How to Get the Perfect Letter of Recommendation for PA School

PA School • May 24, 2023

Get tips on how to get a strong letter of recommendation for PA school application.

This video will help you identify potential recommenders, figure out what they should say about you, and give you some strategies for making sure your letters are as strong as they can be.

How to Get the Perfect Letter of Recommendation for PA School

A letter of recommendation for PA school is a key component of your application that can really make or break your admissions. Securing strong and compelling letter of recommendation for PA school is crucial in showcasing your character and skills to the admissions committee. In this article, we will discuss how to obtain the perfect letter of recommendation for PA school.

Identify the Right Individuals

To start, you should identify three to five individuals who you believe will write you a strong letter of recommendation. These individuals should be able to speak to your character, skills, and suitability for the PA profession. It is essential to carefully consider the people you select as recommenders, as their insight can greatly impact your application.

Review Program Requirements

Before approaching potential recommenders, it is important to review the specific requirements of the PA programs you are applying to. Some programs may require a letter of recommendation from a PA, while others may require an academic reference. It is crucial to ensure you understand the specific requirements of each program to make informed decisions when choosing your recommenders.

Provide Background Information

When requesting a letter of recommendation, it is essential to provide your recommenders with background information about your journey to becoming a PA. Share your reasons for pursuing this career, your experiences, and accomplishments up to this point. Providing a copy of your resume and personal statement can also be helpful in giving your recommenders a comprehensive understanding of your application.

Choose the Right Recommenders

Ideally, your letters of recommendation should come from different sources to showcase diverse perspectives on your abilities and suitability for the PA profession. One recommendation should come from an academic reference who can speak to your study skills, work ethic, and ability to handle coursework. If you have a good relationship with a professor, they can provide valuable insight into your academic strengths. If not, you can ask someone else who can speak to your skills and character.

Additionally, it is crucial to ask someone you have worked with in a patient care setting. This person should be able to speak to your interactions with patients, teamwork skills, professionalism, and how you contribute to patient care. Other potential recommenders could include coaches from sports teams, supervisors from volunteer organizations, or individuals you have collaborated with in research or teaching settings.

Emphasize Quality over Quantity

While some programs allow up to five letters of recommendation, it is important to prioritize quality over quantity. It is better to have three exceptional letters than five mediocre ones. Focus on selecting recommenders who know you well and can provide insightful and compelling letters that highlight your strengths. Remember to provide them with the necessary background information to amplify their ability to write a strong letter on your behalf.

Consider a Letter from a PA

Having a letter of recommendation from a practicing PA is not always mandatory, but it can greatly enhance your PA school application. If possible, try to obtain a letter from a PA who can vouch for your suitability and potential in the profession. This can demonstrate your understanding of the PA role and your commitment to pursuing this career path.

Requesting the Letter of recommendation for PA school

When asking someone to write a letter of recommendation, it is best to do it in person if possible. This approach allows for a more personal and meaningful interaction. However, if distance or circumstances prevent an in-person request, a professionally written email can be an appropriate alternative. Regardless of the method, be sure to ask politely and express your gratitude for their consideration.

Establish Open Communication

Once someone agrees to write a letter for you, ensure there is open communication between you and your recommender. This is crucial to avoid any delays in submitting your application due to late or missing letters of recommendation. Send them a reminder when the application opens, provide them with the necessary information, and establish a deadline for them to submit the letter.

Follow Up and Provide Reminders

Between the time you request the letter and the application opening, maintain regular communication with your recommenders. Check in with them periodically, remind them of the application deadline, and express your gratitude for their support. Following up in a polite and timely manner shows your commitment and helps them stay on track with submitting their recommendation.

Have a Backup Option

To be prepared for unforeseen circumstances, always have a backup option in case one of your recommenders is unable to write the letter. Identify an additional person who can provide a strong recommendation if needed. This way, you can avoid scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute, ensuring your application remains on track.

Highlighting Your Strengths

When writing the letter, your recommenders should emphasize your character, skills, work ethic, professionalism, ability to work as part of a team, and academic performance. These qualities are essential in demonstrating your potential as a future PA. Ensure that your recommenders highlight the specific strengths that will make you a valuable addition to the PA profession.

In conclusion, obtaining the perfect letter of recommendation for PA school requires careful consideration, communication, and planning. By selecting the right recommenders, providing them with relevant information, maintaining open communication, and emphasizing quality over quantity, you can secure strong letters that significantly enhance your PA school application. Remember to express your gratitude to your recommenders for their time and support throughout the process. Good luck on your journey to becoming a PA!

Also read: How to calculate your CASPA GPA

About me:

I’m Michele Neskey, aka The Posh PA. Welcome to my YouTube channel! My mission is to provide personalized guidance, education, and motivation to build confidence and promote wellness for aspiring physician assistants and beyond.   

Having been a PA for 17+ years and helped hundreds of students gain acceptance into PA school,  I understand the admissions process. I know what they are looking for, and I can help you tailor every component to make you shine, giving you the BEST chance of getting accepted to a program.  But it doesn’t end there. I create personalized plans for PA students and practicing PAs including test-taking strategy for the PANCE, contract negotiations, and tools to overcome and prevent provider burnout. 

My goal is to get you into a physician assistant (PA) school & survive the rigorous program, help you prevent burnout as a practicing PA, and help you take care of yourself so you can be the best version of YOU for your patients, family, and most importantly YOU!