Jun 28, 2015
8
16
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello Everyone:

Wherever and whenever you end up reading this, I hope this message finds you well. I'm a current second year student at the University of Pittsburgh that simply wanted to take a second to share. I'll try and keep the personal details to a minimum. My goal is to spread a positive message, not share my own personal story.

I'm 26. I completed my undergrad at Virginia Tech. And I can safely say that my undergraduate GPA is hands-down, by far, the worst of my 57 peers. I graduated with a 3.01 overall, 2.7 pre-req GPA.

On paper, I shouldn't succeed in a doctoral level program. I currently have a 3.85 GPA as a graduate student, hold a leadership position, a part-time training job, train a grappling sport 4-5 days a week, and maintain an instagram & blog.

I applied to PT school twice. My first round, I applied to 10 schools. I received 9 rejections and 1 (Pitt) put me on their wait-list. My second round, I went 1/1.

Why am I posting here? Because I want those of you who have "sub-par" GPAs to read this. Realize that you don't need a 3.8 or above to get into a good program. You simply need to go the extra step, sell yourself, and show that you belong.

I know it was frustrating for me to comb through there forums and see posts with the OP asking if their 3.5 was good enough to get into school (I literally just read one that had a 3.85/4.0 pre-req...). I felt dejected. I knew 100% that my future is in physical therapy, but I felt inadequate. How was I supposed to get into a program if people with 3.8s were nervous about being accepted?

The answer: Go the extra step. Research the programs THOROUGHLY. Decide which schools you are going to truly focus on. If you're in a situation similar to me, my honest opinion is to cut the fat. Find maybe 5 schools that you want to attend and do everything in your power to get accepted. If you're pursuing PT for the right reasons, it will show.

Briefly, here's what I did:
- Find an excuse to go visit. I chose to "detour" to Pittsburgh on my way to Chicago for a Triathlon. I met with a faculty member, spoke with her for about 30 minutes, and walked away with her email address.

- Stay in contact: Preferably with someone in admissions or who holds a relatively important position. Continually reach out. Once a month at least. I sent an update when I began interning with VT Strength & Conditioning. I shot over an email when I got my first job out of school. I sent her an email a few weeks into that. For the next year, I would continually send blog posts that I had written. Maybe 2-4 every few months. Just keeping my name present.

- Get involved in personal training of some sort. Having the ability to actually teach exercise and progress/regress clients will be HUGE as a student. Not only will this experience help you in admissions, if you approach this properly and truly dedicate yourself, it will set you apart during your classes and clinicals. This applies to all aspects of PT, whether you go into Acute Care, Ortho, Sports, Geriatrics, etc.

- Volunteer. Consistently. Two points here: 1. Spread out your hours. Get as many different setting as possible. 2. Find a cause (PT or non-PT related) and volunteer your time once a week or every other week. This will set you apart in so many ways. I chose to spend 4 hours a week at a Hippotherapy clinic, volunteering as a side-walker under a PT and OT. Not only was the experience eye-opening, but it certainly helped my application.

- Form a plan, and execute. I knew I would have to take at least one year off. I wanted to apply at the height of my GPA, which meant I couldn't apply until after I graduated. I was wait-listed the first time around. By this time, I had dropped my part-time job as a PT-aide and started working full-time as a strength and conditioning coach. Advice from Admissions: "Think about returning to work as a PT-aide." Frankly, this is the last thing I wanted to do. As a S&C coach, I had the responsibility of coaching multiple clients an hour, writing programs, progressing individuals towards their goals, implementing tests & measures to evaluate progress, etc. In response to the advice for admissions, I requested a face-to-face meeting and drove 4 hours to visit the very next Monday. I met with my contact and explained why I felt that keeping my current position was in my best interests. The meeting lasted 5 minutes, I kept my job, and was accepted the very next cycle.

.
.
.

I'll leave it at this for now. Hopefully, this helps some of you. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you all may have, either publicly or privately.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my blog & instagram for all things health, fitness, and physical therapy.
 
Last edited:
Jan 20, 2016
4
0
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello Everyone:

Wherever and whenever you end up reading this, I hope this message finds you well. I'm a current second year student at the University of Pittsburgh that simply wanted to take a second to share. I'll try and keep it relatively short and devoid of personal details. My goal is to spread a positive message, not share my own personal story.

As I mentioned, I'm a current student at Pitt. I'm 26. I completed my undergrad at Virginia Tech. And I can safely say that my undergraduate GPA is hands-down, by far, the worst of my 57 peers. I graduated with a 3.01 overall, 2.7 pre-req GPA.

On paper, I shouldn't succeed in a doctoral level program. I currently have a 3.85 GPA as a graduate student, hold a leadership position, a part-time training job, train brazilian jiu jitsu 4-5 days a week, and maintain an instagram & blog.

I applied to PT school twice. My first round, I applied to 10 schools. I received 9 rejections and 1 (Pitt) put me on their waitlist. My second round, I went 1/1.

Why am I posting here? Because I want those of you who have "sub-par" GPAs to read this. Realize that you don't need a 3.8 or above to get into a good program. You simply need to go the extra step, sell yourself, and show that you belong.

