• Frequently Asked Questions  

    What is Hardin-Simmons University's program accreditation status?
    The ARC-PA has granted Accreditation-Provisional status to the Hardin-Simmons University Physician Assistant Program sponsored by Hardin-Simmons University.  
    * Accreditation - Provisional is an accreditation status granted when the plans and resource allocation, if fully implemented as planned, of a proposed program that has not yet enrolled students appear to demonstrate the program's ability to meet the ARC-PA Standards or when a program holding accreditation-provisional status appears to demonstrate continued progress in complying with the Standards as it prepares for the graduation of the first class (cohort) of students.   

    Does Hardin-Simmons University have a supplemental application?  
    HSU does not require a supplemental application nor an application fee.

    What does Rolling Admissions mean?  
    Rolling admissions means that interviews are being conducted and admission decisions being made while applications are still being accepted. Our process is specifically designed so that the class does not fill up prior to the application deadline or conclusion of interview cycle. The alternative is a lock-step admissions process, in which all interviews are conducted after the application closes and all decisions are made after all interviews have been completed.\

    When do most applicants submit their application?  
    The CASPA application opens in April. Placing a higher priority on submitting an application by an early date at the expense of quality and accuracy is not recommended. Applicants are advised to ensure their application presents the best representation they can put forth. It is generally good practice to submit all required application materials at least six weeks before the application deadline in case any issues arise.   We require our CASPA applicants to be verified and this can take up to six plus weeks.

    Can I send additional letters of recommendation, beyond those included in CASPA?  
    No, only those letters of recommendation included in the CASPA application submission are accepted. Additional letters of recommendation are not considered as part of your application.     

    How can I make my application stand out from the rest?  
    Applications are holistically reviewed, meaning all elements are considered for eligible applications that meet our minimum overall GPA requirement of at least a 3.0 and a Science GPA of 3.0. In addition to previous academic performance and pre-admission clinical experience, these include: personal statement, letters of recommendation, PA shadowing experience, volunteer or community service backgrounds, leadership experiences, GRE scores, etc. Competitive applicants stand out by being able to speak to each of these categories.

    What are the factors that affect your admissions decisions?  
    We consider the following factors in making admission decisions: Academic Transcript review, GPA, GRE score, clinical experience (including level of responsibility and number of hours), the personal statement, references, and your interview performance. Regarding references, 3 letters are required.

    Who are members of the Admissions Committee and who makes the final decision?  
    The Admissions Committee consists of the PA program faculty, clinically practicing PAs, and community representatives.  Final admission decisions are made by the PA program director and PA program core faculty.

    What GRE Code should be used?  
    All GRE scores must be submitted to CASPA for your application to be considered complete.  When requesting official GRE Scores, use School/Institution Code "7453" for the HSU PA Program.

    How should Volunteer hours be entered if they are Patient Care Experience?  
    Any experience that includes direct-patient clinical hours should be entered in the Patient Care section of the CASPA. For each entry, select the appropriate option for whether the experience was paid or unpaid. Volunteer patient care experiences should not be 'doublelisted' in the Volunteer section.

    Does it matter what your academic major is from undergrad?  
    No. Applications are reviewed holistically and no specific academic major is preferred from undergraduate or graduate school experiences. Because the PA Program is a professional health science graduate program, previous coursework in the sciences is expected and grades should be competitive.

    Is there a preference for residents of the state of Texas?  
    No. Hardin-Simmons University is a private university, and no preference is given for applicants residing in the state of Texas; however, local and HSU graduate applicants who fulfill our mission may be given priority review.

    Is the GRE waived for any applicant, even with a Master's or advanced degree?  
    No. Regardless of any past academic experiences, achievements, or degrees, the GRE is not waived.

    Can I use GRE scores submitted for a previous graduate program?  
    Official GRE scores can be submitted to CASPA as long as they are still valid. Scores are valid for five years from the test date. This would not be affected by previous graduate work or score submissions to other schools.

    Can the MCAT substitute for the GRE?  
    No, the GRE is a required part of the application. Other graduate-level standardized tests cannot be used as substitutes, including the MCAT or GMAT.  

    Can I apply before I complete all the prerequisites?  
    When completing your CASPA application, include courses in progress and coursework planned in the appropriate fields to alert us to your plans. If you are accepted into the Program before you complete the required coursework, your acceptance will be on provisional status until records of your coursework and/or graduation are received. No student will be allowed to matriculate into the Program if all prerequisite requirements are not met. Because of the various factors considered in selecting applicants, you are encouraged to complete the majority of prerequisites before applying.

