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 Office of Graduate Admissions at (336) 278-7600 or gradadm@elon.edu.

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

Admissions Process

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
  • All interviews for 2020-21 were conducted in a virtual setting
    • Information is forthcoming about the interview structure for 2021-22

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 2024 entering January 2023 will apply online using the CASPA application. To apply, visit caspa.liaisoncas.com.

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. The Office of Graduate Admissions emails each applicant their login information shortly after we receive your application from CASPA. It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of his/her application by monitoring his/her status page.

IMPORTANT: A status page is only available after our office downloads your application from CASPA.

How can I monitor the status of my application?

It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the progress of his/her application via their 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 downloads 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 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.

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:

  • PA (required); Professor; Professional Supervisor
  • PA (required); Physician (MD); Professional Supervisor
  • PA (required); Nurse (RN); Coach
  • Physician (required- healthcare provider); Professor; Professor

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is November 1, 2021. The committee reviews applications from September 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.

Most interview invitations are extended via email by mid-December.

Is the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) required?

No, beginning in the 2021-22 admissions cycle, Elon does not require the GRE.

Is there an interview required?

Interviews are a requirement for admission. About 130 of the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an interview with the PA faculty. Interview dates and formats (virtual and/or in person) for the 2021-22 admissions cycle are November 1st, November 5th, January 10th, January 13th, February 14th, and February 18th.

How many applicants are usually interviewed?

We anticipate interviewing about 160 of the most qualified applicants to fill a class of 38. Last year the program received about 1,900 applications and interviewed 160 candidates.

What can I expect on the interview day?

Virtual interviews are conducted through Zoom. The day consists of two, 15-minute individual interviews, informational sessions about the program & admissions process, a video tour of the Gerald L. Francis Center, and live sessions with current students & faculty.

After the interview, when will I receive a final decision?

Generally, candidates receive a final admission decision through their Elon Application Status Page within about 2 weeks of their interview date.

If admitted, a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit is required to secure his/her space in the program. The deposit is usually required within about 3 weeks of decision release.

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
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

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 PA shadowing hours). Should I apply anyway?

Admission to Elon’s PA program is highly selective. Last year the program received about 1,900 applications to fill a class of 38. 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.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can obtain the 500 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 during the 2021-22 admissions cycle, your science coursework must have been completed in 2013 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. 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 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.

Can I take prerequisites at a community college?

Yes.

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 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?

CASPA allows applicants to update their healthcare hours at any time. Elon will periodically retrieve updated hours from CASPA. 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.

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?

For interview consideration, candidates must notify Elon that they have completed at least 20 hours of shadowing with a PA. Shadowing with other medical professionals (such as MD or NP) does not fulfill this requirement.

There are 2 ways to notify Elon of your PA shadowing:

  • By answering “yes” to Elon’s custom question within CASPA about PA shadowing; or
  • If you answered “no” to Elon’s custom question within CASPA, you must submit the PA shadowing hours update form found within your Elon Application Status Page

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 Elon’s custom question in CASPA or from your submitted update form from your Eon 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.

 

Health Care Experiences

What are acceptable forms of health care experience?

For your reference, we have compiled a list of acceptable health care experiences. If you have specific questions regarding your experience, please contact our office at (336) 278-7600 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

What are unacceptable forms of health care experience?

For your reference, we have compiled a list of unacceptable health care experiences. If you have specific questions regarding your experience, please contact our office at (336) 278-7600 or gradadm@elon.edu.

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