THE 10 BEST TIPS I CAN GIVE YOU
1. DEADLINES, DEADLINES, DEADLINES!!!
Applying to DPT school will test your ability to meet deadlines. Make sure you know the deadlines for the schools you wish to apply to and whether or not they are firm are rolling. Nobody likes a procrastinator (even though we all secretly are one on the inside, whether we want to admit or not). Don't wait until the last minute to submit your materials because processing in PTCAS can take up to 5 weeks, or longer. However, I am a bit of a hypocrite when I say this because I submitted my PTCAS application on the day it was due. As long as you submit the PTCAS application by the schools' specific required deadline, it will be accepted and reviewed. But, it will take longer for those schools to receive your materials from PTCAS and will put even more stress on you then you probably already don't want to have to worry about.
2. Know the prerequisites for the programs you want to apply to!
I cannot stress this piece of advice enough. DPT programs require a thorough background of science and math classes, so make sure that you fulfill all of the required courses for the programs you wish to attend. ALL SCHOOLS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PREREQUISITE REQUIREMENTS -- I REPEAT, ALL SCHOOLS DO NOT HAVE THE SAME PREREQUISITE REQUIREMENTS!!! Although I wish all schools could be uniform when it comes to their prerequisite requirements, this is probably something that will not happen for a very, very long time (if ever). Some schools require more biology credits than others, while some schools may require more chemistry, English, or psychology than others. Most schools require at least the grade of a C or better for all prerequisites. However, obviously As and Bs are preferred. So, if you have a lot of Cs or have failed courses completely, consider retaking them.
3. Be smart when choosing who you ask to write you a letter of recommendation!
Most programs require three letters of recommendation, with at least one of them being from a licensed physical therapist. Your other options include physical therapy assistants, professors, teaching assistants, academic advisors, supervisors or employers, or other healthcare professionals. Choose wisely and ask early with a formal request, either through email or in-person. Give them the most recent version of your resume, highlighting all of your most notable skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Ask for a reference from someone who can speak highly of you and your abilities and be able to thoroughly explain how/why they are confident that you will be successful in this field. For example, it's certainly better to ask an adjunct professor that knows you very well and can go on and on about your abilities, opposed to asking the most prestigious/respected professor in your major that knows all of the faculty in the specific DPT program you are applying to, that has only had you as a student for one class and needs to be reminded what your name is.
4. Become acquainted with your desired programs' faculty and staff!
This is a very competitive program and while although 'who you know' can't always guarantee you'll get what you want, it can help you get what you want. Ask questions, attend events, and give yourself an opportunity to become more than just a name and score on an application once it comes time for the applicant pool to start being narrowed down by the admissions committee.
5. Don't try to 'fluff up' your application with irrelevant information!
PTCAS specifically tells you not to include high school experiences, so make sure not to include them on your application. I had a lot of extracurricular activities that I took part in during high school that would showcase me as an even better candidate, but these could not be included on my application. So, I tried to search in the smallest of nooks and crannies to find more and more things to add to my application to make the list more extensive (of course I wanted to include how I have this really super awesome blog that I run all by myself with tons of neato colorful photos on it... but yeah, that didn't happen). Instead, I kept all of the information concise, relevant, and professional. Avoid any 'fluff' because if you just rattle off a bunch of random things that have no meaning to you/you vaguely remember because you were forced to do it as a school requirement for extra credit just one time, it will likely serve as a detriment in the future (i.e. being unable to elaborate on it during an interview).
6. Submit your applications before all of your requirements are complete (if you have the option to)!
Some (but not all) programs allow you to still be in the process of completing your requirements while your application is already in review, such as taking classes or finishing your observation hours. Most schools do not allow this for taking the GRE, submitting letters of recommendation, or sending supplemental materials. Every program is different, so make sure you do your research and know if you have the option to complete some of the requirements after submitting your application. If the programs you are interested in do allow it, then you will be 'provisionally accepted' and just have to have them all completed by that school's set deadline (which is normally around the time that the program would start). Shenandoah required four more biology credits than what I had upon graduating, so I just finished taking an online biology class that just needed to be completed by the first day of classes with the letter grade of a C or better.
