What is the CASPA Physician Assistant Application Tool?
Thanks to a service called the CASPA (Central Application Service For Physician Assistants) applying to physician assistant graduate programs is arguably the easiest graduate school application process in existence!
The CASPA web service enables aspiring physician assistants to complete an application once, and then distribute it to as many PA schools as they like.
Delivered by the Physician Assistant Education Association, it aims to streamline the application process, reduce paperwork, and improve communication. Some schools will request applicants send them supplemental materials, but for the most part they only have to write one set of application essays, fill out one set of personal information forms, and request one set of recommendation letters.
CASPA Physician Assistant Application Tool Fees
CASPA Application FeesSince competition for physician assistant schools is steep it may be advisable to apply to multiple programs. The cost of application to one school via CASPA, prior to September 1, is $135. Additional schools are $45 apiece.Some schools charge additional supplemental fees.
Payment can be made via VISA, MasterCard, or money order. CASPA does not provide refunds, but does offer a limited number of fee waivers. In order to qualify for a fee waiver, the applicant’s adjusted gross income listed on their previous year’s tax return must fall under the USDHHS low-income level, and they must apply for the waiver prior to using CASPA to complete their applications.
CASPA Application Checklist and CyclesCASPA has “application cycles”, or time periods in which applicants can create an account. When the application cycle is closed, prospective students cannot create an account.
If you plan on applying to multiple schools with varied application dates, you’ll want to be sure you’ve lined up the application dates with the cycle timing. It’s less complicated than it sounds, but something to be aware of.
While most physician assistant graduate schools participate in CASPA, some do not. If you are applying to a non-participating school, it is up to you to track that application separately. It is also up to you to track any additional application information that schools may require that is not covered by CASPA.
It is necessary for applicants to physician assistant programs to become familiar with the CASPA tool as many schools will only accept applications submitted through the system. Once you have selected the programs you plan to apply to you should immediately begin work on compiling your basic application information within the CASPA system. Gaining acceptance into a physician assistant program is a competitive process, but CASPA makes it easier for future PA’s to apply to multiple schools with one set of application materials.
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