Hard Truths About PA School Application Process: Insider Tips and Realistic Expectations

PA School • July 4, 2023

Are you considering applying to Physician Assistant (PA) school? Get ready for some hard truths about PA school application process! In this candid and informative video, we dive deep into the realities of the PA school application process. Whether you’re a prospective applicant or already in the midst of preparing your application, this video will arm you with the knowledge and mindset needed to face the challenges head-on.

Hard Truths About PA School Application Process: Insider Tips and Realistic Expectations

The journey of applying to PA (Physician Assistant) school can be both exciting and challenging. While it’s important to stay optimistic and work towards your goal, it’s equally crucial to be aware of the hard truths about PA school application process. In this article, we will discuss some insider tips and realistic expectations that will help you navigate the PA school application process successfully.

The Challenge of Time

One of the biggest challenges you will face during the PA school application process is time. From preparing yourself to be a competitive applicant to waiting for acceptance, time plays a significant role. It’s essential to understand the timeline of the application cycle and plan accordingly.

Typically, you will apply one year before you plan to start PA school. For example, if you intend to begin in 2024, you should apply in the 2023 application cycle. This timeline allows you to complete prerequisite coursework, gain patient care experience, and develop a strong application. However, keep in mind that the timeline may vary for each applicant, so it’s crucial to personalize it according to your circumstances.

The Cost, Financial, and Emotional

Applying to PA school comes with financial and emotional costs. It’s essential to be prepared for these expenses and develop a budget to alleviate stress during the process. Apart from tuition fees and prerequisite coursework, you may also need to consider application fees, supplemental essay fees, and standardized test costs.

Moreover, the emotional toll can be overwhelming. Comparing yourself to other applicants, dealing with imposter syndrome, and managing stress can be challenging. Developing healthy habits, such as exercise, proper nutrition, and positive mindset practices, is crucial to navigate the emotional challenges of the application process.

The Waiting Game

Perhaps the hardest truth about the PA school application process is the waiting game. PA programs offer interviews throughout the application cycle, with rolling admissions programs often extending invitations sooner. However, even after submitting your application, you may have to wait several months to hear back from programs.

The waiting period can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging. Uncertainty about the outcome and the constant anticipation can take a toll on your well-being. It’s crucial to establish a self-care routine that includes exercise, mindfulness, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community. If you haven’t heard back by winter, it’s wise to plan for alternative options, such as reapplying or exploring different paths.


The PA school application process is a demanding journey that requires dedication, time, and financial resources. Understanding the hard truths associated with the process will help you set realistic expectations and tackle each challenge effectively. Remember, there are no guarantees of acceptance, but by being well-prepared, developing a strong application, and staying resilient, you increase your chances of success.

While it’s essential to acknowledge the hard parts, don’t forget that support and guidance are available. Consider seeking personalized coaching or consulting services to create a tailored plan for your application process. With determination, perseverance, and a realistic mindset, you can overcome the challenges and achieve your goal of becoming a PA.

Also read: Top 5 Challenges of Being a Physician Assistant

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!