'm answering each question thoroughly and keeping within the character limitation specified at the top of each essay question prompt."
"My weakness as an applicant is my GPA OVERALL - 3.1 NON-SCIENCE - 3.39 SCIENCE - 2.8 PREREQUISITE - varied, but not below 3.1 for the schools I plan to apply to. I am privy to the fact that I will not be the applicant with the highest GPA that comes across admissions desk due to lack of effort in my undergraduate years, but I can confidently say that there will not be another applicant who will work harder than me nor demonstrate the passion that I have for this field (specifically as a PA)."
"I am worried that my personal statement might be focusing on areas that are irrelevant to admissions. I am also worried that my personal statement might not be original enough. Sometimes I also feel like the tone of my essay makes me seem like I am bragging."
"My greatest struggle is making sure that the essay is grammatically correct and as close to error-free as possible. I have always struggled with making sure essays flow and read well. I can usually get them there, but it takes me a long time. I need to try to get my application completed by June 1st. I am applying to the Yale Online PA Program."
"I am unsure of what is important to include in my essay. This is my second year applying to PA school. I was waitlisted for 2 of the four schools I applied to. My essay is one of the few things I can update/change for this new application cycle."
"My grades are my biggest struggle with the application process. I have an upward trend with the last 80 units being over 3.5, but I want to use my personal statement to stand out."
"Finding a way to work in my low science GPA without it sounding like I'm simply making excuses to avoid accountability."
"My cGPA is a 3.3, not stellar. I believe this is going to be my greatest setback, despite showing an upward trend in my last few years of school. I feel like I'm also having trouble not sounding like everyone else. I didn't do any spectacular trips or perform CPR on a child. I want to be a PA because I have no interest in specializing, and I want to use my gifts of intelligence and tenacity to serve my fellow human. I've heard that stating those things, however, is not good enough. I also feel like I don't sound as great on paper as I would in an interview."
"My greatest struggle is my self- doubt in my writing, I am not sure if I expressed myself properly. I have trouble detecting grammar errors and unsure if my essay flows nicely or if I should expand or include more."
"I'm not certain I'm adequately answering the question and feel that I'm not articulating my thoughts well enough within the character limitations. Also, I feel that this supplemental essay question asks information that we should all be putting in our personal statement, to begin with (and I know that reproducing that information is detrimental). Not sure how to answer their question without recycling the same information that Sarah Shultz and I worked two months on creating in my personal statement. With that in mind, I lightly touched on some aspects but didn't go into any detail."
"I am trying to juggle creating a new essay to apply for this cycle but remaining true to my themes and motivations, which are still very much the same from when I applied last year."
Single Edit One-on-one Service Supplemental Essays
"I like that I am showing how passionate and determined I am in a single goal or job I am given. But I believe that I lack the ability to strongly incorporate my passion in the hobby of running and how it has built my character to become a strong, responsible, reliable both physician assistant student and physician assistant - certified, in the future."
"Wondering whether it is simply too cliché. I feel like my essay is strong, but I am unsure of whether it could be made better. I have had two people look at it, but I would like to have another point of view."
"I am currently struggling with trying to balance my experiences and have good flow throughout. Also, I am having difficulty with including these experiences and not going over the word count."
"I feel completely lost in the direction I want to take this essay. I've written a couple of drafts over the past few months, and I feel that it's becoming more difficult to convey as I continue to try more."
"I think my greatest struggle right now is having an essay that is compelling to read and shows why I want to become a physician assistant. I feel like my essay is not quite there in terms of being something I could submit, but I'm just not sure what exactly is missing."
"I believe my greatest struggle right now is the ability to provide examples without going over the maximum space count. I am also unsure how much detail I should give in my personal statement because I feel like some areas can be discussed more in the interview process."
"I feel that the weight of this essay has caused a great deal of writer's block and has made my essay rigid. I read the free trial portion of the "How to Write Your Personal Essay" book, and from applying what I learned from there, I think I used "I" and "myself" too much. "My mom, my book, gave me the opportunity to...I observed I am responsible for". I want to balance giving a window into "my" story while more gracefully involving what I hope to give back as a student and provider; without ever sounding boastful. I also am considering if it was a wise to share the story of my mom's illness because I didn't want it to sound like an overused theme by applicants, but it is truly how my love of medicine was born and part of what has shaped my drive to give every patient care as if they were my own family. I am having the biggest trouble using the space to show why PA and how the past 6.5 years have led me to a confident decision to pursue PA school without repeating my resume. I would also like to weave in there, that there has almost never been a time where I was involved with just school. I was often balancing jobs. "
"I have many areas of experience, but I do not have great qualifications (no 1000+ hours, 4.00 GPA, etc.)"
"My greatest struggle is telling my greatest strengths in fear of not sounding interesting or compelling, also feeling limited in telling my background due to character limit for essay; mild regret for having a pharmacy degree; I became a registered pharmacist in the Philippines but never did anything with my license. I immediately returned home to change my career and start over and feel ashamed to tell that in my story (hence why it was not mentioned)."
"English is not my first language, and I believe that is my greatest struggle with the essay."
"I'm not sure how to strengthen my position as a reapplicant."
"I'm struggling with my essay standing out and being under the required character count. I want it to flow and get my point across but having trouble being able to write the stories about my experience as well as why I want to be a PA all in 5,000 characters. I also am not sure if the overall theme is conveyed or is distinct enough. Writing is not my greatest strength, so I would just like some insight on which parts I need to focus on as well as if it needs to be more specific."
"My greatest struggle now with my essay is that I feel like it is too wordy, or when I do start writing, I get caught up in the emotions."
"I have a little bit lower GPA (3.47 and sGPA 3.28), so I really need my personal statement to shine and highlight my strengths as a healthcare provider. I feel really stuck. I am struggling with making my PS sound unique and show how I stand out. I am also unsure of how to answer the "why PA SPECIFICALLY" aspect of the PS, rather than answering why healthcare. I am also struggling with the new COVID statement and questioning whether I should include something about working on the front lines in my PS in addition to the optional statement. I spoke to a friend PA, and he said he thinks it helps me stand out from most applicants, and I should talk about it in both, but I'm not so sure. When trying to come up with a theme for my essay, I landed on "helping people" as a good topic, but I feel like it’s not enough. If you think it would be helpful, I'm open to tying in other aspects of PA like collaboration, but I'm not sure how to tie it in while sticking to a central theme. My introduction could probably be slightly stronger with a better hook, and my conclusion is probably trying to include too much detail. I think I can determine where my PS falls short, but I just need advice on where to go and how to get to my final, glowing product."
