How to Get Into PA School – A Complete Guide in 2021

How to Get Into PA School

Is it accurate to say that you are hoping to get into PA school? This article will show you the right step to take on to how to get into PA school.

Getting into PA school is not an easy task, as you definitely know. As PA programs increment intensifies, the competition rises.

As indicated by US News and World Report, the role of Physician assistant positions as the third most well-known occupation in the United States for 2020. This recent popularity of physician assistant implies that competition to get into PA schools offering this course is furious.

It is of a great priority to effectively explore and satisfy the numerous requirements expected of a prospective PA student. With the tips we’ll outline here, any applicant will have great chances of getting into any PA school of their choice.

How hard is it to get into PA School?

According to the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), PA school is quite hard to get into. Out of the total applicants from the 2020/2021 academic session, only about 31% matriculated into a physician assistant program.

The chance of getting into a PA schools will totally depend if you will adhere to the instructions we slated below.

What are My Chances of Getting into PA School?

From the statistics of the Physician Assistant Education Association’s, the acceptance rate of PA schools has been very high. Over 66% of the PA candidates in the 2020/2021 academic year didn’t gain admission.

This means, around three out of 10 candidates gets admission each year to PA schools. The other seven candidates needed to attempt again the next year, or reconsider their decision of profession.

At the point when we examined each program in US separately, the acceptance rate is about 6%. For some of the popular schools like Boston University, just 1.4% of candidates gets admitted for a physician assistant program.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania State University acceptance rate dropped to only 0.08% of candidates which is definitely hard. Duke, conversely, took 3.1% of candidates. You can see that getting into PA school is very competitive.

It obvious that the statistics of getting into PA school or enrolling into any PA program requires great effort. You can improve your chances of acceptance if only you can improve your GPA, gaining relevant experience, and obtaining a good letter of recommendation.

How Does the Application Process Works?

Now you know the level of competition that you will face to get into PA school, it’s an ideal opportunity to see how the application process functions. 

All applications for PA programs are prepared online through CASPA. CASPA makes applying to PA schools much easier. 

Officially, applications open toward the end of April every year. And PA schools operate on a first-come, first-served basis. So, we suggest registering early so you can figure out how to explore the site very well. 

If you don’t mind fill in immediately your personal details like your name and email address. Complete any fields that require information that won’t change. Candidates can plan and save their applications to get into PA school until they have finished inputting all the data.

The next step is to draft your personal statement. In case you’re as yet in school, request that your guidance counsellor help you. If you just left school, it’s advisable to search out a tutor to help you.

Where conceivable, gain a relationship with alumni of the PA school to which you wish to apply. They’ll have the option to give you functional tips to improve your application.

When your PA school application is finished, you’ve checked it and uploaded the essential supporting documents, you can submit it.

You’ll also need to have the registrar of your current school mail original transcripts addressed to CASPA at:

CASPA Transcript Processing Center

PO Box 9108

Watertown, MA 02471

What is the Application Requirements for PA Programs?

The admission requirements for PA programs at the most famous PA schools are normally stricter. Each program has its minimum requirements for candidates.

Kindly remember that the application is a two-way measure. While you’re trusting that the school will acknowledge you, you likewise need to guarantee that they’ll be a solid match for you.

School Requirements

To get into a PA program, you for the most part need to finish a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

Rather than getting a bachelor’s degree, an extra alternative is to take an accelerated physician assistant program, offered to high school students, called a BS/MS Physician Assistant Program.

The course essentials that you need to take prior to getting into a PA school (according to priority) are:

  • General Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • English
  • Statistics
  • Psychology
  • Math
  • Sociology
  • A Foreign Language like Spanish or French

Minimum Requirements

Students should target to have a GPA test score of 2.75, yet this relies upon the school. A few schools expect a GPA of at least 3.2.

The minimum GRE scores prerequisite is regularly 300 generally speaking, although the GRE scores for top PA schools will in generally be higher.

Having at any rate 100 medical care experience hours shadowing across different field gives you an edge. Not having any medical care experience whatsoever will be a warning for confirmations.

Although good grades and vast experience in healthcare shadowing can tell the admission committee that you may be a decent candidate for their program, having a compelling personal statement will definitely earn you a seat in PA school. 

Utilize the personal statement to disclose to them why you need to follow these programs. Tell them why you’ll be a solid match for the school.