7. Give lots of time and thought to your PTCAS essay!
The PTCAS essay prompt for the 2016-2017 application process was, "What is professionalism in the aspect of being a Doctor of Physical Therapy student?" The essay prompt this year is the exact same - which is both good and bad. Good, because you can get advice from previous applicants on how to tackle this question. But, as you can tell, this prompt is pretty vague and can be difficult to elaborate on because the essay is supposed to be where we're able to tell our story and showcase our abilities - not write 4,000 words covering the definition of professionalism. So also bad, because it may be tough to get started and last year's thousands of applicants already answered the exact same question. So, admissions committees have already seen a lot of the same responses and you will now have to work extra hard to stand out and not write identical things they have already seen before. Avoid cliches like "wanting to help people" and "wanting to enter this field because of a sport-related injury experience." The admissions committee already knows these things hold true. Step outside of the box and draw from experiences and stories that have shaped you to be able to truly thrive as a physical therapist. Keep it clear and concise, with excessive detail only where it is necessary. Proofread your essay over and over and once you believe that it is ready to submit, have a few others proofread it for you, as well. The essay is a very important part of the application process for programs that do not hold interviews because this is how they get to learn the most about you/your experiences and what has fueled your fire to want to become a physical therapist. Last but not least - DON'T FORGET TO ANSWER THE ACTUAL QUESTION THAT WAS ASKED!
8. Take advantage of school-specific supplemental essays!
Not all schools require their own supplemental essays apart from the mandatory PTCAS essay. But if they do, seize this opportunity and make it the best it can possibly be! The mandatory PTCAS essay prompts are often more generalized than school-specific supplemental essay prompts, in which you are often having to tie the body of your essay back to a specific (but broad) question. The supplemental essays are geared more towards finding out specifically about you/your goals and this is where you get to focus on YOURSELF! Try not to reuse information from your PTCAS essay in your personal statement, because the admissions committee will see both. It might be difficult to get your mandatory PTCAS essay going. But trust me, once you do, you'll likely have to start deleting information once you get close to the end to fit the character count. Your supplemental essay is the place where you can use all of the information that you wanted to include in your PTCAS essay, but could not. A specific program will include a separate supplemental essay if they want to know more about you apart from the question being asked in the mandatory PTCAS essay. But again, always make sure that you are answering the specific question that was asked.
9. Don't forget about the supplemental materials/school specific questions!
Most (but not all) programs require additional materials before you will be eligible for their program. This includes, but is not limited to, an additional supplemental fee, application, in-state or out-of-state tuition forms, prerequisite forms, transcripts, and personal statements. Also, do your research and see if the programs have minimum requirements for GRE scores, GPAs, observation hours, etc. You can apply to any school that you want to. But if you do not meet their minimum requirements for all application criteria, then your application will not be considered (found that out the hard way lol) - I submitted my application for Old Dominion University (ODU) before realizing that my quantitative GRE score was ONE POINT below the minimum requirement (UGH!!!!!) Even though all of my other GRE subjects met the minimum requirement and all other application criteria excelled, my application could not be reviewed. This will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run!
10. Be financially ready to apply!
Applying to DPT school costs a pretty penny, so be prepared and save up. Here are the costs I had to pay during the application process/will pay for tuition:
- GRE exam: $205.00
- GRE study materials (books and flashcards): $50.00
- Sending GRE exam scores to schools: $135.00
- PTCAS fee to send application to 3 schools: $230.00
- Supplemental application fees: $95.00
- Sending transcripts to PTCAS: $25.00
- Non-refundable program deposit: $500.00
- American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) membership: $90.00
- Clinical lab equipment kit: $261.00
- Background check: $52.00
- Parking pass: $115.00
- Books for my first semester: ~$800.00
- Estimated tuition for a 3-year private institution: $87,000.00
*You probably saw that tuition estimate and said "WHOA, GOOD LORD!" However, private institutions have more money coming in, and therefore are able to give more financial aid to students. I'll be able to get roughly $65,000.00 in financial aid for all three years from Shenandoah University.*
Many students feel confused by the PTCAS prompt 2017 that sound like:
“What is professionalism in the context of being a student in a doctor of physical therapist degree program?”
Quite interesting sentence formulation that for some reason does not inspire students to write their personal statements, in fact, we found out that a good half is struggling with an interpretation and this apparently is the main cause of the writer’s block. While the average personal statement suggests to answer such questions as “Why you want to choose this profession” and “How can you contribute to the field of study you’re intended to work in”, PTCAS personal statement on the contrary, opens lot more room for the answering manures that makes it more complicated and challenging to write. In case you’re writing the internship personal statement it’s easier to follow 4 simple steps like keeping your document concise and positive in tone.
How to Write a Physical Therapy Statement of Purpose?
In order to master the PTCAS ESSAY 2016-2017, first of all, you need to stick to the basic standards of writing, that is formatting and technical requirements, that include PTCAS essay word count and other elements, let’s have a brief look into those:
You are limited to approximately 1 page (4500 characters, including spaces). Some formatting characters used in programs like Word (angled quotes, accents, special characters, bold, underline or italics) will not display properly. Because of this, PTCAS recommends that text be copied/pasted into the web form from a plain text editor such as Notepad rather than Word.
