There's much to do when preparing for PA school, but now is the perfect time of year to take a pause and reassess if your efforts are aligning with your goals. While taking action is essential to meeting your objectives, plotting your path in advance and course correcting when needed will keep you on track to meet them.
Here are the top 5 posts of 2017 that can help you check in on your progress. Taking some time to consider each will help you to lay the groundwork for your pre-PA plan to ensure you are competitive at application time.
Progress check #1: Do you know why you want to be a PA?
I mean really know. Not the work-life balance and salary stuff you can find that in many other jobs. But, before you put your head down and start plowing toward PA school, make sure you've reflected on the reality of being a PA and that you're sure it's for you.
Progress check #2: Do you have a plan for your references?
You'll need at least three letters of recommendation for PA school, which should cover your academic, clinical, and work abilities. You want to rely on references who know you well and will write glowing recommendations letters, which requires some advanced planning.
Progress check #3: Are you making choices because they're good for you?
It's easy to get caught up thinking about what a PA program will think about that chemistry class or if they'd prefer one kind of patient care experience or another. But you can strip all of the unnecessary angst of pre-PA choices away by asking not what might "look good" but, instead, what is good for you. Start building your Far-Sighted Foundation.
Progress check #4: Are you preparing for actual PA programs?
There is now well over 200 PA programs. They are not all alike. They are not all looking for the same characteristics or experience in applicants. You'll lack direction if you try to prepare for "PA school" in a general sense rather than preparing for actual PA programs.
Choosing target programs early will allow you to develop a laser-focused action plan that wastes no time or money.
Progress check #5: Have you (wisely) considered patient contact experience?
There's no "best" patient contact experience position, but there is a best one for you. And you'll have to start in reverse to find it.
Take a little time to lay out your plan now. Your future-self will thank you when the application process is easier and you're a more competitive PA school candidate.