Applicants must interview with the MU PA Program’s Admissions Selection Committee (ASC) to receive acceptance into the program. Only those applicants who qualify for an interview will be invited to campus to meet with the ASC. Travel accommodations and expenses are the responsibility of the applicant. No applicant will be granted an acceptance without interviewing with the committee. PA school interviews are sometimes more important than what is on your application. Therefore, it is recommended that applicants prepare for their interview just as much as they prepare their application.
Who makes up the ASC?
The ASC is composed of, but not limited to: Program director, admissions director, principal faculty, adjunct faculty, and MU undergraduate faculty.
When are interviews held?
Historically, interviews begin in mid-to-late-August and continue until the class is filled. The class is usually filled late-February, early-March, or sometimes earlier. The program does interview for an alternate (waiting) list. Alternate list applicants who do not receive acceptance to the program must reapply for the next cycle. Acceptance or an interview is not guaranteed.
How does the program contact applicants for an interview?
The program will contact qualified applicants 3-4 weeks in advance of their interview day. Invitations are sent via email. A follow up phone call is placed to those applicants who have not responded by the deadline. Failure to respond to the invitation will result in automatic withdrawal of the application. If you qualify for an interview, the program will contact you.
How are applicants selected for interviews?
The program operates on rolling admissions-first come, first serve (APPLY EARLY!). Select applicants who have met academic selection factors, who have unique experiences, quality clinical experience, leadership potential, etc. can be invited for an interview. The program strives to enroll a diverse class each cohort. As our population becomes increasingly diverse, cultural diversity within the physician assistant profession is critical. Our program is committed to recruiting and matriculating a wide range of students including but not limited to those who are underrepresented in the PA profession because PAs interact with patients, families and communities from diverse backgrounds. We strive to create an educational environment conducive to collaborative learning through shared experiences and skills from each member of the class. The program also values diversity in other forms, such as age, gender, socioeconomic background, and years of experience in the health care field.
Do you interview every qualified applicant?
Unfortunately, the program does not have the seat capacity or time to interview all qualified applicants.
What is a typical interview day like?
Typically, interviews are held during the week (Wednesdays or Fridays) and follow a similar format to the one outlined below. Eight applicants are invited in for each interview session. Note: The program reserves the right to adjust this schedule at any time. An official schedule is provided to applicants who are invited in for an interview prior to their interview day.
- 8:00-8:45: Welcome/Admissions Overview
- 8:45-9:15: Meet & Greet, Breakfast with faculty and current students
- 9:15-11:15: 4 Individual interviews
- 11:15-Noon: Tour of facilities and campus with current students.
- Other events that may be a part of interview days are an option to attend a lecture and student panel.
Applicants will mostly be evaluated through their four individual interviews with faculty members and interactions with students.
How quickly does it take for decisions to be made at the conclusion of an interview day?
Decisions regarding interviews are made that day. Applicants are typically notified of our decision within a week. Many times decisions are distributed within 48 hours of an interview. Accepted students must pay a $1000 non-refundable deposit to secure their seat in the program.
What are the interviewers looking for?
The role of the interviewer is to get to know you and to help the ASC select the best candidates from the pool of applicants that they invite for an interview. Looking at academic ability is only one factor.
Remember that most applicants who are interviewed have very similar levels of academic accomplishments. They want to select the best fit for our university and program. During the interview they will consider the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses in areas that may include, but not limited to:
- Communication attributes
- Interpersonal skills
- Interest in serving the needs of others
- Ability to relate to people
- Motivation for medicine
- How one reacts to questions that are purposefully meant to “ruffle your feathers.” Do not take it personally.
- Ability to handle stress
- Realistic understanding of medicine and the PA profession
- Depth of extracurricular activities
- Right fit for medicine and PA profession
- Right fit for MU
Consequence of a poor interview
No matter how well qualified academically you may be, a poor interview definitely reduces your chance of receiving an acceptance. Many well-qualified candidates ruin their chances for acceptance by making poor impressions during the interview process. Although they have top grades, high GRE scores and quality experience, students who are not offered an acceptance:
- Are unable to appropriately articulate their goals
- Fail to explain their fit for the University and program
- Cannot explain any obvious weaknesses in themselves or their application
- Do not sell their strengths
- Fail to demonstrate emotional maturity and common social skills
- Fail to demonstrate a passion for medicine
- Do not ask intelligent questions
- Talk too much
- Appeared bored or uninterested in the interview process and/or with program faculty and students
- Show arrogance, not confidence
- Text or talk on their cell phones during the interview day (hint: leave your phone in your car or
- Letting interview questions affect one personally
- Arrive late (hint: early is on time, on time is late)