"My greatest struggle is distinguishing myself from other applicants. I feel a lot of us have similar experiences, and I would like advice on how to personalize my essay to avoid mixing in with others."
"My greatest struggle with my personal statement is the intro. I want to draw my readers in at the very beginning, and I am not sure if I did a good job. Another concern is the flow of my essay and how well it all goes together to show that each experience I had shaped me and helped me realize I want to become a PA."
"I applied last year and used your service to help with my PS. I felt strongly about my PS last year, and there were some good components from my last essay that I have tried to incorporate this time in. However, I have decided to go in a different direction this year and talk more specifically about how my job has really influenced and prepared me for PA school (last year, I focused on a volunteer experience). I created this theme of how "helplessness, determination, and hope" have driven my decision to become a PA, and I think that I have incorporated that theme well within the first part of my essay. But the last part needs HELP. A lot of the last part of my essay is from my old personal statement. I'm having trouble moving away from what I've already written because I feel like it is important and valuable information, but I'm struggling about how to make the two pieces match (if that makes sense)."
"My greatest struggle has been writing the personal statement. I have spent hours changing paragraphs and sentences in hopes of the whole essay gets my message across to the reader."
"Having confidence in the stats I present and my ability to succeed. Relating my experiences in a compelling and attractive way that is not redundant and clearly answers the questions posed."
"Making sure my personal statement is "personal" enough and flows well."
"I struggle with standing out. While I feel like a good option for a PA program, how can I make schools see that?"
"The conclusion needs major work. My writing style is passive and verbose. I need guidance in re-writing to help hold a reader's attention."
"My greatest struggle currently is feeling like I do not know how to fully tell my story. I realize this even more after I answered the first question about my strengths. I don't get to spend much time in the essay talking about being a non-trad and having lived a whole other life before starting my journey to becoming a PA. Maybe this information is less relative than I think it is. I feel like having broad global experiences could be a great strength for me, but I do not know how to talk about them since none of these experiences were in the medical field. I also feel like my essay is way too long, and the last thing I want is to bore ADCOMS with another lengthy statement. It just seems overwhelming to put everything out there in a way that is compelling and effective."
"Finding a "theme" and keeping it under word count and flow."
"I fear that my personal statement isn't very grabby and could flow better."
"My greatest struggle is definitely my personal statement. I believe I have a lot of qualities that make me an excellent candidate for PA school, but I struggle to show this in writing."
"I feel like the supplemental app is very "blah." My CASPA essay is very beautifully written and tells a story. In comparison, this supplemental app feels uninspired and clunky. Because I must be concise, I feel like my writing is very mediocre and matter of fact. I could write so much on each of the four questions, and I find that I have a hard time keeping it specific. I am also over 200 words over the limit."
"Trying to convey how truly prepared I am to be a part of Emory's PA program and how I am a perfect fit for it (despite my lower GPA)."
"My greatest struggle (or struggles) would be my lack of confidence. As a first-time applicant at the age of 24, I already feel behind compared to my peers. My GPA is around 3.5 for sGPA and cGPA, and my PCE is a little over 1000 hours. These are not competitive numbers. I will need a strong essay and recommendation letters to have a chance. I am also not confident in my writing skills and do not know where my essay stands."
"I have always struggled with writing, and this essay is no exception. The essay is my weakest link and would really appreciate it if you could help steer me in the right direction."
"Crafting an essay that highlights who I am and my strengths. Being evocative with my wording with a limited word count."
"Anxiety from wanting a stellar personal statement. My GPA is below average but not completely out of the ballfield. I feel as if I place too much emphasis and length concerning the first two paragraphs but would like to incorporate them into my statement, as they represent who I am as an individual and provider."
"I want to start with a strong story about my life and eliminate all unnecessary sentences."
"I'm concerned that I might not be making a strong enough argument for why I should be selected as a PA with no direct patient care experience. I'm worried that I might just be listing my accomplishments and experiences rather than taking the reader on an engaging journey through my life to show them what events in my life have led me to accumulate the characteristics needed to make a good PA and started me on the path to becoming a PA. I'm also concerned that I'm not doing a good job of demonstrating knowledge of the PA field in a natural and interesting way without it sounding like I'm just listing information."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is effectively describing how my PCE and volunteer experiences demonstrate my potential of being a great healthcare provider. I am experiencing a lot of self-doubt on whether I am a "good enough" applicant."
"Struggles with essay: Strong lead paragraph; overall flow. Struggle with the application process: Overall and science GPA."
"Trying to make sure the essay encompasses all my strengths, while still appealing to the reader."
"I am nervous about inputting descriptions for activities and filling out additional questions and supplementals. I was also on academic probation for one-quarter of college, so I am worried this will affect my application. My GPA is not the strongest, however, and I am wondering if I should wait until final grades are released from this semester to submit some apps as it would boost my GPA, but my school pushed back the date final grades need to be posted to July. I was hoping to submit by June."
"One of the greatest struggles is keeping an overall theme in my essay. I am not a traditional applicant due to my lower end of GPA (3.3) and taking two gap years for post-bac and gaining HCE/PCE. It took me a while to decide on PA (last quarter of my undergraduate). What sets me apart from the pack is my perseverance and compassion qualities due to my previous struggles. I tried to highlight these qualities/have a motif in my essay."
"With the essay- fitting it into 5000 words while making it engaging. I have so much to say!"
"Grammar and editing. Also, not sure if I have answered everything they are looking for."
"I feel my essay lacks cohesiveness. There are a few things regarding writing about the details of PA, which the essay lacks. I feel I could not highlight my shadowing experiences in a better way. The conclusions to some paragraphs feel very vague, in my opinion."
"Does my essay answer the question? I need help taking off extra wordings and add in essential information."
"I am a reapplicant, and I have reused multiple paragraphs in my new statement but changed some of the stories. I worry my statement is not different enough from last year."
"I don't think my essay stands out."
"English is not my first language. I can write in words about my experiences, but I am struggling with a powerful Introduction. Also, my essay does not flow the way I want it to be. I have a lot of experience, but I do not know which ones are right to keep and which ones should be taken out."
"I struggle with keeping my head up despite having been denied."
"I feel like I have a good intro with my essay, but then it gets less interesting/does not tie in all of the work-related experiences and volunteerism opportunities I have had thus far that helped me confirm that I wanted to be a PA. I am struggling to communicate all this information in a small number of characters with the word limit. Being diagnosed with Vitiligo at a young age, had me in and out of medical offices on the weekly to receive treatment, and I want to care for others like I was cared for. Those individuals probably have no idea how much of a lasting impact they have had on me. It all in all caused me to dabble my toes in the healthcare field, alongside my natural eagerness to learn new things, especially the sciences. I also got a C- in organic chemistry, and I do not know if I should explain this in my essay or not, but I feel like my specialized experiences should trump that grade."
