Hello everyone. My name is Kanwal Ali, and I'm a physician assistant student pairing up with Power Up The PA Life Community to present this step-by-step video tutorial for completing your CASPA application.
This is part one of a five-part CASPA video series walking you through every step of your CASPA application from start to finish!
In this video, we'll go over the first section of the CASPA application: Personal Information. Below is a transcript of this video edited for clarity.
What is CASPA?
CASPA, or the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants, is an application service for graduate-level PA programs. Most PA programs use this service, and it will be the starting point for your PA school application.
You do not have to be in the application process to create a CASPA account and there is no penalty for starting early. So even if you are in the contemplation phase of applying to PA school, I recommend you create a CASPA account ASAP, even if it is for the sole purpose of gathering information or walking through this video series.
When I started my CAPSA application in 2021, I remember feeling the uncertainty (and accompanying dread) of completing the entire application.
Since I hadn't known how in-depth it would get, I had to take off work and ensure I had time in my schedule to finish my application from start to end.
I'm here today to provide some information about the application and how to navigate it, along with some personal tips that will help you tackle this process with confidence and preparedness.
The CASPA Main Page
Before we begin, prior to getting to this page, after making your CASPA account, you will be prompted to select any school of your choice that you wish to apply to.
It could be any school and as many schools as you want to choose, and that will make the system render an application to be available for you to finish. You can modify this later, but you will need to select at least one school to begin the application.
You can also see your CASPA ID on the top right, which you'll use for different things, such as ordering transcripts, completing secondaries, and so on.
I recommend keeping your CASPA ID on hand and easily accessible so you don't have to keep logging into the website to access it.
You can also reference the help icon, which will redirect you to the Q & A site of CASPA. It is very helpful and has all the information you need during this process.
Adding a Program
On this tab, you can add all the programs of your choice.
The programs listed are programs whose cycle is currently open. So if you're looking to apply to a specific program and you see that it's not listed here, it either means that the deadline has passed or that they have a later start date. Hence it won't be listed just yet.
You can use the filters here, and I always checked off past and future programs. I just like to keep my options open, so I definitely recommend having that done.
You can sort by organization name, state, deadline, the start term that you're looking for, and the delivery of the actual program, whether it's hybrid or on campus.
Once you have your schools listed, they will all update on this page, and you can see the progress tracker. Once you have done all of the sections, as well as all of these specific sections for each school, you click submit. It also shows you the fees associated with each program.
Once you've done that, you can click on check status, and here you'll see whether it will be verified or not. So you will see here when CASPA does verify your application after submitting it.
Now let's go back and start with the first section.
So the first section is the release statement. It is the typical terms and conditions that you will be filling out your application with honesty and integrity. Go over this. And, of course, it's something that you will need to agree to. You will save and continue and proceed to the next section.
The next section is where you list all your biographic information. Very, very easy. You just fill it out. I'm just going to go over it with you.
So after each section, once you save and continue, it'll prompt you to go to the next section. So this first section is relatively self-explanatory. You fill out all of your information. Let's go back up. You have your citizenship, your race, and your ethnicity.
For your family information, you will go ahead and click, add parent or guardian and add their information as well, and save and continue. You can always add more than one person as well.
For the environmental factors section, you'll have to write a description of your childhood residency. I had written about how my family and I, five members in total, had lived in a tiny apartment and how we had survived roof collapses and house fires.
Just a short description of how, as a first-generation student, I wanted to do something that would significantly impact our future.
Now we have some "other information," which will include language proficiency. So you're going to go ahead and add all this information.
And I want to get to the COVID-19 essay. Some schools may mandate an essay, and some schools may not, but during my application cycle, COVID heavily impacted my ability to get shadowing hours.
Despite the many obstacles afforded by the pandemic, I was able to get some clinical hours, and I was able to get some shadowing hours.
I recommend having some sort of information in this section, even if it is a personal obstacle you had to overcome. CASPA allows you to indicate if it is professional or if it is something academic.
During the pandemic, my classes had moved online halfway through the semester, and I had gotten sick with COVID for the first time during that semester. I had struggled with my grades and this was something I wanted to reflect on in this section.
Once you review all this information, all of these sections will display a check mark, like on this first release statement.
And that's it, you're done (at least with the first part 😀).
I hope this first video helps you to have an overview of the first section of the CASPA application covering personal information.
Join us next week when we will share the next video in this CASPA application tutorial series - completing your academic history.