There is always someone in the room who seems to be struggling. Nothing goes right for them, and they let everyone know it. Excuses creep into the conversation frequently and its tiring to be around them. This is not the persona you want to project in your personal statement. This week we will talk about how to avoid Personal Statement Booby Trap #3
One of the wonderful things about being a pre-PA coach is that we get to really hear some amazing stories. People have overcome abuse, divorce, loss, immigration, and remain strong in their determination to become a PA. The human spirit is incredible and my little piece of the world is growing larger as I learn about other people. When writing your personal statement it is very important to not phrase these difficult life experiences as excuses. Rehashing why your application is lacking is draining for the reader. To dwell on the negative moments and use them as a way to explain away a bad grade will possibly repel an admissions committee.
There are certainly appropriate ways to incorporate hardships into an essay, especially if it affected your GPA or other aspect of your application. Your personal statement has very limited space, so don’t give too much real estate to the negative aspects of your application. Instead, focus on what you have done to correct it. Make the focus on how you grew, not on how it held you back. Admission committees read a lot of essays and have little patience for sob stories.
I want to be careful about dismissing anyone’s story, especially if there are tragic circumstances. The key thing to remember is that there are only 5,000 characters in the personal statement and you don’t want to lose the opportunity to prove that you will be a capable Physician Assistant. PA schools want to see motivated, hardworking applicants. Don’t let your hard circumstance overshadow your accomplishments!