"My essay is way too long, and I don't know what to cut."
"I am not sure if my essay is long enough. I usually have a difficult time with this as I am straighter to the point type of person. so, writing anything lengthy, I have a difficult time with."
"My greatest struggle is ensuring that all the components that schools look for in an applicant are prevalent in my essay and on my application. My GPA is not the strongest (3.6), and I need my essay to be phenomenal enough to make up for that. I am also having a ridiculously hard time narrowing down the number of schools I apply to."
"Building a strong, unique essay. I keep getting stuck using the same words and patterns."
"Trying to write an individual essay. I keep getting stuck in the same way I am writing and having a hard time building it to be a strong essay."
"I am struggling with the conclusion."
"I feel as though I am struggling with the flow of my essay, as well as making myself stand out and highlighting my adaptability throughout this process and how it is shaping me to be a good candidate for a PA program."
"As a second-time applicant, I just want the best possible chance of getting accepted. I think my PS is somewhat strong because I did get interviews last cycle, but I do want to make it "perfect," being that I am re-applying to two schools. My main issue would be making the introduction engaging enough and is the statement interesting/good enough for a school to want to meet me in person. I chose not to talk about my DR experiences because I did not know how to make them fit in with my main story-- how I knew I wanted to be a PA. Instead, I chose my cardiac rehabilitation internship story because that one meant the most to me due to that patient's recovery."
"I struggle to tell my story in an engaging and straightforward way."
"I have always been a weak writer. I am not good at putting my thoughts onto paper, and I struggle with conclusions."
"My greatest struggle right now in the application process is making sure that I can perfect every bit of my application and most especially my personal statement in order to stand out and get me an interview to overcome my 3.50 GPA and 3.29 sGPA as well as show that my ~1300 hours of patient care mattered. I also failed a Chemistry II class I took in the summer but retook it the following fall, obtaining an A- in the course."
"I am struggling to know what to add/remove and how to make it not sound like a jumbled mess."
"With most essays, I usually struggle with my intro and having a good "hook." I get discouraged looking at other examples that have a dramatic life experience in their intro, which I do not have. Also, I lack eloquent or "flowery" writing. Writing is not my strongest subject, and English is my second language, so I tend to use simple and direct wording."
"I feel like I struggle to get some of my thoughts on paper. I was never a great writer, but I have good ideas, just no way of letting it go on a paper. I also have about five years from undergrad to where I am now. It was kind of heard to encompass all my experiences into 5000 characters, but I felt I got the biggest most life-changing ones in there. There is one experience I have no room in placing (my master's degree I got in sports management were halfway through it I knew I didn't want to do this as a future career. I did, however, finish it)."
"Below average GPA (sGPA: 3.18, cGPA: cGPA: 3.33). I included adversity events to help tie into my motivations, but I don't want to sound like I am wallowing in self-pity."
"English is my second language; it's hard for me to write a perfect personal statement. for example, my writing lacks some flavors to get the attention of the reader."
"Currently, the greatest struggles are flow, transitions, and verifying that the comprehensive aspects that should be addressed are in this essay."
"My greatest struggle so far has been communicating my work, life, and volunteer experiences in a clear and effective way."
"I would probably have to say creating a well-flowing essay that reads almost like a story rather than an application. The real downfall of my application is my science GPA (2.99), and my relative inexperience in the field. I have approximately 3000 hours of patient care experience as a CNA. About half in a skilled nursing facility, and the other half in the ICU at my local hospital."
"Overcoming dropping out of veterinary school. Limited job experience with PAs (although I did work with PAs as a scribe). I graduated in 2013, and several classes have expired, limiting my application to certain schools. I am also struggling with staying within the character limit and focusing on areas to cut and areas that need more detail."
"There are so many experiences that I feel are helpful for the admissions committee to hear, but I'm having a hard time making it all fit. I also tend to ramble and am struggling to cut what's unnecessary."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is showcasing how I will make a great PA."
"I have a hard time communicating characteristics about myself through stories while keeping the essay under 5000 characters. I'm having the same problem in my resume."
"I am only at about 4100 characters, and I am struggling with what is "missing" in my essay. I also am unsure if my essay thoroughly explains why I want to become a PA. Also, do I need to mention my veterinary technician experience in the essay?"
"My biggest struggle right now with my essay is that I have so many ideas and stories to tell, I don't know what topic to choose and which direction to go with the essay. No matter how many outlines I do, I'm still not satisfied. My essay is too wordy and unorganized. I feel like I get carried away with my stories about my experiences instead of expressing how my stories have shaped me, shaped my thought process, taught me certain skills, and brought out certain strengths in me that I never knew I had. And this would all tie into explaining to them how I would be an excellent PA. I feel like I am not getting my story across in the best way. This is also the first time that I've had to fully write about myself and tell a story about how all my experiences and have shaped me, so this makes me nervous."
"I have a lower than average GPA of 3.16 but over 5500 hours of experience as a Paramedic, EMT, instructor, and pediatric specialist in the last four years since graduating from Binghamton University. I've retaken the two classes I scored most poorly in with A's at my local community college as well. I'm basically shooting for my application to shine amongst those with more competitive GPAs."
"I am struggling to condense my essay into 5,000 words. I am also struggling to address my lower 3.25 cumulative GPA. I addressed why I failed an organic chemistry course and that I retook it, but I also am not sure if I should explain that I took many courses, including physics which I got Bs and Cs in because when I was in my undergrad, I knew I wanted to pursue healthcare, but I was not sure which career I wanted to choose so I took courses like physics to be on the safe side in case I needed them. It turns out, I did not need physics for PA school, but now it is on my transcript tainting my cumulative and science GPA."
"I have always had a hard time writing about myself. I have no problem talking to anyone and everyone in person but have a hard time expressing myself on paper. It is also my third time applying, so I am being overly critical and want it to be the best it can be. I really want my worth and experience to shine through."
"I just want it to stand out as much as it can because while I do mention a shadow experience and a personal experience with my clinical's, I would like the admissions team to see that I admire the aspects of a PA and that I have the ability to be personal with the patient. I am struggling to make sure that it stands out."
"My greatest struggle is hitting the right balance between telling my story of why I want to be a PA and incorporating patient care experiences. I left most patient care related experiences out to make room for the narrative surrounding my journey, but I am not sure if this is the strongest solution."
