Why our program?
This is an opportunity for you to explain why you are specifically interested in attending that particular college or university and why it is a good fit for you.
In this recent webinar on supplemental essay strategies, we shared some tips on how to answer this question effectively.
In this blog post, we will go into detail on how to answer this question specifically - breaking down each of the essential elements and providing examples of how to incorporate them into your response.
1. Look at the Program's Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals
The mission, vision, values, and goals of the program are important to understand because they give insight into what the program stands for and what they hope to achieve.
Look at their website, attend an info session, and read about alumni experiences to get a better understanding of the program's values and goals.
Use this information to frame your answer to the prompt by highlighting how your goals align with those of the program.
2. Evaluate Their Academics and Facilities
Academics are an essential factor in deciding which PA program to choose. Look for what's unique about the program and what aligns with your learning style.
If a program has state-of-the-art facilities like a cadaver lab, simulation lab, or specialized library, this may give them a significant advantage over other programs. If you're a hands-on learner, for example, a cadaver lab may be a significant draw for you.
Alternatively, if you're attracted to innovation, a school with digital cadaver labs may be more appealing. Be specific about why their academic structure is a good fit for you.
3. Consider Their Reputation
A program's reputation is another crucial factor in choosing a program. Don't just look at the program's PANCE pass rates; instead, focus on what alumni say about the program. Their experiences can give you an idea of what to expect when you attend the program.
Consider reaching out to alumni to learn more about their experiences and how they prepared for their careers.
4. Highlight Their Faculty
Faculty can play a vital role in your education, so it's worth researching them before applying. Look for a unique profile of a faculty member whose research intrigues you. If you're interested in working with a particular professor, be sure to mention their research and why it aligns with your interests.
5. Commitment to Community Outreach/Clinics
If a program has a community outreach program or clinic, it can be a great opportunity to learn about the patient population and their unique issues. This is especially beneficial if you have a location-based connection to the school, as you can show the admissions committee that you are committed to serving the local community and gaining valuable experience you can use in your practice.
Having a future vision for your career is crucial in this regard. For example, if your goal as a PA is to work in a specific community, it makes sense to attend a PA program in that community. This will enable you to gain firsthand experience working with the patient population and learning about their unique issues. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to build networks within the healthcare system that will be valuable to you as a future healthcare provider.
Being able to refer patients to the right specialist for their particular issue is a key skill for any healthcare provider. By participating in community outreach and clinics, you can develop personal connections with other healthcare professionals and gain a better understanding of the resources available to patients in that community. This, in turn, will enable you to provide a better experience for your patients overall.
It is important to ground your commitment to community outreach and clinics in your personal goals and aspirations. By explaining why you want to serve a specific community, you can demonstrate to admissions committees that you are committed to making a difference in people's lives.
Additionally, if you have experience working with different populations, this can also be valuable in showing that you are open to learning and growing as a healthcare provider.
6. Use Multiple Sources
Look for consistent information across these sources to ensure that you have a good understanding of the program.
Putting it all together
Pick the three most important factors from the list above that align with your goals and highlight them in your response. Use a strong topic sentence, example, and concluding sentence for each body paragraph. If the character count is limited, one to two paragraphs may be sufficient.
Use the school's abbreviation where possible to save on space. Finally, conclude by summarizing your response and emphasizing how your goals align with the program.
View all posts in this series
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- ChatGPT Answers the Top 46 PA School Applicant Interview Questions
- Why Our Program? How to Answer This Common Supplemental Essay and Interview Question
- What is a PA? How to Nail This Not-So-Easy Interview Question