A. I feel like your post is my exact story! First, I completely understand that you are upset. You’ve worked hard to get to this point; you have all the requirements; yet, you were not invited to the interview. It’s especially frustrating that we cannot receive feedback from the universities. However, you have the possibility to self-reflect and grow, as there is always room for improvement.
For U of T, ask yourself – although you have all requirements, do you also have some of the recommended criteria? Would you be able to add any of these to your next application? For example, have you taken anatomy and physiology? These courses make you a more competitive applicant, and they can also be handy if you are accepted into PA school.
For the supplemental application, I chose to put mine aside for a few months to gain some perspective and objectivity. Once I picked it up again, it was easier to pinpoint what I needed to improve. I highlighted the parts I believed were strong enough to keep, and I re-wrote everything else based on the brainstorming I had previously done.
Have you heard about the “What/How/So What (or why)” method? This method can be used to communicate your thoughts in a clear, concise manner, which can help you establish the skeleton of your supplemental application answers. Over the past few weeks, I have read/reviewed a few supplemental applications, and a common pitfall is a lack of the so what. I can easily establish the applicant’s topic/point of view and data that supports these, but then, it falls flat. I am left wondering, “ok, but how can these traits or experiences be useful for the program or the PA profession?”. I often feel the extension is missing.
Also, don’t be shy to have your supplemental application reviewed by others. This can be your family, friends, PA students or practicing PAs!
As for the McMaster supplemental application, I suggest using the practice sessions offered on the Kira Talent platform. It will give you a good feel on how you will need to present your answers once the real deal begins. Practice on your own time, too, by filming yourself on your laptop. Analyze how you show yourself on video: are your eyes engaging with the viewer? How is your posture? Do you have any tics? Do your answers sound natural or rehearsed? As painful as it is to listen to our voice, this exercise can be beneficial in tweaking your interview demeanour.
Most importantly, remind yourself that MANY students get into PA school after more than one try. Just because you were turned down this year does not mean that you do not have what it takes to become a physician assistant. The physician I work with always reminded me that my refusal was not a personal attack on who I am specifically. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of not having a strong enough application among a sea of strong applicants. A refusal is not a failure, but a simple bump in the road!