"This is the first time I have gone through the application cycle, and this is my first time writing a personal statement, so I have been struggling to find a direction and clear story for my essay."
"My greatest struggle is I am over the word limit, and I am unsure of where to start to make my writing more concise without losing key elements of my experiences."
"I'm not sure if in my intro I should mention the patient with the fingernails (I think it could make for a memorable part of my essay, but I'm not sure if it is necessary and then I delve right into talking about Joe.) I also don't know how to fix my conclusion as I find it weak. I had a really hard time writing this since I could go on for hours about my experiences and why I want to be a PA, and I really want my heart to shine throughout this essay."
"My greatest struggle is studying to retake the GRE."
"Currently, I am struggling to focus on knowing what details are important in my personal statement as well as evoking emotion. I seem to be on the verge of having too many characters but still am unable to tell my full story."
"Since this is my third time applying, I had difficulties writing about new experiences. I may have used some fragments from my previous cycle."
"Making the essay flow and easy (as well as interesting!) to read."
"I just find it a little difficult writing about myself, especially without sounding boastful. The application process is a bit daunting, as I am a first-generation college student, but I feel everything I have been through has prepared me to face this process with open arms."
"Sometimes, I just feel like I am not good enough. Like I've said, this will be my third cycle applying. I will be applying with a 3.4 cum GPA, 3.2+ science GPA, and 4,500 hours of PCE (along with about 50 hours of volunteer experience, multiple leadership experiences, and various awards). I know on paper that is not the most competitive applicant because there are others with more experience of better GPAs, but I know I bring a lot to the table and will be an amazing PA."
"I am used to writing analysis papers with no emotion, so it was hard to incorporate the heartfelt component without feeling like it was too dramatic. I found it difficult to find a balance between engaging and informative."
"My greatest struggle is portraying who I am and why I should be accepted in a very brief paper. I am struggling with transitioning between paragraphs, keeping the reader's attention, and knowing I have a paper that truly stands out. I know what I want to say, but I struggle with how to say it. I want to be able to write a paper that I do not second guess submitting."
"I believe my personal statement has always been the portion of the application process I struggle with the most. I feel I am lacking in my writing capabilities, which makes the process of writing a strong, polished essay more daunting for me. Since this is my third time applying to PA school, I feel the need to put forth an excellent essay that not only attracts admissions committees but is also exceptional in comparison to my previous submissions. Currently, I feel my essay has potential but lacks flow, and needs some revision as it is 324 characters over the CASPA limit. I am also somewhat unsure if I took the right approach with the opening paragraph and theme. I want to ensure I am authentic, but also hit all topics that will earn me the interview."
"My greatest struggle with the essay is the word count limit and distinguishing what is vital for my statement. I feel that I have included enough, but I might be missing something. Speaking highly of myself is challenging since I feel that most have accomplished more or have been in tougher situations. I am from a small town where most of us came from low-income backgrounds and were first-generation. I didn't see myself any different. During my college years is where I struggled the most. To begin, I was planning to attend college away from home, but at the same time, my brother was deployed to Afghanistan, and my other brother moved out, which left me in a hard position. I felt that I could not leave my parents alone. I didn't qualify for financial aid since both my parents worked. But their factory jobs were not enough to pay for my tuition. I managed to get on a partial payment program with my school, which helped. I would work as much as I could, but there were multiple times when I didn't know if I could enroll the next semester. I couldn't ask for much help from my parents since they were on the verge of losing our house and getting a divorce. Towards the end of my senior year, my grandfather died, which was hard on my family since he lived with us. Having not shared this part of my story, no one would have known, but also, is it relevant to share."
"Properly conveying my experiences with PAs to show that I have been exposed to the profession and know what they do (have been their patients, interact with them at work, work with them)."
"I have never applied to physician assistant programs before, and this is my first time writing a personal statement, so I'm not completely confident with my work. I sometimes add unnecessary sentences to my essays, so I want to make sure that there are not any sentences that sound like I'm rambling on. I would like to make sure the grammar is correct, as well."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is I'm not sure if it's strong enough to portray that I really want to be a PA and how I can show them that I would be a good PA."
"I am struggling with overall editing. I think the main points are there and solid. I just need to make sure my essay comes across to other people as strongly as I think it does."
"I am unsure if my personal statement thoroughly answers the "Why do you want to become a PA" prompt."
"Even though I have experience in the medical field through volunteer and work-related, I feel like I'm not able to connect that with why I want to become a PA. My essay feels like it’s everywhere, and I'm not able to connect all the dots."
"I am struggling to convey why I want to be a physician assistant."
"Even though I have experience in the medical field through volunteer and work-related, I feel like I'm not able to connect that with why I want to become a PA. My essay feels like it’s everywhere, and I'm not able to connect all the dots."
"My biggest struggle is what makes sense to me because it's my story, doesn't flow or make sense with the reader. One of my strong suits if how I speak, not how I write, unfortunately."
"My low GPA is my greatest struggle. Each school that I receive feedback from states that this is why I have not gotten into school. However, I have a very uncomfortable reason why I did not receive good grades in undergrad (because I am gay, previous abuse, etc.), and it is hard for me to display this to the committee in an effective manner that highlights who I am now. In the past, I have not been as blunt as I am in this process, and I don't know if I am doing it poorly."
"I need help with my conclusion of the essay. I want to make sure that my essay flows. I am having trouble with the 4th and 5th paragraphs. I'm not sure what characteristics I should identify and talk about regarding the PAs I worked with. I am finding it hard to "wrap up" the essay."
"My greatest struggle right now in my essay is finding a way to write a strong conclusion. I've been finding it difficult to wrap it up while incorporating themes from the whole essay. I am also struggling with the use of anecdotal evidence. I cannot tell if I have enough or if it sounds too much like a reiteration of my resume like my previous drafts did."
"My GPA is lower than the pack, and I understand that. The greatest struggle is making sure I stand out, regardless of that part."
"My greatest struggle right now is obviously my personal statement and making sure it is the best it can be. I think I have the right ideas for it but need assistance with making it all one coherent piece that flows smoothly."
"I am between two patient care experiences to develop in my second to the last paragraph. One provides an opportunity to talk about the underserved; the other provides an insight into the valuable PA shadowing experiences I was afforded working in the hospital. With the character limit, I believe I can only focus and develop one."
