Billiken Betrayals

Friday, August 7th, 2015

For a school that seeks to educate the whole person, they clearly didn’t care about the whole application.

I was wildly upset when graduate admissions didn’t look at my application as a whole and immediately threw me out of the race for a spot in their PA program because my science GPA was lacking. While I did not meet the minimum requirement, I had hoped someone would be able to look past some poor chemistry grades and see my passion and commitment to this career.

I spent weeks writing and rewriting an essay for their supplemental application that appears to not have been read at all. A lot of effort went into summing up my love of SLU, how impactful a Jesuit education was, and how much I want to be a PA, especially at SLU all within the limit of 2500 characters. Knowing that they didn’t read my essay hurt almost more than the rejection itself. I want to share my essay here so that it gets read:

Like most physician assistant programs, SLU requires applicants to take a handful of prerequisite courses, complete hours of direct patient care, and fulfill other technical standards. But unlike other physician assistant programs, SLU has a higher calling because of its Catholic, Jesuit mission.

An article published in The Atlantic entitled “The New Brand of Jesuit Universities” states that “the purpose of coursework at Jesuit universities is not to make a student think one way or another but to provide the framework for which they can make their own decisions.” Other programs stress the value of critical thinking, but Jesuit universities go above and beyond. As an undergraduate at Saint Louis University I was able to take a class on love and the human condition as well as a class on evil in the modern culture. Taking these classes simultaneously allowed me to think reflectively and critically in an open environment; a skill that I hope to enhance as part of the SLU PA program. Jesuit universities like SLU encourage students to ask deeper questions, a concept derived from the exercises of Ignation Spirituality that will not be found in other PA programs. The combination of humanities and sciences is especially important in a career that requires extensive medical knowledge as well as compassion, yielding the most complete understanding for my patients.

The mission of the SLU PA program explains that the program seeks to produce graduates who are competent in the knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to become a physician assistant. I agree with President Pestello when he says that the mission is also about “producing a graduate who is certainly going to do well, but also will do good.”

It is evident that SLU has a passion for doing good not just in the community, but also in the classroom. In an undergraduate spanish course I was encouraged to partake in related service. I thus began volunteering with Casa de Salud, a healthcare clinic for the uninsured and underinsured Hispanic community. It was at Casa de Salud where I was able to not only improve my spanish language skills and knowledge of the culture, but also see how a non-science major could make a difference in the medical field. I hope one day to put these Jesuit values to practice as a PA both in my community and abroad. I believe that the SLU PA program will prepare me for this endeavor because as SLU has taught me, “You have to go out into the world before you can change it.”

I hope to attend SLU as a physician assistant student not just for me, but also for the greater glory of God. I want to study and eventually work in the Jesuit way of making everyday labor a form of prayer. I believe that my undergraduate background with SLU, the mission of the Jesuits, and my passion for service make SLU the best place for me to become the most well-rounded, competent, and compassionate PA.

Obviously I love SLU more than I ever thought I could love a school. I wanted to share this to know that my effort and time invested in this essay was not wasted.

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