Loyola University Maryland

Pre-Health Program

Pre-Physician Assistant

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If you plan to apply to a physician assistant program, you will need to do the following during your junior year: obtain strong letters of recommendation, write your personal essay and submit your primary application through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Most applicants have four years of experience in the health care field as an EMT, Nurse or Paramedic.

Letters of Recommendation


Physician assistant programs require letters of recommendation. It is important to provide recommendations from both science and non-science professors who can address your ability to read, write, support your ideas, logically draw conclusions and organize your work.

The Application


Physician assistant programs use a central application service, called the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). This service does not make admission decisions. Their only responsibility is to process, duplicate and send your application, admission test scores and transcripts to the schools to which you apply.

The application must be completed the year prior to beginning podiatry school, typically in the junior year. You must provide your demographic information, submit transcripts, pay the fee, write a personal statement and choose the colleges of podiatric medicine to which you want to apply.

Volunteer or Part-Time Work


It is recommended that you strengthen your application by listing any volunteer or part-time work. Some ideas are to observe a physician; volunteer at a hospital or medical clinic; participate in a community activity such as Habitat for Humanity or serve as a committee member on a local club or student organization. Participating in research during the summer is also great exposure and can help you gain valuable experience.



Some physician assistant programs interview applicants. Characteristics that interviewers most commonly assess are evidence of extracurricular activities; communication skills; empathy and concern for others; social awareness and self-awareness; and judgment and problem-solving abilities. View information about how to prepare for the interview.