"I feel as though I am struggling with the flow of my essay, as well as making myself stand out. I tried to use a story of how my journey started to where I am now through basketball. I was hoping to explain my experience as a student-athlete and equate the passion and life lessons I learned in basketball to my academic and career goals. I am also struggling with expressing my true passion and goals in why I want to become a PA. Specifically, my experiences working in the inner city. In my experience, it seems as though these settings are given the most care and respect, and I want to raise the standard of care for these people."
"My greatest struggle in writing my PS is ensuring that I answer the two questions: why PA? And why would I make a good PA? I am curious if I did enough to distinguish my desire to be a PA compared to other healthcare professions (NP/MD/DO/etc.). Additionally, I elaborate on my many meaningful experiences observing PA's, discuss language as an overall theme, and emphasize my roles as both a medical interpreter and as a team player. However, I wonder if this is enough to answer the question: why would I make a good PA? Lastly, I would like to correct any typos/grammatical errors I may have missed and work on any transition/flow issues."
"I struggle to find the balance between telling anecdotes and explaining why they make me want to be a PA. When I add more in one aspect, it takes too much space and takes away from the other. I don't have too many people that can help me edit my essay, so it is hard for me to tell subjectively if the edits are making it stronger, or if it is going in the right direction."
"Knowing what information to prioritize. I want to include everything in my essay; it's hard to know what to keep and what to omit."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is capitalizing on how my experiences, though unique and different, make me stand out and can be visualized as a good candidate."
"I don't know if I should address my lack of PCE, as I have well below average. Also, I feel like I'm missing important things but not sure how to incorporate them."
"One of my biggest struggles for me is sharing stories involving a patient I have worked with. I feel wrong and uncomfortable, trying to write it."
"My biggest struggle right now is using my best 4-5 qualities on paper to paint the best image of myself. I am a very bashful person, but as a 26-year-old man, I have experienced a lot. I am worried about selling myself short."
"I have a hard time expressing myself on paper, and I have never been great at writing (English classes, grammar, etc.) I don't think my essay is very engaging, but I'm not sure how to make it better, and I need some redirecting. I have received an interview for the past two years - which makes me think that my personal statement has been "good enough." However, I want to make sure that this is the last year that I apply, so I am getting help for the personal statement, supplemental essays, and interviews."
"I'm not good at grammar and sentence structure."
My favorite editing tool, bar none!
"I'm a first-time applicant, so, overall, I'm anxious about the entire process. I didn't do well academically in college - I lacked maturity. Noticing that my grades were below average, I retook prerequisites classes in which I received less than an 'A' in and took ones not yet completed. Fifty-one credits later, my post-baccalaureate GPA is a perfect 4.0. Even more surprising, to myself mainly, is that I accomplished this while being enrolled full-time and working full-time. My passion for medicine, however, isn't reflected by that journey. Instead, a childhood experience that I wrote about in my personal statement hopefully expresses my personal connection to the field. I do worry that I haven't explicitly connected it with why I want to be a physician assistant, specifically."
"My greatest struggles are making sure that I am telling a cohesive story. I have worked on this for several months and think I have found something that works but would love another opinion of someone who knows what they are doing. I have had friends and family look over this, but it comes down to stylistic changes, which I am not looking for at this stage."
"My greatest struggle right now IS my essay. I believe the other aspects of my application are good. However, I am having trouble perfecting my essay. I think my story in my essay is a compelling one because it really was the moment I knew I had chosen the right field for me. However, I am not sure about my intro paragraph, and I feel like I am missing just something, whether it be why I want to be a PA or my interactions with PAs?"
"My character count is above the accepted limit for CASPA. I'm concerned my intro isn't engaging enough. Last year I started with a story but felt that it didn't relate to why I want to be a PA and more related to why medicine (it is likely a story I will talk about during an interview, if applicable). I feel that I don't have smooth transitions. Possibly the essay gets boring after the first couple of paragraphs because I don't have room for stories. I cut out many stories that help visualize my work and specific encounters because I can't seem to find room for them. I don't mention any of my shadowing hours, work as a CNA, leadership hours, or hospital volunteer work. I also want to make sure my essay isn't too general and that I am showing and not telling."
"I am worried I will not find a good idea, or if the essay I am submitting for edit today will be acceptable even if it’s from the heart."
"I am a reapplicant. Last year I applied to 15+ schools, received a few interviews, but was not accepted anywhere. I called and spoke with admissions from a few of the schools I applied to, and they told me that the two biggest issues were that I didn't have enough PA shadowing (which I did a lot more of over the last year) and also that I didn't demonstrate well enough in my personal statement/really answer the question of why specifically I wanted to be a PA. I think I have done a much better job this time around with that, but that is overall my biggest concern. I do not address the fact that I am a reapplicant here because I will be applying to some new schools, so I don't want to put myself at a disadvantage there, and also, I have heard that there is a place to enter a "Reapplicant Statement" for reapplicants through CASPA. I have spent a ton of time working and re-working this, making edits after edits. I just want to make sure that this time, my personal statement answers the question. Right now, it's just a tiny bit over the character limit (5125), so I can definitely still get down little aspects...I just wanted to try and get some more feedback from those outside of my direct circle."
"I am a poor writer. I have not written a single personal essay about myself since high school. I am poor with grammar and struggle with descriptive writing that is captivating."
"I am a former medical school applicant, and this essay is entirely new from my medical school statement. I want to make sure it focuses on PA school specifically to give me the best chance I can."
"I find that my writing might not be so easy to read or doesn't portray me as a perfect PA student candidate. I know that I will make an amazing PA one day, and I want the admissions committee to see that."
"I worry that I come off as too emotional and not technically advanced enough. I have an average GPA (3.5) and a good GRE (320 with 5 for writing). The problem is I only have 200 hours of PCE, and I took a lot of time off to heal, so I really don't have much leadership or experience."
"I think I struggle with confidence regarding my application. I'm aware that it's limited in several ways, whether it's my lower than average GPA or limited hours shadowing a PA. I think this can be reflected in my personal statement as well as my supplemental essays. I know they're my time to shine and show my strengths, but I have had difficulty truly expressing my strengths in a convincing manner."
"My greatest struggle right now is deciding what to keep and add to my essay to make it more appealing to PA school."
"Only having 5,000 characters. I am struggling with describing all the things I want to in that limited space. I feel that by cutting characters, my essay has become boring."
"Since I am graduating in May, I am a younger applicant and do not have a ton of patient care hours yet. I work part-time as a Patient Care Tech in a Level 1 Trauma Center. This is a great experience, and I have been working there for a little over a year and a half. It is hard for me to compete with someone who has been working in health care for 10+ years when I have only worked part-time for under two years. I also have a lower GRE score that is not in the competitive range. I did retake it this year and improved my score by 5 points."
