When I got my first interview invite I was ecstatic but then quickly got nervous because that meant I needed to prepare for it. A lot of PA students recommended the book “How to Ace the Physician Assistant School Interview” so that was the book I purchased off Amazon. The book was around $25 so it wasn’t expensive and with amazon prime, I received it the next day (I love amazon prime y’all lol).
The book gives you a lot of questions that may come up in your PA school interviews and gives you good examples of how to answer the questions. When prepping for my interview I would say I utilized the book a little bit, but I also did other things. I googled questions and asked some PA students about common questions that were asked during interviews. I told myself I would prep for my interview really early, but truth be told I prepped like a week before (this may work for some or others may need a longer prepping time, it just depends). I would scan over a few questions off and on but didn’t really go over them until about a week before.
I would read the questions aloud and say my answer aloud so that I could hear myself and make sure what I was saying made sense. I also did a mock interview with my friend that’s in PA school. We tried to be serious and act like I was really having my interview, that way I could get a feel for it. (I recommend doing a mock interview with someone and if you can do it with someone you don’t know this may be even better because it will get you to open up and talk with a stranger, which is what you will be doing in your interview). One thing I didn’t want to do was memorize my answers because it’s easy to tell if your answers are rehearsed. So, each time I said my answers I was saying the same thing but in a different way if that makes sense.
What to wear/bring
A SUIT! I wore a nice pants suit to my interview and a nice pair of black heels. You don’t have to go out and buy an expensive suit unless you just want to invest in one, but I got mine from target. I wore a navy-blue suit with a light pink blouse and black heels. One piece of advice I can give, is ladies if your interview day is long and you have to do tours, bring a pair of flats to change into. My feet were screaming during my first interview because I didn’t put my flats on before the tour and we were walking across campus. (feet were on hurt hurt lol). I don’t really wear makeup like that, but I would say try not to do anything extreme with your makeup on your interview day.
I printed out my CASPA application along with a few copies of my resume and placed them in a nice “padfolio” (had no idea that’s what that nice looking folder was called lol). I didn’t need my application or my resume for my interview, but it was nice to have just in case. I also brought thank you cards to give to my interviewers, but I ended up not passing them out due to the fact that I was only given their emails.
• Make SURE to send a thank you email or if you do get an address you can send the thank you cards to your interviewers. It doesn’t have to be long but, in the email, say something that will make them remember you. For example, one of my interviewers were from Dallas and he had an upcoming trip to Houston, so he wanted to know about good restaurants and things to do. In my email, I reminded him about a restaurant I thought he should try (just something simple so that they can remember who you are (oh she is the girl that I talked to about Houston)).
• Dress professional
• Be yourself! I know it’s so cliché but honestly just be you. They are not only interviewing you, but you are interviewing them to see if you think you will be a good fit for their program.
• Be nice to everyone and mingle! They are looking at everything. Even how you interact with other interviewees. Remember the whole time you are there you are being interviewed from the time you step foot in the building.
• Think about the question before you answer. If a question throws you off don’t sweat it too much, you will get the next one.
• Don’t forget about your transportation and lodging. (This entire process can be expensive but it’s so worth it.) If flights are too expensive see if your interview is close enough to drive.
• Know what’s on your CASPA application because sometimes they will ask questions off of it.
If you have bad grades or anything concerning on your application don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you received the interview they obviously know about it and still consider you qualified enough to invite you for the interview. (I got asked about a few grades, but I just swung it into a good direction.) Tell them why you received the grade that you did. Always make it seem like you learned from it. I made this grade but, in that process, I learned how to go to office hours, use my resources better which helped me out in other courses blah blah blah maybe you went from a C in Ochem I to an A in the second one after learning from your mistakes.
• Have questions to ask your interviewer. One of my questions were about medical mission trips and if they had a weekend where our class could meet each other and hang out before we start school. (The PA weekend sparked a full conversation because one of my interviewers was over the event planning for the program and another one of my interviewers was working on implementing medical mission trips into the program).
• Thank and praise God in advance. You speak it that that spot is yours in the program. Remain positive; don’t doubt God nor yourself. (You know what I realized this weekend? What’s for me is for me. If God has given me an assignment nobody can stop it. They cannot want you on a job or in a program all day long but if its GOD doing it's going to happen and nobody can stop it.)
I love you guys and God loves you sooooo much!