Admissions

The Midwestern University Physician Assistants Program (PA) considers applicants who possess the academic and professional promise necessary for development as competent, caring members of the healthcare community. The admissions environment is highly selective with approximately 1,400 applications received each year for 86 seats. The application deadline is October 1, however, the PA Program uses a rolling admissions process in which applicants are continuously accepted until all seats are filled, so applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Completed applications received on or before the application deadline are reviewed to determine applicant eligibility for interviews. The following criteria are used to select the most qualified candidates: science and cumulative grade point averages (GPA), rigor of undergraduate and prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, healthcare experience, knowledge of the profession, and motivation for a career as a 
PA. Additionally, in all aspects of the Program, the Program is committed to achieving and fostering diversity, inclusion, and equality to enrich the educational experience and realize the University’s and Program’s missions and goals. Competitive candidates are typically invited to campus for interviews during the months of August through January.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the PA Program must submit the following documented evidence: 

  1. Minimum cumulative science and overall GPAs of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Competitive applicants typically have science and overalls GPAs of 3.3 or higher.
  2. Completion of prerequisite courses as listed below from regionally accredited colleges or universities.
    • All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of a C or better.
    • Grades of C- are NOT acceptable for any prerequisite courses.
    • If advanced placement (AP) credit has been granted by an outside institution, this credit will automatically be considered for the following prerequisite courses: Math, Statistics, English Composition, and Social and Behavioral Science courses.
    • For AP credit earned in Biology and Chemistry, MWU may request the submission of appropriate documentation (as determined by MWU) to verify the AP credit earned meets the program's admission standards.
    • Life experience credits do not count toward fulfillment of any prerequisite courses
    • Courses in which grades of "pass" are earned will be counted only when applicants can provide verification that the earned grades are equivalent to grades of C or better (grades of C- are not acceptable).
  3. Completion of prerequisite courses by December 31st of the year which precedes the year of anticipated matriculation.
    • No exceptions will be made.
    • Applicants must determine which prerequisites are missing and which courses must be taken to fulfill any outstanding prerequisites.
    • Students invited to interview must show documentation on the day of their visit that they are enrolled in or registered for any outstanding prerequisites.
  4. Completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university before matriculation.
  5. If applicable, completion of required non-cognitive assessments (e.g., situational judgment testing).
  6. Motivation for and commitment to healthcare as demonstrated by previous work, volunteer work, or other life experiences.
  7. Demonstration of service and leadership through community service or extracurricular activities.
  8. Oral and written communication skills necessary to interact with patients and colleagues.
  9. Passage of Midwestern University criminal background check.
  10. Commitment to abide by the Midwestern University Drug-Free Workplace and Substance Abuse Policy.
  11. Submission of documentation that demonstrates completion of or progress towards completing tuberculosis screening and all required immunizations.  Students are required to complete tuberculosis screening and all required immunizations prior to beginning their clinical phase of training.

Prerequisite Courses 

Course Semester/Hours
*Biology with lab 4 Sem/6 Qtr hours 
*Anatomy 4 Sem/6 Qtr hours 
*General Chemistry with lab 8 Sem/12 Qtr hours
*Organic Chemistry with lab 4 Sem/6 Qtr hours 
Math (college algebra or above)  3 Sem/4 Qtr hours 
Statistics 3 Sem/4 Qtr hours 
**English Composition  6 Sem/9 Qtr hours 
Social and Behavioral Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, or Anthropology, etc.)  6 Sem/9 Qtr hours 

*All science prerequisites must be courses designed for science majors. No survey courses will fulfill science prerequisites. Courses with an online laboratory component will not meet any biology or chemistry prerequisite. The Midwestern University-Downers Grove Physician Assistant Program is aware that many universities and colleges across the country had to modify their curriculum in reaction to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. One modification was offering coursework, including laboratory components, online. Currently, the PA Program policy is that courses with an online laboratory component will not meet any biology or chemistry prerequisite. This policy will be amended to accept prerequisite coursework with a laboratory component completed during Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, or Fall 2021 which was only offered online. In these circumstances, MWU may request appropriate documentation to verify that the institution was not offering in-person laboratory components for prerequisite courses the applicant completed during the above time period(s). In addition, advanced placement credit received at the undergraduate level may not satisfy biology or chemistry prerequisites. For advanced placement (AP) credit earned in biology and chemistry, MWU may request the submission of appropriate documentation (as determined by MWU) to verify the AP credit earned meets the program's admission standards.

**Courses accepted for the English Composition prerequisite include rhetoric, composition, technical writing, and courses designated as writing intensive by the institution.

Pass/Fail coursework during COVID-19 

The Midwestern University-Downers Grove Physician Assistant Program is aware that many universities and colleges across the country had to modify their curriculum in reaction to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. One modification included awarding Pass/Fail final grades instead of traditional letter grades for completed coursework. According to the admissions requirement of the Midwestern University-Downers Grove PA Program, prerequisite courses in which grades of "pass" are earned are counted only when applicants can provide verification that the earned grades are equivalent to grades of C or better (grades of C- are not acceptable). This requirement will be waived for all prerequisite coursework completed during Spring, Summer, or Fall 2020 in which only pass/fail grades were awarded. In these circumstances, MWU may request appropriate documentation to verify that the institution was not awarding letter grades for prerequisite courses the applicant completed during the above time period(s).

