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School of Health Sciences
Physician Assistant
The HPU PA Program
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The Physician Assistant

Admission FAQs

FAQs about Admission Process

Does High Point University participate in CASPA?
Yes, The High Point University (HPU) PA program uses the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). All applicants applying for the Founding Class of 2017 (entering June 2015) will apply online using the CASPA application. To apply, visit https://portal.caspaonline.org/.

What materials are required for my CASPA application to be considered complete by your November 1, 2014 deadline?
Per the CASPA website: “Applicants must have a complete application by the deadline date posted. A complete application requires that the application is e-submitted and all transcripts, payments, and at least two letters of reference have been received by CASPA and attached to the application. Documents should be sent to CASPA several weeks prior to the deadline date to ensure all items arrive on time.” Once the application is completed by the applicant it typically takes 4-6 weeks for the application to be verified by CASPA for the PA Program’s use.

How many applicants are being interviewed this year and how many will be chosen for the founding class?
We anticipate interviewing approximately 60 applicants during the November 2014 through January 2015 timeframe and will be selecting 20 candidates for the Founding Class of 2017. Based on the number of applications typically received by PA programs it is anticipated that many applicants who meet the minimum admission requirements will not be selected for one of the 60 interview opportunities.

What attributes are assessed as part of your interview process?
During the interview process we expect successful candidates to all possess high-levels of academic preparedness, significant exposure to the health care setting, a deep understanding of the PA role, and possession of the non-cognitive attributes required for success as a future clinician.

What non-cognitive factors are assessed during the interview process?

Applicants will be evaluated on a variety of non-cognitive factors including: service orientation, social skills, cultural competence, teamwork, oral and written communication, ethical responsibility, reliability and dependability, resilience and adaptability, capacity for improvement, critical thinking, and quantitative, scientific, and ethical reasoning ability.

Do you have an alternate list and when are alternates told that they are invited?
We will inform applicants not offered acceptance into the program of their alternate status in March of 2015 and ask you to confirm your interest in being added to the alternate list. Alternates may be accepted into the Founding Class of 2017 as late as June 2015.

Will High Point University (HPU) graduates be given preferential admission to the program?

All High Point University graduates who meet the admission requirements will be invited for an interview. Current HPU students who meet the admission requirements, including earning a bachelor’s degree from HPU prior to PA program enrollment, receive consideration for interview under this policy.

Do you accept international students?
International students are welcome to apply as long as they have met the minimum admissions requirements, including an earned bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university.

International applicants who are offered an interview should be prepared to travel to campus. International applicants are responsible for their own student visa fees and paperwork, and should note that there is no funding, such as US federal financial aid, available for international applicants. HPU requires additional documentation from international applicants to assess their immigration/citizenship status and ability to support themselves financially for the duration of the PA program.

FAQs about Degrees

What is the best major to pursue in preparation for admission to HPU’s PA Programs?
There is no single best major to pursue. The most common majors of PA students entering programs nationally in 2012, in order, were Biology, “Other”, Psychology, Chemistry, and Exercise Science/Kinesiology. Programs look for applicants who complete rigorous science course work at a high level and have a great breadth and depth of academic preparation.

Which undergraduate major will cover all of the prerequisites?
Degree requirements vary based on the individual or university attended. Unlike most medical schools, PA programs have differing prerequisites. It is highly likely you will have to take additional courses beyond what is required by your major in order to meet the prerequisites needed for all of the PA programs to which you plan to apply.

Can I apply before I have my bachelor’s degree?
You can apply prior to completing your bachelor’s degree, but your graduation date must be no later than May 31, 2015 if you are applying for the upcoming 2014-2015 application cycle. The anticipated start date of the founding class is Monday, June 1, 2015. You can’t begin HPU’s PA program without first completing a bachelor’s degree, and there are no exceptions.

FAQs about Prerequisite Coursework

After reviewing the admissions requirements I was wondering if you could make an exception for my case?
Specific questions related to the adequacy of your prior courses in meeting requirements should be directed to our admissions team. In accordance with the ARC-PA Standard that states “The program must make student admission decisions in accordance with clearly defined and published practices of the institution and program” we don’t have a process for considering exceptions to our minimum admissions requirements (e.g., Overall GPA < 3.0, science courses taken greater than 10 years ago, etc). We strive to have transparent expectations that are applied consistently for all applicants.

