Applicant Self-Assessment

Thank you for your interest in the Stanford School of Medicine's Master of Science in PA Studies Program.  Admission to the program is extremely competitive: we receive thousands of applications each year for 27 seats, making our acceptance rate less than 2%.  Given this high volume of applicants, we regret that it is not possible for the Program to provide specific application improvement feedback to applicants.  Instead, we have developed the following self-assessment questionnaire to assist applicants with evaluating the strength of their applications.

Please bear in mind that the self-assessment below is a tool designed to assist you with assessing the competitiveness of your application.  It is not a "prescription", and does not constitute any kind of explicit or implied guarantee of acceptance to this or any other PA program. However, answering these questions as honestly and objectively as possible should provide you with some insight regarding possible areas of your application to strengthen. 

We wish you success in your PA education.



Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Basic Entry Requirements

  • Do I have a bachelor's degree (or higher) from a regionally accredited US institution?
  • Have I taken and received scores for the GRE or the MCAT?  (Only one of these exams are required. You may submit scores for both if desired, but this will not confer any type of advantage.)



  • Did I self-report my GRE/MCAT scores in CASPA by the application deadline?
  • Did I read and follow the CASPA application instructions?  This includes, but is not limited to, the correct listing of my preparatory courses, and of my various types of experience (hands-on clinical hours, volunteer hours, research hours).
  • Did I request letters of recommendation from people who actually know me at least somewhat well?  Am I reasonably sure that they have a good impression of me?
  • Was the length of my personal statement within the given character limits?  (text after the character limit is cut off by CASPA)
  • How well did my responses address the question(s) posed in the personal statements?
  • Was my writing clear, concise, and free of obvious errors?

Program Fit

  • How well do I match the Program's mission and goals?  Do I have leadership potential?  How did I clearly demonstrate these items in my application materials, particularly my personal statements?
  • Have I reviewed the entry characteristics of the Program's matriculated classes?  How do I compare to these students in terms of academic performance and in terms of experience?
  • How truly hands-on (i.e. interacting with patients) are my hands-on clinical hours?  Was I doing things that required critical thinking?  How passive vs. active is my experience in this area?  Were these items clearly communicated?
  • Am I familiar with the physician assistant profession?  Do I understand the role of a PA in different settings and specialities?  How did I demonstrate this in my application?
  • How many of the strongly recommended and recommended preparatory courses have I taken?  How were my grades?  (Please note that while these courses are not required for admission, completion of the courses with strong grades helps to make your application more competitive by showing the Admissions Committee that you are able to successfully undertake this type and level of coursework.)