Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Elon PA admissions process and requirements. If you have additional questions, contact the Graduate Admissions team at 336.278.7600 or

Jump to: admissions process, course prerequisites, application materials and updates, health care experiences

Updates to Admissions Timeline (2024-25 CASPA Cycle)

Why are you not accepting applications during the 2024-25 CASPA cycle?

The application timeline was adjusted to respond to student feedback and provide a more quality applicant experience. Previously, we began accepting applications a year and a half in advance of that cohort’s start date. We have moved this timeline forward, closer to the actual start of the program. In order to make this change, we will not accept applications for the cohort beginning in January 2026 during the 2024-25 CASPA admissions cycle, but rather, the 2025-26 CASPA admissions cycle. In short, this will reduce the potential time between application to matriculation from 20 months to 8 months.

Are you enrolling a class this year?

Yes! The Elon PA will continue to enroll a class each January; the adjustment to our application timeline will have no impact on when or how often students will start the program. Students admitted during the 2023-24 admissions cycle will begin in January 2025. Applications submitted during the 2025-26 CASPA admissions cycle will be evaluated for the next available start term in January 2026.

How do I prepare to apply to Elon PA?

You may review information from the previous cycle on our website to guide your planning. Any changes to requirements for future admissions cycles will be available well before the application opens – we do anticipate the addition of a supplemental application (no cost). Additionally, we encourage prospective applicants to continue to attend admissions events such as virtual information sessions and in-person open houses to learn about the program and admissions requirements.


Admissions Process

How do I apply to Elon PA?

Elon PA participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applicants will apply online using the CASPA application. To apply, visit

Note: Candidates who have already applied via CASPA to other programs may use their existing CASPA application and designate Elon.

What should I expect after I have submitted my application to CASPA?

Your application must be verified by CASPA. Note: The CASPA verification process can take up to four weeks.

Once verified, the Office of Graduate Admissions will receive and process your application file. All applicants will receive an email from the Office of Graduate Admissions, including confirmation of receipt and login instructions to their Elon Application Status Page. It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of their application by monitoring their status page.

Please allow up to two weeks from verification for your application file to be processed. If you do not receive an email within this timeline, please first check your spam/promotions tab for the sender ‘Elon University Office of Graduate Admissions.’ If you have still not received an email, please contact our team at for assistance.

How can I monitor the status of my application?

All applicants who submit a verified CASPA application to Elon will receive a personalized Elon Application Status Page outlining the status of required materials. It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of their application via their Elon Application Status Page. All applicable next steps and admissions decisions will be shared in the Elon Application Status Page as well.

*If you have any questions about the verification process or missing documents, please contact CASPA first. After speaking with CASPA, if you still have questions, please contact the Graduate Admissions Team at 336-278-7600 or

What does the committee look for in an application file?

Elon PA is committed to a holistic evaluation of each application file. Our program seeks to build a class of students who represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences in order to develop dedicated and empathetic healthcare professionals.

We are a competitive program and evaluate each application on its own merits. Admission decisions are based on all academic work (including undergraduate GPA and overall science GPA), interview scores, health care experience, letters of recommendation, demonstrated service and leadership ability. Motivation, maturity, interpersonal skills, knowledge of the PA profession and the healthcare system, and the mission of the Elon PA program are also considered.

In alignment with the Elon PA program mission “Learning. Caring. Serving. Leading,” our program values the following in our admissions process:

Lived experiences (or identities) that are currently underrepresented in the PA profession
Cultural humility
Critical thinking/problem solving
Adaptability to change
Ability to collaborate and work in teams
Demonstrable service to others
Accountability to oneself and others

Has Elon made any adjustments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Coursework (including prerequisites) receiving a pass/fail grade in the academic years of 2020 and 2021 will be accepted. No documentation is required from applicants.

Is there an interview required?

An interview is required for admission. Following the review of the application file, qualified applicants will receive an invitation to interview via email.

What can I expect on the interview day?

Candidates invited to interview will participate in a virtual interview day experience. This will include interviews with Elon PA faculty and a variety of opportunities for candidates to learn about the program through informal interactions with faculty, staff, and students.

How do I accept my offer of admission?

Candidates who are offered admission and are choosing to enroll in the program must confirm their seat in the class by submitting the reply form and a $1,000 non-refundable enrollment deposit by the date listed in their acceptance letter. This deposit is fully credited to the student’s tuition upon matriculation to the program.

