If you have been a follower of AsLifeGrows for some time, then you know that throughout college, my goal has been to get accepted into physical therapy graduate school. Thankfully, I have been able to make that goal a reality! Now that I have been accepted, I want to share a few tips to help you get accepted into physical therapy graduate school too!
1. Be willing to work hard
First things first, you have to be willing to work hard in order to reach your dreams! The required classes for physical therapy graduate school are tough! You’ll have to take classes like chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, statistics, and more! You may not like all of these classes, so you have to really want to reach your goal in order to push through them! Remember, if you are struggling in a class, don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help! Also, try your best to only make A’s and B’s. In order to be accepted, you have to have a high GPA! One thing that might help with this is mixing your general education courses with your tougher required courses to avoid an extremely hard semester!
2. Go above and beyond
Another thing that is important to do in order to get accepted into physical therapy graduate school is to always go above and beyond what is required of you. Instead of hitting the minimum required shadowing hours, take the time to put in extra hours! Also, take extra recommended courses that give you brownie points on your application! For me, these included biochemistry, neuroscience, cell biology, genetics, and a few more! I would also recommend that you tour the program, go to an open house, or attend a Q and A if there is one. I was able to go to an open house and was shocked to find that some of the professors actually remembered me at my interview! Going above and beyond in these ways can look extremely good on your application and may be able to boost your chances on getting accepted!
3. Apply early
Another thing that might be able to help you get into physical therapy graduate school is applying early. Make sure that you know when your application deadlines are. Then, learn when your application opens and get to work! Applying early makes you look organized, prepared, and eager! Also, a few graduate schools have rolling acceptances, so applying early could really help your chances of getting into these programs! Plus, if you apply early, you may be able to get your application done over the summer! This would mean that you have less to worry about when the semester gets harder! Oh, and don’t forget to apply to at least five programs! It may cost more money, but having options will be worth it!
4. Look good on paper
Since almost all physical therapy graduate school applications go through PTCAS, most programs only see how you look on paper. This is why it is so important to make good grades and have a high GPA. This also makes volunteer work, shadowing hours, and even internships important! Remember to write down any extracurricular activities that you participate in too! Also, make sure that you really shine on your essay! Answer the question clearly and honestly, and don’t forget to run it through Grammarly to spell check it! Remember, in order to get an interview, you have to look great on paper! So, take the time to review everything before you turn in your application!
5. Rock your interview
You can’t just look good on paper though! If you’re offered an interview, do your best to prepare! Here are a few tips that I learned from my own graduate school interviews!
Look up possible interview questions online and work through your own answers out loud! Then, have a mock interview with friends asking you possible interview questions! This will help you have answers ready so you don’t get blindsided! Plus, friends are great confidence boosters and can help you come up with even better answers!
This is so important! Wear business clothes that fit the recommended attire, make you feel confident, and are still comfortable! You have too many things going on to worry about your clothes! Also, keep your makeup professional (no glitter), don’t use strong perfume, and make sure that your nails look professional and are trimmed!
For my interviews, I arrived at least 45 minutes early! This gave me extra drive time, time to find a parking, and even time to practice through a few more interview questions in my car! This extra time will also help calm your nerves and boost your confidence before entering your interview building!
Get to know people
I would also suggest that you look at the faculty page before you go in for your interview. Memorizing the names of a few professors along with what they specialize in can help you recognize them and be able to talk with them if you are given the opportunity!
Also, on both of my interview days, I was placed in a room with many of the other applicants. At first, this was really weird and awkward to me! After a few minutes, however, everyone opened up and started making friends! So, if you are put in this position, don’t be afraid to talk with the other applicants! This could help you get more comfortable and feel less stressed!
6. Be patient
Last but not least, it is important to be patient throughout your application process! Remember, there are a lot of applicants to go through so it will take time to get an answer. Just do your best! If you worked hard in college, you should be fine! Also, if you get waitlisted, remember that it doesn’t mean no! A lot of programs get to quite a few people on the waitlist before all of the slots are full! If you don’t end up getting accepted, have faith that this is where you are supposed to be and decide on whether you will reapply next year!
I hope this helps you understand what you have to do in order to get into physical therapy graduate programs! Remember, this is all based on my own personal experience, so things will be a little different depending on where you are applying! Either way, these tips should be able to help you get a great head start! If you have any questions about applying for physical therapy graduate school, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’ve been where you are, so I would be more than happy to help!
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