Getting into PA school is not your whole life. SAY WHAT?!? It feels like it’s your whole life, like your entire future depends on it. And now the next CASPA cycle is about to open; it’s time to apply to Physician Assistant school. Thrilling, right?
And terrifying, right?
Yep, we get it.
It’s only one of the biggest decisions you’ll make, so it’s understandable if you’ve got a case of the jitters. Applying to PA school will exhilarate and intimidate you all at once, an ulcer-inducing joy ride, complete with hairpin turns and the possibility of plummeting to certain doom.
Is that too extreme?
Okay, maybe. It does sound a little melodramatic, but the process of applying to PA school can feel that way some days.
You want to apply with confidence, not arrogance, with credentials and volunteer hours, with a fantastic GPA and generous health care experience. It’s a tall order; how can anyone do it all?
It takes time and perseverance
Reality check: many PAs had to apply to PA school more than once.
Think about that.
Not to discourage anybody, but the reality is that you might have to apply more than once.
You could have a couple reactions to that idea…
- Oh man, I might not get in this year even after I’ve done so much work? **Groan** You’ve got to be kidding me.
- Oh man, if I don’t get in this year, what will I need to change so my application is even better next year?
- Oh man, I might not be a practicing PA for a few years, since PA programs are two+ years long. That feels like forever from now.
It’s true that the PA school process can take some time. You have to be realistic about all the factors that go into being offered a spot in a program. Many of those factors take time for one individual to accumulate.
This does not make it impossible.
In fact, it makes being a PA even more estimable because the entry process is so arduous. Those who have been accepted and complete their programs have usually done so because of great determination and sacrifice.
No matter what, you are still a valuable human being
Here’s the thing: it’s so easy to feel like a failure if you don’t get into PA school. Let’s back up; it’s easy to feel like a failure if you don’t even get an interview, much less an actual spot in a program. You’ve worked so hard to craft the perfect application, combed through your experiences to find every hour of patient care, diligently recorded your test scores and grades, gone over and over your personal statement essay so it’s tight and articulate. How did they not even ask you for an interview? It can really sting.
Even if you don’t get into PA school, it does not mean you are a failure. You are still a great person, someone who is important and makes a difference in the lives of those around you. This set-back doesn’t define you.
It’s just a matter of numbers — cold, impersonal numbers.
There are a finite number of openings. For example, let’s say you apply to an average program that has 50 seats available. On average that program will have (at least) 1000 people apply. Their acceptance rate is only 5%. It might be nothing personal about your application, it might simply be that someone else in those 999 other applicants has a stronger overall application, grades that were just a tad higher, a bit more experience, and that’s just enough to edge you out.
The school that doesn’t offer you a spot is not necessarily saying you won’t ever get one.
Don’t let rejection define you.
Instead, let it motivate you. Let that “failure” light a fire under you and serve as motivation. Let it power you to work harder, dedicate more energy, seek out knowledgeable people with helpful suggestions for improvement.
We know you can do it. You’ve got this. And we’re here to help if you need us.
Our coaches have all been through the process and have great insights to share with you. Consider using our services so you know you’re putting your best foot forward. Check out our Services page for more details.