"Trying to include everything possible while also making it flow and follow some theme. All while staying under 5000. I've had to cut back a lot of things, and I'm not 100% sure if they were the right things to cut."
"Currently, my essay is over the 5,000-character maximum, so I know that I need to cut it down. However, I do not know what to take out and what to keep to make the best essay possible. I am also worried about answering the question of why PA, while also making it personal and specific to me."
"I'm not sure if my patient examples and stories exemplify enough of the strong qualities of a PA, or if I should put a different twist on them to show other attributes. I'm also about 900 characters over, so I need to cut quite a bit."
"My greatest struggle is my character count being over 5000 and still trying to get across my personal qualities that would make me an exceptional physician assistant."
"Although I have greatly condensed my essay, it still exceeds the character limit. The more I read my essay, the more I want to expand on my thoughts. I am having a hard time deciding what to keep or delete. I am also having trouble with writing my conclusion. I want to make sure that I do not sound repetitive."
"I struggle to make a compelling story that really shows who I am as an applicant. I don't want it to sound dry or void of personality. There's a lot I want to talk about, but it's hard to fit it all into just 5000 characters without cutting out parts. I'd really like help to choose specific areas of my essay that would form a good story once expanded on. Right now, I think it's too much of a laundry list."
"I am having trouble with the flow of the essay and having ideas connect. I am also not completely confident that it provides compelling reasons for why I want to become a PA."
"The greatest struggle with my essay right now is making sure I answer the prompt in a cohesive and succinct way. I feel like I am at a standstill with it, and I am not really expressing who I am and what I can bring to the PA profession."
"I wrote about a real-life experience that is important to me, but I'm not sure how people will respond to it. I don't want it to be corny or not believable. I'm honestly not a great writer, and I sometimes struggle to get words out that are enjoyable to read."
"This draft hasn't been read by anyone yet, though the multiple drafts I had before that received much feedback. With the draft directly before this one, others have stated that it lacked a theme to stick to and the feeling of it being personal. The 'being personal' bit is the feedback I've been receiving since my first draft. I am hoping this essay feels a little more personal. Additionally, I hope it is at least somewhat interesting. I worry its lacking emotion or whatever is necessary to keep ADCOMS reading."
"I don't have many HCE hours, and although the amount I've had has been impactful, I want to make sure they know that my lack of HCE does not define how good of an applicant I might be. I'm worried that I don't talk much about my HCE or why exactly I want to become a PA."
"I applied one year to two schools at the last minute. Not surprised, I did not get in. I applied last year at many schools, put my heart and soul in the application, got several interviews but only ever got waitlisted. I don't know how to rewrite a completely different essay that focuses on what I have done over the last year."
"GPA: 3.37 (overall), 3.18 (prerequisite) 3.15 (science), 3.12 (last 60); my GPA dropped my senior year, and I struggled more than I had in the past. I was suspected of ADHD when I was a child, but my mother didn't believe in mental health issues, so I didn't receive treatment. I finally received treatment three weeks before I graduated, and my grades went from F/Ds to C/C+. Example: for Advanced Physiology, I received a 72 (Exam 1), 52 (Exam 2), 70 (Exam 3), and then when I received ADHD treatment, I earned a 110 for Exam 4. I had the highest grade for the last and hardest exam. So, I struggled for longer than I needed to, and I tried to convey that in my second to the last paragraph, but it seems like I forced it in. - LOR: 2 PAs and 1 MD but all of them are from my current MA job, I did have the option of asking the Director of Nursing at my last job, but I never interacted with her on the floor, and I was pretty independent so she wouldn't have much to say about me. - How do I convey my resilience without so many words? I tried to compress it as much as possible, but it is still over the limit. I did add in my non-healthcare jobs to my CASPA application to show how hard I worked throughout high school and college. I also mentioned that I come from an underserved area, received government benefits, come from a low-income family contributed to the families income (paid for my own car, tuition, and car insurance at age 16-till now) because these were not things I could/would mention in my essay. My mother’s first husband was physically abusive, my second husband was sexually abusive, and her third husband was an alcoholic. From them, she ended up with four children. My older sister was a teen mom at 13 when I was 10, and I delivered her second child home alone when I was 14. I gave up my childhood years for my little sister and nieces to take care of them while their mothers worked. I have overcome so much pain, and there are not enough words to show that. I'm now married to an amazing and supportive husband. I own a house, two cars, and I'm so close to being debt-free from all the loans I had to take out. I didn't think I would be here despite all my efforts because growing up; it didn't matter how hard I worked; I was still hurt. But here I am, and now I'm struggling to show my resilience without coming off as "whiny." I also don't want to get too personal because that isn't the type of picture I want to paint for my current self. In addition, I need to talk about my PCE and low GPA, and it just feels like I don't have enough space to make it flow and appear mature. I'm not the best writer even as a non-native English speaker, and I don't want other people to read my essay, aside from my husband, because it is so personal. I tried to remove grammatical errors on my own, but again, I'm not the best. My husband did help with the content, so hopefully, it doesn't come off as whiny."
Read: 7 Tips for Addressing Shortcomings in Your Personal Essay
"My greatest struggle with my essay is knowing whether the content/story is strong enough. I have received good feedback regarding my essay, but I would be more than reassured with a professional's opinion."
"ALL I want is to get into PA school. It is the ONLY career I can see myself in. I have never been a strong writer/reader, and I think that you can see that throughout my essay. I have a hard time getting my point across. Basically, I want to be a PA because I want to be able to do MORE. I love being a CNA, and words cannot express how much I appreciate ALL those other CNA's out there, because let’s be honest, it’s pretty bad work. You get bitten, hit, yelled at, back so sore and stiff from changing vented patients constantly throughout shifts, and most of the time goes unappreciated. When I see that something isn't right, I go to the nurse, and then they call the doc's and the PA's and then that's it for me. I can't do anything else because it's outside my scope of practice. Being a PA is all I can ever see myself being. And I'm not afraid of getting rejections, then I can learn from my mistakes, move on, and have the knowledge to better myself for the next cycle, and the next and the next."
"I am not sure if the essay is good enough. Besides that, I am currently trying to figure out when to apply since UCSD is a quarter system, so school isn't over until June. As a result, I possibly can't apply to rolling programs as early as I would like."
"I want to discuss my time with healthcare policy advocacy but not make my essay too political, which might alienate some readers."
"I do not want PA programs to think I am mediocre because I have a below-average GPA. I want to make sure I am "showing" them that I am a high-quality applicant rather than "telling." I am unsure if I do a good job of explaining why I am choosing PA over other professions. Also, I am having a hard time deciding what experiences to include. Wondering if my current version has too many experiences. But I do not mention shadowing or my other community service experiences and worry that those should be included."
