Monday, February 20, 2012

University of New England-PA Program Interview

Your first PA school can be very nerve raking! And the best thing to do is breath; you have made it this far! Try and stay relaxed be professional and smile! 
For me I could not have asked for a better first PA school interview experience!  My first interview was at the University of New England (UNE) in Portland, Maine.  UNE has two campuses one in Biddeford and the other in Portland.  The campus in Portland provides a home for the College of Pharmacy as well as the Westbrook College of Health Professions (this includes the graduate studies program for physician assistant).
            While the campus is not very big (smaller then my public high school here in Southern California) it is one of the prettiest I have ever been too! I have been to Portland, Maine several times to visit family but I had always missed the famed fall of New England. For this trip I lucked out with the perfect timing! (See pictures below) Also to see pictures of the campus check out:

To help you feel comfortable and relaxed UNE holds a Q&A session on the Friday night prior to your Saturday interview.  Since I was staying with my cousin I brought her to the Q&A and we both enjoyed meeting some of the current first year students and fellow interviewees.  There was about 10-12 first year students that introduced themselves and told us a little bit about their experiences of applying to PA school and any interview advice.  Then the interviewees and who ever they brought were allowed to ask questions. I found this night very helpful in calming my nerves and for getting a sense of what the students are like in the program.   
 Saturday or Interview Day starts early (7:30am) so if you are traveling from the west coast be sure to get a good night’s sleep! On interview day it was fairly straight forward, there was some Welcoming and opening remarks and then a presentation by Mr. George Bottomley the Program Director about the program. Then we were split into groups and some went off to their interviews and others went on a tour of the campus. You also had to write a short essay, which serves as a writing sample. I know this sounds scary but it is not! It was a straightforward question and the realized the pressure you might feel. The said the writing sample was not a make or break factor in their decision process.
             The interview itself is with an instructor and UNE Alumni and lasts about 20 minutes. All the questions I was asked were very straightforward and things I had expected from my practice and research regarding interviews. In the end I was very happy with my responses (and I guess they were too)! (I practiced a lot and I will have another post about practicing for interviews later!)  After the interview day interviewees could have lunch in the cafeteria for free along with some of the first year students that had helped out at the interview.  I thought this was really fun because you got to see that the students worked hard but were still able to have fun!

These pictures are of the Fall Foliage in the cemetery next door to the Portland campus. I actually have family here and it is a very old and beautiful cemetery. Many people walk/job on the windy roads during the day time.