I’m going to preface the post by saying the MOST important thing you can do is check out CASPA FAQs page, found here. Literally every question you could possible have will be found on this page.
However, I see a TON of questions about CASPA on a daily basis, and I wanted to give a brief answer to some of the most common ones.
- Can I submit CASPA at different times to different schools?
Yep! This is a great feature of CASPA for many reasons. Say a school requires that you have 1000 patient care hours at time of application, while other schools do not. You can submit to the 1000 hours school later after you have finished those 1000 hours.
Transcripts and letters of recommendation are not required for submission! However, CASPA will not review your application until transcripts and two letters are received!
DO NOT WAIT until the last minute! There can be lags in the system due to over-usage of people all trying to submit at once.
Once you submit, you can not edit your application! Keep that in mind.
- Can I send an official transcript to CASPA more than once?
Nope. Once CASPA verifies your GPA another transcript will not be used to recalculate your GPA. If your GPA is in the process of being calculated and the new transcript arrives, they will use the new transcript to calculate your GPA.
Basically, you should assume that you can only send in a transcript once. If you are taking prerequisite courses and will finish before the end of summer semester, I would wait to send in your transcript because those prerequisites would be helpful to your science GPA.
- Can I add experiences after I submit CASPA to one school?
Yes! You can add experiences at any point. You can not edit them or delete them once your CASPA has been submitted. So, if you started a shadowing opportunity after submitting, you could add it and then hit “update” to send the updated CASPA with this experience to schools.
- Can I edit CASPA after I submit?
Nope! This is why you need to double and triple check everything before you submit CASPA to any school.
- Are Letters of Recommendation uploaded directly from the writer, or can I upload it?
The LoR must be uploaded directly from the letter writer. When filling out the reference form, you enter the email address of the writer. Through this email address, they will receive a link to complete the reference. They must complete both the scale and upload the letter to be able to submit the reference.
- What kind of memberships should I list?
Everyyyythiiinnng makes you look good. People are commonly confused about fraternities and sororities, so my suggestion would be to put them under volunteering (because lets be real, we did a ridiculous amount of volunteering through Greek life). Check out this for more info.
- What is included in the science GPA?
Okay, firstly CASPA calculates your GPA a little differently than most schools. You will not have a calculated GPA until your application has a status of “completed”.
sGPA is calculated by Biology/Zoology, Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and other sciences.
This chart is AMAZING for determining what classes count for. *Labs are also included in your science GPA*
- When describing duties/key responsibilities for experiences, what format should I use?
Whatever you want! I chose to do bullet points but I had friends who wrote paragraphs. It all depends on what you think will get across your responsibilities the best. Remember, you only have a short area to describe this in, so keep that in mind.
- What do I enter AP courses as in my transcript?
I explained this some here, but AP courses should be listed in your first semester of college. Make sure to put the name of the course you got credit for, NOT the name of the AP course. Enter the number of credits you received for the class. For grade, put “P”
After you finish inputting the transcript, you will be asked to select AP courses.
- How long will it take to be verified?
For your application to be complete you need: all transcripts, at least two of your references marked as complete, payment complete, an official email confirmation, and your status reads “verifying”.
Applications are placed in chronological order based on when they are received to be verified. During peak times (aka when everyone is submitting), it may take up to FOUR weeks. Normally, it should take TWO. However, it could take hours or days as well. It all depends on how busy they are when you submit. It will be a shorter amount of time if you have already submitted CASPA to some schools.
You will get an email when it is verified.
- Does it matter when I submit by?
This question doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer, it depends. No matter what, I would suggest submitting a month before the deadline (giving you those 4 weeks to get your CASPA verified-which most schools require by the deadline).
For rolling admission schools, the earlier you submit, the better. These schools are going to look at applications in order. However, do NOT rush your application. Make sure it is complete and well written. All the information you want presented to the board should be there.
For schools with a set deadline, I would submit as soon as you have all of the materials and a completed CASPA. For example, if a school needed those 1000 hours at time of application, do not submit before you have them. Chances are your application won’t even be considered.
Keep in mind that you want to be early, but complete. I do not think that submitting early will make or break your application and whether or not you get an interview. If you are submitting before August, I would say that you are in good shape.
**My experience: I chose to apply to Yale last minute. Like the day before the application was due I submitted my supplemental application last minute. However, I still was chosen for an interview, which shows that the time of application cannot kill a good applicant.**
Hopefully, this helps a little. I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT it is to read the CASPA FAQs. They’re set up to be easy to decipher and very friendly to use, and it will save you a lot of time. If you have a specific question as to whether a health care experience or class counts towards a school, check out their website! Most schools are clear as to what counts or will give you an email to ask questions to (if you can find the answer on the website, DO NOT ASK). In addition, if you have a PA student friend or PA that you know, don’t ask them questions about a specific school (i.e. I get asked all the time what pre-requisites are required for different programs that I do not attend – it’s incredibly frustrating) or something you could easily google yourself. The internet is a great resource for you to use.
Comment below on your thoughts applying to PA school and dealing with CASPA.
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