    If I took a prerequisite course 5, 10, even 35 years ago, will you still accept that?   
    Yes.  We do not impose an expiration date on coursework, prerequisite or otherwise; however, more recent Science academic work is encouraged.

    I need to go back to school to finish a few prerequisites. Can I take courses at a community college?   
    Yes. You can even take courses online, if you'd like.  As long as it's at a regionally-accredited institution of higher-learning, we will honor your coursework there.

    Can prerequisites be waived or tested out of with CME or CEU credit?   
    Prerequisites cannot be waived or tested out of for the Hardin-Simmons University PA Program. No prerequisite can be waived due to previous academic, life, or field experiences. Prerequisites can be completed at any regionally-accredited institution of higher learning. A grade and college credit must be earned. Prerequisites cannot be satisfied through Continuing Medical Education or Continuing Education Unit credit.

    What is your policy regarding Advanced Placement?  
    Hardin-Simmons University PA Program does not grant advanced placement to any matriculating student.

    How often are students admitted during the calendar year?  
    The Hardin-Simmons University PA Program enrolls 30 students once per year into its full-time program in August with ARC-PA Provisional Accreditation. There is no part-time option.

    Can I work full time and still be a PA student in your program?  
    No. This is a full-time program with classes during regular business hours.  Employment of PA students by the Program itself is strictly prohibited.

    Is a background check required?  
    Yes.  Accepted students are subject to a criminal background check preceding and during orientation. Should the background check yield any criminal information, the offer of admission may be revoked.

    Do you accept transfer students, or provide credit for experiential learning?  
    No. The PA Program does not accept transfer students from other PA Programs and all students must have a bachelor's degree prior to starting the PA Program. The PA Program does not allow course credit for experiential learning.

    Can I apply if I have not yet completed my undergraduate degree?   
    You can begin to apply in your senior year of college, provided that you successfully graduate by the time of the PA program's start date in August. You must have obtained your Bachelor's degree prior to matriculation into the program and completed all prerequisite coursework successfully.  

    How do I know if the courses I took meet the program's prerequisite criteria?  
    We do not make any course acceptance determinations without a CASPA application on file. If we have any questions regarding a courses' eligibility to meet our requirements, we will contact you after reviewing your completed CASPA application. If we do contact you regarding your prerequisite coursework, we ask you to provide us with a copy of the official course catalog description.  This will only be done if you are invited for an interview.

    Is working with or shadowing PAs required for admission?  
    It is strongly recommended that you document either working with or shadowing a PA. Working with or shadowing PAs will give you an understanding of the role PAs on the health care team It is to your advantage to have work or shadowing experience with PAs prior to applying to PA school. The more PA contact experience hours you have, the more competitive your application file.  

    Does the PA program offer applicants assistance in finding clinical work or shadowing experience?  
    No, due to a high volume of applicants, we cannot offer assistance to candidates looking for clinical experience.  

    Once I submit all of my application materials, how long before I hear if I will receive an interview?  
    It can take several months after receipt of your application to be notified of your interview status at the University. 

    Can I send my application materials directly to the program?  
    No. All application materials must be submitted directly through CASPA. Contact CASPA at https://portal.caspaonline.org/ with questions regarding their application process.

    Where are clinical rotation sites located?  
    We offer our students a wide variety of experiences in various types of clinical settings, including hospitals, small and medium size clinics, private offices and rural opportunities.

    Does Hardin-Simmons University offer a Bachelor's degree in Physician Assistant?  
    No. Our program is an entry-level Master's program. You must have a bachelor's degree prior to matriculation into the program; however, HSU provides many high quality undergraduate degree options to prepare students for the PA Program.

    How often do classes begin?  
    We admit one class of students each year. Classes will start in August of each year and new students cannot enroll in the program once the class has started.

     What is the cost of tuition?     

    Tuition and fees for the 27-month PA Program is approximately $68,000 overall.   

    If I took coursework or obtained my degree from a foreign University, will it be accepted?  

    According to 19 Texas Administrative Code § 5.7, academic work taken at foreign colleges, universities, or preparatory schools shall be excluded from the calculation of the GPA for students seeking admission to graduate or post-baccalaureate professional school.  Undergraduate foreign coursework that appears as transfer credit on the transcript of a regionally accredited U.S. college will count.  Prerequisites taken at a foreign college or university will need to undergo credential evaluation through WES (World Education Services).  The bachelor degree requirement must be granted from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. 

    Regional accreditation is the highest available form of accreditation.  There are only 7 USDE-recognized regional accreditation agencies (as listed below). 

    Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE)  

    New England Association of Schools and Colleges, 
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)  

    The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)  

    Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)  

    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS)  

    The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC)  

    WASC Senior College and University Commission  


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