Application Process and Deadlines 

  1. CASPA Application
    Completed applications with all required materials must be submitted to the Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) at https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login by October 1. Please refer to the CASPA application instructions for specific details about completing the application, required documents, and processing time. CASPA applications are available beginning in April of the academic year preceding the year in which the applicant plans to matriculate. Due to the large number of applications and the limited number of seats available, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete their CASPA application early in the cycle. Completed applications are reviewed continuously throughout the admissions cycle.
  2. Letters of Recommendation
    Applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from professionals to CASPA https://caspa.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login. The Office of Admissions will only accept letters of recommendation received directly from CASPA. It is preferred that one letter is written by a science professor who has actually taught the student or a pre-health advisory committee. The second letter may be written by any one of the following: a pre-health advisory committee, a pre-health advisor, college professor, or a healthcare professional (preferably a PA) who is well-acquainted with the applicant's academic and professional qualifications. Please refer to the CASPA application instructions for specific guidelines and requirements for submitting letters of recommendation. 
  3. Completed Applications
    The Office of Admissions will send letters verifying receipt of completed CASPA applications with all required materials to applicants who meet the minimum overall and science GPA requirement of 3.00. Letters will also include instructions on tracking application status online. Applicants must track the receipt of their application materials to ensure the submission of all required documents. Only applicants who submit all required application materials by the published deadlines will be considered for acceptance into the program.
  4. Beginning with the 2022-2023 CASPA Application Cycle, the Midwestern University PA Program will no longer require completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test for admission into the program.

Please Note: Applicants are responsible for notifying the Office of Admissions of any changes in their mailing address or e-mail address. All requests for application withdrawal must be made in writing via e-mail, fax, or letter to the Office of Admissions:

Midwestern University 
Office of Admissions 
555 31st Street 
Downers Grove, IL 60515 
630/515-7200 or 800/458-6253 
Fax: 630/971-6086 
admissil@midwestern.edu 

Interview and Selection Process

Completed applications are reviewed to determine which applicants merit invitations for on-campus and/or virtual interviews. The following criteria are used to select the most qualified candidates for interview invitations: science and cumulative grade point averages (GPA), rigor of undergraduate and prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, healthcare experience, knowledge of the profession, and motivation for a career as a PA. Additionally, in all aspects of the Program, the Program is committed to achieving and fostering diversity, inclusion, and equality to enrich the educational experience and realize the University’s and Program’s missions and goals. Interviews are typically scheduled during the months of August through January. Applicants selected to interview will be notified by e-mail or telephone of available dates. Interviews are required before final admissions decisions are made.

At the time of application, students enrolled in another Midwestern University program are guaranteed an admission interview with the Physician Assistant Program if they meet the requirements outlined in the Articulation Agreement Between Midwestern University Programs of this catalog.

The Dean of the College of Health Sciences may recommend for an interview, applicants who meet the Program’s minimum requirements for which they are applying (e.g., children of alumni, faculty, or staff). These applicants are not guaranteed admission into a Program and will have their application reviewed similarly to other applicants being considered for acceptance. All admissions decisions are made by the program Admissions Committee.

Applicants who have been invited to participate in a required on-campus or virtual interview will be evaluated on verbal communication skills, understanding of the profession, commitment to patient care, and/or other elements as determined by the program. The interview day will also provide applicants with an opportunity to learn more about the Physician Assistant program, financial aid programs, and student services. A campus tour and lunch will be provided for interviews conducted in-person.

The PA Admissions Committee which also includes the PA Program Director as a member, reviews the complete applications of candidates who were interviewed and then makes admissions decisions utilizing a holistic admissions process that considers various characteristics of an applicant.  These characteristics are similar to what were used to select candidates for an interview. Additionally, in all aspects of the Program, the Program is committed to achieving and fostering diversity, inclusion, and equality to enrich the educational experience and realize the University’s and Program’s missions and goals. Once admissions decisions are made, the CHS Dean, via the Office of Admissions, then notifies applicants in writing of admissions decisions. All applicants with complete applications will receive notification in writing regarding their status by the end of March.

Please Note: Applicants who interview before December 31 are required to submit documentation verifying any outstanding coursework in progress (by providing a copy of a class schedule or a transcript listing the coursework). Applicants must submit documentation of satisfactory completion of prerequisites no later than the December 31st deadline. Applicants who fail to submit this proof by the designated date will not be considered for admission into the Program.

 

Reapplication Process

After receiving either a denial or an end-of-cycle letter, prospective students may reapply for the following year's admissions cycle. Before reapplying, however, individuals contemplating reapplication should seek the advice of an admissions counselor. To initiate the reapplication process, prospective students must complete and submit new applications through CASPA and proceed through the standard application process.