Getting Into Physician Assistant (PA) School with a Low GPA

You’re passionate about becoming a PA but you’re worried that your GPA could be an obstacle to achieving your goal. A difficult transition to college, a rough semester, or another challenge that affected your GPA doesn’t mean the end of your plans to become a PA. Many successful PA applicants started out with less-than-optimal applications, but were able to gain admission by strengthening their applications and/or applying strategically.

Seventeen New PA Programs for 2023

Seventeen new PA programs are now accredited by ARC-PA and are accepting applications. This brings the total number of programs in our database to exactly 300. The information on these programs, including links to the programs’ websites, can be found by clicking the name in the list of this post, or using our search function.
This post also discusses ARC-PA accreditation, including the different types and why it is important.

The 10 Least Expensive PA Programs

With many programs costing over $200,000 including cost of living, it may seem like attending a PA program is out of reach. It doesn’t have to be – in this article we give you the 10 least expensive programs based on our research. A few are very reasonable, especially for residents of the state they are located in.

Best Majors for Applying to PA School

Picking a major that will prepare you for physician assistant school can seem very daunting at first. You may have always wanted to be a PA or you may have just decided half way through college. The first thing to remember is not to stress over this. Your college major will not make or break your chances at getting into PA school. Here are a few guidelines to remember when picking a major or evaluating if this major is right for you.

What is the GRE and do I need to take the GRE for PA school?

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test that tests on three key skills for graduate schools, namely analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. There are six sections, with a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes of testing time including a ten-minute break after section three. Almost half of all PA schools require or recommend the GRE for applicants.

What is the Casper and Altus Suite?

PA schools have slowly transitioned to requiring the Casper test in the last few years. The Casper test is a situational judgement and awareness exam that tests your judgement in challenging situations. The test looks for skills not evaluated in coursework or on the GRE/PA-CAT including professionalism, empathy, and ethics to name a few. The test has both written and recorded verbal responses.

Physician Assistant Application Process Overview

Applying for PA school is a multistep process, so it’s important to have an understanding of exactly what you need to do and when it needs to be done in order to be successful. This article provides an overview of the application process to get you oriented.

Instructions and Tips

Use this page to search for programs based on prerequisites.

Here’s some tips:

  • After searching, make sure you also review the detailed notes, recommendations and requirements on the school detail page and/or the compare prerequisite page.
  • Check one or more boxes within each group of fields to narrow the search results down.
  • Select every checkbox up to and including your target requirement. For example, if you have one semester of chemistry, check “None” also to make sure you don’t exclude those programs with no requirement.
  • The search criteria are only applied to programs that have that specific requirement. For example, if a program has a requirement for “1 semester of chemistry required and a lab is recommended”, this school will satisfy the “1 semester required” option.
  • Some programs have requirements for any combination of courses of one type, for example “2 total courses of any chemistry subject”. For the purposes of this search, that would not be treated as a requirement, but you’ll need to be aware that you need to closely look at each program’s detailed requirements.
  • Use the Add/Remove buttons to fine-tune your list of programs.

Instructions and Tips

Use this page to search for programs based on general criteria.

Here’s some tips:

  • Check one or more boxes within each group of fields to narrow the search results down.
  • For certain numerical searches (such as Minimum GPA), if the program does not have a minimum, it is considered a zero. Make sure you include zero in your range of values so that they show up in your search.
  • The tuition search uses our estimate of total cost of attendance for non-residents including tuition, fees and living expenses.
  • You’ll probably want to start with more boxes checked and start with a short list of results. Uncheck boxes to expand the list.
  • Use the Add/Remove buttons to fine-tune your list of programs.


An example of how to maximize the effectiveness of your search: let’s say you don’t want to take any standardized tests:

  • Check every box under Test(s) Required that does not have “required” in it. for example “None”, “GRE Recommended”, “PA-CAT Recommended”, etc.
  • Leave blank any box that has a “required” test, such as “GRE Required”, “PA-CAT Required”, “GRE Required and PA-CAT Recommended”, etc.

This will make sure you only filter for programs that have no requirement for a standardized test.