I know it was frustrating for me to comb through there forums and see posts with the OP asking if their 3.5 was good enough to get into school (I literally just read one that had a 3.85/4.0 pre-req...). I felt dejected. I knew 100% that my future is in physical therapy, but I felt inadequate. How was I supposed to get into a program if people with 3.8s were nervous about being accepted?

The answer: Go the extra step. Research the programs THOROUGHLY. Decide which schools you are going to truly focus on. If you're in a situation similar to me, my honest opinion is to cut the fat. Find maybe 5 schools that you want to attend and do everything in your power to get accepted. If you're pursuing PT for the right reasons, it will show.

Briefly, here's what I did:
- Find an excuse to go visit. I chose to "detour" to Pittsburgh on my way to Chicago for a Triathlon. I met with a faculty member, spoke with her for about 30 minutes, and walked away with her email address.

- Stay in contact: Preferably with someone in admissions or who holds a relatively important position. Continually reach out. Once a month at least. I sent an update when I began interning in the VT Strength & Conditioning room. I shot over an email when I got my first job out of school. I send her an email a few weeks in. For the next year, I would continually send blog posts that I had written. Maybe 2-3 every 2 months. Just keeping my name present.

- Get involved in personal training of some sort. Having the ability to actually teach exercise and progress/regress clients will be HUGE as a student. Not only will this experience help you in admissions, if you approach this properly and truly dedicate yourself, it will set you apart during your classes and clinicals.

- Volunteer. Consistently. Two points here: 1. Spread out your hours. Get as many different setting as possible. 2. Find a cause (PT or non-PT related) and volunteer your time once a week or every other week. This will set you apart in so many ways. I chose to spend 4 hours a week at a Hippotherapy clinic, volunteering as a side-walker under a PT and OT. Not only was the experience eye-opening, but it certainly helped my application.

- Form a plan, and execute. I knew I would have to take at least one year off. I wanted to apply at the height of my GPA, which meant I couldn't apply until after I graduated. I was wait-listed the first time around. By this time, I had dropped my part-time job as a PT-aide and started working full-time as a strength and conditioning coach. Advice from Pitt Admissions: "Think about returning to work as a PT-aide." Frankly, this is the last thing I wanted to do. As a S&C coach, I had the responsibility of coaching multiple clients an hour, writing programs, progressing individuals towards their goals, implementing tests & measures to evaluate progress, etc. In response to the advice for admissions, I requested a face-to-face meeting and drove 4 hours to visit the very next Monday. I met with my contact and explained why I felt that keeping my current position was in my best interests. Her response: "Ok." The meeting lasted 5 minutes, I kept my job, and was accepted the very next cycle.

.
.
.

I'll leave it at this for now. Hopefully, this helps some of you. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you all may have, either publicly or privately.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my blog & instagram for all things health, fitness, and physical therapy.
Thank you for this post. It really is helpful and you pretty much painted my emotions in one post. Checked out both the IG and blog and following both now.

Here's hoping I'm right where you are a year from now.
 
OP
PT_Strong
Jun 28, 2015
8
16
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Thank you for this post. It really is helpful and you pretty much painted my emotions in one post. Checked out both the IG and blog and following both now.

Here's hoping I'm right where you are a year from now.

Thanks for the kind words! Keep working hard and you'll be there before you know it!

I'll say that my time off between undergrad and graduate school turned out to be one of the best experiences for me. I learned so much and can confidently say I wouldn't be in the position I am today if it wasn't for those experiences.
 
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Jul 17, 2017
13
7
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Thank you for this!! I needed it for sure! Did you retake any classes during your gap year to boost your GPA up or just focused on other areas to improve your application? There are so many videos and posts about "how to get into PT school with a low GPA" and they all basically say the same thing... if you have a low GPA, then re-take classes to raise your low GPA. So I really appreciate your post being focused on other options. I'm in my gap year right now, I just graduated in May and I am applying for the first time ED to a school that I know takes the whole applicant into account, not just your stats and GPA's.
 
OP
PT_Strong
Jun 28, 2015
8
16
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Thank you for this!! I needed it for sure! Did you retake any classes during your gap year to boost your GPA up or just focused on other areas to improve your application? There are so many videos and posts about "how to get into PT school with a low GPA" and they all basically say the same thing... if you have a low GPA, then re-take classes to raise your low GPA. So I really appreciate your post being focused on other options. I'm in my gap year right now, I just graduated in May and I am applying for the first time ED to a school that I know takes the whole applicant into account, not just your stats and GPA's.
I had the opportunity to take new classes my 5th year in undergrad -- I switched from Engineering to Health Sciences. Instead, I decided to pick up a minor in Biology to fill my schedule and show that I could succeed academically in higher level sciences. I felt that this was the better option as opposed to retaking the freshmen level sciences. I knew that retaking classes wouldn't really elevate my GPA significantly, so I felt that this was the better decision for me in conjunction with focusing on the other areas that I mentioned.

Good luck with your application and please let me know if you have any other questions!
 
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