University of Wisconsin–Madison

Application Process

Application Timeline

Below is a rough timeline for preparing your application.  Click on the arrows for more information. We have also prepared a guide for completing the CASPA.


Fall before you apply

Research Schools

For a searchable directory of programs, visit the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).  For tips on choosing schools, visit our Selecting Schools page.

Make a list of your activities outside of class

  • Hours, dates, locations, contacts
  • What your role was, what you learned

Identify possible letter writers


Spring before you apply

Study for the GRE

Most physician assistant programs require the GRE. To hear how other students have prepared, visit our exam tips page.

Write personal statement

For tips on writing your personal statement, check out our Personal Statement page.

Request letters of recommendation

Most PA schools require 2-3 letters of recommendation.  We recommend that at least one come from a health care professional (preferably a PA) and one from a faculty member. For tips on how to build relationships with faculty, visit our Letters of Recommendation page.


Summer that you apply

Complete the centralized application

Most physical therapy programs use a centralized application called CASPA, which opens in April. CASPA costs $175 for the first school and $50 for each additional program. Once you submit the application, you will need to monitor the progress of your application to make sure that all of your materials arrive and are verified. The centralized application includes:

Complete school-specific supplemental application

Some, but not all, physician assistant programs have a supplemental application. Beginning in 2015-2016 application cycle, schools will be able to move their supplemental applications into CASPA. Check individual schools’ requirements to confirm how and when to submit the secondary application.


Some, but not all, physician assistant programs have finalists interview. For help preparing, visit our Interview Preparation page.