Admission to the Physician Assistant Program is highly competitive. Applicants are evaluated and selected based upon the committee’s assessment of their perceived ability to successfully complete program training, demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills, emotional maturity and life experiences, awareness of physician assistant roles and responsibilities, and commitment to the mission and goals of the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program.
We utilize a rolling admissions process to select candidates. This means that applications are scored and interviews are arranged continuously following receipt of completed applications, NOT following the application deadline. Therefore, by using this approach it is possible to fill all available seats prior to the application deadline. In other words, with rolling admissions it is to your advantage to submit a completed application as early in the process as possible! With submission later in the process (even though prior to the deadline), you run the risk that no class seats will be available, or that only few will remain. Once the class is full, remaining applications will be evaluated for an alternates list.
Completed applications will be evaluated in the following areas: Academic Strength, Health Care Experience, Social Engagement, Personal Narrative, Evidence of Propensity to Practice in Medically Underserved Areas and Populations, and References. The weight assigned to each category is indicated in parentheses.
Academic Strength (30%)
Evaluation of academic strength is largely based upon transcripts including course selection, SAT, ACT, or GRE scores, and cumulative GPA. Science GPA, semester load, and performance in course repeats will also be scrutinized.
The minimum required cumulative GPA is 3.0. However, candidates with a cumulative GPA less than 3.0 will be considered when there is strong evidence of improved academic performance in more recently completed coursework as evidenced by meeting the following criteria:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher for the most recent 30 semester hours...
- Half or more of which must be prerequisite science or upper level science courses (300 level or higher)
Health Care Experience (30%)
Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the Physician Assistant role. Although there is no minimum requirement, health care experience is strongly recommended. Applicants who possess direct patient care experience will be most competitive. Examples of direct patient care include but are not limited to: medical/nursing assistant, military medic or corpsman, nurse (LVN, RN), paramedic/EMT, athletic trainer, surgical tech, radiologic tech, and phlebotomist. Other health care experiences which have minimal or no direct patient care responsibility (such as provider shadowing, administrative jobs, and home care) will be less competitive in the admissions evaluation process.
Social Engagement (20%)
We highly value candidates who demonstrate active involvement in their school and community. Both the quantity and quality of this involvement will be evaluated in the application process. Examples abound and include but are not limited to: community service activities, service for one’s church or religious establishment, participating in extracurricular activities at both the high school and college level, and pursuing leadership opportunities.
Personal Narrative (10%)
Personal narratives will be assessed by evaluating the ability of applicants to articulate their passion for becoming a Physician Assistant, strengths which will lead them to become an excellent practitioner, and career goals.
Evidence of Propensity to Practice in Medically Underserved Areas and Populations (5%)
We highly value applicants who show evidence of a propensity to practice in medically underserved areas. Examples include but are not limited to: clinical experiences or community service activities (including volunteer work) with medically underserved populations (e.g. homeless, non-English speaking, or immigrant populations), prior residence and/or employment in medically underserved geographic areas (e.g., rural or inner city), and language skills applicable to underserved populations.
Click here to investigate whether a location where you have lived or worked falls within a federally designated shortage area.
References provide the opportunity for the UC Physician Assistant Program to examine an external perspective of an applicant’s ability to succeed. Two references are required. Applicants are encouraged to choose references that can speak to the selection criteria described above. It is strongly recommended that one of these references be from a physician assistant or physician.
Following application analysis, select candidates will be invited to campus to participate in an interview process.