For the next few posts, we will go over common mistakes people make when writing their personal statements. In the world of Physician Assistant schools, the personal statement is one of the key components for gaining admission. The problem with the essay is that the minuscule 5000 characters is never enough space to convey how important this profession is to you and why your #1 school should choose you. It feels a bit unfair that the CASPA (Central Application Service for Physician Assistant School) asks you to bare your soul and explain your deep understanding of the PA’s role in a page and a half. Hopefully you can look at a blank screen and take on the challenge with a smile, right?!?
Here at PA Trek, we edit a lot of essays. There are a lot of different ways people try to make their essays stand out. Sometimes, their attempts turn into what we like to call….
This common pitfall refers to someone who tries to get super fancy with their essay. They create complex sentence structures that are incomprehensible and distracting. The fancy delivery takes the focus from the content of the essay. Many times the essay contains dialogue that is not executed well. Here’s the hard truth, if you are not a talented writer, like…say Ernest Hemingway, then let go of trying to create a masterpiece!
If you are like most applicants, your major is in science, not English Lit. Leave the frills alone and own your background! Trying to get fancy just opens opportunities for a clunky delivery. Also, remember your audience. PA school admission committees are filled with other nerdy scientists. They shouldn’t have to work to understand the deeper meaning of your essay. They don’t have time to ponder who the main character is. If I am reading an essay and I have to bust out a dictionary, you lost me. Forget your GRE vocab study cards and only use large vocabulary if necessary and useful. Always read your essay aloud and make sure that it flows and makes sense. If you catch the words thee or thou, you know that you may be falling into “The Shakespeare” trap!
When writing your personal statement be precise and to the point. Flow is important and will separate the professionals from the rookies. You can make your essay stand out if you are vulnerable and honest about who you are and where you come from. Put Shakespeare to rest and just do you!
Next week we will focus on another common mistake: The Oversharer. Sign up for our newsletter to get notifications of new posts!