Application Checklist

Beginning the process of applying to Physician Assistant school can be incredibly overwhelming.  The checklist below is by no means an “end all be all” but it is what I used to guide myself through the application process. It may also vary depending on what stage you are at in your journey.  If you have individual questions contact me and I will do my best to help!

Program List 

Develop a list of programs you wish to apply.  I recommend doing this first becuase pre-requisite courses can vary from program to program–so you want to ensure that you cover all of the coursework necessary.

Pre-Requisites

Courses that each of the programs you are applying to require.

Supplemental Applications

Although CASPA (see below) some what standardizes what is needed for the application process–there are some variances between programs. Comprehensive program requirements. In addition to a list of pre-required courses, all programs have varying requirements for application.  For example–some require GRE, shadowing hours or patient care experience.  You will want to make a list of all misc. requirements so you do not find yourself saying “Owe, shit I need 100 shadowing hours” etc etc.

Letters of Recommendation

Start thinking about who you want to write these ahead of time. Most programs prefer 3-4 letters one from a supervisor, professor/academic and one addressing your character.  If you have acquired patient care hours a supervisor from that position if not required would be great.  Also, if you have a good relationship with a PA, that would also be preferred, this shows the panel that is evaluating you that someone who is already a member of the PA profession looks favorable upon you becoming a PA.

Transcripts

Have them all ready to sit down with CASPA and enter everything.

Personal Statement

Sell yourself. Read about the programs you are applying to and use key phrases they include on their website about the type of student they are seeking. Check out my section about how to write a successful personal statement.

BLS/ACLS

I’m not sure how many programs required this; but, mine did so I figured I would include it.  Even if it only makes you aware that it is a possibility.

Clearances

As mentioned before, FBI and child clearances.

Health Insurance

Again, not sure if all programs require you have documented proof of health insurance but my program did.

CASPA

The centralized portal to apply to all Physician Assistant programs. I’m just going to put it out there. CASPA is a HUGE process and can feel overwhelming.  If you are curious what programs to apply to you can find all of the ARC accredited PA programs here.  It is important that your program be ARC accredited, because this relates to your ability to sit for the PANCE when you graduate!

GRE

I could say that programs are doing away with this as I believe it has ZERO correlation with your ability to practice as a PA.  I was 10-12 years out of high school math at the time I sat for the GRE, please someone tell me how that correlates with my ability to pass the PANCE which has NONE of that criteria (end rant).  However, a lot of programs do require GRE.  Take a class, buy a book.  Do whatever you have to do.  I wish I had a magic answer for this, but I don’t.  God speed with 10th grade algebra and words no one ever uses.