Admission Selection Factors and Preferences
IMPORTANT: The competitive applicant must possess key attributes that demonstrate to the program their ability to handle the demands within the program and align with the mission and vision of the program and university. Listed below are the key attributes that the admissions committee will evaluate each applicant in a holistic manner that meets the minimum requirements to apply. Applicants are encouraged to provide detailed explanations of each section below within the application.
- Academic preparation
- Healthcare experience
- Knowledge of the PA profession
- Extracurricular activities
- Alignment with the program's mission/vision
- Letters of recommendation
1. Academic Preparation
In this section of the application, it is extremely important for the applicant to demonstrate a high-level understanding of the academic preparation that will be required to enter the School of PA Medicine. This must include the undergraduate degree and all the required prerequisites. The items below will be used to score each applicant based on their complete academic record:
- Grade Point Average (GPA) – CASPA calculates each applicants GPA. The PA program will evaluate your total GPA, science GPA, prerequisite GPA and the last 60-hours GPA.
- The complexity of the applicant's undergraduate degree plan and performance (GPA) provides the Admissions Committee additional information regarding your preparation for entering PA school as well as the potential for success completion of the program. This will include:
- Total credit hours of science courses
- Total course load taken each semester (full-time vs part-time)
- Transcript review – Another element that is important to note is any gaps, course withdrawals or repeated courses that may have taken place during the applicant’s undergraduate education. The admissions committee recognizes that sometimes, issues may arise and will consider each one individually.
**IMPORTANT - ALL courses the applicant has taken must be reported and ALL official transcripts must be sent to CASPA. If an application is missing any course(s) or transcript(s), it will be removed from further consideration.
2. Healthcare experience
Health care experience is REQUIRED for admission. The minimum amount of health care experience required to apply is 2000 hours (approximately 12 months – full-time) by the application deadline. Health care experience must be obtained with in the last 10 years to be considered. Experiences older than 10 years will not count towards the overall health care experience hours. The experience can be obtained through paid, or volunteer positions and hours obtained as a student (for credit) or for certification will not count toward the 2,000-hour minimum requirement.
**IMPORTANT – shadowing experience is beneficial but will not count for healthcare experience. **
Healthcare experience evaluation: The School of PA Medicine accepts and encourages a wide range of health care experiences. Although all health care positions bring value to an applicant’s overall experience, healthcare experience that involves directly working with acutely sick or injured patients in a pre-hospital, hospital or clinical setting strengthens the student’s overall score. This list is not intended to be inclusive of all experiences that are acceptable, so there are other experiences that will be accepted that are not listed. Healthcare experience not listed below will need program approval prior to submitting the CASPA application. Applicants are encouraged to be detailed in their description of any health care positions contained within the supplemental application that will be counted towards the required clinical hours. Additionally, a CV/Resume needs to be included with the CASPA application listing the relevant health care experience. All health-care experience included in the application and the CV will be verified by the PA program and must include good contact information of a direct supervisor/HR representative.
Health care experience will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Type of patient care experience (direct “hands-on” vs health related experience)
- Total number of hours (paid or unpaid)
- Type of clinical setting (pre-hospital, hospital, clinic)
- Specific duties performed and/or skills acquired
- Level of supervision
- Relevance to the PA profession.
Types of health care experience: The types of healthcare experience listed below are suggested types of positions for obtaining health care experience. Healthcare related clerical or administrative experiences/duties alone are not accepted as health care experience. The positions below are direct patient care options to consider. Job titles can vary depending on your specific position, so please use the criteria above when determining the type of experience, you'll gain prior to applying.
These positions will fulfill the healthcare experience requirement:
- Medical Assistant (MA)
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)
- Paramedic (EMT-P)
- Military Medic/Medical Corpsman
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (ARNP)
- Emergency Room Technician (ER Tech)
- Respiratory Therapist (RT)
- Radiologic Technician/CT/MRI
- Radiologic Technologist/Diagnostic Radiographer
- Medical Radiation Technologist
- Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
- Physical Therapist/Assistant (PT/PTA)
- Occupational Therapist/Assistant (OT/OTA)
- Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)/Audiologist
- Ophthalmology Assistant
- Dental Assistant/Hygienist
- Surgical First Assist/Surgical Technologist/Scrub Technician
- Nerve Conduction Technologist
- Anesthesiologist Assistant (AA)
The positions that will NOT fulfill the healthcare experience include:
- Medical Billing
- Medical Records
- Front Office Medical Assistant
- Personal Care Attendant
- Research for Academic Credit
- Clinical Student/Rotations
- Shadowing experience
- Bench Lab Work
- Non-Clinical Research/Data Collection
- Veterinary Technician
**The School of PA Medicine recognizes some job types offer additional value to an applicants experience that are not necessarily direct “hands-on” experience and would allow the following limited positions to count for health-related experience. The applicant is encouraged to provide detailed job descriptions regarding the following positions in the secondary application and the required CV/Resume. **
- Medical Scribe
- Medical Lab Scientist (MLS)
- Clinical Lab Scientist (CLS)
3. Knowledge of the PA profession
Applicants considering a career as a PA, must demonstrate knowledge of the profession. The PA program encourages each applicant to seek out an opportunity to examine the role of the physician assistant within the healthcare system. This would include evidence of shadowing a physician assistant or other medical provider. No minimum amount of shadowing experience is required. The applicant must be knowledgeable enough to discuss the various topics related to the profession in order to determine a high-level understanding of a Physician Assistant.
4. Extracurricular activities
Applicants are encouraged to seek out opportunities to volunteer and serve the community or local church organization. Applicants should include the following:
- Name of the organization
- Total number of hours/days/years
- Type of activity or service provided
- Contact information for verification
- Discuss the impact the activity had on the community and/or applicant.
Applicants will be evaluated during the ENTIRE interview process and are encouraged to seek input from advisors and counselors regarding various practices and principles of professional behaviors and professional attire.
Physician Assistants assume lead roles in the healthcare setting and within the clinical team and as such applicants will be evaluated on their experiences as a leader. Applicants are encouraged to provide evidence on the application to support this leadership attribute. It should include the following information on the application:
- Name of the organization
- Hours/days/year of service
- Job title
- Contact information for verification.
7. Program mission and vision
Applicants will be evaluated on their attributes that support the mission and vision of the program. The secondary application will include questions related to the mission and vision of the program and the university. Applicants should review and consider the various activities that would align with the program and the university.
- Statement of Christian Faith
- Name of Church/Organization
- Various roles/responsibilities held within the church.
- Membership to any Christian organizations.
- Name of Christian School/University attended including dates.
8. Professional references
The School of PA Medicine requires three letters of recommendation. The applicant is encouraged to find professional references that can comment on any of the attributes that will bolster the overall application. All references must be received by the application deadline and must be submitted through CASPA. Applicants are encouraged to consider the following types of references:
- Supervisor - Healthcare experience
- Physician Assistant
- Healthcare Provider (ARNP, MD, DO)
- Membership organization