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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does Elon participate in CASPA?
The Elon PA program participates in the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applicants will apply online using the CASPA application. To apply, visit caspa.liaisoncas.com.
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?
The application must be verified by CASPA. The CASPA verification process can take up to four weeks.
Once verified, Elon will receive and process the application file. At this point, applicants will receive an email from the Office of Graduate Admissions, including 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. Note: The Office of Graduate Admissions will begin processing application files and materials in June.
How can I monitor the status of my application?
It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of their application via their Elon Application Status Page. The Office of Graduate Admissions emails each applicant their login information shortly after we receive your application from CASPA. IMPORTANT: A status page is only available after our office receives your application from CASPA.
Although Elon doesn’t have a supplemental application, it is common for letters of recommendation to arrive after a CASPA application is submitted. For evaluation, all documents must be received.
**Important: please add email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does the committee look for in an application file?
Elon PA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in admissions. 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, patient 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
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 adjusted any requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our admissions committee understands that prospective students have been affected by COVID-19. Therefore, we have made the following adjustments:
- For 2020 and 2021, we will accept Pass/Fail courses (including prerequisites). No documentation is required from applicants.
- We will review your responses to CASPA’s optional COVID-19 impact section
Where do I record my required shadowing hours in the CASPA application?
Shadowing hours can be added to your CASPA application in the Experiences – Shadowing section.
Who should write my recommendation letters?
Three recommendation letters are required, including one from a Physician Assistant or other healthcare provider; and two others. The admission committee has no preference of the two “other” recommendation letters. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Healthcare Provider: PA, MD, RN, NP
- Other: Professor, Coach, Professional Supervisor
Is the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) required?
No, as of the 2021-22 admissions cycle, Elon does not require the GRE. Any scores sent to Elon will not be considered during in admissions process.
When can I expect to hear from Elon?
All candidates who have submitted a verified application will receive an update between the months of September and mid-December. This may include an interview invitation, final decision, or other relevant next steps.
Is there an interview required?
Interviews are a requirement for admission. Approximately 150 of the most qualified applicants will be invited to a virtual interview with the PA faculty.
Interview dates for the 2023-24 admissions cycle will occur between November and February. All interviews will be held virtually.
How many applicants are usually interviewed?
We anticipate interviewing approximately 150 of the most qualified applicants to fill our cohort of 38 students.
What can I expect on the interview day?
Candidates invited to interview will participate in a four-hour virtual interview day experience via Zoom. This will include two, 15-minute individual 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.
After the interview, when will I receive a final decision?
Candidates who have been invited to interview will be notified by the Admissions Committee of their admissions decision within two weeks of their interview.
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. Candidates generally have approximately one month to make their decision. 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’s PA program is highly competitive. For the enrolled January 2023 cohort, Elon PA received approximately 2,400 verified CASPA applications to fill our cohort of 38 students.
Although all applications are reviewed, the committee typically doesn’t offer an interview to candidates whose undergraduate GPA, overall science GPA, or PA shadowing hours at the time of application fall below the required minimums.
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?
All science prerequisite courses must be successfully completed within 10 years prior to enrollment. For example, if you apply during the 2023-24 admissions cycle, your science coursework must be completed in 2015 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.
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:
Office of Graduate Admissions
2750 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
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. Elon will periodically retrieve updated hours from CASPA until November 15. If applicable, candidates are encouraged to submit an update to CASPA by November 1.
Planned hours will not be counted. Official documentation is not required, but strongly encouraged.
How can I notify Elon when I complete my 20 PA shadowing hours?
If your required 20 hours of shadowing with a PA have been completed since the time you submitted your CASPA application to Elon, you must submit the PA shadowing hours update form found within your Elon Application Status page.
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.
How can I confirm that I have fulfilled the PA shadowing requirement for Elon?
Within your Elon Application Status Page, your application checklist will show a green checkmark beside “PA Shadowing Hours” if we have received your hours either from the experiences section in CASPA or from your submitted update form from your Elon Application Status Page.
Your application checklist will show a red “x” beside the “PA Shadowing Hours” item if it is still outstanding. Candidates will not be considered for an interview invitation without the required 20 hours of PA shadowing.
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
- Occupational therapist
- Occupational therapy assistant
- Ophthalmic assistant
- Orthopedic cast technician
- Patient care technician
- Pharmacy technician
- Physical therapist assistant
- Physical therapist
- Radiological technologist
- 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
- 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:
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.