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We've wrapped up our second semester now and our current loss is 12% of the class we started with. The year ahead of us has lost 15% of their starting class. These numbers seem high to me for PT school but I realize I don't have anything to compare them against. Going in, I never thought I'd be seeing so many people get kicked out (or walk away because the program was too unbearable).

What kind of attrition are you guys experiencing?
 

Azimuthal

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14%. Don't think we'll lose more. A's and B's make PT's.
 

okramango

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We just finished our first semester, and went from 52 to 49. However, those three left for unexpected family or personal reasons that didn't have to do with academics or school, and two of them are coming back next year. No one in my class has been kicked out or just walked away because of the program.

Most programs post their graduation rates in the CAPTE directory. The graduation rate at my program is 93% for the last three years.
 

callmecrazy

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There seems to be a lot of variation, even between classes at the same program. We lost only 1 (<2% ) and not until fairly late. The class behind us had lost 5 or 6 (~10%) by second semester. People decide PT isn't for them and personal issues can get in the way. I'd be a little more concerned if that many people are being kicked out though, unless they were really that awful of students or did something unethical. I always felt like our faculty were willing to help, long before it got to be too late, as long as you wanted to be there.
 

Azimuthal

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Sounds like a tough program. What happens to people who are ejected?
They have the opportunity to return next year with the new cohort. Tough? It's tough for me, probably not for most of you guys.
 

markelmarcel

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Our program ended up even at the end... we lost 4, but also gained 4 from the previous year (people who had failed a course and came back.) But, not factoring the people coming back from the year before, it would be 11% lost. Hopefully that puts the percentages in perspective... The number may seem high, but if your cohort is small, then each person is worth more percentage wise.
 
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Aug 3, 2013
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Thanks for all the replies. It's helping to calm me down a bit as I reflect over the past couple of semesters and consider my program in the context of others. I'm still wrestling with some bad feelings when I think about the circumstances surrounding some of the people who got failed out or left. In the end I'm powerless to change the program and am just one more poor soul sifting through its gears for the privilege of sitting for the licensing exam at the end. Hopefully I make it.

I think it helps me to remind myself of my powerlessness because otherwise I feel some kind of obligation to do something. What? I don't know, but the whole business just creates a tremendous amount of animosity and distraction in me that will probably not have any productive outcome. Better, at least for the moment, to just keep plugging away with a placid expression on my face.
 

markelmarcel

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I'm still wrestling with some bad feelings when I think about the circumstances surrounding some of the people who got failed out or left.
I hear you on that, sometimes it doesn't seem fair. One of my very closest friends in the program failed and then decided to fully leave. I just feel like it was so unfair, but I understand the situation now. The others that left/failed the program probably weren't cut out from it from the start- sometimes you can just tell, ya know?
 
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I just feel like it was so unfair, but I understand the situation now.
How has your understanding of the situation grown? I'm trying to come to terms with some things and any perspective from someone who's been down that path would be helpful....
 

markelmarcel

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How has your understanding of the situation grown? I'm trying to come to terms with some things and any perspective from someone who's been down that path would be helpful....
Well, since the one student was one of my closest friends, I spent a lot of time with him after he had failed out. Once I got the whole story from him, what he was going through personally during the 10 weeks we were out on clinical (he ended up failing a clinical experience) I felt better? I don't want to say better... I do feel better now because it's been over a year, but it took me awhile to feel better about it. It probably helped that eventually he became much happier after some time. But I mean, it sucked for him for awhile and I felt really bad for him... But, now he's much happier and so I'm happy for him!
 

PTMattI

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Ouch! I cant imagine failing a clinical experience...I like to think that my school is preparing me well enough that once I am out in clinic I wont have any problems doing well!
 
Dec 16, 2013
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livelifelifting, anything specific you would like to know? What is your current situation?
 
May 31, 2013
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I walked away from a program for a lot of reasons. AlanWattsBlues, what are your concerns? I would be happy to help you think it through if needed.
I, too, am curious as to what started your doubt of program you attended and finally, what was the straw that broke the camels back that led you to finally withdraw? I am starting pt school in May and am just preparing myself for any obstacles
 
Oct 10, 2013
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livelifelifting, anything specific you would like to know? What is your current situation?
I'm just in the middle of applying... I've heard bad things about one of the schools I'm considering (Nova) but it would be the most convenient/cheapest option for me. I guess I'd just like to hear your story, know what to look out for to spot a bad program, etc.
 
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I walked away from a program for a lot of reasons. AlanWattsBlues, what are your concerns? I would be happy to help you think it through if needed.
The most challenging part of the first two semesters has been interpersonal, and most all of the difficulty has been associated with one professor (to a lesser extent one other professor). There was a lot of turnover among the faculty and these people got expanded roles. For me, it was pretty miserable, but I did my best to keep myself off the radar.

