Since 1998 US News has been publishing the only known ranking of PA programs.
Their rankings are based on subjective peer assessment surveys of PA program faculty.
These peer assessment surveys are sent to deans, other administrators, and faculty at accredited physician assistant programs.
Respondents rate the academic quality of physician assistant programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). They are instructed to select "don't know" if they did not have enough knowledge to rate a program.
Only fully accredited programs in good standing during the survey period are ranked. Those schools with the highest average scores appear in the rankings.
US News and World Reports ranked 154 of the 238 PA programs in the United States, leaving out 84 US PA programs.
At the time of this writing, there are 22 developing and non-accredited PA programs which means the US News rankings leave many PA schools in the dust.
A Broken PA School Ranking Model
US News ranks schools based solely on the results of a subjective survey without providing evidence for their validity. Not to mention, how much does a PA school's departmental faculty really know about other PA programs? Could their opinions be biased?
A useful ranking system should be “measurable, reproducible, and not opinion based.
The current approach to PA school ranking is outdated and provides little to no value for pre-PAs making critical application decisions.
A Better Physician Assistant School Ranking System
When surveyed 79% of PA school faculty agree that that 5-year PANCE pass rates should be used as a ranking criterion for PA schools.
Multiple studies use a school’s first-time PANCE pass rate as a standardization tool to evaluate other program characteristics, such as degree granted upon completion, class size, and curriculum length.
Objectively, PAs that scored higher on the PANCE tended to have scored higher on the Physician Assistant National Recertification Examination (PANRE).
Not to mention, to practice as a PA you must first pass your PANCE, so in this regards it should not be taken lightly when you are considering where to invest your 100+ thousand dollars of PA school tuition.
PA Schools Ranked by 5-year PANCE Pass Rates
Below is an interactive table of all US physician assistant programs ranked by 5-year PANCE pass rates.
I contacted the NCCPA who surprisingly does not make this information available to the public, so we have to rely solely on a PA school's willingness to publish their individual PANCE pass rates.
The data in this table is based on what PA schools choose to publish.
I have provided links to these publications along with links to the PA program websites in the table below.
We tried to use 5-year data whenever possible. Many newer programs (for obvious reasons) do not have 5-year data and some schools, if they do, have chosen not to make this information readily available or just haven't updated their reporting.
This is an interactive table which you can search (using the provided search box) or reorganize in real-time by clicking on the column header.
Please share this post and let's work together to create a better, unbiased, objective, fair and useful ranking system!
Physician Assistant Programs Ranked by PANCE Pass Rates 2017
Stanford’s New Essay Prompts for 2017: A Sphinxian Bargain, As Ever
Published on August 16, 2017 by ThinkTank Learning
David PhillipsEssay PromptsStanford
To many students and families out there, admissions prompts may seem simply as a means to an end. Students write responses to questions, and if the colleges like them, the lucky applicants are granted admission to extremely exclusive colleges and universities.
In my estimation, essays and other written materials created by students applying to colleges, are the key battlefield of college admissions. The essay is the medium through which students can show their true colors and attempt to make their unique voices heard in a vital attempt to stand out from the throngs of other would-be first-years vying for limited spots. A kind of Sphynxian musical chairs game, if you will, where cryptic questions mete out very few seats.
Chief among “sphinxes,” Stanford boasts the country’s most competitive undergraduate admit rate, which burned through around 44,000 applicants to admit 2,063 to the class of 2020, for a rate of 4.65%. The picture is already bleak enough before one considers the demographics involved for the Bay Area families that TTL typically serves. Asians and Asian Americans usually comprise less than 20% of the population of private US colleges and universities, which makes a rate of more than 1 in 100 more likely for our students applying to Stanford.
Adding to that, Stanford wants to be “cosmopolitan.” They don’t want everyone to come from their “back yard,” (even if that is the famed Bay Area and Silicon Valley), because they want to create a class where students can meet their counterparts from around the world. As such, Stanford’s class of 2020 came from all 50 states, and 82 countries. My guess is that at least another 30% of the pie will be unavailable to Bay Area Asian Americans for demographic reasons. Then, when one considers “hooks” such as recruited athletes, legacies, and most importantly – applicants who have a family member working at the university, hospital or other affiliated institution, the picture really begins to look bleak for Stanford.
Having said that, I have assisted several very deserving (but obviously also very lucky) Asian American STEM-major gain admission to Stanford every year for the last five app seasons. How? In my opinion, one of the major reasons for the success is that those students wrote truly incredible essays which got them noticed by the admissions committee.
A few years ago, I completed a course on admissions taught by Dr. Jon Reider – a Stanford philosophy professor who also served as senior admissions director or 15 years. In addition to co-authoring the popular Admission Matters and leading University High in San Francisco’s college counseling department, Jon created a prompt which was, until to this year, one of the most infamously difficult to comprehend and answer coherently: Stanford’s Intellectual Vitality prompt.
Intellectual vitality has assumed an importance beyond just this prompt, which has been around for at least the last 10 years. Stanford and many other (especially undergraduate) schools often include such a rating/ranking of this very attribute as a part of their decisions.
Which brings me to my ultimate point: Stanford has significantly altered its supplemental questions this year<, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. Rest in peace, Stanford’s Intellectual Vitality prompt, and welcome to what is essentially the same question, just phrased differently:
The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you genuinely excited about learning. (100 to 250 words)
(Previous version: Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.)
Get help with your college application!
In point of fact, this previous version was not even Dr. Reider’s original prompt, and he strongly disliked its phraseology…
Here are the most recent versions of the longer essays required to apply to Stanford – either the Common App or Coalition personal essay (650 or 550 words, respectively, and which were also altered this year) – and three 250 word Stanford short essays, of which one was rephrased:
The letter to your hypothetical, future Stanford roommate is a “classic” which I believe should be replaced.
But Stanford’s linked list above has missed six (6) other required Short Questions, all of which have 50-word limits.
Here are the two completely new Short Questions:
- Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.
- Imagine you had an extra hour in the day — how would you spend that time?
This is somewhat of a rephrase:
- When the choice is yours, what do you read, listen to, or watch?
And these last three of the six remain the same:
- What is the most significant challenge that society faces today? (50 word limit)
- How did you spend your last two summers? (50 word limit)
- What historical moment or event do you wish you could have witnessed? (50 word limit)
As ever, our talented team of consultants, including MCP consultants, are sharpening up their editing tools in preparation to help our students best tackle the trying and ever-changing riddles of college admissions. Get in touch with your expert TTL consultant today to prepare for Stanford or other top schools to which our students are regularly admitted.
By David Phillips, MCP Consultant
David PhillipsEssay PromptsStanford