Before you apply, check our Academic Requirements and Technical Standards* for becoming a Physician Assistant.

CASPA submissions for the next application cycle will be accepted beginning April 30, 2021

 *Please note all Executive Orders, including the technical standards accessed in this link apply to all students at San Juan Bautista School of Medicine including Physician Assistant students.

 

Introduction

Welcome to the Physician Assistant (PA) program at San Juan Bautista School of Medicine. The minimum standard for admission into the program is a bachelor’s degree (in any discipline), or its equivalent from an accredited institution, and completion of all program prerequisite coursework. Admissions favors a Bachelor of Science over Bachelor of Arts, either degree is acceptable if prerequisite coursework is successfully completed. Applicants are expected to have a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale in which A = 4.0). It is expected that all science prerequisites be completed by the end of the summer semester, in the year prior to matriculation, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. All prerequisite courses must be completed for a letter grade with at least a grade of C (2.0) earned.  The PA Program uses the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) as their application portal. CASPA recommends submitting all required materials at least four (4) weeks prior to any PA Program deadline. All applications must be verified by the application deadline. Admission to the PA Program is expected to be extremely competitive, so the earlier you apply the better. For our Program, CASPA makes the application process available by April 30 of every year and remains open until our application deadline.

In order to start the application process, please access the CASPA online portal at the following link: https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login.

The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) is committed to ensuring the integrity and validity of the information submitted in the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and the processes leading up to and including enrollment in a PA program. PAEA is equally committed to holding individuals who use CASPA to the highest standards of ethical conduct in relation to these processes.  

PAEA has modified its policy governing investigations of alleged violations of the CASPA Professional Code of Conduct and appeals of investigation findings. The new policy, the PAEA CASPA Policy Regarding Investigations and Violations, took effect on April 30, 2020, for the 2020–21 CASPA application cycle.

Therefore, it is important that all CASPA users, including applicants, read and understand this policy, available in the following link: CASPA Policy Regarding Investigations and Violations.

 

Who should apply?

What are we looking for in a student? Besides a love of medicine and a desire to provide health care with compassion and empathy to patients of diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.  Students should be versatile and creative and willing to join the medical setting as an autonomous yet collaborative practitioner alongside physicians, a role that demands intelligence, sound judgment, intellectual honesty, and the ability to relate to people. By the time of enrollment, applicants to the PA Program must have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with the specific required prerequisite coursework. We encourage students from Puerto Rico and the US mainland to apply.

 

What should I expect?

The intense 28-month, 7-semester professional, graduate-level program requires personal as well as financial sacrifices, and demands a high degree of self-sufficiency and well-developed study skills. While English is widely spoken in Puerto Rico, Spanish predominates as the national language, and it is strongly recommended to be bilingual in both languages. All textbooks, lectures, exams are delivered in English while the clinical experiences will be in Spanish and English and language proficiency is integral.

The rigorous nature of the program precludes maintaining outside employment. Due to the formidable challenge the PA program presents both in the didactic and clinical phases, we strongly recommend students not work while enrolled in the PA program. The success of each candidate is often directly related to their ability to focus solely on their commitment to their studies in order to attain the high academic standards. A PA student goal should be to achieve a good educational experience and successfully graduate.

The profession necessitates working with those who are ill and interacting effectively and cooperatively with physicians, nurses, and interdisciplinary members of a dynamic health care team.

Please note: Advanced placement is not granted by the PA program and all students must complete the full curriculum as delineated in its entirety. We do not accept transfer requests.

 

Specific Admissions Requirements

COVID-19 Update

While we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may cause issues with meeting some of the admission criteria, it is important to us that we continue to uphold the mission of San Juan Bautista PA Program. In response to COVID-19, the PA Program has made the following modifications to the admissions requirements for the 2020-2021 cycle only.

  • We will accept pass/no pass for any course taken between January and May of 2020. The PA Program strongly encourages students to take the letter grade, especially for all prerequisite courses, if applicants have an option.
  • For courses that occurred between January and May of 2020, we will accept online lab work only if the lab was started in person but converted to online/remote due to COVID-19. The PA Program will require a letter from your professor stating that the lab started on-ground and outlining the content delivered remotely. This will be reviewed on an individual basis.
  • For summer 2020, the PA program will accept online prerequisites, including labs. The PA Program will require a letter from your professor outlining the content delivered remotely as well as a copy of the course syllabus.

Admissions Requirements (submitted through CASPA)

  • A personal statement/essay evaluated by admissions faculty
  • Minimum of three letters of recommendations with at least one from a practicing PA or physician, and/or college professor and at least one from a supervisor from paid or volunteer experience to validate your work or service hours evaluated by admissions faculty
  • A 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA as calculated by CASPA
  • A 3.0 minimum science GPA from all colleges attended. CASPA will include all Biology, Chemistry, Physics grades to calculate science GPA or “BCP Total” as it is referred to on the CASPA application.
  • Transcripts of all coursework from all colleges/universities attended. Updated transcripts for all coursework not verified in the CASPA application may be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions as they become available.
  • Submission of a completed CASPA application
  • Direct Patient Contact Health Care Experience verification of a minimum of 200 hours of direct patient contact health care experience, either volunteer or paid, must be documented on the CASPA application. Direct patient contact hours must involve interaction with patients. Some examples include, but are not limited to paid or volunteer EMT/Paramedic, work/volunteer in a doctor's office, nursing home or emergency department as a medical assistant or nurse's aide, phlebotomist, LPN, RN, Respiratory Therapist, athletic trainer, scribe or technologist. Admissions favors the number of hours of experience in direct patient care in addition to the type and level of experience. Applicants who are certified in their field, but not working clinically in that field will not receive the same scoring as a certified applicant who is also working clinically in that field. Admissions will favor the latter
  • Applicants will be assessed based on their level of community service, volunteering experience, mission work or Peace Corp volunteer keeping in line with our PA Program Mission of community health and responding to the health needs of underserved populations
  • Applicants will be assessed on leadership qualities: group or club involvement (Pre-PA club, student government), student athlete, military service, teaching or TA as well as experience in research or publishing

