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The physician assistant school application process takes nearly a full year to complete. Therefore, excellent planning and organization are essential. The P.A. school application timeline below lists the steps and schedule of the application process to help keep you on track. Staying on schedule is especially important because most PA programs have rolling admissions. Rolling admissions means that applications are evaluated as they are received. Schools may begin interviewing over the summer, and as spots in the class fill up, it becomes more difficult to gain admission.
Most PA programs use The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) as their primary application.
In addition to submitting a primary application, most PA schools require a supplemental (“secondary”) application. The final step in the application process is an interview.
Here is a timeline for applicants who plan to enter PA school in fall 2024 to help you with your planning:
- Become familiar with the application process and PA schools. Good sources of information are the CASPA site, PA school websites, and your pre-health advisor.
- Confirm that you are on track to complete the pre-requisite courses for PA school.
- Continue to gain patient care and community service experience throughout the next year.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty and PAs individually or obtain a committee letter per your undergraduate institution’s protocol. Note that the letters cannot be uploaded to CASPA until April when the cycle opens. However, it is still important to ask early as some letter writers only write letters for a particular number of applicants and may fill up. This is especially true of academic letter writers (professors).
- Consider taking the GRE in winter or early spring. Register for the GRE on the ETS site at: https://www.ets.org/gre/test-takers/general-test/register.html
- CASPA opens in late April.
- Submit transcripts to CASPA after spring grades have posted. Submit transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended.
- Aim to submit CASPA by the end of May.
- Register to take Casper, a situational judgement exam, if it’s required by any of the program’s you’re apply to. Registration is through Acuity Insights (formerly Altus Assessments) at https://takealtus.com Aim to take Casper in May if possible. If not, take it by the end of June so schools have your results early in the cycle.
- Begin receiving supplemental applications from programs after CASPA has been received by programs. Note: some schools have secondary application questions within the CASPA application in the “Program Materials” section. Those must be completed at the time CASPA is submitted to those schools.
- Take or retake the GRE.
- Continue receiving supplemental applications.
- Interviews begin as early as June at some schools.
September 2023-Spring 2024
- Interviews continue.
- Stay in contact with schools you are waitlisted at to update them about your activities and accomplishments.
- Begin PA school!