CASPA Tip Thursdays
Seven weeks prior to the opening of the 2018-2019 CASPA application cycle, I decided to provide a CASPA tip every single Thursday on my Instagram up until the Thursday that CASPA opened. I deemed this posting series CASPA Tip Thursday... pretty savvy name huh! Just in case any pre-PA peeps missed my CASPA Tip Thursdays on Instagram, I decided to compile all my tips into one blog post:
1.) Hey pre-PA peeps, my CASPA Tip for this Thursday is research the deadlines for your specific PA programs! Every program has a different CASPA app, HCE hours , pre-requisite, and supplemental application deadline. Beyond deadlines, every PA program varies with types of HCE (paid, volunteer, shadowing, scribe, etc) accepted and pre-requisites needed. Some PA programs require the GRE and/or supplemental application, while other do not 😥 KNOW YOUR PROGRAMS! Every program is different- do your research before CASPA opens, so you can save yourself time and money by applying to programs where you actually fit all the requirements.
2.) For this Thursday, my tip focuses on CASPA's Fee Assistance Program for low income pre-PAs. The PA application process is expensive. For the upcoming application cycle, the first application fee is $177 and all addition application fees are $51 😲 Not even including supplemental application fees, seat deposits, or travel expenses for interviews... the application process is extremely costly! 😣 So if you have a low income, definitely request a fee waiver from CASPA, which will waive the $177 fee of your first application. CASPA has a limited number of fee waivers that are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. So my tip is to create at least one application and apply for the fee waiver, if you qualify, within the first couple days of CASPA opening!
3.) Saratoga thought she had some paws-itively 🐾 wonderful advise for all those pre-PA peeps- BE YOURSELF not who you think the committee wants you to be! The best way to stand out in the CASPA application is to remind the committee that your are an actual human being 🙌, not just some paper application. Show your personality, share your interests, and definitely express your love for the PA profession! Don't be afraid to show the committee who you truly are!
4.) If you're anything like me, then you have considered creating a CASPA application for the previous cycle just to get ahead and put all your information in early... definitely do not do this! The information will not be transferred, so it will be a complete waste of time. Same goes for sending your transcripts and GRE scores- do not send that information until your CASPA application cycle opens! The documents will just be thrown away and you will have wasted time and money. With that said, my CASPA tip for this Thursday is to be patient and breathe! 😥 The PA application is a very long and stressful process, so you need to remember to be patient and relax. Otherwise you are going to be a ball of stress for a whole year! 😨 So don't get too anxious or stressed out about the application- it hasn't even opened yet! Right now you just need to collect your materials, work on your personal statement, and keep collecting those HCE hours!
5.) With so little time to waste, my CASPA Tip for this Thursday is to be efficient 🤓 Go volunteer at a local free clinic, go shadow a medical provider (preferably a PA), go to work as a CNA/MA/EMT 🚑 Get in as much healthcare experience (HCE) hours as possible before you submit your application! Volunteering, shadowing, and working will not only increase your HCE, but will also allow you to help people in need, increase your knowledge about the medical field (especially the PA profession), boost your application, and provide you with real patient experiences that you can use in your personal statement! I mean that's accomplishing 5 things at once... pretty darn efficient if you ask me!
6.) With CASPA opening next week 😲 (T-minus 7 days), my tip for all of you is to organize and prepare as much as possible! With rolling admissions (offering interviews and acceptances as the applications are received), you need to submit your CASPA as early as possible to increase your chances of acceptance. In order to submit your application early, you must be organized and prepared.
🏫First, finalize the list of PA programs you will be applying to this application cycle and create an excel file containing each programs information: application deadline, cost, pre-reqs, # of HCE hrs required, type of HCE accepted, whether a supplemental application is required, supplemental application deadline (if applicable), etc. If your program requires a supplemental application do NOT forget to complete it or your application will not be considered!
🙋Second, touch base with the people writing your LORs. Remind them of their due date- they are busy people, so they need multiple reminders! Make sure to add their information once you have access to CASPA and make sure to let them know that they will be getting an email from CASPA next week about submitting the LOR.
📑Third, start gathering your own applicant information: unofficial transcript(s), GRE score(s), HCE hours, past jobs, volunteer experiences, shadowing experiences, etc. Especially make sure you have contact information for all of your experiences because that is required information that takes time to collect!
💻 Lastly, start editing and finalizing your personal statement. However, considering it is one of the most important aspects of the application, do not rush this part! If you need more time to make it perfect, go for it!
7.) For my last CASPA Tip Thursday, I advise that all you pre-PA peeps take your time filling out your CASPA application. I know I stressed the importance of applying early, but ensuring your application is error free and your personal statement is a stunner is much more important! Sending in a bad application is much more detrimental than submiting your application later in the cycle. Honestly, as long as you apply by mid-June you should be good for most programs. Personally, I had to wait until I had 250 PCE hrs before applying, so I wasn't able to apply until last week of June/first week of July 🙈 Although I dont suggest applying this late (some schools already sent out a lot of invites by then), I still got 6 interview invites! So if you are in a similar situation as I was, try not to panic too much! Also another quick tip: pay attention to how CASPA differentiates healthcare experience (HCE) and patient care experience (PCE). According to CASPA, HCE is any experience in the healthcare field that does NOT involve direct patient care, while PCE is experience in the healthcare field that DOES involve direct patient care. For my application, my HCE was volunteering at a free clinic as a front desk volunteer and at a hospital as a courier. My PCE was working as a CNA/PCT at a hospital. If you have any other questions or concerns, check out CASPA's FAQ section or send me a DM. I'm happy to help in any way that I can 😄 Good luck this application cycle 🎉 And remember, some of you are going to be PA students a year from now! 🤓