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Getting a headstart: CASPA app ready by April opening date?

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Any tips/advice on how to have my CASPA application ready shortly after the portal reopens next April?

 

I'd like to get a head start on my CASPA application by entering all of my information now, so that I can simply "submit" it when the portal reopens in April 2016.

Is this possible?  Or will my info be wiped when the new application cycle opens?

My content (HCE, personal narrative, transcripts, LOR's, GRE) is all ready to go, but if it's just going to be cleared later then I'd rather save the time for tedious entry work for April.

 

 

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In the past, the only way information will carry over is if you have completed and submitted (to at least one school) in the current year.  However, that didn't apply for the 2014-15 cycle to the 2015-16 cycle because of the new version of CASPA.  I haven't heard if submitted information from the current cycle is going to carry over to next year.  In any case, LORs have never carried over.  You might want to get a reliable answer about the carry over from CASPA customer service.  

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In years past, the first CASPA data delivery to programs has come some weeks after opening, although I'll leave it to someone more current than me to say exactly how long the delay has been recently.  If you get your app in and verified such that it's in that first batch, it's essentially all the same such that while there is definitely an advantage to applying early, I do not believe that there is a bigger advantage to applying hyper-early.

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Just have you transcripts ready to enter, have a good start on the personal statement, get all you volunteer/health care hours written down, and have references lined up as you get closer to the open date.

 

That's the hardest part. I didn't even think it was that hard. It takes a little time to input all of it, but I had most of it done in a couple hours. I still don't know why people think it's so difficult.

 

 

Tiffany

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I spoke with CASPA and they said that you would have to make a whole new account come April. That it reopens April 22, 2016 so what I did was wrote up all of my patient experience and have my personal statement all edited for this date (almost done) and know how to get my requests in for transcripts so I have the head start for that date!

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As others have said above, just have everything ready to go and give the people writing your LORs updates on timing. I had all of my info entered and transcripts/LORs received before the schools I was applying for were even available. The hardest part is the waiting & stressing... Getting the info in and the app completed isn't hard, especially if you're organized and have a good plan (and it sounds like you do!). Good luck to you!

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That's the hardest part. I didn't even think it was that hard. It takes a little time to input all of it, but I had most of it done in a couple hours. I still don't know why people think it's so difficult.

 

In my experience, the people who complain it took them forever also had a worktime breakdown of

25%: trying to find evidence that they don't actually have to type it in

50%: complaining about having to type it in

10%: trying to obtain transcripts without having to actually order transcripts

5%: researching legitimate questions about how to type it in

10%: actually typing it in

 

To be fair, some people have a more complex academic history than others, but still. It's also a lot faster now since on their new site you don't have to reload the page for each class/term you put in.

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Agree with everyone above, particularly the statement about people not having the information they need. :-)

 

I have been keeping track of my hours and contacts in an excel spreadsheet since I started getting HCE hours. It's easier to have it all in one place. The contact information for former employers and references is the tough thing. Make sure you have all that information that way you can enter everything in efficiently. Have copies of your transcripts, etc. It'll make things a lot easier. It should only take a couple of hours.

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FWIW...

 

I entered most info and submitted transcripts during the 2015 cycle but opted to wait until 2016 cycle to apply. 

Wrote to CASPA to find out whether info would carry over or not.  Their response:

 

Thank you for contacting CASPA, this email is in response to your recent
inquiry. Yes, the information you enter now will be carried over to the new
cycle, please keep in mind Letters of Evaluations are never carried over, so I
recommend that you wait to list the evaluators until the new application
launches on April 27th.

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I think you should also keep in mind that while early is good, too early can actually look bad - like you just slapped the thing together. Every year there is a whole rush of people who take the day off from work and make this mad dash to turn in the application on day 1 which is not only unnecessary, but their apps end up riddled with obvious errors, especially to the school specific sections. It becomes quickly clear to ad coms that the April apps were just trying to be first, and for those who carried stuff over from last cycle, that they didn't bother to make significant changes before re-applying. It also can have the appearance to ad coms that you are desperate to get in first because you don't feel like your app is strong enough to hold up to the people who will apply later.

 

.... all that and I'm not even mentioning what we all know happens to the CASPA website when 20,000 people decide they need to log in immediately when it opens.

 

Having your stuff in order before launch is great, but taking your time with the app and having everything done and into CASPA by middle to end of May is plenty early and makes you look like you took the time to put together a solid application. Any time between May and June is "early."

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.... all that and I'm not even mentioning what we all know happens to the CASPA website when 20,000 people decide they need to log in immediately when it opens.

 

I remember when CASPA crashed for the entire week during the 2015-2016 cycle.

 

Hopefully it doesn't happen this year...

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As the CASPA manager at the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), I would like to comment on this to give you a different perspective. 