An effective admission interviews. If you happen to be invited for an interview, then you have an edge over other applicants. Plan for your interview admirably to persuade the interviewer that you’re the perfect individual for their program.

How to Get into PA School – 7 Steps to Get into PA School

#1. Start by Applying Early

The first and principal thing to do when applying to any PA school is to apply early. Some programs have rolling admissions, which implies applications will be assessed in the order they’re gotten. This can increase your chances of gaining admission when you apply.

Because PA schools are competitive, we suggest you start applying from May or June. 

#2. Have a Good GPA and GRE Score

Most students who want to apply to a PA school are always anxious about their GPA since they need to know how they stack up to other students.

Most PA schools have a minimum requirements overall GPA between 2.75 and 3.2. This GPA requirements static and non-debatable.

So, just in case the school you are applying to has at least 3.2 and you have a 3.19, your application won’t be put into consideration at all.

With respect to GRE, make sure you get a score more than 300 for both the verbal and quantitative, then work to make it into the top 50th percentile in each section.

If you happen to get lesser than that, you have greater chance to retake this exam. This is one area of you application you can improve.

#3. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

As you know, a personal statements assist individuals with conveying why they need to be a Physician Assistant.

With a compelling personal statement, it makes the school admission counsel see that you’re committed and you know why you want to be a PA.

It’s only in personal statements that you can relay your journey from your first interest in medicine and how it progressed to becoming a physician assistant.

While writing your personal statement, be serious and very narrative about your motives. Since you have about 800 words to write, try to convey all your thought in few words.

To start writing your personal statement for PA school, you need to understand the structure. Any good personal statement has an opening statement, a body, and a summary or conclusion of your essay.

You also need to make sure that your essay is free of grammatical errors or wrong paragraphing and that everything is correct.

Remember, it’s your personal statement that will lead you to be invited for an interview.

#4. Explain your Experience in Details

To have a successful CASPA application and standout, you have to use your experience details in your essay. This essay is just like a mini personal statement, hence, you need to maximize it.

Instead of listing out roles and responsibilities like in your CV, explain in details what you learnt and how you intend implementing it in your study.

This means, you need to have broad experience as much as possible before you apply to any PA school. We explicitly recommend you have a 100 shadowing hours across two different specialties.

An absence of shadowing hours is one factor that might be a warning to somebody looking into your application. That is the reason these schools suggest that you shadow for a specific number of hours, since they need to ensure that you understand what you’re finding yourself mixed up with.

#5. Prepare for your Interview

This is almost the final stage of the admission process. Interviews are the best time to leave a lasting impression.

Yes, the personal statement gets you the interview, but it’s the interview gets you admitted to a PA school.

Just the way it’s important to start preparing for you application early, you also need to prepare for your interview early.

So, start preparing for your interview the day you submit your application.

There are various ways the interviews will likely be for most PA schools. These include:

  • One-on-one interviews
  • Two-on-one interviews
  • Panel interviews

In the same manner, these various types has different styles, including:

  • Traditional interviews
  • Behavioral/situational interviews
  • Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)

#6. Join a PA Membership Group

Having a membership of any PA group can potentially give any applicant an edge in their application. Stating your memberships with any national or local PA organization could be an advantage for you.

This means, you’re showing schools that you’re serious about your dream and you’ve been working towards it from day one.

AAPA is one of the best organization to join as they offer exclusive membership discounts.

#7. Check Your Deadlines

It’s essential to keep track of deadlines of the PA school which you’re applying to.

To take no chances, finish the application process at least two months before the school’s deadline.

However, we advise to get your application in as right on time under the circumstances. An early application leaves a lot of time for the verification process.

It additionally shows the admission board that you’re not kidding about the program. 

Luckily, there’s a valuable CASPA page that shows the various types of PA application deadline. The page details the deadlines with color codes shading codes so you realize what to submit and the date you should submit.

Here’s a breakdown of the deadlines for various PA programs:

  • Blue: Means you should submit your application by the deadline
  • Orange: This implies you must submit the form, pay any deposits, have the application confirmed by CASPA, and furthermore submit your recommendations by this date.
  • Green: You must submit the application in time for CASPA to check it by the deadline.

Understanding the various deadlines is key to a successful application.

Final Verdict

Getting into PA school isn’t simple, numerous candidates don’t get in their first application, yet with the tips we’ve explained here, candidates may build their odds of getting admission in their dream PA schools.

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