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High School Direct Entry PA programs

Page history last edited by Susan Stanton 4 years, 7 months ago

Please note the requirements are rigorous and the competition is high so plan your high school years starting as a freshman to be eligible for many of these programs.  There is a distinct advantage to applying early.  Be sure you make a check-off list of what is needed by your senior year in order to be a successful applicant as many programs do not allow transfers or you must qualify to attend starting in the sophomore year which may not be enough time to acquire all of the needed prerequisites.


Most programs will only accept students directly from high school.  Transfers or GAP year students are not accepted into the accelerated programs.  Exceptions for hands-on or direct patient experience is rarely exempted.  Check with individual colleges for their requirements or exceptions.   These are highly competitive programs with waiting lists that frequently are not used.


Common MINIMUM Eligibility Requirements for Admission into the Direct Entry Programs:

  • Minimum high school cumulative average of 92
  • Minimum 1200 SAT score (Critical Reading and Math only) or minimum 27 ACT Score
  • Required High School Courses - Applicants must graduate from an accredited high school and must complete a minimum of 16 academic units in the following distribution:
    English - Four
    Foreign Language - Three
    Mathematics - Three to Four
    Natural Science - Three to Four
    Social Studies - Three to Four
  • Recommendations: Applicants are required to submit one letter of recommendation from a guidance or college counselor; or two letters of recommendation from clergy, coaches, employers, teachers, etc.; and one recommendation from a supervisor who can attest to the applicant's demonstrated commitment to the health care field.
  • 50 hours of patient contact documented by a supervisor
  • Required interview by invitation only; invitations will be extended by Feb. 1 (date varies by school). The final decision regarding admission to the direct entry program will be made by the P.A. Program Admission Committee.



Here are physician assistant programs offering accelerated options for high school students:

  1. College of Saint Mary- The College of Saint Mary offers a five year program for high school students looking to enter the physician assistant profession.  The first three years students work on attaining their bachelor of science in human biology, the fourth year of the program students transition to working on credits for both their bachelor's and master's degrees.  In the final year of the program students complete the final year of their physician assistant degree. 
  2. Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester Institute of Technology admits just 30 to 40 students to its accelerated physician assistant program each year.  Admissions faculty stress that the in-person interview is the most important part of the admissions process.  So, start practicing your interview responses if you plan on applying to this highly competitive program. 
  3. Ohio Dominican University- Beginning in fall 2014, Ohio Dominican University will begin accepting highly qualified high school seniors to its new accelerated physician assistant program.  The program allows students to complete a bachelor's degree in four years followed by a seamless transition into the two year PA program. 
  4. Drexel University- Nestled in Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University offers a highly regarded physician assistant program for students entering directly from high school.  Students entering the program from high school must maintain a high level of academic standards in order to continue through the entirety of the program.
  5. King's College- In just five years, the PA program at King's College awards students a bachelor of science degree in medical studies, a minor in biology and a master's level physician assistant degree.  Admission to this accelerated program is competitive so students should use their high school years wisely to demonstrate their academic achievements to admissions faculty. 
  6. Wagner CollegeWagner College offers a five year physician assistant program for high school graduates.  Admissions staff advise prospective PAs to apply early as the program is competitive.  Students indicating Early Decision status will be given preferred consideration for some scholarship opportunities. 
  7. Saint Francis UniversitySaint Francis University's accelerated PA program comes with some additional perks.  Unlike most PA programs, students at Saint Frances have opportunities to study abroad including experiences like a course in field biology in the Galapagos.  These extracurricular activities don't interfere with student's education.  Students at Saint Francis boast a 96% first time pass rate on the national PA certification exam.
  8. New York Institute of Technology- A bit longer than most other PA programs for high school students, the New York Institute of Technology's PA program requires six years of study.  
  9. Seton Hill UniversitySeton Hill University accepts high school students to their B.S./M.S. physician assistant program preparing them well for their futures.  96% of Seton Hall's physician assistant program graduates pass the national certification exam on their first attempt. 
  10. DeSales UniversityDeSales University in Center Valley, PA offers a five year program for prospective physician assistants.  Students kick off the program with three years as a medical studies major then enter the 24 month PA program. 


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