As a pre-physician assistant student, Carthage has numerous faculty and staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements.
For questions regarding physician assistant school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center. They can help you with general questions relating to the application process and prerequisites to help you meet your career goals.
Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. Carthage also has many dual-degree opportunities that can assist you in reaching your professional goals.
Join the Pre-Health Club at Carthage to help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand your next steps, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. It is also recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved.
While different schools will have different expectations on what classes you should take, the following are often required.
- 2 General Chemistry Courses (CHM 1010 & 1020)
- 2 Organic Chemistry Courses (CHM 2070 & 2080)
- Microbiology (BIO 3340)
- Biochemistry (CHM 3010)
- 2 Introductory Biology Courses (BIO 1110 & 1120)
- Human Anatomical Systems and Systemic Physiology (BIO 3300 & 3310)
- Introduction to Psychological Science (PYC 1500)
- 1 Statistics Course
- 1 Social Science Course
- Medical Terminology (BIO 400D)
- 2 English Courses
- 1 Math Course (Algebra or higher)
While Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between 8 and 12 schools, you can apply to as many schools as you would like. However, you should be aware that there is a financial commitment associated with application fees and the cost of submitting materials for review. As such, you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.
Application Process Timeline
Applications will be submitted through the CAPTAS platform. If you are planning on attending right after your undergraduate degree you should apply in the summer of your junior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit them during late summer or early fall.
You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.
You will need several letters of recommendation (3-4) for your application. While different schools may have different expectations for where your letters of recommendation should come from, it is usually expected to have 1-2 from a science course professor and 1-2 from a healthcare provider you have worked with or shadowed under.
Letter of Recommendation Timeframe
Ideally, you should ask for letters of recommendation at least 2-3 months in advance of your application deadline, although give as much time as possible. This way they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience.
The median number of shadowing hours for students accepted into PA school is around 94, but to secure a strong application you should aim for more! You should try to shadow at a variety of places, such as under different types of PA’s and in different healthcare settings. While volunteering or community service is often not explicitly required by schools, as many as half of the students who got accepted into PA school had community service hours.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) The GRE will require less or more time studying based on how extensive your knowledge is on tested material and you should pace out those hours around your own current and anticipated schedules. ETS.org has free resources and practice tests available to assist you. We recommend that you take the GRE at least one full year before you submit your application. This would align with the summer of your sophomore year or the fall of your junior year, allowing adequate time to prepare if you need to retake it and ensures you have your results before your application deadline. Some schools will also accept the MCAT or the PA-CAT but the majority will require the GRE.