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Dave Dubose Pa Interview Essay

How do I explain the feeling that comes when you get an interview?... After working so long and hard on the PA process, it really is such a magnificent feeling to FINALLY get an interview invite. Its hard to put into words, the joy that comes from opportunity knocking at your door. 

Most schools receive somewhere between 1000-1500 completed applications (which means the candidate filled everything out, including the supplemental application). From those, only around 125 get interviews. Those odds right there make it a 8.3% chance of getting an interview and from those 125 interviewed only 40-60 get accepted. Now the odds move up to a 32% chance of getting accepted. 

I had to wait 8 MONTHS to get an interview invite. Don't lose hope if you don't hear back and everyone else has. I was in the last interview group that Pacific University offered. It was late in the work day on November 8th, when around 4:30 I received this email:

Such an amazing feeling at that point. I was in a meeting at work, so I immediately text my wife to let her know. When work was over I called her right away. We were both ecstatic! 

The 3 week and 4 day countdown began...

 I also received further instructions a few days later in this email:

I had already bought this book, but now it was time to read and re-read it again. I actually typed most of the practice interview questions in a word document on my computer, and then wrote a thought-out response. It really is a helpful book, i suggest it. 

I have never read this new book by Andy Rodican, but i'm sure it is very good, and may be worth looking into. $26 is worth paying if it helps you get accepted into PA school!

Alright so here is my two cents...

I studied, practiced, and role played as often as possible. When I had breaks at work, I would sit in my car and answer questions I would ask myself... now, I know what your thinking... won't everyone thing i'm crazy if i'm in my car talking to myself?... yes they will. But ignore them because you are the one who is getting into PA school, not them! 

I read through the list of questions I typed out their answers, if needed I modified them after asking my friends and family. I came up with some great answers, and got really comfortable with paraphrasing them. Don't have memorized answers, but have a path for your thoughts to go on certain topics. It made it easier for me to talk about myself, why I want to be a PA, and why I selected Pacific University as my program of choice. 

There was an essay that was required on interview day... I honestly didn't prepare for that. Based on the sample questions they gave me in my email, they just wanted to make sure that we could come up with a thought and write it out cognitively. 

The following is a sample question: “If you could choose to have the gift of invisibility or flight, which would you choose and why?”

My thoughts were confirmed on interview day when they said not to worry much about the essay, unless you are very poor at forming any thought, sentence, or have a bunch of grammatical errors (she said like a period after ever word). More details of my interview to come. 

Suggestions for dress, and what I observed on interview day was professional dress like shown here.

Portland Oregon has an awesome public transportation system, so I looked up hotels that were close to a MAX lightrail train stop so I could take that straight to the interview. I found a Red Lion hotel that was reasonable in price and booked up maybe 2 weeks before my interview. I also had my flight booked as soon as possible. I have a friend who works for U.S. Airways, and I was able to get a standby ticket really cheap. I made sure I left on a Friday morning to ensure I had enough time to make it there for my Saturday interview. 

 A day or 2 before I was planning to leave, in a last ditch effort to get all the practice I could, I did a sit-down (not dressed up) mock interview with my sister and brother-in-law. It was really good, it showed a lot of my weaknesses, and helped me get comfortable with my answers. They tried to mess me up, and give me some hard questions that really had me stumped a few times. 

Here are some examples:

  •  "What is something you don't want us to know about you?"
  •  "What is your personal motto?"
  •  "We have just about 10 seconds left, in 10 seconds tell us something that will help us remember you by."
I can post all the questions I personally wrote down and practiced with if someone really wants to see them. 

Here are some other good resources for sample questions:

AASPA website

Physician Assistant Forum

The phone range while I was driving home from work, I looked to see who it was and although I didn't know the number, my iphone said "Oregon" under the number. I knew immediately who it was. My heart started thumping very hard, I could hear it in my ears. I answered it as quickly as possible.


                                  "Is DJ there?"

"yes this is him"

                                   "Hey DJ, this is Leah from Pacific       

                                    University's PA program"

"Hey Leah how are you?"

                                "I'm calling to say congratulations!
                                the committee wants to offer you a
                                position in the graduating 
                                class of 2014 for the school of 
                                Physician Assistant studies!"

My smile went so big I almost broke the car door windows with my cheeks! The first thing I did (after yelling out-loud of course) was call my wife and we screamed at each other on the phone with excitement! 


December 6, 2011

Dear DJ,

Congratulations! It is our pleasure to offer you admission to the Pacific University School of Physician Assistant Studies. Your application and interview were of exceptional quality and we believe you will add to and benefit from the opportunity to be a member of the entering class of 2012. At Pacific University we know you will gain an outstanding education that will thoroughly prepare you for the field of Physician Assistant Studies. You will find the faculty, staff, students, and the University committed to the highest academic standards. We are all supportive of your efforts to succeed and hope you will join us in 2012. 

  I couldn't believe that all of my hard work finally paid off, and it was SUCH a blessing to get accepted the first time I applied. I was floating on air, and the feeling seemed to last for weeks. Honestly it still hasn't gone away! 

One of the PA's that I shadowed explained to me that it is such a good feeling to finally get accepted. He said its deserved for all the hard work that is put in to get accepted. He then explained that the hardest part about PA school is getting in... because nothing else can happen unless your accepted! Now don't get me wrong, I understand that its not going to be a breeze for the next few years going through PA school. In fact i assume its going to push me to my limits at times, at least that's what I have picked up while reading other PA student blogs. I look forward to this amazing opportunity and this upcoming challenge.

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