Criteria for Interview/Acceptance
The School of Physician Assistant Studies supports the policy of the University of Florida regarding non-discrimination. This policy declares that the University of Florida is committed to non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, and veteran status as protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act.
The School does not set a firm minimum acceptable GPA, however as the applicant pool grows more and more competitive we are finding that the most qualified applicants have demonstrated consistently high GPAs and rarely fall below a 3.0 cumulative GPA as well as a 3.0 science GPA. In rare cases where an applicant’s GPA falls below 3.0 but the applicant otherwise appears to be a sound candidate for interview, the Admissions Committee carefully evaluates other criteria (see below) to determine the eligibility of an applicant for interview.
In screening applications for interview, the Admissions Committee looks carefully at an applicant’s scores on the GRE. In past years, most applicants who scored below 300 combined score on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE were not considered for interview. For the 2012 cycle, the program began using GRE concordance tables, which can be found here, as a guide to approximate scores from the new GRE. However, as is the case with GPAs explained above, the committee carefully evaluates other criteria (see below) to determine eligibility for interview.
Successful applicants from the most recent cycles scored at or above a cumulative score of 300 on the GRE.
Please note the committee will evaluate your most recent set of GRE scores only.
Applicants’ transcripts are carefully reviewed by the Admissions Committee in order to identify patterns or trends in academic history and performance that may need to be addressed.
Academic Performance and Difficulty of Courses
Transcripts demonstrating consistency in academic performance and ability to carry a full course load of substantial content will be heavily weighed by the Admissions Committee.
“Survey” or “Introductory” courses, particularly in chemistry, are seldom equivalent to the intensive prerequisite courses accepted by the Admissions Committee.
Age of Prerequisite Courses
Because of the rapid evolution of the basic sciences, preference will be given to applicants who have completed their preprofessional prerequisite courses during the five years immediately before applying to the School of Physician Assistant Studies.
CLEP or Advanced Placement Courses
CLEP examination or advanced placement credit may not be used to meet any of the School’s requirements. Experiential learning is also not an acceptable substitute for prerequisite requirements.
Patient Care Experience
See “Patient Care Experience” under School Requirements above
Applicants should be especially careful in selecting three individuals to write references for the CASPA application. PROFESSIONAL references are recommended by the Admissions Committee. The School recommends at least one reference from a clinician (MD, DO, NP) who has supervised the applicant in a clinical setting, one reference from a PA who is familiar with the applicant’s clinical work, and one reference from another health professional who has worked alongside the applicant and/or is familiar with the applicant’s clinical skills. In order to be considered “familiar with an applicant’s clinical skills,” the reference should have worked with the applicant for a minimum of six months.
References written by academic instructors and advisors will not carry as much weight as references provided by professionals who are familiar with the applicant’s clinical skills.
The School does not want references written by relatives, personal friends, or friends of the applicant’s family. “Character references” (from pastors, teachers, counselors, family doctors, etc.) are also not acceptable.
Applicants are discouraged from sending more than three references unless requested to do so. In most cases, the items required for the CASPA application provide sufficient information for the Admissions Committee to conduct a thorough review of an application. However, if the Admissions Committee determines that additional references or other materials are needed, the School will contact the applicant to request specific materials.
Our Admissions Committee carefully evaluates each application in terms of an applicant’s academic performance, course loads, performance in prerequisite courses, GRE scores, patient care experience, recommendations from professional references, and personal narrative. Invitations for interview are extended to applicants who present an overall picture that suggests an ability to meet the rigors of our program and the potential to become an effective practicing physician assistant. It is important to note that simply meeting our minimum requirements in no way guarantees an interview. We receive well over 1000 applications for just 60 available positions. We select approximately 147 applicants for interview each application cycle.
Applicants’ written and oral communication skills are evaluated by the Admissions Committee and interviewers. The Narrative Statement found on the CASPA application, along with the GRE Analytical Writing exercise, provides the School with samples of an applicant’s written communication skills. Oral communication skills are evaluated during the actual interview process. Applicants must excel in both types of communication in order to be eligible for admission to the School.
In addition to the above criteria, an applicant will be evaluated on the overall picture s/he presents to the Admissions Committee. Factors (in addition to those named above) that interviewers consider in arriving at a final decision about admissibility of an applicant include poise, maturity, understanding of the PA role on the health team, motivation for the PA profession, and perceived potential to be an effective practicing PA.