"My greatest struggle is getting the wording of the emotional appeal across. I've had a couple of people read over it, and they said the content is good, but I need to make it sound more personal."
"I wrote it trying to stand out from everyone else that I saw in the examples. I steered clear of the opening paragraph that every example used. This may have hindered me because it wasn't that attention-grabbing."
"My greatest struggle right now with my essay is having the confidence to say "this is it, this is my final draft that I would like to present to the committee in order to truly show them who I am and what I stand for in person." In other words, is my essay convincing to those that I am ready for the next step in my career to be a PA? Additionally, I feel that I do not have a compelling story or single moment that I can paint a picture for. I like to cherish and present what I have done and where I am today because of this."
"I am really struggling with the essay portion of the application process. I am not particularly good at displaying emotion in my writing and am having trouble conveying my excitement as well as my previous experiences in my essay."
"Trying to convey my critical care experience and how that has prepared me to become a critical care PA. Also, my GPA is not the greatest, so I want to somehow convey I'm not the same person I was as an undergrad and that I do deserve a spot in PA school."
"My greatest struggle is trying to convey my strengths in a proper light. I want my essay to flow and be captivating, but because I'm so involved in it, I feel like I can’t see it from an outside perspective."
"After reading the comment from Whitney in the comments section, I realized that I need to cut unnecessary parts and add more information about my experience. While doing so, I realized that my introduction might not be as interesting as I thought, and I got stuck on re-writing the introduction."
"My greatest struggle right now is writing a completely different essay from last year. The personal statement I have attached is from last year, so any feedback on aspects I should keep/ toss out before I begin would be great!"
"My greatest struggle is putting my ideas together and writing about my experiences in a way that they are paid due importance. I tend to do something with huge outcomes but then talk about it little. I also do not know how to convey my message that I really want to become a PA, but I truly want to become a PA every day that I work as a scribe I just can't wait to be the one who makes the diagnosis, who figures out what's wrong and reassures the patients."
"This is my Gazillionth draft, and I'm still not 100% it's strong enough. I'm worried the overall essay may not fully explain "Why PA?" but is just a "pretty story." Essentially I'm hoping it shows I've had great experiences personally and professionally, and I'm ready to take it to the next step, and for me, the next step is PA because it allows me to do "more." But I also worry that's too general. I'm not confident my story is good enough or if it should choose a different direction. I also worry the essay isn't showing my determination for PA as much as I feel. I've experienced a lot of health care situations, experienced a lot of "life" as well, and although never easy, nothing has ever deterred me from this goal."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is being able to show my attributes and abilities through my experiences instead of simply listing them out."
"I am struggling with transitions and the conclusion. My draft is missing a conclusion because I cannot find a way to end and tie up all my experiences to make a lasting impression. I am also unsure if I spend too long talking about school (faults/bad grades). I am also unsure if I should even include the last paragraph, I have on this draft about volunteering with Khalsa Aid. I am overall extremely nervous applying to CASPA but hope to get all my applications submitted in mid-May."
"Writing has never been my strong suit. This essay right now is my best attempt (took me like three months). Things are difficult right now, so I'm not sure if I will be taking the GRE this cycle, right now I'm focusing on the schools that don't require it. I have plenty of medical experience and shadowing experience, but they're not all PAs, mostly NPs, general practitioners, and dentists."
"I feel that most people who apply to PA school have been influenced by a PA themselves. Whether they experienced a traumatic injury, an illness in a family member, or have volunteered in a third world country. They all have exciting and thrilling stories as to why they want to become a PA. However, I feel as if I don't have anything remotely close to their story, making it hard for me to write something interesting and captivating."
"Making my story personal to my own journey but also making it interesting. Last year I made my personal statement too like everyone else's, and I think that was a fault in my application. I used this service last year, and it helped me essay significantly, but I need to take a different approach to write it."
"My thoughts are so jumbled. I did my best to be precise and organized, but I honestly have SO much passion and heart to get into PA school. I have had so many adverse experiences, and I want to show my dedication and handwork, and how that will make me an excellent PA student and provider."
"I believe my current struggle with my essay is whether it is attention-grabbing and has a consistent flow of interest for the reader."
"I'm worried that my essay might sound too cliché and that I don't talk about PAs enough. With the application process, I'm worried that my GPA (overall 3.33, science 3.0) will stop me from getting into a PA school or that the admissions board won't even take a look at my application due to my GPA."
"My greatest struggle is having so much more to say. I have many experiences that make me an ideal candidate, but I am unable to write about those due to the character restriction. Therefore, I struggle to focus on certain aspects."
"English is not my first language. I am struggling with grammar, vocabulary, and organizing ideas to fit a PA essay requirement."
"I want to make myself stand out more in a genuine sense for the admissions committee but also try not to overshare since I want to save that information for supplemental applications and interviews (if I get any)."
"My GPA is my lowest point; however, it meets the minimums for most schools. This is my second time applying, and I want to be able to stand out in my essay. I am applying to mostly new schools, but maybe 2-3 are schools I applied to last application cycle. I don't have a lot of volunteer work. I have always been involved in volunteering throughout my life/college. But these last two years after college, I have not had time given that I worked seven days a week. I tried addressing this in the essay."
"My greatest struggle in the application process is making up for my low GPA and sGPA (~3.2 GPA and a ~3.1 sGPA). I am well above the minimum requirements for patient care hours (+3000 hours) and have continued to take sciences classes after graduation to improve both GPAs and have been extremely successful in them."
"Organizing my thoughts. Figuring out what makes me stand out and makes me special. How to show that I have a lot of experience as a healthcare professional and that I am a thorough and caring clinician with a great bedside manner and will work hard to solve a problem until it is perfect."
"I have had my essay reviewed by a few PAs and strong writers who have provided great constructive criticism. My struggle is that I worry it does not get the readers emotionally invested in me since it is very straight to the point of why I want to be a PA and what lead me to this profession."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is my flow and overall message. I am not sure if I organized my stories well. I incorporated two paragraphs from my last personal statement and added more personal stories to this essay. I am not sure if that is a good idea or too informal. I know my essay does not follow the traditional five body paragraphs with topic sentences and concrete details. I tried to keep my thoughts organized in that fashion, but I find myself sounding robot when the essay follows the traditional format."
