FAQs Directory > Before You Apply

Before Applying

Participating Programs


Applicant Responsibilities

CASPA Policies


The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) simplifies the process of applying to physician assistant programs. By using CASPA, you are able to complete one application via our online website and send one set of documents to our centralized service. CASPA will verify your application for accuracy, calculate your G.P.A., and send your application to as many physician assistant programs you wish to designate who utilize our service.  For a list of participating programs, look at the Participating Programs section.

Before Applying To CASPA:

Before creating an account, determine if you are eligible to apply, and ensure you are applying for the correct application cycle.  Each PA program has different requirements and prerequisites for entry.  Please contact the schools to which you are applying directly concerning their entry requirements.  In addition, the application cycle refers to the time span in which your CASPA application is valid, not the academic year in which applicants will be admitted. Each PA program has its own start date; to determine exactly when a schools program will begin and to ensure you are filling out the correct application, we advise contacting the school directly.

Once you create an account with CASPA, you can access your application frequently in order to complete the required portion of the application. Specific instructions are available within each section of the application. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section (FAQs) if you have specific questions about entering your information into the application. After you have created and completed your application, you can e-submit it to CASPA for processing. Once the application is processed, it will be sent to your designated programs. The CASPA application will provide your designated programs with your complete biographical information and a detailed description of your academic history.

In order for CASPA to consider your application COMPLETE and process and mail your application to your schools, the following steps must all be completed:
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

Also, we advise all applicants to APPLY EARLY!  Submitting your materials early helps ensure timely processing and avoids costly 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.

The following steps are highly recommended BEFORE applying:

1) Read through all of CASPA’s policies, instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions at our site,
2) Contact your schools to determine what types of references they require and line up references and their contact information
3) 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)
4) 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. 
5) 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."

Creating an Account:

To create an account, click “Create New Account” beneath the login information on the CASPA homepage.  Please be sure you are eligible to apply and are creating an account for the correct cycle before creating a new account.  Please see the “Before Applying to CASPA” section of our instructions for detailed information.  YOU MAY ONLY CREATE ONE ACCOUNT PER APPLICATION CYCLE.  Creating more than one account will lead to delays and difficulty in handling the receipt of your transcripts and letters of reference.  Any applicant who creates multiple accounts will have their duplicate accounts terminated, including any documents associated with those accounts.

You will be asked to create a username, password and supply a valid e-mail address. You will also be asked to create a security question to help you retrieve your login information should you forget it.  You will then be assigned a CASPA ID#.  Be sure to retain all of this information. For your own security, do not share your password or account information with anyone. 


Forgotten Passwords:

CASPA staff does NOT have access to your password information.  To retrieve your password, please click “forgot password” under the login prompt.  Please note that passwords and security question answers are case sensitive, so try several capital/lower case combinations.  Also, please be certain you are attempting to log in to the 2011 portal (it should say 2010-2011 cycle at the top) and not the 2009-2010 portal.  If you still cannot log into the portal, please e-mail CASPA a request to have your password reset along with your name and CASPA ID#. Your password will then be reset to a randomly generated password and your login information e-mailed to you.  Once you login with this reset information, you will be able to change your password yourself to whatever you would like.

    Your Account Homepage

    • Once you create an application, you will come to the main page. You can now navigate through the application either by the top menu items or the Checklist. This page will also display the FAQs, Status of your application and Messages from CASPA. The Checklist allows you to navigate to each section and will have a green check once the section is complete. Once all items are checked and completed, this is the page to e-submit your application.

      My Profile

      Use this section to change Account information (name change, email address, etc.) and change your password.

      My Application

      Use this section to access each section of your application. This is also available through the Checklist.
    • Reference Forms - Reference forms are available either electronically or on paper form. Electronic references will be easier to track. If you use a paper form, make sure you use the form provided in this section. Please be aware that your G.P.A. will be calculated, but your application will not be considered complete and will not be sent to your designated programs until at least 2 of your 3 required references have been received in the CASPA office.
    • Applicant Information - Use this section to input your Contact Information and Personal Data.
    • Additional - This includes the following sections: Additional information, Health Related Experience, Patient Contact Experience, Other Employment and Community Service
    • Academic History - You must complete the Institutions Attended section before you can enter your coursework. The coursework will be entered by the semester, quarter or term that you attended by creating a Session/Term. Under the Session/Term, you will enter each course taken or that you are planning to take. Enter any Health Related Training, such as CNA or CMA in this section.
    • Narrative - Provide a narrative explaining why you are interested in becoming a PA. This is your opportunity to let the program or programs that you are applying to know a little more about you.
    • My Programs - This is where you can designate which programs you would like your application to be sent to. You will have the ability to continue to designate programs after you have e-submitted your application.


    You will have the ability to print the coursework that you have entered, the other sections of your application, and the Transcript Request Form from the designated print area of the application before you e-submit the application to CASPA. You will also have the ability to print your paper reference requests from the Reference Forms section of the application. This form will be dynamically generated once you have entered the required information about your reference into the application.


    Use this section to view the status of your transcripts, tests and reference forms received by CASPA. Once you have e-submitted your application and your application has been verified, you may view your GPAs and the dates your applications have been sent to designated programs.


    Use this section to access instructions for each of the application sections or use the instruction button available within each section.


    This will close the application site.

    Before You E-submit Your Application

    • Use the Transcript Request Form to have all official transcripts sent to CASPA.
    • Print you application for your records.
    • Make sure all information is accurate. Refunds cannot be made once processing has begun.