Do you recommend specific courses to meet your minimum prerequisite requirements?

Yes. Our table of prerequisite courses lists some suggested courses. In addition we have the following recommendations:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: The Anatomy and Physiology requirements may be met by taking either one semester of Anatomy and one semester of Physiology, or two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology combined.
  • Biology: The 8 credits of biology requirement may be met through lower-level biology courses for science majors, or upper-level biology courses. All courses must include a laboratory component. Basic biology courses should include a strong background in cell biology, genetics, and immunology.
  • Upper Level Biology: One term of upper level biology including but not limited to: Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Histology, Immunology, Embryology, Biochemistry Select courses from other disciplines (e.g., biomechanics within an exercise science major) will be acceptable for meeting this prerequisite.
  • Psychology: Recommended courses are Developmental Psychology and/or Abnormal Psychology

When do I have to complete my prerequisites?
All prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the Fall semester of the year in which you apply.

At least twelve (12) prerequisite courses must be completed before the Fall semester begins (e.g., only one (1) may be in progress during the Fall semester.)

I’m taking a summer class that you require. Can I submit my application to CASPA early and then update my CASPA application later?
Once you submit and pay for your HPU program-designation fee , you are not allowed to make any changes or updates to your application (address updates are the exception). We recommend submitting documentation of at least 12 prerequisite courses as part of your CASPA submission. Our application deadline of November 1, 2014 allows applicants to timely submit their summer transcripts to CASPA and still be considered for interview.

Can I send you my updated transcripts?
Prior to your application being completed within CASPA all transcripts should be sent directly to CASPA. Once your application is “verified” by CASPA, updated transcripts can be forwarded to:
   High Point University
   Norcross Graduate School
   Attn: Carene Kelsey
   833 Montlieu Avenue
   High Point, NC 27262
Accepted students who had one prerequisite in progress during the fall 2014 semester will be asked to submit final transcripts directly to HPU as a condition of acceptance.

Are labs required?
Yes, as described on our prerequisite course table. We strongly recommend, but don’t strictly require, that labs be taken when offered to complement coursework. Separate lab credit, if accompanied by a letter grade, may be included toward the total minimum prerequisite credits when your institution doesn’t provide the necessary combined class-lab course.

Do you accept online classes for the prerequisites?
Yes, but only for non-laboratory classes taken from a regionally accredited university or college for credit and a letter grade. In-person labs are required for all prerequisite laboratory courses.

Do you accept community college coursework?
Yes, we do.

My prior coursework and clinical experience exceed your minimum admissions requirements in certain areas, can I “test out” or be considered “exempt” from some of the program’s coursework?
No. All courses within the curriculum are required. No transfer credit is accepted. No credit is granted for pre-admission experiential learning, prior coursework, degrees, certifications, or advanced training.

FAQs about GPAs

I did not have a strong GPA when I was an undergraduate student. Can I still be a competitive candidate?
The High Point University PA Program requires a 3.0 undergraduate Overall and Science GPA. Candidates with GPAs below 3.0 as calculated by CASPA will not be considered.

How do you assess a candidate’s academic preparedness for the program?
Our assessment of academic preparedness begins by ensuring applicants meet, or exceed, our Admission Requirements. We then more thoroughly assess academic performance based on factors including: GPAs, GRE scores, and breadth of science coursework.

Can I re-take some courses to bring my GPA up?
It is very difficult to significantly raise one’s GPA. CASPA does not eliminate the lesser grade on coursework re-taken with better performance. Please note that we cannot predict how competitive you will be in a given applicant pool based on your academic history.

FAQs about GREs

What is High Point University’s CASPA GRE Code?
High Point University’s CASPA GRE Designated Institution Code is 7291. Please use this CASPA-specific code and not the general HPU GRE Code.

