This is a time a like to tell people “don’t over think it and don’t over do it”. Given the freedom to simply just speak during an interview is really gut wrenching–especially about yourself.
What they want to hear/see
The point of this question is literally just to get to know you and see that you are personable and that you can hold a normal conversation.
Admissions committees don’t want to bring in students who can’t hold a normal conversation. Translation: if you can’t hold a normal conversation with them how can you sit at a patients bedside and talk about serious stuff?
They are evaluating you as a future colleague. Make small talk. Make eye contact. Have confident body language. Smile. Keep it simple 🙂
What to stay away from:
Volunteering too much information about your family situation
Drinking, partying, etc (I hope this is obvious)– along the same lines MAKE YOUR FACEBOOK PRIVATE! I also suggest changing your name to something other than your true full name. For example I went by “Danielle Marie” when I was applying in addition to the most private settings I could find.
Don’t just re-state your resume. They have that, and they know your experiences. Tell them things that give them a better vision to who you are!
What TO say!
When I answered this question I talked about how I was a non-traditional applicant and having experiences from personal training to mental health. I also talked about doing CrossFit and running half marathons.
Anything that is a bit different that you do will spark a two way conversation (which is better than aimlessly talking about yourself)
Talk about a recent trip you took or how you love to travel–something that makes you different!
Don’t be afraid to make a statement about how dedicated/passionate you are about becoming a PA. This is your open ended question chance! It’s ok to brag–but be tasteful and not over-bearing.