 

Prerequisite Coursework

The CASPA application deadline is October 1 for courses that begin in January. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required for consideration. The program will accept qualified candidates who may not have completed their bachelor’s degree or prerequisite coursework and who have a projected graduation/completion date in August, one semester prior to the January start of classes. Confirmation of graduation must be received by the Program at that time.  Pending coursework may delay review of a candidate's application. All science prerequisite courses must be completed within 10 years of matriculation. Exceptions to those limits may be granted for applicants with documented healthcare experience at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. GRE is not required.

Foreign academic credentials must be evaluated by an approved credentialing agency. The PA Program does not award academic credit for experiential learning. 

REQUIRED prerequisite coursework is listed below with grades of C or better from an accredited University, College or its equivalent:

Courses

Credits

General Biology I & II with Labs

8

General Chemistry I & II with Labs

8

Organic Chemistry I with Lab OR Biochemistry with Lab

4

Anatomy and Physiology with Lab*

8

English Composition/Literature

6

Behavioral Science (i.e. Psychology, sociology, anthropology)

6

Humanities (History, philosophy, language, art)

6

Mathematics (pre-calculus or higher)

3

Statistics

3

*Applicants who completed two Anatomy & Physiology courses for less than a total of 8 credits must satisfy the credit requirement by completing an additional elective in Biology or Chemistry. One semester of Anatomy with a Lab and 1 semester of Physiology with or without a Lab is acceptable if equal to 8 credits.

Please Note: Meeting the minimum requirements listed above does not guarantee an interview or admission to the program. 

 

Recommended but not required

  • Microbiology, acceptable as additional biology course
  • Medical Terminology course
  • A minimum of 30 hours shadowing a PA to understand the PA Role

 

Admissions Appeals:

Applicants who do not meet established grade point standards or other admission requirements may petition the PA Admissions Committee in writing for consideration. The petition must accompany the CASPA application and should clearly explain the extenuating circumstances that have prevented the student from meeting existing standards or requirements and describe elements of the applicant’s background that would indicate the potential for success in the program. The Admissions Committee may choose to admit students who have not met the established admission requirements, based on the student’s petition, application, interview, and other supporting documents required as part of the application process. For applicants who already hold an BA or BS degree, prerequisite courses of certain types may be waived at the discretion of the PA Program Director.

 

Evaluation and Selection Process

Admission decisions are made by the PA Program Admissions Committee and are based on an assessment of the applicant's past academic performance, potential for success in the program, as well as his/her understanding of and commitment to the PA profession. The program Admissions Committee evaluates an applicant's completed application and considers the following qualitative factors:

  • Quality and content of the personal statement
  • Strength of recommendations (minimum of three letters)
  • Cumulative GPA minimum 3.0
  • BCP Science GPA minimum 3.0
  • Outstanding academic performance (above 3.50 GPA)
  • Academic awards such as dean’s list, president’s list, cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude, valedictorian, etc.
  • Significant volunteering experience, community service, medical missions, leadership qualities and research experience (see above)
  • Nature and extent of health care experience
  • Interview performance, regarding their understanding of the PA role, their motivation, maturity, intellectual qualities, insights, writing and interpersonal skills. All interviews will be virtual for 2020 admissions cycle.
  • Although being bilingual in English and Spanish is not a hard requirement, it is highly recommended. For those students who are not bilingual, a free course in conversational Spanish will be offered before entering the clinical year.

Based on this evaluation, selected applicants are invited for a personal interview where they are assessed regarding their understanding of the PA Role, their motivation, maturity, intellectual qualities, insights, and interpersonal skills.

All these factors will be taken into consideration when reviewing the quality of the applicant. None of these factors will be used as the sole determinative factor for admission into the program.

 

International Students

Applicants whose native language is not English, or who did not attend college in the U.S., U.S. Territories or another English-speaking country, must also demonstrate proficiency in English and will need to submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination with a score of at least 560 (paper-based), 220 (computer-based), or 83 (Internet-based).

 

Upon Acceptance

A non-refundable certified check or money order in the amount of $100 payable to San Juan Bautista School of Medicine will need to be submitted to hold your seat in the class and will be applied to your first semester tuition. Additional health forms will be required to submit upon acceptance including a statement of good health and proof of immunizations. All students are required to provide their own personal laptop for lectures and testing.

 

For any admissions questions, please contact:

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Mrs. Jaymi Sánchez Cruz
Admissions Officer
(787)743-3038 Ext. 236
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Mrs. Marta R. Fuentes
Secretary to Admissions Officer
(787)743-3038 Ext. 214
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For detailed information about the program, please click over any of the following topics:

PA Program | Educational Experience | Curriculum | Admissions Tuition and Fees | Faculty and Staff | Certification and Licensing | PA Student Manual | FAQ