Accepted! Manitoba Master of PA Studies Student Zandhir (@pa_sibs)

Zandhir is a first year Manitoba Master of PA Studies Student! He runs an IG account documenting his PA journey along with his sister Shavira, follow them @pa_sibs!

Zandhir’s Pre-PA Stats


  • Manitoba Master of PA Studies


  • Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Integrative Biology (Major), minor in microbiology
  • Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


  • 4.05 out of 4.5 on the Manitoba GPA scale

My Interests and Hobbies:

  • Worked ~2 years as an occupational therapist in acute care medicine
  • Worked as a research assistant in medical microbiology & cognitive behavioural therapy
  • President of the Science Students’ Association at the University of Manitoba (2014-2015)
  • Volunteered with Let’s Talk Science and as a tutor
  • Black belt in karate

Why Zandhir decided to pursue PA

I was always interested in learning about medical sciences, but during my undergraduate degree I was unaware that the PA profession existed. Like many of the science students I knew in undergrad, my focus was trying to get into medical school. After a few summers of writing MCATs, my scores did not elevate my application to give it a competitive edge. I thought long and hard about the path I wanted to take. I knew that I was done with writing MCATs and did not want to leave the country for medical school. I also considered if I wanted to go through 4 years of school then residency, and whether the role of a physician was the role that fit me best.

In the end, I realized that my ultimate aspiration was to work in a healthcare role to help others and improve their quality of life. The first time I applied to the PA program I only recently learned about the PA role from a friend, so I felt I did not prepare a particularly strong statement of intent. I also applied to occupational therapy (OT) as I was attracted to the profession’s tenet of person-centred care. Fast-forward two years later and I was working as an OT at the hospital where I would bump into practicing and student PAs. Taking the time to talk to them helped renew my interest in the PA role.

Since PAs receive formal medical education and can switch between specialties in practice, I felt the prospect of working as a PA was very exciting. As PAs extend the services of their supervising physician, this means that more individuals can receive timely healthcare services. In this way, I saw the PA profession as an ‘agent of efficiency’ for improving outcomes in the healthcare system, which really appealed to my values.

What I think helped me stand out on PA Admissions

I felt that my prior experience working in the healthcare system was beneficial for the CASPER test, my statement of intent, and during the interview process as I was able to reflect on my personal experiences and identify potential gaps in the healthcare system. My role as an OT allowed me to advocate for patients and collaborate on an interprofessional team to assist with complicated hospital discharges.

My tips for Canadian Pre-PA Applicants

  • Stay current with the news, and identify longstanding issues within Canada
  • Consider how PAs make an impact (on individual to large-scale levels) and why PA is the best fit for you, or what you can bring to the profession
  • Reflect on your strengths, areas for improvement, past conflicts, and (especially) teamwork experiences
  • Don’t give up! An unsuccessful application provides experience on the process and an opportunity for personal growth for your next application. Have a Plan B, Plan C, etc. in mind that will be meaningful to you, and reflect on those experiences upon your next application

Now it’s your turn!

Thank you Zandhir for sharing your incredible journey to gaining acceptance into PA School!

Have questions? Leave it in the comments below.

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