Hello everyone, my name is Joshua Hall. I would like to share my thoughts and provide you with information on applying to a graduate program for physical therapy. I will focus on the Doctor of Physical Therapy at the University of Kentucky. I will be applying to this program in the Summer 2020.
#10 Attend an Information Session
In July 2018, I attended the University of Kentucky Physical Therapy Program Information Session event at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard. The session provided me with information about the admissions process and the educational requirements. A professor attended the session via zoom video to conference with participants. I was given brochures and hand-outs with information about the admissions process, the general education requirements, the admission criteria, and required courses. I found the session extremely beneficial in helping develop my academic plan and would highly recommend anyone who is interested in becoming a physical therapist to attend an event of this type. These events are held at both campuses, Lexington and Hazard. Individual advising appointments are also available at both locations.
For more information on advising and information sessions: https://www.uky.edu/chs/pt/admissions/advising
#9 Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor degree is required before beginning the graduate program. Individuals may have a bachelor degree in any field as long as they have completed the required courses.
For the list of admission and course requirements: https://www.uky.edu/chs/pt/admissions/requirements
To check for transfer course equivalencies: https://myuk.uky.edu/zApps/SLCM_TES/
#8 Developing good study habits
Candidates will need to develop good study habits. In order to be competitive, a candidate will need to have a cumulative GPA higher than 3.2. The GPA for science courses should be higher than 3.4 to be competitive. The rigorous demands of the physical therapy program will be challenging and require good study habits to be successful.
#7 Developing interpersonal and communication skills
I, personally, have to develop my interpersonal and communication skills. This is an area that is an integral part of being a physical therapist. A physical therapist interacts with patients and will need good communication skills to ensure a patient understands their treatment plan. Patients will need to feel at ease and comfortable with their physical therapist.
Below are a few links that may prove useful in helping to develop communication skills from Vanessa Van Edwards.
https://youtu.be/cef35Fk7YD8 (Ted Talk)
https://www.scienceofpeople.com › (Her website)
#6 Volunteer Hours
A minimum of 50 volunteer hours in at least two different settings (acute hospital, outpatient clinic, rehabilitation hospital, pediatric setting) is required for the physical therapy program at the University of Kentucky. A competitive candidate will have over a 100 hours in a variety of settings providing experiences across the age continuum and different physical therapy models.
I have submitted my application to volunteer at Pikeville Medical Center in order to have access to a variety of physical therapy models and experiences.
Candidates will need to take the GRE General Test before applying to a physical therapy program. The program at UK require a combined verbal and quantitative score of 290, however a score over 300 will be more competitive. You may choose to take paper or computer-delivered tests.
The physical therapy program at UK requires certifications before entering the program. The required two certifications are: in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for adults, children, and infants by the American heart Association for the Health Professional or the American Red Cross for the Professional Rescuer and First Aid by the Red Cross.
#3 Submitting an application
Candidates will apply to the physical therapy program at UK one year prior to their anticipated start date. This means a candidate would submit an application at the end of their junior year of college. A candidate may opt to submit an early decision application. The University uses the PTCAS (Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service) to process applications. An early decision is a good choice if a candidate has chosen a program in which they want to attend. However, you can only apply to one program with the early decision option.
One important detail is the processing of an application may take up to 5 weeks once all materials are received. So applicants should not wait until the deadline for applications is close.
#2 Interview skills
Developing interview skills will be paramount in the selection process. I feel this is one area I will need to improve and focus.
Khan Academy has videos for college interviews:
Candidates will be selected from applications submitted and scheduled for interviews. These interviews will be a significant factor in the admission process. The interview allows an individual the opportunity to truly distinguish themselves from other applicants and stand out. The impression left may make all the difference to the selection committee deciding on acceptance into the program. These interviews are vital for the selection committee in order to determine if the candidates are a suitable fit for their program.
I hope you have found this information beneficial in helping to make a plan to become a physical therapist.