CASPA Reapplicant Checklist

Applying to physician assistant programs is an extremely competitive process. Many students apply more than once before securing an acceptance; therefore, please do not be discouraged if you are unsuccessful the first time.

Before beginning the reapplication process, please review the advice summarized below, from a panel of physician assistant program admission directors. Please note that the information shared in this document is general advice; subsequently, students will need to verify individual program application requirements and deadlines prior to reapplying.

Students are also encouraged to check the program’s frequently asked questions for information regarding ideal characteristics that programs value in applicants. Typically, descriptive information on accepted students will be displayed as well. It is also important to ensure your interests and dedication to the profession shine through in every aspect of your application.

Step 1: Review of Application

Thoroughly review and reflect on your previous application and interview to determine if there are specific areas that need improvement. We recommend meeting with a Pre-Health Advisor to help craft your reapplication. If you are not currently affiliated with an institution or do not have a Pre-Health Advisor at your institution, you can find an advisor through the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

Step 2: GPA
  • Take upper-level science courses to demonstrate the strength of your scientific background and your readiness for graduate level work
  • Consider obtaining a Master of Medical Sciences degree
Step 3: Professional Memberships

Consider joining AAPA and state/regional PA associations

Step 4: Standardized Examinations

Consider retaking required or recommended standardized tests to improve scores

Step 5: Personal Statement
  • Do not submit the same personal statement upon reapplying in subsequent years – rewrite it to address academic weaknesses
    • Do not try to hide or omit areas of weakness. Rather, explain what you have learned from the experience, how you have grown, and how you can use that to help you succeed in the PA program.
    • Address how you have improved your application from the previous cycle. This can include both professional and personal growth/improvement.
  • Share life experiences and background information that sets you apart from other applicants
    • Reflect on how these experiences have affected your undergraduate/graduate experiences and helped to shape who you are today. Eg. First-generation scholar, veteran, single mother, full-time employment, student athlete, etc.
Step 6: Patient Care/Healthcare Experiences
  • Increase your number of clinical hours
  • Differentiate between clinical hours obtained through healthcare related experiences and
    patient care experiences
  • Diversify your clinical experience. Eg. MA, scribe, CNA, PCT, EMT, etc.
Step 7: Reference Letters
  • Letters of reference should be obtained from clinicians (PA / MD / DO)
  • Letters should be personal and specific to you, including your personal accomplishments, goals, and potential
  • Family members or friends of the family should not submit a LOR
Step 8: Interview
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Develop an elevator speech to include who you are, why you chose the PA profession, and why you chose that particular program
  • Research the program’s history, mission, vision, goals, and outcomes
  • Create insightful questions to share during
Step 9: Shadowing
  • Students are encouraged to shadow upper-level clinicians (PA / MD / DO / NP)
  • Diversify your shadowing experiences
  • Keep in mind that these experiences should help students understand the role of a PA
Step 10: Other Activities to Include
  • Volunteer or community service
  • Mission trips
  • Leadership roles
  • Research experience
Step 11: Submission of Application
  • Submit application well before the published deadline
  • Reference application deadlines for each school to ensure you are aware of the dates
  • Reference secondary application requirements for each school to ensure you have completed all requirements

Questions?

Feel free to email us if you have any questions!