My application meets most of the requirements, but falls below in one area (GPA, science GPA, or PA shadowing hours). Should I apply anyway?

Admission to Elon PA is highly competitive. During the 2023-24 cycle, Elon PA received approximately 2,600 verified CASPA applications to fill our cohort of 38 students.

All applications are reviewed holistically, however, the committee typically doesn’t offer an interview to candidates whose undergraduate GPA, overall science GPA, or health care experience hours at the time of application fall below the required minimums.


Course Prerequisites

If I have outstanding prerequisites, when do they need to be completed?

Applicants may have one outstanding science prerequisite at the time of application. All prerequisites must be satisfied by the time of enrollment.

Is there a time limit on prerequisite coursework?

All science prerequisite courses must be successfully completed within 10 years prior to enrollment. For example, if you are applying to enroll in the January 2026 cohort, coursework must be completed in 2016 or later.

The psychology course requirement does not have a time limit.

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. Combined anatomy & physiology courses should be taken with a lab. A lab is preferred but not required for physiology.

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 Human Anatomy and Human Physiology, or you may substitute 2 semesters of a combined Anatomy/Physiology course.

Do Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken in high school count toward course requirements?

No, AP courses are not accepted to fulfill prerequisites.

Where can I take prerequisite courses?

Prerequisite courses must be taken at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States. This includes courses taken at community colleges or online institutions.

Is Medical Terminology a required prerequisite?

No, Medical Terminology is not a prerequisite requirement for Elon. However, many students find the course helpful upon matriculation into the program.


Application Materials & Updates

Where do I record my required PA shadowing hours?

You should indicate any completed shadowing hours in your CASPA application (Experiences-Shadowing). Additionally, in order to fulfill the shadowing requirement for Elon PA, you will provide information in your required supplemental application.

I have not shadowed with a PA. Does Elon accept other types of shadowing to fulfill this requirement?

Shadowing with other medical professionals (such as MD or NP) does not fulfill this requirement.


Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Three letters of recommendation are required, including one from a practicing Physician Assistant or other healthcare provider and two others. The admissions committee has no preference of the two “other” references. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare Provider: PA, MD, RN, NP
  • Other: additional healthcare provider, professional supervisor, professor, academic or research advisor, coach

Applicants are encouraged to select references who will provide a meaningful perspective based on their observations and interactions with you. References should not be a personal friend or family member.

Letters of recommendation should be submitted from the reference’s professional email address (not personal), be written on letterhead, and include the reference’s signature.

Does Elon PA required the GRE?

No, as of the 2021-22 admissions cycle, Elon PA does not require the GRE (or any other standardized test). Any scores sent to Elon will not be considered.

How can I update my academics after I’ve submitted my CASPA application?

For any courses listed as “planned” or “in progress,” you may self-report the final grade into your CASPA application – we do not need transcripts to process the additional coursework.

Please note that once your application is verified, CASPA will not recalculate your GPAs.

How can I update my health care experience hours after I’ve submitted my CASPA application?

CASPA allows applicants to update their health care hours at any time. Planned hours will not be counted. Official documentation is not required, but strongly encouraged.


Health Care Experiences

What are acceptable forms of health care experience?

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

Preference will be given to candidates who have direct patient care experiences that required a prior period of training based on the length/rigor of the required training. In addition, preference will be given to candidates who have completed greater numbers of health care experience hours.

What are unacceptable forms of health care experience?

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

  • Aerobics instructor
  • CPR or ACLS instructor
  • Lifeguard
  • Intramural coordinator
  • Massage therapist
  • Medical secretary or other clerical positions
  • Medical sales
  • Non-clinical research assistant
  • Pharmaceutical representative

How do I categorize my health care experiences?

Please list your health care experiences based on the sections listed via CASPA:

Healthcare Experience
Both paid and unpaid work in a health or health-related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care, but may still have patient interaction; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, taking vitals or other record-keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA (depending on job description), medical assistant, etc.

Patient Care Experience
Experiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient’s care. For example, prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, designing a treatment regimen, actively working on patients as a nurse, paramedic, EMT, CNA, phlebotomist, physical therapist, dental hygienist, etc.

Any experience working on a research project, preferably in addition to or outside of regular classroom work. This may include student research positions, research technician positions, summer research student, master’s rotational student, etc.

Time spent officially following and observing a health care professional at work, preferably in the physician assistant field.

Do not repeat hours between experience types. If position duties encompass more than one section, enter the position in both sections and divide the hours and duties accordingly.