Hello loves~ Welcome back to Peachy Academy! In today’s post, I will be giving you an overview of my application experience. As some of you know, I am currently in graduate school to obtain my Doctorate of Physical Therapy. If you think it is a simple and straight forward process — let me state that this was possibly the most challenging experience to date. From the time of my application season(s), it was said that roughly 8% of applicants get accepted into physical therapy school. This is mainly due to the fact that there are an overwhelming amount of applicants and each program only accepts an average of 45 students per year.
As scary as that sounds, I am not trying to discourage potential applicants — I only want to share my experiences so that others don’t feel alone and to create a space for discussion and solidarity.
Before I continue, there are a few disclaimers:
I plan to go into more detail about my experiences, however, that will be dependent on interest. Although I am comfortable with speaking about my experiences and opinions, I would rather wait until there is a small handful of people who express their desire to hear more. This is just to ensure that I do not overly share if it is not warranted.
Additionally, I will be keeping certain specifics vague to minimize bias. Please remember that these are just my opinions and recounts of my experiences. I do not wish to offend anyone or any entity, nor do I wish to discourage anyone from applying to any program.
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So, where do I even begin? I feel like my application process was just yesterday, but also a lifetime ago. How about we start with a small timeline?
I graduated from my undergraduate university in the spring of 2019. My first application season was actually in the summer of 2018, as the physical therapy centralized application service (PTCAS) opens every year at the beginning of July. Many that I knew who were pre-physical therapy wanted to wait until after graduation to apply. However, I wanted to dip my toes in the waters and get a feel for the processes.
Therefore, I only applied to five schools during my first attempt. All five were in-state and public institutions.
Although I was anticipating that it would be close to impossible to be accepted the first time, I was still extremely disappointed and upset with the results…
Now that I am reflecting on my experiences, I realized that I was not fully prepared for the weight of rejection. How was a twenty-one year old supposed to anticipate that kind of heaviness? This was a common theme for the next three years.
It took me three attempts to even get an interview, much less an acceptance letter.
For three years, I dedicated most of my life to improving my application and how I appeared on paper. During this process, I was also struggling with my own mental health and general purpose in life — at the young age of twenty-one, I was experiencing the first of many existential crises.
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Below are a couple of charts that I made of all of my attempts, along with a detailed spreadsheet of the estimated cost of my entire application experience.
As you can see, I spent over $3,000 in application fees. This total does not account for the courses that I retook in attempt to improve my GPA.
Overall, seeing as I am currently enrolled in one of the programs above, I am not saying that applying to physical therapy school is a waste of money and time. I am just providing you with a realistic lens into this process. Regardless of which graduate program you are applying for, it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources.
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One of the reasons why I wanted to start this series is to shine some light on this grueling process. Throughout undergrad, I was so tired of guest speakers with near perfect GPAs and everyone telling me that I was going to get into school — even though I knew that was far from the truth.
In regards to GPA, the concept of GPA is not as standardized or universal as everyone assumes. Depending on your resources, it can vary. For instance, when I graduated from university, my final transcript said that I had a 3.33 — however, per PTCAS, my overall GPA was a 3.27. This is because when you enter all of your courses in the PTCAS system, it takes an average of all your course attempts.
Do not worry too much because most schools will take your best attempt. But, do keep in mind that there are some programs that will follow through with PTCAS’s calculations. Therefore, if you are not confident with how PTCAS calculates your GPA, I recommend that you only apply to programs that will accept your highest attempt.
Moreover, my school reviewed my application with me, prior to my interview and acceptance. During this review, they had disclosed that my core sciences GPA was a 3.5 and my prerequisite GPA was a 3.58. If your brain is confused with this math, you are not the only one. I was extremely shocked when the admissions advisor had revealed this to me and had complimented me on my overall application. This was the first that I had directly heard from a program that I had a solid application.
All the other programs that I had applied to either ignored me completely, had harsh rejection letters, or were just ambiguous.
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As I mentioned earlier in this post, I can go into further detail about certain topics, but for right now, I will leave what I have provided as is. Again, I have a tendency to overshare and I would rather under share at first, as to not overwhelm others.
As I attempt to being more active with my blog and other platforms, please let me know your thoughts!
– What would you like me to talk about in this series?
– Is there anything you would like me to touch base on in more detail?
Thank you for joining me today! I hope it was helpful in some way.
With love, Joslyn
ps. here are some of my other stats:
- GRE Score: 150 V (47%); 151 Q (42%); 4.0 W (59%)
- Observation & Work = 4,000 hrs.
- Volunteer = ~65 hrs.
- PTCAS Cumulative Undergrad GPA = 3.24
- PTCAS Math / Science GPA = 2.91