Below is a rough timeline for preparing your application to physician assistant school.
FALL SEMESTER BEFORE YOU APPLY:
1. Research Physican Assistant Schools.
The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) manages a Physician Assistant Program Directory.
Candidates should research the academic rigor of a program, the clinical experience offered, and the availability of faculty and support services. Of course, the cost of the program, availability of financial aid, and the location and environment of the college can be contributing factors in deciding which program is best suited to the candidate. Deciding on a program that best fits the applicant’s needs is a very personal process. All schools produce graduates who are competent and capable of providing quality medical care. The applicant must decide what values are personally important and then use those as a basis for evaluating the various programs.
Some factors to consider:
2. Review the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) website.
The PAEA website provides a wealth of information to help you research PA schools, learn about the profession, and to apply to multiple PA schools via CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants.
3. Make a list of your activities.
Activities may include: employment, internships, volunteer, etc., outside of class, in addition to: hours, dates, locations, contacts; and your role and what you learned
4. Identify possible faculty for letters of recommendation.
SPRING SEMESTER BEFORE YOU APPLY:
1. Check to see if your school(s) requires the Graduate Records Exam (GRE).
Some physician assistant schools require the GRE. If your school requires the GRE, begin studying for the exam.
The GRE consists of the following:
For detailed information about the GRE Exam, go to the GRE website:
2. Write a personal statement.
For tips or assistance on writing your application essay, or to have your personal statement critiqued, please make an appointment with a career counselor in the Career Center.
3. Request letters of recommendation.
Schools vary in their letter of recommendation requirements. Please check with individual schools. Most will generally require 2-3 letters from science faculty (Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics), and 1 non-academic letter.
SUMMER THAT YOU APPLY:
1. Complete the CASPA, the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). (Online application services open in June)
Each physician assistant school may require additional materials, including supplemental applications and letters of recommendation, before your application is considered.
The centralized application includes:
2. Complete school-specific secondaries or supplemental application.
Some physician assistant schools require a secondary application unique to each school. For information about secondary applications, check individual schools or programs in the Physician Assistant Program Directory.
3. Interview Preparation.
Applicant finalists will be asked to participate in interviews. For help preparing for interviews, please make an appointment with a career counselor in the Career Center.