Physician's Assistant Timeline

There is not a specific timeline for many of the activities that are required for medical school, but we recommend that all students interested in a career as a physician’s assistant look over the timelines provided below and modify them to fit their individual schedules and goals.  Please note that for many PA schools, you will need to apply during the late spring of your junior year if you plan to attend PA school in August following your senior year.  However, deadlines and application time vary by school, so be sure to do your research!

Freshman year

  • Focus on coursework and how to be a successful college student
  • Work on earning a strong GPA
  • Learn how to study
  • Begin working on prerequisite courses, especially biology and chemistry (Many premed students take BIO 110 and BIO 111 as well as CHEM 111 and CHEM 112 during their freshman year.
  • Begin obtaining clinical experience by shadowing a physician’s assistant
  • Consider joining the PreHealth Professionals Club on campus
  • Consider obtaining CNA or EMT certification during the upcoming summer
  • Research the PA career and define what interests you about the field
  • Begin researching specific requirements of various PA programs
  • Remember to relax and enjoy the college experience

Sophomore year

  • Continue to focus on doing well in your courses.  Maintain a strong GPA
  • Continue to take prerequisite courses for the PA programs in which you are interested
  • Continue community service
  • Look for leadership opportunities
  • Start or continue clinical experience; shadowing, volunteering or paid
  • Meet with the prehealth advisor
  • Consider who to ask for letters of recommendation

Junior Year

  • Continue to maintain a strong GPA
  • Finish your science prerequisites
  • Continue clinical experience
  • Continue leadership activities
  • Study and register for the GRE
  • Take the GRE
  • Obtain letters of recommendation
  • Work on your personal essay
  • Fill out the CASPA
  • Submit CASPA and apply to physician assistant schools in May-June (CASPA typically opens in mid-April of each year)
  • Submit letters of recommendation to CASPA

Senior Year

  • Prepare for interviews – attend an interview workshop
  • Continue to maintain a strong GPA
  • Ensure that you have fulfilled all required prerequisites
  • Continue community service, leadership activities and clinical experience
  • Fill out and submit any secondary applications
  • Prepare a “Plan B” in case you are not accepted this year
  • Interview and gain acceptance!!