Applying to PT School.. What are my chances?

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Sep 8, 2016
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Hello all!

I am currently applying to different DPT programs and am looking for some insight from PT "veterans" if you will.

My story is a little different. I started out my undergraduate degree thinking I would become a nurse. However, when I had a tumor removed from my brain sophomore year and had some rehab, my gears shifted and I became a Kinesiology major. I started to get lots and lots of experience in the field. I shadowed therapists and obtained two full time jobs. One job was at a CBRF group home for those with special needs, and another was as an exercise assistant at my hometown hospital working closely with physical therapists in a variety of settings. My mother also suffered a major stroke, so I spent a lot of time with her and watched her go through rehab. I became close with some therapists and have gotten plenty of letters of recommendation.

My major downfall throughout all of this is that my GPA is not where I would personally like it to be. Cumulative it is right around 3.0. My last 60 credits I focused hard and asked lots of questions and earned roughly a 3.4.

My GRE is scheduled. I have been studying up a storm. I am finishing up the PTCA applications and visiting multiple schools, meeting with professors and asking for tours. I am also enrolled at classes at my local community college for the fall and the coming spring to boost my science GPA and retake a few pre-reqs.

My question is, do I have a chance with PT school? I want to be taken seriously because I feel I have a lot to offer. I am worried that my GPA does not reflect this. Is there anything anyone would suggest that I do to make myself more marketable to programs? Any advice is appreciated.

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Hi KinesiologyKid,

I have found that despite saying otherwise, GPA reigns supreme among attributes looked at by pt schools. I personally disagree with this practice because I've seen it accept kids who can take test like nobody's business but lack even the most basic social skills. Your GPA will likely be a major headwind to your application. Most schools like to see around a 3.5 minimum, with higher science and prerequisite scores. It does seem like you bring life experience to the table. I am not sure how much that will help. I found that schools like to say that they look for well-rounded students, but then proceed to only accept people with the highest GPA's. It sounds like you have good observation hours and letters of recommendation. Those are important, especially having variety in the observation hours. I think a key factor will be your GRE. Not every school requires a GRE, but the ones that do will probably look at your scores to see whether your GPA is indicative of your knowledge. I would recommend studying very hard for that test. Maybe even take a class on it if that will force you to be disciplined. Finally, I urge you to be smart in choosing your schools. You will likely benefit from casting a wide net, but make sure you know the schools you are applying to. There are plenty of no-named schools out there that accept high numbers of direct admit students. If you are on a budget, I would avoid those because they are too artificially competitive.

I am sorry if I wasn't helpful. You seem to know your weaknesses, which is a very good thing. Best of luck on the GRE and your application process!!
I think it truly depends on where you apply. How many pre-reqs are you taking to boost your GPA? I know a lot of schools might look at you as a number, but there will be some schools out there that look at you as an individual. My cumulative was around a 3.13 and my post bac GPA was a 3.85 with my pre-req being between a 3.2-3.4. My GRE was around a 155 V and 146 Q with a 3.5 A and I luckily got into a college. I had been attempting to do so for about 7 years and it finally paid off! I would make sure you have pretty decent GRE scores, excellent letters of recommendation and aim to get an A in all of your classes you're taking. Also, if you need more hours, I suggest getting as many as possible to set yourself apart from others. Maybe even touch on in an essay of yours how going through a traumatic time in your life and your mother's life propelled you to work in the field and help those like yourself and your mom? Just a thought.
I think you do have a shot, but you need to thoroughly research what schools would be best for you and the scores you have. Reach out to any and all personnel to ask questions
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I believe there is a spot that you can say your academic record may not reflect your abilities and state you had a brain tumor removed during your undergrad and that your mom had a stroke and you were involved in her care. While your GPA is low, letters, extracurriculars, GRE etc are involved to varying degrees as is your personal experience - having maintained a minimum GPA requirement while undergoing major medical things personally and in family does speak well for you....just my 2 cents. Doesn't hurt to apply. I'd even perhaps look more favorably upon your application as you can juggle "real life" with schoolwork.