 

For good reason, applicants are very eager to submit their application the day it opens. This year that date is April 27. It is exciting to get your application submitted for many reasons - it checks off a box on the to do list, there is much anticipation with starting and getting it done, about the potential of getting interviews and acceptances, and starting down the path to your dream career. All of these very valid and understandable points, but there is really no real reason to rush to get your application done and submitted on the day that it launches - let alone starting it. 

 

Often we have applicants who take the day off of work or schedule time to work on their application for launch day only to be disappointed because, first, it's not possible to get your application done in one day. Having to request and wait for documents to arrive just doesn't allow that to happen. Two, so many potential applicants are hitting the system on launch day that it can crash - this happened last year when we had over 10,000 visitors in the first three minutes of the portal launch. Of course, we had many upset applicants clogging the phone lines, Facebook and customer service email because they took the day off work to work on the application and we couldn't get it up and running until the next day. 

 

While we do our absolute best to anticipate volume, PA is so hot right now in terms of career outlook, we cannot accurately predict the number of applicants and amount of traffic we will have that first day. There are only so many servers and so much we can do to insure a smooth launch day. This means we cannot have 50,000 applicants hitting the site on the first day, the site will run slowly, and it may go down. These things will happen. These are, in large part, avoidable issues on your end.

 

There is absolutely NO reason - besides personal reasons - why an application needs to be started on launch day. At minimum, it will take an applicant a day to complete all of the data on the application, which you can have at hand before the cycle opens - it is essentially basic demographic data and academic and work history that you would put on your resume - all information you should know already. After you spend some time inputting this data in the application, you can pay & submit. But after that you have to request documents (transcripts, evaluations, etc) to be sent and that is typically the part that takes the MOST time, not completing the application itself. 

 

The first deadline of the cycle is June 15 and ZERO CASPA programs hold that deadline. There are only four programs that have the next deadline of July 15 (all of which require the application to only be 'complete'). Then from there the deadlines are August 1, September 1, October 1, November 1, December 1, January 15 and finally, March 1. 

 

Along with application deadlines come different deadline requirements - some programs only want you to submit your application by their posted deadline. This means you must complete the minimum amount of information on the application in order to pay & submit. Other programs will want you to have a 'complete' application which means you must pay & submit, all transcripts and at least two evaluations must be posted to your CASPA application account by their posted deadline. When this happens, you get a 'complete' date. Both of the above statuses are 100% driven by you, the applicant minus the time it takes for CASPA staff to process incoming documents to post to your account. The final deadline requirement is 'verified' which means all of the above things must be completed AND your GPA calculations (verification) must be completed. Verification is driven by the CASPA verification team. Once your application is given a 'complete' date, your application is put into a queue for verification. Applications are verified in the order they get sent to the queue per the complete date. At MAXIMUM, verification can take 4 weeks (not six weeks - that information is false). This means that IF you are applying to multiple programs and just one of them requires verification by a deadline, you need to do everything you can to have the application in a complete status FOUR WEEKS in advance of that deadline. While verification does not often take four weeks, that is the guarantee CASPA offers to applicants. To break it down, if you are applying to a PA program with a September 1 verified deadline, you need to make sure your application is in complete status no later than August 1. 

 

With all of that said, there is a lot of pressure for applicants to 'apply early.' This pressure is valid because it is important to apply early, as some programs run a rolling admissions process, but it is also undue pressure because applicants take 'apply early' to mean apply on the first day the application launches. This is unnecessary, and as stated above, can cause a lot of problems with the system and headaches for you. It isn't necessary to do that to yourself and stress yourself out even more - the application process itself is stressful enough. 

 

Instead, how about this? Get excited for launch day - April 27. Let is pass by as the system is likely going to be overloaded anyway. Go to work or school that day and save your time off for something more fun. Help our customer service reps by not clogging the phone lines, email and Facebook all day on the 27th, which frees them up to help applicants with relevant issues. Get your application data prepared now and come back a few days after launch, create your account (or log into last cycle's account) and work on your application. There is NO harm in waiting three or four days post-launch to start the application. There is NO benefit or advantage your will gain from any program by doing this. It is very likely all you will be is annoyed if the site is slow or not working properly. 

 

I GUARANTEE YOU this will minimize headaches (we can't take them away completely because the application process is not really fun for anyone no matter what you're applying to) and it will just make this process a lot smoother for you. Stress about scheduling and preparing for interviews and making decisions on acceptance offers. DON'T STRESS ABOUT THE APPLICATION. Take my advice or leave but I recommend you take it because this is the fifth application cycle I will see launch as manager, and I've seen this happen every single year. Eagerness is a great asset but in this circumstance it doesn't help anyone, especially you. 

 

Best of luck in the new application cycle. 

Danielle

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