An analysis of theme content in CASPA personal statements

John E. Lopes, Nailya O. Delellis, Autumn DeGroat, Neethu Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Methods: After receiving signed consent, personal statements were extracted from the application packages of 63 students. Statements were identified with a random number. Each statement was reviewed and content themes were identified and manually coded by two separate reviewers. The reviewers and primary investigator then met and determined the major content categories by consensus.

Results: The review identified seven major content themes. Four of these themes were present in 70% or more of the statements: health care experience, altruism, patient interaction, medical profession.

Conclusion: The personal statements reviewed contained similar content, confirming prior research that these statements may follow some formula for success. This may be evidence that applicants feel these attributes demonstrate that they are qualified candidates for admission. Further study should be conducted to see how these statements are used in the PA program admissions process.

Purpose: Personal statements are a required component of the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application package submitted to physician assistant (PA) programs that participate in the service. Prior research involving the use of personal statements in the selection process of graduate and professional programs has found a significant amount of homogeneity within the statements. This study sought to determine the major theme content and frequency of occurrence of these themes in the personal statements submitted by applicants to a Midwestern PA program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Physician Assistant Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


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