By now you guys should be submitting your CASPA (or at least be very close to being finished with it) and I just wanted to give you some tips on what to do during this waiting period.
This is literally the WORST part about applying. You’re stuck in confusion land, unsure what will be going on-where you will interview, where you will get in, where you will go. It’s incredibly stressful and was definitely my least favorite time of the entire application process.
- Keep the faith! Stay positive. You’re working to accomplish your dream and it will happen. Putting in work is how you’re going to get there. I’m sure that you have done so many incredible things from getting your patient care hours to volunteer work to shadowing professionals. Don’t let yourself get discouraged during this time period, and whatever you do, DONT compare yourself to others. I can honestly say that some of the interview/selection process is so confusing. There were schools I 100% thought I would get an interview at that I didn’t (I’m looking at you, UF) and schools I was shocked to interview at (GWU-which hey, I even got in to!) Stay optimistic. No new is good news. In addition, I know I got very discouraged when listening to the tons of interviews that friends of mine had gotten while I had received none. It was hard, but in the end, I got the same amount of interviews she did. We had just applied to different schools at different times.
- Keep working. Just because you finished your application does not mean you should stop trying to evolve as an applicant. Do you have the opportunity to get another form of training or get certified in a new area? Do it. Is a class open that isn’t a prerequisite but would help you later in school? Do it (BUT REALLY THIS IS SO HELPFUL). Find a new volunteer opportunity, continue to reach out to professionals in your area about shadowing, get involved in your community. These all make you in to more well rounded applicants.
I learned Spanish during my waiting period between application and interviews (well attempted to at least; I’m semi-decent at conversations)
- Do you hate your job or feel like you’re not learning anything at it? Look for other opportunities. BUT DO NOT QUIT until you have a new job. I switched from Med/Surg to Pediatrics after submitting my applications. It gave me a great opportunity to update CASPA and my schools, and made it look like I was still working hard towards my goal). It also gave me different experiences working with new providers and learning a new set of skills. In addition, if you hate your job, I think it’s easy to tell during an interview.
- Practice interview questions! This is so, so simple! Stick to basics like why you want to be a PA, how you achieved your dreams, what you have done to make you a good application, etc. I would talk to myself and pretend I was in an interview when driving in my car. I thought it helped me be relaxed later in time. In addition, talk about your dreams to people. I truly think that some of our family and friends are the hardest on us sometimes (let’s be real, sometimes they still see us for the children we used to be.) If you can convince them how great you will be, it’ll be easier to convince a stranger.
- HAVE FUN! PA school is EXHAUSTING. Try a new adventure, hang out with friends and family, relax and enjoy. The interview process can be chaotic and intense, so this could be some of the last times you have to truly have fun.
*I still have fun during PA school, but now more of my fun revolves around being able to sleep in/eat dinner at a restaurant without worrying about time*
My first day at orientation, my mom and I got Chinese food afterwards. This was the fortune I received with my dinner and I can honestly say nothing has been so true. I put a lot of effort into achieving my goal of being a PA, and now it is coming true for me. This is going to happen for you too!
Hopefully this helps! I’m going to be talking about how to find a PA to shadow next week.