PACT - Physician Assistant Career Track Early Assurance Program

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If you are a South Texas high school student, UTRGV’s new Physician Assistant Career Track Early Assurance Program (PACT) is your career path to becoming a future physician assistant in the Rio Grande Valley while studying close to home.

UTRGV and the College of Health Professions are proud to announce the PACT Early Assurance Program (EAP). In partnership with the UTRGV Honors College, the program will select a limited number of high-achieving South Texas students who will begin their undergraduate career in Fall 2020 while also receiving the assurance of a seat in the UTRGV College of Health Profession’s Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) entering class of 2024.

Physician Assistants are licensed health professionals who examine, diagnose, and treat patients with physician supervision in doctor’s offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and more.

The competitive online application process will begin February 1, 2020, with completed applications due by March 20, 2020.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria

PACT is designed for high-achieving high school seniors who meet the following criteria:

Attend and will graduate from a South Texas high school within the following counties:
Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Kleberg, San Patricio, Aransas, and Nueces.

South Texas Counties: Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Kleberg, San Patricio, Aransas, and Nueces.

Enter UTRGV as incoming first-year students.

Are accepted and officially enrolled in PACT through the Honors College within any major.

Submit letters of recommendation from high school teachers, counselors, or administrators.

Complete on-campus interviews with UTRGV and College of Health Professions (COHP) faculty and staff.

Demonstrate maturity, motivation, and other attributes reflecting exceptional leadership, character, and achievement through recommendation letters and interviews.

Have scored at the 90th percentile or above in one sitting on the SAT (math & critical reading) or the ACT.

Rank in the top 5% of their high school graduating class and possess a minimum 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale and a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA in science courses.

FAQs

  • What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

    A Physician Assistant, also known as PA, is a licensed medical professional who diagnoses illness, develops and manages treatment plans, prescribes medications, and often serves as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative and practice in every state and every medical setting and specialty, improving health care access and quality.

    Physician Assistants can take medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illness, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, counsel on preventive care, prescribe medication, assist in surgery, perform procedures, make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes, conduct clinical research, and more.

  • What is PACT?

    Physician Assistant Career Track (PACT) is an Early Assurance Program (EAP) at UTRGV. The goal of the program is to increase the number of South Texas high-achieving students who enroll and complete their Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree at the UTRGV College of Health Professions (COHP). Candidates for the new program will be selected through a competitive selection process that includes targeted recruitment of students at regional high schools in spring 2020.

    Up to ten (10) applicants will be selected for admission to the program in spring 2020. Admitted students will begin their UTRGV undergraduate education in the Honors College in any major in fall 2020, and if the requirements for admission to the College of Health Professions Master in Physician Assistant Studies degree program are met, students will be guaranteed a seat in the UTRGV College of Health Professions MPAS entering Class of 2024.

  • Who can apply?

    High school seniors and/or juniors (with advanced standing) in South Texas who are interested in applying to UTRGV and have an interest in an Early Assurance Program (EAP) pursuing a Master in Physician Assistant Studies after receiving their undergraduate degree.

    Students accepted into the PACT program will automatically be enrolled in the UTRGV Honors College and can graduate with any major, so long as they remain an Honors College scholar through graduation, and UTRGV admission requirements to the College of Health Professions MPAS are met.

    To be eligible for the PACT program, high school applicants must graduate from a South Texas high school within the following counties: Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Kleberg, San Patricio, Aransas, and Nueces.

    For UTRGV College of Health Professions MPAS requirements visit the Admissions Requirements page.

     

  • What is the eligibility criteria?

    PACT is designed for high-achieving high school seniors (or juniors with advanced standing) who:

    • Attend and will graduate from a South Texas high school within the following counties:
      Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, Brooks, Jim Hogg, Kleberg, San Patricio, Aransas, and Nueces.
    • Enter UTRGV as incoming first-year students.
    • Are accepted and officially enrolled in the PACT program through the Honors College within any major.
    • Submit letters of recommendation from high school teachers, counselors, or administrators.
    • Complete on-campus interviews with UTRGV and COHP faculty and staff.
    • Demonstrate maturity, motivation, and other attributes reflecting exceptional leadership, character, and achievement through recommendation letters and interviews.
    • Have scored at the 90th percentile or above in one sitting on the SAT (math & critical reading) or the ACT.
    • Rank in the top 5% of their high school graduating class and possess a minimum 3.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale and a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA in science courses.
  • How do I apply?

    Once you are accepted to UTRGV, you may begin your online PACT application. Visit the PACT website for eligibility requirements, gather your required documents, and meet with your academic advisor.

    The application period will start February 1, 2020, and will end on March 20, 2020.

  • What is the cost to attend, is there financial aid available?

    Students with financial need to attend UTRGV should complete their FAFSA/TASFA. If financial need is verified, students may be eligible for grants and loans to cover tuition, fees, and other costs of attending UTRGV.

    Starting Fall 2020, students with a family adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less may qualify for UTRGV Tuition Advantage and have tuition and mandatory fees fully covered.

    Thinking ahead to UTRGV Graduate College, the estimated cost of attendance for Fall 2019-Summer 2020 rates is available for your planning needs . The COHP provides scholarships based on available funds.

  • Why attend UTRGV and College of Health Professions in the Rio Grande Valley?

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) ranks third among public universities in Texas that provides the best value for college students and has been ranked as the fourth-best university in Texas, according to Best Colleges in Texas (2018). UTRGV is the second largest Hispanic-serving institution in the nation and was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities for high school students in the Rio Grande Valley.

    Location

    The UTRGV Physician Assistant Department (PAD) is located in Edinburg, Texas, in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. It is located approximately 4 hours south of the city of San Antonio and is located only 20 minutes from the Texas-Mexican border. The PAD serves primarily the four counties of the Rio Grande Valley: Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Cameron. All Rio Grande Valley counties are classified as medically underserved areas (MUAs). The Rio Grande Valley experiences a unique population dynamic as it shares its vibrant culture with the much larger metropolitan border cities of Mexico, specifically Reynosa and Matamoros, both in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

    Creating the Future PA’s of Tomorrow

    Our UTRGV Physician Assistant Department is recognized as the only physician assistant program in Texas that is not located nor affiliated with a medical center. However, this creates a unique, wonderful opportunity for PAD students to train in the most optimal, one-to-one environments. Although the PA program is not located at a medical center, PAD is affiliated with more than 200 clinical preceptors and/or training facilities, including all the major hospitals across all four Rio Grande Valley counties.

    Honors & Awards

    The Physician Assistant Department is nationally recognized as a leader in student enrollment for Hispanic physician assistants and has received the award for Excellence in Diversity from the Physician Assistant Education Association in Puerto Rico in 2005. This national award shined a spotlight on the many successes the PAD has had with the recruitment and retention of health professions students with a minority/diversity background. The Physician Assistant Studies Program consistently enrolls >50% diverse students in every class cohort.

  • What makes the Rio Grande Valley a wonderful place for anyone to call home?

    With beautiful sunsets and subtropical coastal weather, the Rio Grande Valley offers a high quality of life for families and has consistently been ranked among the most secure and safest large metro areas to live in the country. The RGV is one of the most affordable areas in the nation to live in, with a large network of medical facilities, city parks, restaurants, rich bicultural traditions, and community events. South Texas is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, with a current population of approximately 1.5 million, whose average age is below 30, with Hispanics comprising 85% of the population.