Advices for undergrad freshmen

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by destinedDPT, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. destinedDPT

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    I'm in my freshmen year of college, with a 3.85 GPA so far transferring over to College of Staten Island in the fall semester of 2015. I was thinking if it's reasonable to major in BS in Psychology? Can somebody give me step to step advice and preparation to successfully ace undergrad to pursue PT school? Like, when should I start volunteering for hours? Btw, I've volunteered at an inpatient rehab center for 300 Hrs DURING high school years, would those hours be acceptable when applying after I graduate undergrad? Lastly, what are some mistakes and things you wish you knew when you were in your undergrad years. Thank you!
     
  2. Watson27

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    1. Get all A's in the pre-reqs.
    2. Get observation hours at a variety of places, and make meaningful connections with the PTs you shadow, so that you have great letters of recommendation (and supportive mentors!).
    3. Create great relationships with your professors. You will do better in their classes and you will feel comfortable asking for letters. Go to their office hours and chat.
    4. When the time comes, put effort into doing well on the GRE.
    5. As far as extracurriculars, join an organization that interests you! It doesn't have to be a "pre-PT Club." It's worthwhile to hold a leadership position if you have time.
    6. Do some community service. Often times, non-service oriented clubs will have a few volunteer events each year.
    7. These days, it's always helpful to have some research experience on your application.
    8. Start looking at PT programs now, and pick 2-4 schools that you would really like to attend. Read every single piece of information available about those programs on PTCAS, CAPTE, and this forum. Tailor your application to them.

    My #1 super secret piece of advice to succeed in college: Sit in the front row.
     
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  3. brooklynyc

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    -you can major in anything. It doesn't matter. You just need your prereqs.
    -step by step advice? Really the only advice is to study hard in all your classes and do well. It's generic advice, but it's the best advice imo. You seem to be doing okay with that part.
    -300 hours sounds phenomenal. I would continue to rack in the hours throughout your college career. You have lots of time. Make sure to have hours doing inpatient as well as outpatient. I'd guess that they like to see recent observation experience as well as high school experience.
    -mistakes? applying to too many schools for my application process. Personally, my mistake was doing bad in undergrad. You'll be set if you keep up the good work.
     
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  4. DesertPT

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    I got a 3.8 sitting in the back row in every class. :vamp:
     
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  5. DesertPT

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    Psychology is a very dime-a-dozen pre-health major. That's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to applications to PT school (nobody will care what your major was), but it is a totally worthless bachelor's degree to have if PT school doesn't work out. There have been lots of threads related to choosing majors throughout the many SDN forums if you search for them. I have written about it somewhat extensively on a couple of occasions.

    No. You could mention this in an essay or interview potentially, but only experiences you have had in college will count as actual observation hours. PTCAS forbids the entering of any activities of any kind completed in high school on your application.
     
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  6. DesertPT

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    Excellent, totally agree with everything.

    And I'd add to #8 to also call the admissions offices of those schools and ask about how their admissions process works and what they think makes a strong candidate. The things they will tell you on the phone that can't be found online are amazing. Also take any numerical information about schools that you see on PTCAS or CAPTE with a grain of salt, it is generally outdated.
     
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    destinedDPT

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    Thank you for these helpful steps. I've never really like sitting in the front of the class but I started doing that in college and I must say, it is crucial to be noticeable from the professor to get an A!
     
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    destinedDPT

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    Thank you, any opinions would be helpful! Btw, why was applying to many schools a mistake? How many slots are there for you to choose?
     
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    destinedDPT

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    Thank you for the blog! It is extremely useful especially the interviews because I SUCK AT DOING INTERVIEW.
     
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    destinedDPT

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    Thank you! Would it better to graduate with BS in Exercise Science(Option 1 of 2: Pre-Physical Therapy)?
     
