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.
After academic eligibility is determined (see Application Requirements under Direct Admission), the non-academic portion of the application is evaluated by the Admissions Committee. Only submitted and VERIFIED applications through CASPA with completed and submitted UC PAP Supplemental Applications by August 1 will be considered. All qualifying applications will be scored and individuals who meet the predetermined threshold will be invited for interviews.
Fast Track applications are scored and interviews are arranged only after receipt of completed applications (including 2 letters of reference, official transcripts, and official ACT or SAT
scores). Applications will NOT be accepted after the application deadline on June 30.
Direct Admission and Fast Track applications will be evaluated in the following areas:
Academic Strength, Health Care Experience, Social Engagement, Personal Narrative, and References. Direct Admission candidates will be scored on the Supplemental Application; Fast Track candidates will be scored on the Evidence of Propensity to Practice in Medically Underserved Areas. The weight assigned to each category is indicated in parentheses.
Academic Strength (40%)
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.
Minimum academic requirements include:
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Combined Verbal and Quantitative score of at least 292 and Analytical Writing of at least 3.0
- Bachelor’s degree or higher prior to matriculation (Direct Admission Applicants only)
- Completion or feasible plan for completion of ALL required prerequisite coursework.
Health Care Experience (25%)
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 (LPN, RN), paramedic/EMT, athletic trainer, surgical tech, radiologic tech, and phlebotomist. Other health care experiences that 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.
Clinical rotations as part of a health care degree or training are not considered quality health care experiences.
Social Engagement (15%)
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 that 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.
This is evaluated through the Supplemental Application for Direct Admission applicants.
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. Three references are required for Direct Admission applicants and two references are required for Fast Track applicants. 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.