Advice on School Choice

Discussion in 'Physical Therapy' started by Junta09, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. Junta09

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    Hey all, I'm new here. Looks like a good forum.

    Anyways, I'm really excited that I've been accepted into three PT programs in the Philadelphia area: Arcadia, Drexel, and Thomas Jefferson.

    Now comes the hard part...deciding which school to choose. I was wondering if anybody had any advice, maybe current and past students could share what factors played the biggest part in their choice (if they had one), cause I'm lost in the woods at this point.

    Some are offering me more scholarship than the others, but might not be "ranked" as high. Thoughts on these schools?
     
  2. phungus

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    I'm still in my undergrad years, but I've been keeping in touch with some PT students that I've met. The one thing that stuck out to me when I asked them that question was the school's curriculum. One PT student said she chose the school she decided on because of how much clinical experience they offered. She's at USC by the way. I guess some programs offer a more extensive hands on clinical rotation than others. Hope that helped :)
     
  3. Junta09

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    Yes it did, thanks. I've noticed that the "set up" of the curriculum is different between each school, so I have to figure out which one suits me best I suppose.

    Follow up:
    Can a degree from one school versus another really be that much better, so that I'd be making more money, have more opportunities etc.

    How much does reputation and ranking really matter?

    Should I just choose the school that's cheapest or I'm most comfortable at? There are a lot of factors to consider and none of these programs are really running away from each other at this point. Any insider information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  4. jbizzle

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    as far as the pretige of the school you will be attending, it should not matter for a few more years. The profession is in high demand right now, but in a few years, about 6-12, it would matter.

    I haven't gotten an acceptance yet to any school I applied to, so you may not want to believe me when I say it, but this is the truth.
     
  5. jbizzle

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    ohh and by the way, congratulations. Tuition, curiculum, etc all play big factors, In my opinion, I wouldn't worry too much on tuition as there are student loan forgiveness plans now that hospitals provide to entice newly graduating DPT's to work for them.
     
  6. Junta09

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    Thanks. And good luck getting accepted! How many schools did you apply to?

    I wasn't expecting to get accepted to more than one school to tell you the truth, so this is kind of a good "problem" to have. These student loan forgiveness plans sound interesting, and if prestige only matters minimally...I'll give the opportunities that come from the curriculum more weight in my decision.

    It's about which school best prepares you, but at the same time I feel like graduating from School X can provide more job opportunities as you begin, then from School Y.

    Is anybody familiar with the Philadelphia schools?
     
  7. jesspt

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    I'm not sure I agree with you here - Where one goes to school likely effects their job prospects very minimally. At this point, PTs are in high demand and many PT managers are happy when any resume comes across their desk and concern themselves very little with where the person went to school. The interview that follows has the greatest influence on whether you get the job, and graduating from a school that is ranked 27th vs one that is ranked 7th isn't likely to cost you an interview.

    I would consider cost first, how well the students of each school perform on the National Physical Therapy Examination a close second, and then look at the school's curriculum/research areas of faculty members, etc.

    As for experience with Philly schools, I graduated from Arcadia back in the Stone Age when it was called Beaver College. I think the school prepared me well, compared to other recent graduates who I worked with, but in hindsight, I would have been better off coming out of shool with less debt than having gone to a school that was ranked in the top 5 at the time (and I think is ranked 7th now).
     
  8. PTWannabe

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    In terms of the importance of the school's reputation, I really don't know. But during my NYU interview, I had a chance to talk to some current students and they were pretty certain they would be getting better jobs than other graduates because of NYU's rep. Maybe it's not so much a question about being able to secure a job - the market is great right now - but how much you would be compensated. The NYU students were confident in getting the higher paying positions. I guess it also depends on what type of PT you want to do, as well.
     
  9. jbizzle

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    As to what PTWannabe said, if a DPT from a lower ranking school vs. a higher ranking DPT school applies for the same director position, then yeah I think that matters. As for job security, no. Just like everyone has said, the market is great right now, but in a few more years the competition goes up.