  11. DesertPT

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    No not particularly, at least not from an employment standpoint. Both are unemployable bachelor's degrees for the most part. However most pre-PTs are either Ex. Sci. majors or Kinesiology majors as these programs generally include most if not all of the standard pre-PT pre-reqs. Ex. Sci. degrees are generally not terribly academically rigorous, so it shouldn't be too hard to get good grades. But, as has been said literally thousands of times across every forum of SDN, adcoms of healthcare professional programs literally do not care at all what your major was in college. So pick something that is interesting to you, pick something that is easy to fit pre-reqs into, or pick something practical (and possibly terribly boring and/or more difficult) such as finance, accounting, mathematics, physics, computer science, etc. that will get you a decent job upon graduation if grad school doesn't pan out.
     
  12. uncwpt2018

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    My best advice that I didn't start doing until junior year is to get to know your professors, especially your pre-req professors that can write more influential letters. Sitting in the front row and asking questions during/after class is the easiest way to start doing this! I didn't do this until second semester anatomy but it was the best thing I did.

    I don't agree that exercise science or psychology are unemployable bachelor's degrees at all. There are plenty of certifications that you can get with your degree that can get you jobs (strength and conditioning, personal training, health fitness specialist, etc.)
    You should pick a major that you like and will do well in so your GPA doesn't suffer. Exercise science is so helpful pre-pt though because you are learning a lot of stepping stone information. A lot of people I know have a psych minor if they are doing PT.
     
  13. CaptainBobo

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    While 8 is valuable, I wouldn't worry about it too much right now (as a freshman). Sophmore year and junior give it some more investment, but the programs are likely to change a bit by the time you'd be ready to apply. If you get excited about a program now and find out in three years they're doing a curriculum overhaul.... You see my point I think.

    I'd stress the leadership role for 5. It's probably better to be the president/vp/treasurer/whatever of one club than a member in 5. The leadership role shows you actually did something, whereas a member just means you attended some meetings. Also would stress something that interests you. College is a great time to have experiences you'd likely not have elsewhere. Yes, planning ahead is important, but has fencing always interested you? How about boxing? Rock-climbing? Join the club! Or if it's a team that competes with other schools, that's great too! Even if you only practice once a week and maybe go to one tournament a year, you're still part of an athletic team. Not only are you doing something fun, it shows you can work with a group and commit.

    Same thing with picking a major. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT MAJOR YOU PICK. AT ALL. As long as you complete the pre-reqs, you can get in anywhere with anything. I had a friend with a degree in computer science get into med school. Complete opposite, still works. So pick something you'd like to study throughout your undergrad experience. If that's exercise science, awesome. Wanna study spanish? That's great too (and fairly practical, depending on where you'd like to go to pt school). How about bagpiping? Enjoy! Again, just make sure you make time for your pre-reqs.

    Lastly, #3 is pretty key. Take the advice previously given about that. Try to stay in touch with professors you connect well with, as its much smoother asking professor you've been corresponding with monthly/semesterly for a letter of recommendation than one you haven't spoken to since General Biology freshman year.
     
  14. DesertPT

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    Let me qualify my statement: You will probably not get a job that pays more that $20/hr. with a psychology or ex. sci. bachelor's degree. They are unemployable in the sense that they do not qualify you for professional employment in your field of study. And the certifications you mentioned do not require a degree in ex. sci. as far as I am aware.
     
  15. DesertPT

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    Not a bad idea actually...speaking Spanish as a PT (or as any healthcare professional) is an extremely valuable asset.
     
  16. DesertPT

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    To some extent you are right, however it is important to realize the pre-reqs of the schools you think you will potentially apply to as early as possible. Having all your pre-reqs done by the time you submit your application generally strengthens your app. And some schools have some oddball pre-reqs that most don't have.
     
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  17. uncwpt2018

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    The higher/better certifications do require a degree in a related field which opens more doors for work opportunities than the baseline certifications.
     
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  18. DesertPT

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    If you're gonna go to that much trouble you might as well just go to PT school ;)
     

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