This is a super not fun topic, but it’s absolutely something you need to consider. Applying to PA school is very expensive, and there are a lot of smaller costs hidden in the process that people don’t remember.
I’m going to start from the beginning to give you the best idea of how much this is going to cost you. And unfortunately, every year the costs do go up – which is killer if you’re a re-applicant. Everything in this post has been updated to current costs!
- $205 to take the exam
- you get 4 FREE schools to send a score to the day you take the test! Make sure to use these! However, before going to the testing site, make sure you know the GRE code for the Physician Assistant Program, and not just the regular school. Some are different and you don’t want to waste a free send. I took the test in January, and all 4 of the schools I sent them do had my scores when I submitted in June.
- $27 per additional score reports
- CASPA has a list of each school’s code to send to HERE. You also have the opportunity to unofficially report your scores within CASPA, but if a school requires the GRE you are most likely going to have to send official scores to the,
- Optional Stuff
- I chose to do an online Kaplan Review course before taking the GRE. I didn’t want to have to take the exam more than once, and I knew that I wouldn’t get as much out of doing workbooks as I would watching a video. Obviously, decide what you think would be the most helpful for you. I spent an additional $700 on this and chose the Self-Paced. Luckily, Kaplan does offer tons of coupon codes throughout the year which is nice.
- Other ways to study involve buying different review books. There are also a bunch of free resources out there for you to use. HERE is a link to the ETS provided resources out there.
- Didn’t do as well as you want? You can choose to review your Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Section answers for $50.
- The first application you complete will be $179
- Every additional application is $52
- You pay these cost UPON submitting the application, not before!
- Transcript entry service $65-140 depending on the number of transcripts you have. Using this service means a CASPA employee will input your transcript for you in to CASPA. Seriously, don’t use this. It might take time, but its very easy to enter in your transcript and you can save some serious money. I talk about entering transcripts on CASPA here
- You have to send a transcript to CASPA. For EVERY college. Did you do dual enrollment in high school? Send a transcript. Took one class at a college over the summer? Send it. Transferred colleges? Send transcripts from all of them. If you do not submit a transcript from every school you took classes at, its very possible your application will be thrown out.
- For my school, this was $7
- Some schools also want a transcript sent specifically to them
- Some schools will require that you take this exam. It is a series of videos and scenarios to respond to so that the program can have a better picture of the way you think
- $10 to take the exam
- $10 per school to send scores to schools.
- Every school is different on this front. There can be no supplemental, a supplemental that is just a signed agreement, essay questions, or basically a second application to fill out with your prerequisite grades.
- This is hard to ballpark a specific cost accrual, so, I’m going to give you the cost of the supplemental applications to the schools I applied to.
- University of Florida $30 + $1.75 credit card processing fee. This supplemental needs to be completed BEFORE submitting CASPA
- Medical University of South Carolina $80
- Emory $75
- Duke $50
- Northeastern $75
- George Washington University $60
- University of Alabama at Birmingham $75
- Yale $50
- Drexel- No supplemental!
- Penn State $0
- Eastern Virginia Medical School $0 (YAY)
- Shenandoah- No supplemental!
- Baylor $50
- University of Utah – supplemental is after acceptance
- UT Southwestern-No supplemental
Okay, now for interview costs.
This is super hard to ballpark. Depending on how far in advance you get an interview is going to determine a lot of the costs. Some of the schools lets you know a month in advance, some of the schools let you know two weeks in advance. It just depends on the program.
Some things to consider
- How are you getting there. I would estimate at least $200 for this.
- Do you have to fly? Check multiple sites to see if a different airline is cheaper than the one you usually use. My favorite site is Momondo.
- Or are you going to drive? I personally didn’t drive to any of my interviews, but a good friend of mine did and this seriously cut down on costs for her. She felt it was worth it to spend longer to get there.
- How are you getting around once you get to the city? Most places will have a shuttle service from the airport to the school, especially if there is an undergrad campus as well – definitely call the airport and ask! Also check the University’s website, and a lot of times they’ll have tips on how to get to the school from the airport or driving directions.
- Where are you staying. This is at least another $150.
- How many nights are you going to have to stay? Some school utilize a two day interview. Some schools only want you there from 9-5. And some schools do a student dinner the night before. No matter what, I recommend arriving well before the interview start time. I can’t tell you how many interviewees I saw arrive late due to metro problems when I was in DC. If you’re looking to get out of there quick and want to leave immediately after, that’s a different story and a lot more doable.
- If you have the option to stay with a student, stay with the student! Firstly, it’ll save you money. And secondly, the student will often have lots of tips for you! Overall, I thought it was a lot more relaxing and beneficial to stay with a student than to stay in a hotel.
- The schools will often send out cheaper hotels, or hotels that give deals to students, when they send out your interview invite. If your parents are a member of AAA, see if they can book the hotel for you at better price. You could also consider becoming a rewards member at a specific chain and then only staying in those hotels to rack up points.
- If you’re going to an expensive city or staying for multiple nights, check out Airbnb. I stayed in a shared apartment while in Boston and saved ~$200 by doing so. That money came in handy later on, and I got some great tips on places to go while in Boston from the owner.
- What are you doing for food. This could range, but expect at least $50.
- Don’t forget this! I always tried to get a place that had at least a microwave and then went to a store so I could get meals I could eat at home. Schools will often provide lunch during your interview.
I would budget at least another $1500 for interviews (depending on the number of schools you apply to it could be more or less). Always budget more in this care, because you obviously want more interviews than less in this case and you don’t want to be stuck without the ability to go to interviews due to money problems.
I chose to apply for a Southwest credit card before I applied so that I could use the miles I got from paying for all the application fees to fly to my interviews. It was SUPER convenient and helped me save a ton of money. If you want a link to apply (you get 40,000 points for spending $1000 in 3 months), HERE is my link (I also get 10,000 points if you sign up with my link). Also consider checking out other cards such as Delta, Expedia, etc. It’s a great way for you to save money and build up your credit.
Comment below on your thoughts about applying to PA school, and your own experience.
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