3 Mistakes to AVOID when Applying to PA School

PA School • May 25, 2023

During this process it is easy to make a few mistakes that can really set you back. In this video, I will show you 3 mistakes to avoid when applying to PA school!

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying to PA School

Applying to physician assistant (PA) school can be a challenging and competitive process. It requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure a successful application. However, many applicants unknowingly make critical mistakes that can jeopardize their chances of acceptance. In this article, we will discuss the three mistakes to avoid when applying to PA school, providing valuable insights and tips to help you put your best foot forward.

Not Knowing Your GPA

One of the most significant mistakes applicants make is relying solely on their college transcript to determine their GPA for the centralized application service for physician assistants (CASPA). The CASPA application calculates an overall GPA and a science GPA, which may differ from what is stated on your transcript. It is crucial to calculate your CASPA GPA accurately, as it is a key factor in the admissions process.

Many programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0, although some may have slightly different requirements. By not knowing your GPA before applying, you risk falling below the minimum requirement, resulting in your application being overlooked. Take the time to calculate your CASPA GPA and ensure you meet the minimum requirements for the programs you are interested in.

Missing Program Requirements

Applying to PA school involves navigating a maze of different program requirements. From prerequisite courses to expiration dates, letters of recommendation to shadowing hours, each program has its own set of criteria. It is vital to thoroughly research and understand these requirements to avoid missing crucial components of your application.

Applicants who apply to an excessive number of programs, such as 40 or more, are more likely to miss program requirements. With such a high volume of applications to manage, it becomes challenging to keep track of each program’s specific prerequisites and deadlines. Instead, focus on a smaller, more manageable number of programs that align with your interests and qualifications. This approach allows you to dedicate adequate time and attention to meeting the requirements of each program.

Rushing Through the Application Process

Submitting an incomplete application due to rushing is a common mistake made by applicants. It is essential to understand the application process and follow it meticulously. CASPA has specific steps, including verification, that must be completed before your application is considered complete and reviewed by programs.

Avoid the temptation to submit your application before ensuring all components are in order. Take the time to gather the necessary documents, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts, and carefully review your application for any errors or omissions. Submitting your application prematurely can lead to delays in the verification process and potential issues down the line. It is better to submit a comprehensive and well-prepared application than to rush and encounter avoidable mistakes.


When applying to PA school, it is crucial to avoid the three biggest mistakes discussed above. Knowing your GPA accurately, thoroughly understanding program requirements, and not rushing through the application process will greatly increase your chances of success. By following these guidelines, you can streamline the application process, minimize anxiety, and maximize your opportunity for acceptance into a PA program.

Remember, applying to PA school is a significant step in your educational and professional journey. Taking the time to prepare and avoid these common mistakes will set you on the path to a successful application and ultimately help you achieve your goal of becoming a practicing PA.

Also read: How to Get the Perfect Letter of Recommendation for PA School

About me:

I’m Michele Neskey, aka The Posh PA. Welcome to my YouTube channel! My mission is to provide personalized guidance, education, and motivation to build confidence and promote wellness for aspiring physician assistants and beyond.   

Having been a PA for 17+ years and helped hundreds of students gain acceptance into PA school,  I understand the admissions process. I know what they are looking for, and I can help you tailor every component to make you shine, giving you the BEST chance of getting accepted to a program.  But it doesn’t end there. I create personalized plans for PA students and practicing PAs including test-taking strategy for the PANCE, contract negotiations, and tools to overcome and prevent provider burnout. 

My goal is to get you into a physician assistant (PA) school & survive the rigorous program, help you prevent burnout as a practicing PA, and help you take care of yourself so you can be the best version of YOU for your patients, family, and most importantly YOU!