Name: Samantha Fredrickson
Accepted to: Drexel University PA Program
Undergrad University: Concordia – St. Paul
Work at ACR: I worked at ACR for 4 years; Some skills I gained were communicating with nonverbal individuals, public speaking (classroom speaking events as an On-Campus Recruiter), vitals and other medical equipment knowledge, medical abbreviations, end of life care, how to build relationships with adults with disabilities, and, most importantly, empathy.
Total HCE hours: about 3500
Total PCE hours: about 3500
Shadowing hours: 30
Other volunteer hours: about 250
How many programs did you apply to? 5
How many programs did you interview with? 1
Anything you found surprising about interviews? The written portion. Mine was six short answer questions. I knew about it beforehand from an ACR alumni and the PA platform mock interview. Could not recommend the platform’s mock interview more!! It was the most helpful interview prep I had. (**side note- if you complete an internship at ACR and are still employed when you received interview requests, ACR will pay for it!**)
Were there any helpful resources you used to get through the application and interview process?
- I struggle with writing so for my personal statement I needed a lot of help. I used career services at my school and they were extremely helpful and very knowledgeable about grad school personal statements and essays. I’m pretty sure every school has some version of this, or at least a writing center.
- Again, the PA platform mock interview. SO helpful, everyone should do it. She told me the format of Drexel’s interviews and gave me similar questions. Afterwards she went through every question with me and gave feedback. I felt prepared and confident afterwards.
- The book Physician Assistant School Interview Guide by Savanna Perry at J Arthur’s was also helpful. It listed a ton of possible interview questions, different styles of interviewing and tips. It helped me think of plenty of possible answers and stories to tell. I didn’t feel surprised by anything during my interview because of it.
- Make sure to do your homework on the program before the interview, they will ask you questions to see if you’ve done this
Any other advice for other pre-PA students?
- Have your personal statement done before the application opens in April, that way you can add everything to CASPA right away.
- Also have your list of schools you want to apply to before CASPA opens. Make sure to check which ones have rolling admission or interview in the summer and get those applications in ASAP.
- Try to have all your CASPA applications in by June.
- If you’re taking the GRE, do it before April.
- Use all of ACR’s resources!! A good chunk of my application was from ACR or ACR related experiences. Shadow, OCR, intern, go on the mayo trips, volunteer, be a supervisor, read the books, work in the office, go to appointments, GRE study groups, etc.
- Floating gave me a lot of good talking/essay points
- Start volunteering early, it can take awhile to build up those hours. It looks best if you consistently volunteer at the same place for a year or more.
- Have a journal or notebook that you write powerful/impactful moments in. This is advice I got kind of late in my undergrad and wish I would have done sooner. Use these memories for writing essays and interviewing stories. It can be difficult to think of them when its interview time.
- Get a letter of recommendation from Jim Nelson by completing an internship
- If you can, get a letter of recommendation from a PA