Unlock the Doors to PA School with these CASPA Tips

Lessons from the 2024 CASPA Webinar

The journey toward becoming a PA begins with the pivotal application to PA school. In preparation for the opening of the annual CASPA application cycle, AAPA hosted a live webinar to provide essential guidance and advice for PA school applicants. Hosts Katie Bean and Beth Macintire are both certified PAs with extensive experience in the clinical setting, as well as years of experience in PA academia. PA Bean and PA Macintire are co-founders and owners of Pre-PA Clinic and specialize in helping students get accepted to PA school.

Pre-PAs who plan to apply to PA school this cycle should take note of the following important takeaways from the webinar.

Get familiar with CASPA and PA programs before you apply.

  • The 2024-2025 cycle for CASPA applications opens on April 25.
  • Every school offers a different set of applicant requirements, deadlines, start dates, and curriculum. Evey school also possesses a unique mission, values, and culture. Applicants should complete thorough research of PA programs before applying.
  • Know the difference between rolling and non-rolling admissions. PA programs with rolling admissions will consider applications as they receive them, providing an advantage to early applicants. Programs without rolling admissions will not make a decision until after the application deadline when all applications have been received. Although programs without rolling admissions may wait to make a decision until after the deadline passes, they may begin interviewing applicants at any time.
  • CASPA will calculate your GPA and break it down into several types, including GPA by year, GPA by course subject category, and science v. nonscience GPA.
  • Applicants must meet all minimum prerequisites to be considered for an interview.

To have the highest chance of success, you must a) apply to the right PA school for you and b) offer your strongest application.

  • When applying to PA programs, consider program requirements. The program will be right for you if it requires the areas where you are a strong applicant, and does not require the areas where you are a weak applicant.
  • PA school is a professional graduate-level program, and your application should reflect that. In your personal statements and supplemental essays, make sure to thoroughly describe your strongest experiences and include compelling examples.

Know what to expect after hitting submit.

  • Each school will review their applications at different times.
  • It may take several weeks to months before you hear from a program. For some applicants, this waiting period can be dreadful or terrifying. Be prepared with a backup plan and a strong support system.
  • While you wait for program decisions, continue to improve yourself as a candidate. This may mean practicing mock interview questions, reviewing your older course notes, or seeking professional development.

You don’t have to have perfect stats to get accepted to PA school.

  • PA school admission may be competitive, but the need for a perfect application is just a myth. The truth is that it’s about applying strategically. Focus on your strengths, weaknesses, and what makes you stand out in the applicant pool.