Get into PA School: Tips for Improving Your Chances

PA School • May 25, 2023

Get the inside scoop on PA school acceptance rates. This video covers everything from the average acceptance rate to how to improve your chances to get into PA school.

How to Increase Your Chances to get into PA School

The PA profession is highly sought after in the United States, with a growing number of students aspiring to become physician assistants. However, the increasing number of applicants has made PA school acceptance rates more competitive. So, what are your actual chances to get into PA school? What factors influence admissions rates? In this article, we will explore these questions and provide tips on how to increase your chances of acceptance.

School Acceptance Rates: What Are Your Chances of Getting into PA School?

PA school acceptance rates are undeniably competitive. According to recent data from the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the acceptance rate hovers around 20% in any given cycle. This means that out of every 100 applicants, only 20 will be accepted. The acceptance rates are influenced by the number of applicants versus the number of students admitted into a PA program. With a fixed number of seats available, the increasing number of applicants leads to lower acceptance rates.

Are PA Program Acceptance Rates a Reflection of Program Quality?

Determining the quality of a PA school solely based on acceptance rates is challenging. While some highly competitive programs have acceptance rates as low as 2-3%, others may have higher acceptance rates without compromising the program’s competitiveness. To assess a program’s quality, it’s essential to consider additional factors, such as first-time board pass rates and student attrition rates. These factors provide a more comprehensive understanding of a program’s overall success and quality.

Increasing Your Chances of Acceptance to PA School

Despite the low acceptance rates, there are steps you can take to improve your chances to get into PA school. Here are some strategies:

a. Strong Academic Record: Most PA programs look for a strong academic record, with an average GPA of around 3.6 for accepted applicants. Aim for a competitive GPA to demonstrate your academic capabilities.

b. Clinical Experience: Accumulating clinical experience is crucial when applying to PA school. Aim for around 2,000 hours of relevant clinical experience, which showcases your commitment to the healthcare field.

c. Volunteer Work: Engaging in volunteer work demonstrates your dedication to serving others. Look for opportunities in healthcare settings or organizations related to your field of interest.

d. PA Shadowing: Shadowing a practicing PA provides valuable insights into the profession and shows your commitment to understanding the role. Aim for meaningful and diverse shadowing experiences.

e. Strong Letters of Recommendation: Secure letters of recommendation from individuals who can vouch for your skills, work ethic, and potential as a PA. Choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your abilities.

Maintaining a Positive Mindset

When faced with the daunting acceptance rates, it’s crucial to maintain a positive mindset. Do not let the statistics discourage you or create negative thoughts about your chances of acceptance. Remember that hard work and dedication can lead to success. Additionally, the number of PA programs is continuously increasing, offering more seats for aspiring students. This growth means more opportunities for acceptance into the PA program of your dreams.

In conclusion, PA school acceptance rates may be low, but with proper preparation and dedication, you can increase your chances to get into PA school. Focus on building a competitive application by excelling academically, gaining relevant clinical experience, engaging in volunteer work, shadowing PAs, and securing strong letters of recommendation. Stay positive throughout the application process, and remember that new programs are emerging each year, expanding the opportunities for aspiring PAs. With perseverance, you can achieve your goal of becoming a successful and fulfilled practicing PA.

Also read: How to Start an Online Business as 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!