Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Elon PA admissions process. If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (800) 334-8448 ext. 3 or gradadm@elon.edu.

Admissions Process

Course Prerequisites

Application Updates

Acceptable Health Care Experiences

Accreditation

Admissions Process

Does Elon participate in CASPA?
The Elon PA program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applicants applying for the class of 2018 entering January 2016 will apply online using the CASPA application. To apply, visit https://portal.caspaonline.org/

Visit our Admissions Process page for additional information.  Note: candidates who have already applied via CASPA to other programs may use their existing CASPA application and designate Elon.

I’ve submitted my application to CASPA - what now?
In general, CASPA can take up to 4 weeks to process your application before it is made available to Elon. CASPA downloads are received weekly. Shortly after we receive your application, the graduate admissions team will email you an OnTrack username and password so that you can monitor your application status.

How can I monitor the status of my application?
It is the applicant's responsibility to review the progress of his/her application via Elon OnTrack. After CASPA mails application materials to Elon, the Office of Graduate Admissions emails a username and password for OnTrack in order to check the status of your application. Although Elon doesn’t have a supplemental application, it is common for letters of recommendation or GRE scores to arrive after a CASPA application is submitted. For evaluation, all documents must be received.

**Important: please add gradadm@elon.edu to your safe senders list. If you have any questions about missing documents, please contact CASPA first.  After speaking with CASPA, if you still have questions, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 336-278-7600 or gradadm@elon.edu.

Elon requires a letter of recommendation from an academic reference, but I’ve already used the 3 recommenders through CASPA. Is there another recommendation form I can send directly to Elon?
If you have used all 3 recommenders through CASPA and need a recommendation form for an academic reference (or health professions advisory committee), you may download the Elon PA Recommendation Form.  The recommender must submit it directly to Elon via email (gradadm@elon.edu), fax (336.278.7699, attn. Graduate Admissions), or mail:

Elon University
Office of Graduate Admissions
2750 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is November 1, 2014. The committee will begin reviewing applications in September and continue through February, when final interviews are conducted. The Elon PA program accepts applications on a modified rolling basis so applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Is the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) required?
All applicants must have taken the GRE within five years of applying to the PA program. We accept the prior GRE General Test as well as the revised GRE General Test. The GRE website is a great resource, including practice tests, what to expect with the revised GRE, new types of questions, test prep, etc. Elon's CASPA GRE code is 0398. 

Note: Applicants are not required to self-report GRE scores via CASPA.

Is there an interview required?
Interviews are a requirement for admission. About 120 of the most qualified applicants will be invited to campus for an interview with the PA faculty. Interviews will be scheduled on November 17, November 21, January 12, January 16, February 16, and February 20.

How many applicants are usually interviewed?
We anticipate interviewing about 120 of the most qualified applicants to fill a class of 38. Last year the program received 1,825 applications and interviewed 135 candidates.

What can I expect on the interview day?
The interview day consists of 3 individual interviews, informational sessions about the program & admissions process and lunch with current PA students. Candidates also tour the Francis Center.

What does the committee look for in an application file?
Candidates are evaluated on all academic work (including overall GPA and science GPA), GRE scores, letters of recommendation, interview scores, patient care experience, demonstrated service and leadership ability. After the initial screening of the application you may or may not be qualified for a personal interview.

My application meets most of the requirements, but falls below in one area (GPA, science GPA, or GRE). Should I apply anyway? 
Admission to Elon’s PA program is highly selective. Last year the program received 1,825 applications to fill a class of 38. Although all applications are reviewed, the committee typically doesn’t offer an interview to candidates whose GPA, science GPA or GRE fall below the required minimums.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can obtain the recommended 250 hours of health care experience?
Seek a job or volunteer in a setting that provides direct clinical patient contact. For your reference, we have compiled a list of acceptable health care experiences below.

Course Prerequisites

If I have outstanding prerequisites, when do they need to be completed?
Candidates must have completed 5 of the 6 science prerequisite courses at the time of application. All 6 science prerequisites must be successfully completed by the time of enrollment.

I would like to report grades from a class I completed after I submitted by CASPA application. Do you need my transcripts? 
Elon does not need transcripts to process your academic updates. For any courses listed as “planned” or “in progress,” simply enter the final grade into your CASPA application – we do not need transcripts to process the additional coursework.

Is there a time limit on prerequisite coursework?
Each science prerequisite course must have been successfully completed within 10 years prior to January enrollment. For example, if you apply for the class of 2018 (entering January 2016), your science coursework must have been completed in 2006 or later. Non-science prerequisite courses do not have a time limit.

How does the admissions committee define "upper level human condition courses"?
The admissions committee will consider courses in the disciplines of (but not limited to): anthropology, ethics, psychology, public health, sociology or religion provided that they are 200-level or above. Courses taken at the masters level are also considered for this requirement. The 10 year time limit does not apply to non-science prerequisites. Questions about specific courses may be directed to gradadm@elon.edu.

Is a lab required with each of the science prerequisite courses?
Yes, a lab is required with anatomy, general chemistry, and the additional chemistry prerequisites. A lab is preferred but not required for physiology. (Note: Combined anatomy & physiology courses should be taken with a lab).

My institution offers a combined Anatomy/Physiology course. Do I have to take separate courses in Anatomy and Physiology?
You may either take separate courses in Anatomy and Physiology, or you may substitute 2 semesters of a combined Anatomy/Physiology course.

Application Updates

How can I update my academics after I’ve submitted my CASPA application?
For any courses listed as “planned” or “in progress,” simply enter the final grade into your CASPA application – we do not need transcripts to process the additional coursework. If you would like to report a grade that wasn’t listed as planned on your application, submit a transcript to:

Elon University
Office of Graduate Admissions
2750 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

How can I update my health care hours after I’ve submitted my CASPA application?
Because of the high volume of applications, we are able to process one update to health care hours per applicant. If you have already submitted your CASPA application and would like to update your hours, please email gradadm@elon.edu with the information. Official documentation is not required.

Acceptable Health Care Experiences

For your reference, we have compiled a list of acceptable and unacceptable health care experiences. If you have specific questions regarding your experience, please contact our office at (800) 334-8448 ext. 3 or gradadm@elon.edu.

Acceptable forms of health care experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Athletic trainer 
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • Emergency medical technician
  • Emergency room technician
  • Laboratory technologist
  • Medical assistant
  • Medical interpreter
  • Medical technologist
  • Military medical/clinical specialist
  • Nursing assistant 
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Occupational therapy assistant
  • Ophthalmic assistant
  • Orderly
  • Orthopedic cast technician
  • Paramedic
  • Patient care technician
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Phlebotomist 
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Physical therapist 
  • Radiological technologist
  • Scribe
  • Surgical technician
  • Shadowing a physician assistant 


Unacceptable forms of health care experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerobics instructor
  • CPR or ACLS instructor
  • Life guard
  • Massage therapist
  • Medical secretary or other clerical positions
  • Non-clinical research assistant
  • Pharmaceutical representative

 Accreditation

Is the new PA Program at Elon University accredited?
The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation - Provisional to the Elon University Physician Assistant Program. Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status. The status indicates that the plans and resource allocation for the proposed program appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards, if fully implemented as planned. Accreditation - Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status and is limited to no more than five years for any program.


Why was Elon University considered for 'provisional accreditation'?
As a newly developing program, Elon University is only eligible for provisional accreditation.  The ARC-PA defines provisional accreditation as follows:

The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Elon University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Elon University.

Accreditation-Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program’s ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding Accreditation-Provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.

Accreditation-Provisional does not ensure any subsequent accreditation status. It is limited to no more than five years from matriculation of the first class.