Navigating the Physician Assistant School Interview: Dos and Don'ts

interview tips tips for success Apr 12, 2024
PA interview


Congratulations on making it to the interview stage of your physician assistant (PA) school application! This is a significant milestone and an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, skills, and passion for becoming a physician assistant. However, the interview can also be nerve-wracking and challenging. In this article, we will guide you through the process of navigating the PA school interview successfully. We'll cover essential dos and don'ts to help you make a lasting positive impression on the admissions committee.



Research the PA Program Thoroughly

Before your interview, take the time to research the PA program thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the program's curriculum, faculty, mission, and any unique aspects that set it apart from other programs. Understanding the program's values and goals will demonstrate your genuine interest and preparedness during the interview.


Practice Common Interview Questions

Rehearsing responses to common interview questions will help you feel more confident and composed during the actual interview. Practice answering questions about your motivations for pursuing the PA profession, your strengths and weaknesses, experiences in healthcare, and how you handle challenging situations. Avoid memorizing answers verbatim but instead focus on communicating your thoughts clearly and concisely.


Showcase Your Interpersonal and Communication Skills

Physician assistants must possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills to effectively interact with patients and healthcare teams. During the interview, demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly, actively listen, and respond thoughtfully. Engage in active dialogue, maintain eye contact, and exhibit professionalism throughout the conversation.


Share Relevant Experiences

Draw from your experiences in healthcare, volunteer work, or other related activities to illustrate your dedication to the PA profession. Share specific examples of patient interactions or clinical experiences that have influenced your decision to become a PA. Relaying real-life encounters will add depth and authenticity to your responses.


Be Enthusiastic and Passionate

Express your enthusiasm and passion for the PA profession during the interview. Admissions committees are looking for candidates who genuinely love what they do and are committed to making a positive impact in healthcare. Let your passion shine through in your words and demeanor, as it can leave a lasting impression on the interviewers.


Demonstrate Your Teamwork Skills

Physician assistants work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, making teamwork a crucial aspect of the profession. Emphasize your ability to work effectively in a team environment, highlighting experiences where you successfully collaborated with colleagues to achieve common goals.


Ask Thoughtful Questions

At the end of the interview, you will likely have the opportunity to ask questions. Prepare insightful and thoughtful questions about the program or the profession itself. Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your genuine interest in the program and your dedication to making informed decisions about your education and career.



Don't Arrive Unprepared

Arriving unprepared for the interview is one of the most common mistakes applicants make. Researching the program, practicing interview questions, and understanding the PA profession are essential components of being well-prepared. Failure to do so may convey a lack of interest or commitment to becoming a physician assistant.


Don't Speak Negatively About Past Experiences

Avoid speaking negatively about past experiences, whether it's related to academic challenges, previous employers, or healthcare settings. Instead, focus on the lessons you've learned and how these experiences have contributed to your personal growth and development.


Don't Be Overconfident or Arrogant

Confidence is essential during the interview, but being overly confident or arrogant can be off-putting to the interviewers. Strike a balance between expressing your qualifications and achievements while maintaining humility and respect for others.


Don't Provide Vague or Generic Answers

Interviewers are looking for specific and genuine responses that showcase your individuality and potential as a future PA. Avoid giving vague or generic answers that lack depth or personal insight. Instead, provide detailed examples and anecdotes to support your points.


Don't Be Dismissive of Ethical Questions

Ethical scenarios or questions related to healthcare policy may be presented during the interview. Avoid dismissing these questions or providing superficial answers. Demonstrate your ability to think critically and consider various perspectives when discussing ethical dilemmas.



The physician assistant school interview is an opportunity to showcase your qualifications, personality, and dedication to the PA profession. By following these dos and don'ts, you can navigate the interview process successfully and leave a positive impression on the admissions committee. Remember to be well-prepared, demonstrate your interpersonal and communication skills, and share relevant experiences that highlight your passion for becoming a physician assistant. Approach the interview with confidence and authenticity, and you will increase your chances of acceptance into the PA program of your dreams. For additional support and personalized coaching, consider seeking guidance from a qualified physician assistant admissions coach who can help you shine during the interview process.

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