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Before Applying to CASPA


Am I eligible to apply?
Am I applying for the correct cycle? If I am accepted, when will classes start?
What do I need to do in order to complete a CASPA application?
What is a supplemental application?
How early should I start the application process?
What do the posted deadlines mean?
What should I do before I begin the application?
What do I need to access the CASPA web application online?
What do I do if I have applied before?


Q: Am I eligible to apply?
A: Each PA program has different requirements and prerequisites for entry. Please contact the schools to which you are applying directly concerning their entry requirements. Please note that CASPA does NOT monitor prerequisites, and will send your application to the schools you select regardless as to whether or not you meet the individual school’s prerequisites.

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Q: Am I applying for the correct cycle? If I am accepted, when will classes start?
A: The CYCLE refers to the time span in which your CASPA application is valid, NOT the academic year in which applicants will be admitted. For example, current applications are active from April 2010 – March 2011, so this is referred to as the 2010-2011 CASPA cycle. The individual PA programs, however, determine the matriculation date of the applicants using this application. To ensure you are filling out the correct application, you should contact the schools you are interested in applying to in order to determine when their start date is for the current application cycle.

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Q: What do I need to do in order to complete a CASPA application?
A: ALL FOUR OF THE FOLLOWING STEPS MUST BE COMPLETED in order for CASPA to consider your application COMPLETE and process and mail your application to your schools:
1) All U.S. and English speaking Canadian official transcripts must arrive at CASPA
2) Two out of your three letters of reference must be received by CASPA
3) You must e-submit your online CASPA application
4) All application fees must be paid to CASPA

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Q: What is a supplemental application?
A: Some schools require a supplemental application in addition to the CASPA application. This is handled by the individual schools and not CASPA. Please contact the schools to which you are applying for more information on supplemental applications.

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Q: How early should I start the application process?
A: APPLY EARLY! Submitting your materials early will ensure timely processing and help avoid delays. Generally, it takes 7-10 business days for items such as transcripts, paper references, or mailed payments to be received by CASPA from the date they are mailed. Once your application is considered COMPLETE, it can take up to FOUR WEEKS for it to be processed and mailed to your programs. To ensure your application is mailed on time, ALL MATERIALS should arrive at CASPA four weeks prior to your earliest deadline.

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Q: What do the posted deadlines mean?
A: Deadlines posted under “Participating Programs” are determined by the PA programs, not CASPA. Each program interprets its deadline differently; some schools want your application e-submitted by the deadline, in which case once the online application is turned in you have fulfilled the deadline. Others want it completed online, which means that CASPA has received all of your transcripts, your fee payment, and two of your references in addition to having submitted your application. Finally, some schools want the application mailed, which can take six weeks from the completion date. You should contact the programs to which you are applying to determine how they define their deadline date.

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Q: What should I do before I begin the application?
A: The following steps are highly recommended BEFORE applying:
1) Contact your schools to determine what types of references they require and line up references and their contact information
2) Request official copies of transcripts to be sent to you to aid you in filling out the coursework portion of the CASPA application (these can NOT be the same ones later sent to CASPA)
3) Compose your narrative in a word processor. Please note CAPSA has a character limit of 5000 characters, including spaces, line breaks, etc. Please note that we have found that Notepad's character count to be more reflective of CASPA's than the system employed by Microsoft Word.
4) Research your school's deadlines. Note that these may be different than the deadline to submit to CASPA. Submission deadlines are posted under “Participating Programs.”
5) Read through all of CASPA’s policies, instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions at our site, http://caspaonline.org.

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Q: What do I need to access the CASPA web application online?
A: To access the web application online, your computer must meet the following requirements:

  • Internet access with a 56K modem or faster.
  • MS Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0, Mozilla Firefox 3.0, Apple Safari 3.0, Google Chrome 4.0 or a later release for optimal use of the site.
  • JavaScript must be enabled.
  • Cookies must be enabled.
  • Pop-up windows are used, therefore, pop-up blockers should be disabled
  • 800 x 600 screen resolution (1024 x 768 or larger is preferred).
  • It is recommended that the browser window be maximized to take up the entire screen.

PLEASE NOTE: The application may not be accessible to people with certain disabilities. If a disability prevents you from accessing the web application, please contact CASPA at 617–612–2080 or email
CaspaInfo@caspaonline.org.

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Q: What do I do if I have applied before?
A: A: If you have previously applied through CASPA and you are reapplying to any of the physician assistant programs, please see the “Reapplying to CASPA” section of our instructions for detailed information.

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