FAQs About Health Care Experience


I can’t find a list of what is acceptable for health care experience on your website. How do I know if my experience will be accepted, and does shadowing count?

All forms of health care experience are considered and accepted and we do factor PA (and only PA) shadowing hours into your total hours. Generally, we prefer applicants have significantly greater than 200 hours of volunteer or work experience, and experience that requires a period of training resulting in the delivery of direct (hands-on) patient care.

What can I do to get health care experience?
Most PA programs strictly require or strongly recommend health care experience, but what you choose to do to get it depends on you – your interests, your timeframe, whether you are willing to acquire professional training or certifications if needed, what jobs are available where you live, etc. Given these factors, it is not possible for us to advise candidates on what they “should” do in order to acquire experience.

Is PA shadowing required?
Yes, PA shadowing or the equivalent of direct work experience in a setting alongside a PA is required. Shadowing experiences should be listed in the “shadowing” section of your CASPA application, but are also counted toward meeting our minimum 200 hours of patient care experience.

How do I arrange to shadow a PA?
Check with health care systems and clinics in your area to see if they have a PA, then contact the PA, let them know you are exploring the profession, and ask if you can shadow. Some health care settings and clinics may not allow shadowing due to HIPAA concerns.

FAQs about References

What do you look for in letters of reference?
A total of 3 references submitted on the official CASPA reference form are required. At least one reference should attest to the applicant’s academic preparedness for the program based on direct experience in a teacher-student relationship, a second reference should attest to the applicant’s intrapersonal attributes and interpersonal communication abilities based on direct observation as supervisor of the applicant’s volunteer or work experience. The third reference is of the applicant’s choice and can overlap with the two specific reference letters required.

Other FAQs

Is High Point University’s PA Program accredited?
The High Point University Physician Assistant Studies Program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Pending provisional accreditation in September 2014, HPU anticipates commencing the PA program in June 2015. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.

Why is High Point University’s PA Program being considered for provisional accreditation?
As a developing program, High Point University is only eligible for accreditation-provisional from the ARC-PA. Provisional Accreditation is an accreditation status granted by the ARC-PA for a limited, defined period of time (3 years) to a new PA program that has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the Accreditation Standards for Physician Assistant Education. Only those institutions which are actively engaged in establishing a program for the education of physician assistants (PA) are eligible for provisional accreditation. The provisional accreditation process involves a thorough review of the planning, organization, and proposed content of a program that is in the advanced planning stages, but not yet operational. Students who successfully graduate from a provisionally accredited PA program are considered graduates of an accredited program and eligible to register for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

Where can I do my clinical rotations? Do I have to provide my own preceptors?
Students are not required to supply their own clinical sites or preceptors. The HPU PA Program doesn’t guarantee placements at student discretion. Preceptors and clinical training sites must meet numerous requirements to qualify for a student placement. Students who train in clinical sites remote from HPU are expected to return to campus several times during the clinical year for specific evaluations and additional instruction.

Is it possible for students to work part-time?
Due to the rigorous full-time demands of the program, we strongly discourage students from holding jobs while enrolled in classes.

How can I apply for financial aid?
The most common source of financial aid is through federal loans, available online through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Because maximum federal aid awards may fall short of covering all expenses, students may also supplement their expenses with bank loans and may rely on help from working significant others, family support, or personal savings. Accepted students will receive more information about obtaining financial aid prior to enrollment at HPU.

Come Visit Us!

For information, please call Carene Kelsey, Norcross Graduate School Health Professions Recruiter, at (336) 841-9527.

Department of Physician Assistant Studies 833 Montlieu Ave
High Point, NC 27262

(336) 841-9504 (V)
(336) 888-5034 (F)

To find our building, point your GPS to:
1030 Mall Loop Rd, High Point

Preparing healthcare professionals for the world as it is going to be SM

The Physician Assistant Studies Program at HPU

Welcome from the Department Chair

Flickr Photostream: Department of Physician Assistant Studies

ARC-PA Accreditation

The High Point University Physician Assistant Studies Program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Pending provisional accreditation in September 2014, HPU anticipates commencing the PA program in June 2015. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new PA program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards.
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