Physician Assistant - Applying

Where to Apply ~ When to Apply ~ How to Apply ~ Tips and Advice ~ What Happens Next

Where to Apply

A list of programs can be found on the Central Application Service for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA) website. When choosing where to apply, you should:
• When looking through programs, be sure to track the following information on an excel spreadsheet:
o Gpa requirements
o Letters of recommendation
o Tests required (GRE, MCAT, etc…)
o Minimum number of clinical hours
o Application windows; when it opens and when it closes
o Additional required courses you might need to take
• You should come up with a short list of programs to apply to. Usually 5-7 programs.

When to Apply

The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants usually comes online in April. Deadlines vary from school to school. Some deadlines are as early as August and some as late as December. Whatever the deadline we advise you to apply as soon as possible for the best chances at admission and financial aid. If you are applying through CAPSA, keep in mind that once your application has a complete date, it can take 4 to 6 weeks to process and mail it to your designated programs.

How to Apply

Most PA programs use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).
When you apply, application materials you will send to CASPA include:
• CASPA Web Application
• CASPA Application Fee
• Transcripts
• Letters of Evaluation (processed via CASPA)
Materials you will send directly to the schools include:
• GRE scores
• Supplemental Application Material (if applicable)
• Supplemental Application Fees (if applicable)

Tips and Advice

Coursework: All schools have slightly different coursework requirements for admittance so be sure to check them for each school to which you apply. If you are missing any courses, you can plan to take them during your application year.

Letters of Evaluation: CASPA requires three letters of evaluation. (If you have more, they must be sent directly to the schools to which you apply.) Examples of individuals from whom you should be asking for letters are as follows:

  • A physician's assistant/doctor/nurse for whom you have interned/volunteered
  • A Keck Science professor who knows you well
  • An employer/advisors/professor from another department/etc.

Make sure you ask you evaluators to write your letters in advance and provide them with a deadline for when you would like to have your letter written. You should give your evaluators a minimum of four weeks.

References can be completed electronically by your evaluators. If you want the references to be completed electronically, an electronic request from CASPA Messenger will be sent to the individual directing them to a secured website for completion. After the individual completes the reference, they will submit it electronically to CASPA.

You are allowed to submit your application before your evaluators have submitted their letters. Just make sure that your evaluators submit their letters in a timely fashion (and, of course, before the application deadline). You should monitor the status of your evaluations (i.e. whether or not they have been completed) by logging into your application and visiting the evaluators section. This can be done even after you have submitted your application.

If a letter had not been submitted and you think that is should have been, it is a good idea to follow-up with your evaluator to sure he or she has not forgotten.


Personal Statements: Your application will require a personal statement. Admissions Committee members are looking for individuals who are motivated, academically prepared, articulate, socially conscious, and knowledgeable about the profession. Write about your experiences and any qualities that will make you stand out. For help, visit our Personal Statements/Essays page.

What Happens Next

After reviewing your application material, schools may request you for an interview. For tips on interviewing, visit our Interviews page.

Please inform us if you are interviewed or accepted to a health professions program/school. We track all of this data to better inform future applicants of where our students have had success.