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MU Home » Academics » School of Health Sciences » Physician Assistant Program

Applicant FAQs

The following information may be helpful for applicants who are applying to the program. Please read this information in its entirety before contacting the program.

Outstanding Prerequisites/"Planned" vs. "Taken"
As noted in our initial email, the following email confirmation details outstanding prerequisites and acknowledges that the program is aware of your planned or in-progress work. If “planned” or “taken” is noted to the side of the coursework, GRE scores or hours, the program is aware that the applicant has taken the GRE, but official scores have not been received, and/or that the applicant is in progress or planning to complete that specific requirement. If “planned” or “taken” is not beside the requirement, but the applicant has a plan to complete the class or hours, please submit in writing (email) the anticipated institution, semester and completion date. If for some reason there are discrepancies in what is listed as an outstanding prerequisite and what you may have already completed, please make sure you first review all prerequisite requirements to ensure you have or will meet our requirements and recommendations.

If no outstanding prerequisites are listed, all prerequisites have been met. No further updates regarding coursework, etc. need to be made.

Requirements/Expectations that are typically overlooked:

  • Class of 2018? Applicants applying for this cycle will enter the program in August of 2016 (Class of 2018). We refer to our classes by the year they graduate.
  • Coursework
    • The program requires 6 semester hours of psychology, not 3 semester hours.
    • Sociology courses do not fulfill psychology requirements.
    • Medical Terminology: Applicants may not test out of medical terminology and we will not waive the medical terminology requirement based on experience. Applicants must take one semester of medical terminology and receive a letter grade at the end of the course, not a pass/fail result or certificate of completion (i.e. CME). Applicants must take this course, along with all other requirements, through a regionally accredited institution. If the institution is not accredited by the following agencies, the medical terminology course (and other requirements) will not count.
    • We do not accept substitutions for coursework. All required courses must be completed by our August start date (further information regarding a timeline for completion is below). Do not ask the program to make an exception to this rule (i.e. If you have taken Org I and Org II it will not fulfill/replace the Biochemistry requirement. Biochemistry must be taken.).
    • It is highly recommended that prerequisites be taken at a university level and in the classroom, especially upper level Biology and Chemistry courses. Although we accept courses that have been taken at the community college level and online, if through a regionally accredited institution, applicants who have completed the majority of coursework at a university level and in the classroom will have demonstrated better preparation for our curriculum and may be deemed more competitive. Math, psychology and medical terminology courses that have been taken at the cc level or online are more acceptable than biology and chemistry courses.
    • Biology and Chemistry courses with a lecture and lab: If you score a C- or below in the lecture portion of a course, but received a C or better in the lab, grades are not averaged. The lecture must be retaken.
    • AP credit from high school for requirements is accepted (most commonly seen with College Algebra, Stats, General/Intro Psychology, General Chemistry I, Intro/Principles of Biology), but must be reflected on the CASPA application. If AP credit is not listed on the CASPA application, official transcripts reflecting these credits must be mailed to the program (see below for mailing address).
  • Clinical Experience Hours
    • 500 hours of clinical experience is required. Hours that include comforting patients, stocking rooms, escorting/transporting patients, student training hours (i.e. C.N.A. rotations), and shadowing providers other than a PA, MD, or NP will not be accepted.
    • If you have completed or exceeded 500 hours of clinical experience it is not necessary to update the program of additional hours. If extended an interview, you may update the program of additional hours when requested.
  • Please keep reading for recommended GRE scores and how to submit them.
  • Please keep reading in regards to coursework and clinical experience updates and deadlines.

After you have reviewed our requirements and there are discrepancies
Applicants are asked to email the MU PA Program Office of Admissions (contact information is at the end and was provided in the original email). In some instances, coursework may be overlooked or there was a program decision regarding that specific requirement. The program is more than willing to address any concerns and will review the application again to ensure the accuracy of our initial screening.

What is the timeline for completion of coursework and hours and how do I update the Program?

  • Coursework: Applicants have until the start date in August to successfully complete coursework requirements (no grades below “C” will be accepted, “C-“ is not acceptable). All required coursework must be completed and no substitutions for our coursework will be accepted (do not ask the program to make exceptions). Applicants needing to update coursework at the completion of classes should submit official transcripts directly to the program. Do not send transcripts unless updating coursework.
  • Clinical Experience: All contact hours must be completed by July 15th of the year entering. Outstanding hours should be updated by your supervisor by requesting he/she email the program the number of hours completed since the submission of the CASPA application.

If an applicant has no anticipated plan to complete the deficient coursework, GRE, or hours, he or she is asked to withdraw the application. Any unsuccessful completion coursework or hours by the set deadlines will result in forfeiture of the applicant’s seat, if offered.

GRE
Official GRE scores are to be sent directly to CASPA via the code 0399 by January 15. Please do not send scores directly to the program.

  • What’s the latest I can take the GRE? The longer you wait to submit scores, the longer it will take for your application to be considered further. Official GRE scores must be received before your application will be considered for an interview; self-reported scores will not be accepted.
  • GRE scores are not waived for any applicant, and if you are a re-applicant the program does not keep official scores on file.
  • The MU PA Program only accepts the General GRE and to be competitive with the applicant pool, a recommended combined score of:
    • Tests taken prior to August 1, 2011: 1050 or higher
    • Tests taken on or after August 1, 2011: 297-300 or higher
  • If you have not met the recommended score of 297, applicants should consider retaking the GRE. The highest Verbal and Quantitative score will be combined for the total score.
  • Please keep in mind that each program (if you have applied to more than one program) has their own GRE code. This means that you must submit scores via the code above for our program to receive your scores. It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with the program to ensure your GRE scores are received.

Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
Three LORs are required. They should be submitted from the following individuals below. If none or only one of your letters match the criteria below, the program feels the applicant may not be evaluated adequately and/or competitively versus other applicants who have met this criteria.

  • A science advisor or professor*
  • A medical coworker or supervisor. If you have shadowed a physician or PA they should write a LOR.
  • Another employer or another medical coworker.

*If the applicant is in progress of completing the bachelor’s degree or is a recent graduate (within 1-3 years) he/she will be expected to submit an academic letter of reference.

CASPA will make your application available with at least two letters submitted. If an applicant’s final recommendation is in the process of being submitted, CASPA will make the letter available when it is received and your application will still be considered. Applicants who have already submitted three letters to CASPA and are deficient in a letter from a professor or clinical reference, or who want to submit additional LORs, may have the individual submit their letter via email (preferred), mail or fax the letter directly to the program. No more than 5 LORs may be submitted.

How are applicants selected for an interview?
Applicants considered to be competitive based on, but not limited to GPA, GRE, and clinical experience will be invited for an on-campus interview with our Admissions Selection Committee (ASC). On-campus interviews are during the week (usually on Wednesdays or Fridays) and will begin in June. Interviews will continue until the class is filled. Previous trends have shown that interviews can run into February and early-March. All applicants selected for an interview will receive an invitation, via email, at least three to four weeks prior to their interview day. The program does not grant acceptance without an on-campus interview and travel expenses are the applicant’s responsibility. Interview format is provided to the applicants who are selected for an interview.

The program does interview for an alternate list once the class has been filled. If chosen to interview for the alternate list, applicants will be informed in their invitation that they are interviewing for the alternate list. Applicants who are placed on the alternate list and who are not offered a seat in the program because a seat was not available are not guaranteed admission into the next class, but may reapply.

How competitive is the program?
The 2014-2015 application cycle (aka: Class of 2017) yielded 599 applications for 40 seats. 90 (15%) invitations to interview were extended. 40 seats are available for the 2015-2016 application cycle (Class of 2018).

When does the class fill up and is there an alternate list?
Historically, the class can be filled as early as December or January, but as late as March or April. Obviously, every year is different, making it difficult to predict how quickly our class can be filled. Considerations will close mid-April, no later than May 1, and applicants not selected for an interview will be notified via email. Applicants are encouraged to withdraw their application if there are intentions to attend another institution or if interest in attending PA school is no longer an option.

Dos and Don'ts of Contacting the Program

Do’s/Responsibilities of the Application:

  • Applicants should contact the program, via email, within two to three weeks if there are discrepancies in their outstanding prerequisites. Please review all requirements prior to emailing and do not delay.
  • Make sure to read all correspondences and check your email (including your spam box) often.
  • If you know updated transcripts, official GRE scores, and/or updated hours are being submitted, applicants should send an email to make sure the program has received your updates. The program does not send confirmation emails to applicants who submit updated information.
  • If you are invited for an interview, but have no plans to interview with the program, you are expected to respond declining the invitation. The program will follow up with phone calls to applicants who do not respond via email to our invitation. Failure to respond results in an automatic withdrawal of your application and is considered a lack of professionalism.

Don’ts

  • Do not continuously call or email to check on your application status. Continuously checking on your application status is considered poor admissions etiquette. If you are chosen for an interview the program will contact you.
  • Once again, considerations will continue until at least mid-April. Once considerations have closed, the program will email you.
  • Do not have others (i.e. parents, spouses, employers, people affiliated with the program) call on your behalf or ask about your application status. It is against policy to share any information regarding an application with anyone other than the applicant.
  • Do not ask or expect the program to make an exception or allow substitutions for any of our prerequisite requirements. It does not benefit the applicant in any way to make this request.

Contacting the Program

All emails will be returned within 24 hours during business hours. If applicants do not receive a response, your email was not received. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am- 5:00 pm EST.

Mailing Address for transcripts and additional LOR:
Methodist University PA Program
Attn: Jennifer Mish
5107 College Centre Dr.
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Email (official electronic transcripts and additional LORs, if applicable, are to be sent to this address):

Admissions Telephone*: Toll Free: (800) 488-7110 ext. 7615
Direct: (910) 630-7615

*Applicants outside EST: Unless noted, the program will return voicemails on EST. If you are in a different time zone and leave a voicemail, please include a preferred time to call you back.

Admissions Fax: (910) 630-7643

Visiting the Program
For anyone wanting to visit the program, the program hosts monthly information sessions during the week, and applicants are encouraged to try and attend a session if they want to visit. Sessions tend to be very small (less than ten visitors), lasts about 45 minutes-1 hour, and anyone with individual questions after the session will have time to address them with the Admissions Director. These dates are listed on our website under “Information Sessions.” If you want to attend a session, you must confirm your attendance via email.

If you are unable to make an information session and have a strong desire to visit, please contact the Admissions Director, via email, and schedule an appointment. Prior contact with the program, rather than walk-in visits, is highly encouraged to ensure the Admissions Director is available and has time to adequately address your questions. When contacting the program, please make sure to inform the program that you are a current applicant.

Professional Expectations
Applicants are expected to demonstrate professional courtesy at all times when contacting the program. As stated above, if there is an oversight of an outstanding prerequisite the program will make every effort to review your application again and gently request you to be understanding and patient as we address your questions in a timely manner.

 

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