    I would print out the curiculum for all schools, place them side by side then compare what you think each semester could give you. Some schools may overload with like 18 credits each sem. Oh and if your like me, ask for their clinical affiliations and check when clinicals start. Some schools clinicals start in the 1st semester vs. some in the 3rd semester. As for affiliations, Emroy Univ. in Atlanta has an affiliation with an overseas hospital (I think in Sweden or something), that would be cool to do.

    (If anyone has applied to a FL or GA schools, post on my thread if you have gotten any letters of acceptance/rejection/interviews. Thanks)
     
  10. jesspt

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    My emphasis added.


    I'm not sure that current students are your most reliable source for this kind of info. Having been on the hiring end on numerous occasions, and having several colleauges and friends who are also responsible for hirng staff for other companies, I can honestly tell you that where you recieved your education isn't all that important, unless yougraduate from a school whose reputation is incredibly poor - and ususally a school gets that reputation from producing graduates that have a hard time passing the NPTE.

    And, as for salary, the school doesn't matter nearly as much as how the potential employee comes off in the interview. Many places have a wage scale in place that varies based on level of experience. An employer may make a salary offer toward the upper end of that scale if the applciant has an outstanding interview, but is not likely to do so just because of where that applicant went to school.
     
  11. jbizzle

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    I would choose the school that has the best BCS ranking after the football season is over but that's just me
     
  12. Junta09

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    Oklahoma then. :p

    Thanks for the help everybody.
     
  13. djtrackie

    djtrackie New Member
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    early clinical rotations are overrated, here's why. In the first year or so, you really don't know anything, they give you bits and pieces of what you need to know and you don't know enough to start putting things together. So an early clin. rotation just gets you out there to observe, you still don't know what's going on. Which, imho is a waste of a clin. rotation. Not much different from the volunteer hours you put in before PT school

    As opposed to getting your clinical rotations after you learn the set of skills from your school. By this time, you should have learned most the important PT skills from school (ortho, neuro, peds, misc procedures). So by the time you get out to your clinical rotations you already know what's going on, and you take in what you see in the clinic and apply it to what you already know and learned (IE: practice doing evals correctly). So you are able to use the clinic to hone your skills.

    So if I had a choice of spending time in the clinicals early vs later, I'll choose the later. This way I'll have more time to be able to perfect my skills.
     
  14. PTapp

    PTapp DPT
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    I agree with you 100%. My school has the clinical rotations set up for the second year after ortho I/II peds and cardio I/II. At first I was disappointed for not jumping into the clinicals earlier, however after giving it more thought, I thought that it would be much better taking all these courses before starting my clinical.
     
  15. Akiramay

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    Wow, I was actually thinking it was better to get in some clinical experience early! But now from what I'm hearing, it's not so helpful. That was one of the reasons I was liking Northwestern compared to University of Illinois at Chicago. Does anyone have any more insight into this?
     
  16. PTapp

    PTapp DPT
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    Me too, but think about it. During the first year, all you take are the foundational courses for PT, so when you start your first clinical, what could you do if you don't know how to rehab (or at least have an idea) a post-surgery patient's knee. Someone else also pointed out that you would just be observing which most of us have already done.

    I applied to Northwestern last year but didn't get in. I was disappointed because it is a great school with lots of research opportunities and plus the DPT program is only 2,5 years. Expensive? Yeah but imagine not going to school for another semester and starting to work earlier which would save you 12k for the semester and 3-5 months of salary which would probably give you an extra 15-20k. Looks like a pretty good deal to me.
     
  17. jesspt

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    Your choice may depend on the area of PT you want to practice in. UI-C has an orthopaedics class with a fairly strong foundation in manual therapy and also has a post-graduate followship program in manual therapy if that's something that would interest you.

    Agree 100% with the above posts on early clinicals. Ideally, all diadactic work would be finished prior to letting PT students loose in the clinic.
     

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