Drafting your personal statement as well as PTCAS essay 2016-2017 is definitely not the easiest task, that’s why personal statement writers can assist you along the way in the most difficult time when you need a helping hand the most. While the PTCAS essay prompt itself might be difficult to process and understand we prepared for you a set of useful tips and recommendations you may follow. Experts and experienced students insist that you shouldn’t start the writing until you know the answers to several specific questions. In the first place developed for the physical therapy statement of purpose, the advice can be universally applied for any kind of personal statement writing.
1. Define the reason to become who you want (a physical therapist)
Give the definite answer to the question what makes you pursue the physical therapist career, the cornerstone part is that you need to use your own experience to show why you would make the perfect future therapist. Even if your essay is the most enchanting one, full of details and breathtaking experiences, rich of examples proving your qualifications it can’t stand alone without the most important part – the purpose of the application. Your explanation should be vivid, make yourself clear and express your intentions in the most suitable manner. Specifically for this part the answering prompt is made for, it helps to push your thoughts into the right direction and gear your imagination for successful writing start.
2. Define the target to address
You should address both the given prompt and the motivation underlined for your profession. The best targets for you to pursue from now on should become the reflection, rewriting and revision, never cut time for those exercises and your application will have a greater impact. The PTCAS essay 2016-2017 requirements include the statement that the student needs to define the professionalism notion from the own angle of understanding, using only own opinion. You’ve probably already guessed the trick – the closer your notion to so-called “iconic” one and the more the main meaning matches the one they have – the better chance you have to succeed.
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Best Practices to Communicate Your Determination in PTCAS Essay 2016-2017
This is the first and the most important thing a student needs to master before starting the actual writing and the most valuable for your future education. Take a brief look at your drafts and ask yourself:
- Is my vocabulary sufficient to express all the details and points I need to deliver to the reader?
- Are both my written and verbal skills close to perfection so that they can get the reader on your side?
- Can I express properly what a great communicator I am?
Some of these may seem odd at first sight but remember that it is the communication that takes the most important part in building patient-therapist relationships and thus ensuring the best results.
Learn how our professional can assist you in writing a personal ethics statement here.
As a student you should be responsible for your education process, that’s why if you can accept the challenge you need to show clearly you can not only obtain the incoming information yourself but also be able to find the additional sources.
Best things you can do is to get enrollment in the particular study group, develop a training schedule and improve your knowledge and learning strategies with your professor’s help, this way you project enthusiasm and accountability for your education, if you don’t have a proper accountability this may affect your future patient as a result.
A physical therapist is allowed to practice only after obtaining a professional license. Bear in mind that every professional should also stick to the corporate ethics to avoid many unpleasant situations.
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Upon knowing it all you will be absolutely able to follow the standards and regulations. The admission committee will be sure you will be always interested in acting on behalf of your patients in the future no matter what. The statements that can help you show that can be:
- Following the particular religion or holding a certain belief
- Having certain principles in life as a whole
- Situations when you needed to solve ethical dilemmas and what were the turning points that pushed you to make decisions.
For ensuring you can handle the most unexpected and extreme situations with a cold head as a therapist you must show that you can function perfectly well in any kind of stressful conditions.
Your maturity can be accessed from the point of social, physical and emotional wellness. There’s nothing wrong in being vulnerable for every human being but the ability to control your emotions is of a higher value for the future physical therapist. If you’re searching for the relevant PTCAS personal statement examples, you can familiarize yourself with one of them:
Common Avoidable Mistakes in PTCAS Essay Prompt
- Avoid the underestimations and the overestimations, make sure there’s no ambiguity and the room for the double interpretation of your words in your sentences.
- The worst thing that can be made in your essay and personal statement is stating the same idea over and over but with different words in different forms.
- Don’t write it like a novel, avoid unessential words and difficult to process word constructions.
- Do not oversimplify the profession in your sentences, watch your writing style, don’t include the information the committee already knows that has nothing to do with you personally. You might be mistaken if you think that as a Pt you will work exceptionally in sports rehab. You can be assigned as well to burn recovery department or wound care unit, stroke rehab or prosthetics.
- Do not capitalize the name or title of the profession, no matter what it is a physical therapist, or physician assistant, learn that from good PTCAS essay example.
- Avoid generalities and clichés. The most common clichés for the personal statements are:
- “From a young age”
- “Since I was a child”
- “I’ve always been fascinated by”
- “I have a thirst for knowledge”,
- “The world we live in today”
- “I am very passionate about”
- “I love working with people”
- “I have always wanted to be an PT” and so on.
Writing the PTCAS essay and supporting physical therapy personal statement should be no surprise for you if you defined all the key ideas to put in beforehand. If you manage to answer the prompt properly and also incorporate different examples to show all the right aspects of your personality the results will most certainly cheer you up. There’s no better opportunity like an effective personal statement that provides context to your story and describes your solid determination to become a good physical therapist.