"I believe my greatest struggle right now Is my ability to take my multitude of experiences and present them in a concise way. I also think that my issue with my personal statement last year was that it was not specific enough to PA. I feel like the progression to become a PA for me was very natural. There was not an "A-ha!" moment like many essays claim. I simply wanted to do more as a provider and did my research and decided to go the PA route seemed the most appropriate and realistic for me. I almost feel like a lot of the essays I have read emphasize that being a PA is their ultimate dream, and being a PA is the most important thing of all. For me, patient care and my patients are most important, and I am just trying to find the role that suits me to be able to do this, and PA seems great. I am trying to relay this in my essay while showing that PA would be a great fit for me."
"I am really struggling to make my essay compelling and interesting. I do not feel as though I have this "ah-ha" moment or one patient story that proved that becoming a PA was the only profession for me. The truth is that it has been solidified through years of direct patient care and non-patient care professional experience. I am struggling to make that interesting. I want to address that my first two years of college were academically not the best, but portray that I was able to grow and learn how to learn in college, and my last few years reflect that growth. I am struggling to include that in a way that does not feel awkward. I am also not sure if I should address why being out of school for five years makes me a stronger candidate and not a weaker applicant."
"I find it difficult to capture why I have chosen PA. I also struggled generally in writing about myself."
"My greatest struggle right now with my essay is grammar, word choice, and using active language. I want my essay to be compelling and want the schools to feel like they know me well from my essay. I want the reader to know that I have everything they need/want in a student and know I am a person who will succeed as a physician assistant. I have spent three years perfecting my skills and gaining hands-on care hours/shadowing hours to show them how prepared I am. I hope that my essay shows them, "man, I need this girl to go to my school." I hope it is strong in tone and with strong sentences that show and tell rather than just state."
"I am reapplying. I was not ready to apply and did anyways, so I submitted the supplements I have already made to see where I can improve upon them for this application cycle. Sarah helped me with my personal statement, and I was hoping she could help me again!"
"My greatest struggle is feeling confident that I have a complete resume of experience and activities to present to admissions committees."
"I am not sure that my essay is personal enough and holds up to the standards schools expect."
"I felt that the essay I submitted with my first application was memorable. I would like to recreate that, but I am struggling."
"Cutting out information to bring more anecdotal evidence. Finding a balance of showing my experience and strongly supporting my qualities."
"I am not entirely sure why, but I “like” the essay, however, I don't love the essay. It was difficult to mesh everything I wanted to convey to the ADCOM in 5000 characters while trying to hit on all points. Discussing that I have gone through adversity and persevered while also slowly finding my calling as a PA through it all. I worked as a scribe/MA for a PA after I graduated and really wanted to work that in there and maybe a patient that resonated with me, but I felt like my essay would either bounce around too much, or I would be detracting from the overarching theme of perseverance."
"My greatest struggle with my essay is being able to put together the information I want to include in a sophisticated way that intrigues the reader. I really want to make sure my essay stands out and shines this time around. I made sure to start my essay earlier so that by the time the application cycle opens, I will only have to worry about the supplemental essays. I would appreciate it if you can rip apart my essay, even if that means completely starting over. I want to give my best!"
"My greatest struggle is re-writing my personal statement from the first two times I have applied to PA school."
"My essay is lacking flow. I keep trying to connect the paragraphs and what I think is important to share with schools, yet it still feels choppy to me. I am also having trouble conveying my personality in my essay. I feel like it is basic, and I am not able to tell what makes me unique and a great candidate for PA school."
"I struggle to write with feeling."
What's Your Greatest Personal Statement Struggle?
Do you have a PA school personal statement struggle that you would like to share? Let us know by leaving a comment below or join us on Facebook or Instagram.
View all posts in this series
- How to Write the Perfect Physician Assistant School Application Essay
- The Physician Assistant Essay and Personal Statement Collaborative
- Do You Recognize These 7 Common Mistakes in Your Personal Statement?
- 7 Essays in 7 Days: PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 1, “A PA Changed My Life”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 2, “I Want to Move Towards the Forefront of Patient Care”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 3, “She Smiled, Said “Gracias!” and Gave me a Big Hug”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 4, “I Have Gained so Much Experience by Working With Patients”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 5, “Then Reach, my Son, and Lift Your People up With You”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 6, “That First Day in Surgery was the First Day of the Rest of my Life”
- PA Personal Statement Workshop: Essay 7, “I Want to Take People From Dying to Living, I Want to Get Them Down From the Cliff.”
- Physician Assistant Personal Statement Workshop: “To say I was an accident-prone child is an understatement”
- 9 Simple Steps to Avoid Silly Spelling and Grammar Goofs in Your PA School Personel Statement
- 5 Tips to Get you Started on Your Personal Essay (and why you should do it now)
- How to Write Your Physician Assistant Personal Statement The Book!
- How to Write “Physician Assistant” The Definitive PA Grammar Guide
- 101 PA School Admissions Essays: The Book!
- 5 Things I’ve Learned Going Into My Fourth Physician Assistant Application Cycle
- 7 Tips for Addressing Shortcomings in Your PA School Personal Statement
- The #1 Mistake PRE-PAs Make on Their Personal Statement
- The Ultimate PA School Personal Statement Starter Kit
- The Ultimate Guide to CASPA Character and Space Limits
- 10 Questions Every PA School Personal Statement Must Answer
- 5 PA School Essays That Got These Pre-PAs Accepted Into PA School
- 7 Questions to Ask Yourself While Writing Your PA School Personal Statement
- 101 PA School Applicants Answer: What’s Your Greatest Strength?
- 12 Secrets to Writing an Irresistible PA School Personal Statement
- 7 Rules You Must Follow While Writing Your PA School Essay
- You Have 625 Words and 2.5 Minutes to Get Into PA School: Use Them Wisely
- What’s Your #1 Personal Statement Struggle?
- 31 (NEW) CASPA PA School Personal Statement Examples
- How to Prepare for Your PA School Interview Day Essay
- Should You Write Physician Associate or Physician Assistant on Your PA School Essay?
- Meet the World’s Sexiest PA School Applicants
- PA School Reapplicants: How to Rewrite Your PA School Essay for Guaranteed Success
- How to Write a Personal Statement Intro that Readers Want to Read
- PA School Reapplicant Personal Statement Checklist
- How to Deal with Bad News in Your Personal Statement
- Inside Out: How to use Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling to Improve your PA Personal Statement
- Ratatouille: A Pixar Recipe for PA School Personal Statement Success
- Personal Statement Panel Review (Replay)
- Mind Mapping: A Tool for Personal Statements, Supplemental Essays, and Interviews
- Start at the End: Advice for your PA School Personal Statement
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