I saw others though. Some were picked out from the beginning. It's like this professor decided she didn't think these people had what it took and decided to break them down with loud criticism in front of the class and private counseling to save their money and drop out of school. One went quietly. Others self destructed during our last round of finals.

It bothers me. Maybe not all of them would have made it through the rigors of PT school if they'd gone through the same challenges as everyone else, but they were singled out and had to bear extra burdens. Instead of a supportive environment where they could learn how to shore up their weaknesses, they had to deal with an authority figure leaning on the chinks in their armor.

At least this is how it appeared to my eye. The older students seem to be at a general consensus. I think some of the younger ones are less critical or just less vocal.

I don't think I've previously appreciated how much my desire to get the approval and validation of teachers helped to focus me during my younger days. Perhaps it would be easier if I still had that (easier though more quietly miserable). Returning after a previous career I see teachers as professionals who are there to do a job. It's maddening when I see them indulge some private need for power in a destructive way and yet demand that we live up to high professional standards.
 

wrennywren

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Feb 6, 2010
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Just graduated last week. All 44 of us who started the program were there at graduation to receive our diplomas. Good times.
 

Azimuthal

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AWB,
We have a professor as you described. I failed my very first quiz, not because I wasn't capable, but because I had other priorities over the 2% it was worth. Well, that set off a chain of events with this professor who then called a meeting between the program director, my advisor and herself. Her goal was to get me out of the program. The outcome was positive and that professor got a reality check. I'm a very polite person, and being polite, tactile and honest are not mutually exclusive. She kept asking me "why I have not taken responsibility and why I kept shifting my responsibility on to others". Keep in mind that this was the first quiz. I told her that "it was my fault and that I didn't study enough". She would not listen and kept repeating herself until my advisor took over the conversation. My advisor repeated everything I said to her. That "I accept that it's my fault and I will do whatever extra studying and meetings she tells me to do or schedule," before she finally backed off.

It was very intense and what I would even describe as hostile. She kept jumping at me with "why didn't you see me sooner?!" Note, this was the 3rd week of semester one. I stated "please do not take offense to this Dr. xxx, but you are not an approachable professor. You speak to students very poorly and brush off our questions in class to refer to the text. Other students and I feel that you don't want us to meet with you and that we will just be referred to the text". That stumped her. My advisor pulled me out class later that day to tell me that what I did was very mature and showed that I had a lot of life experience because many students would not and could not have handled it that way. She also told me that "some people just need to hear that". Well, it turns out that this particular professor had actually mistaken me for another student in the class. That is why she had it in for me in the first place. The other student kept dozing off in class and made side comments when she turned her back. We all look alike, I know. How I found out is a story for another time.

In the end, I just finished Clin Ed I, and plan to finish up year II successfully. My advisor, who is my favorite professor and mentor told me "Do not let anyone else's actions make it seem like it's you. Their attitude is only a reflection of themselves".
 
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NewDPT31

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Yah that kind of stuff is garbage. That's when you have to stick up for yourself. One of my profs tried to pull that with me over some god forsaken paper about prosthetics(worth like 6% of total grade) which was due on the same day we had a musculo test worth like 25-30%. I had to kindly remind the prof that her class was not my only class and that sometimes you have to manage your time/studies by priorities.
One of the best things our program director told us was that the main thing they look at with teachers is the teacher reviews you do at the end of the semester. He said they pretty much dismiss the negative-emotion filled comments like "she was terrible/mean/etc" but pay attention to constructive things(ex: not approachable, just refers you to the text). This stuff is important for tenure.
Just remember you are the consumer and that you are gonna be the one making loan payments, not them. You gotta look out for #1(you). So long as you follow the rules and manage according to stuff in the syllabus, let the haters hate.
 
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okramango

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Wow, I'm really surprised to hear about these types of experiences with professors. PT school is hard enough, but I can't imagine doing it with professors that are not supportive. I would think that in a professional program the faculty would demonstrate more professional behavior. This kind of thing seems even more frustrating for us older students, because we've worked in the professional world and tend to expect more professional behavior from our professors. While I haven't experienced anything like what you described in my program, I do notice that I'm more likely to speak up than my younger classmates when there's some kind of feedback that I want to give professors.
 
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Azimuthal

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Wow, I'm really surprised to hear about these types of experiences with professors. PT school is hard enough, but I can't imagine doing it with professors that are not supportive. I would think that in a professional program the faculty would demonstrate more professional behavior. This kind of thing seems even more frustrating for us older students, because we've worked in the professional world and tend to expect more professional behavior from our professors. While I haven't experienced anything like what you described in my program, I do notice that I'm more likely to speak up than my younger classmates when there's some kind of feedback that I want to give professors.
I'm with you there. I've also noticed that if us older students don't say anything, it may become systemic within the cohort. We've been around long enough to know that change comes with attention to the issue. Negativity spreads quickly.