Completing PTCAS/supplemental application for DPT Program: Masters degree, experience GRE score...

Aug 15, 2015
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Pre-Physical Therapy
Hello,

I am going to be applying to 2 DPT Programs here in the next month.

The 2 programs that I will be applying for are Sacramento State and San Francisco State/UCSF. I chose to not apply for Samuel Merritt's DPT program because their tuition seemed ridiculously expensive compared to Sac State and SF State.

Sac State Tuition: $25,986/ year
SF State Tuition: $29,356/ year
Samuel Merritt: $45,732/ year

I have a few questions that I would enjoy hearing some feedback about. First off here is my story.

I am a 31-year-old (soon to be 32 in November) living about 75 miles North East of San Francisco. I recently obtained my Masters Degree in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University with hopes in becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach/ Teacher at a college somewhere around my area. I graduated with a 2.99 in my undergraduate career and a 3.6 GPA in my graduate career.

For my profession, I run my own Personal Training business where I offer Personal Training and Healthy Lifestyle Consulting to my clients either by meeting with them at their home, outdoors or in a private fitness studio. I make about $25-30k a year which gives me enough to get by.

I have just recently completed two Physics courses that nearly killed me this past semester so I can fulfill the prerequisites for the DPT programs I am applying for. In addition, I have completed over 125 hours of observation at various clinics including 13 (soon to be 25) hours of acute care rehab inpatient observation hours. For my volunteer time, I offer my services to the Community College Women's Basketball team as their Strength Coach. I have also volunteered time toward a local high school football team. It looks like I have all my coursework done, in exception to SF State, they want Microbiology and Abnormal Pshychology... but I feel as if I have covered those in my Graduate Program by writing a Thesis and taking 4 Psychology courses in my entire collegiate academic career. Sac State does not have a prerequisite for Micro Biology though.

I just recently took my first round of the GRE... I scored 142 on both the Verbal and the Quantitative and a 4 of the AW portion.

My references include 2 from PTs, 1 from a PTA and 1 from the chair of my committee for my Thesis project from my graduate career in college.

In addition, on a more personal note, I have a 9 year old son that I share custody with his mother who lives in the same town as me. Therefore, applying to DPT programs that are farther than SF State, Sac State and Samuel Merritt is highly unlikely because I will not give up the experience of being a part of my sons life. So I can't relocate. Commuting seems to be my only option.

The reason I am applying to the DPT program is because my visions of becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a College or Professional team were very short lived, unrealistic and something that I just thought was not for me. I would have to commute to UC Berkeley to basically intern (which means work for free) for a year to solidify a position. Being a single dad, this was never going to happen. In addition to choosing a career path, I think becoming a Physical Therapist is a perfect fit for me because I do a lot of strengthening exercises in my everyday work as a Personal Trainer that are very similar to the exercises I see the PT's do in the clinics that I observe. In addition, I have a great fascination and passion for how the human body works and how to improve peoples movement. To be honest, I cannot think of a more enjoyable job. And, let's be realistic, the pay is way better and more stable then the amount I am making as a Personal Trainer.

Sorry for the rambling, I want to give everyone as much info as possible so I can reach out and get as much advice and feedback as possible.

So here are my questions:

1. With a Masters Degree in Kinesiology, will this help my chances of getting into a program?
2. I plan on retaking the GRE a second time around before the PTCAS application deadline... How much will my GRE score affect my chances to be accepted? How much will this score weigh on the other attributes listed?
3. For SF State, I see that Microbiology is needed. I have only taken General Biology, but will some of the Exercise Physiology that I covered in my Masters program work instead of those?
4. How much will my current GPA affect the likelihood of me being accepted?
5. Will my internship experience and clinical setting experiences help me in my application process?
6. Will having a Master's Degree and an Internship as UC Berkeley outweigh some of my downfalls (GRE Score, no Microbiology).
7. Should I enroll in any classes to show that I am in progress to get more courses done to strengthen my application status?

Any and all feedback is more than welcome. I picture getting into PT school as a pivotal point in my life and probably the most important right now for me and my family.

Thanks!
 

Azimuthal

7+ Year Member
Jan 29, 2012
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Physical Therapist
1. Depends on the school, but prob not.

2. Your GRE will place you at the bottom grouping on the waitlist. Good news is that you have time to update the GRE's. Aim for >150 each. This will be your main challenge.

3. No.

4. Depends on the school, cGPA is highly regarded, but so is pGPA. What is it?

5. It will get your application from being thrown out as multiple settings are viewed as positive. You won't have any advantage over anyone else that meets the minimum hours.

6. No. In fact, not having a prereq is grounds for having an application thrown out. You should def contact them about that before wasting your $.

7. Microbiology. Abnormal Psychology.
 

okramango

7+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2011
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Physical Therapist
Samuel Merritt is easier to get into than UCSF and Sac State, so you might reconsider applying there if you need to stay in Northern CA and are committed to PT. PT schools are extremely competitive to get into, with state schools being the most competitive. Since you're applying to so few programs, you should also contact each program directly to find out which GPAs they will consider (ex: science GPA, last 60 units GPA, whether they include grad school in cumulative GPA, whether they average or replace grades for retaken classes, etc.) and what their minimums are to apply as well as average stats for accepted students. Most programs are very willing to give you this information, and it will give you more of an idea of where you stand. A friend of mine met with an admissions person at UCSF before she applied there to go through her application and tell her how she could improve her application to get in. You can also look at the "GPAs, GREs, etc." sticky thread in the Pre-PT forum to get more of an idea of the average stats of people who were accepted (and by the way, your post belongs in the Pre-PT forum).

Your other extra experiences (grad school, internship, etc.) might help during your interviews by giving you experiences to talk about, but they likely won't make a difference in terms of overall acceptance. GPA and GRE are key, as well as meeting all prerequisites and requirements. Good luck!
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
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I have a very similar background to you (personal training, masters, kids, non tradtional student, lower undergrad GPA) and am now in my 2nd year of school. I am not familiar with the schools you are applying too but like you, I was also limited in location and chose only to apply to reasonable schools in my area.

What is your overall cumulative GPA? Undergrad and masters together? Calculate that now and know your number. Also what is your pre req GPA? Those 2 numbers really are some of the most important in terms of understanding your chances at certain schools.

Unfortunately, the masters degree does not really help in PT application other than it did probably boost your cumulative GPA up a bit.

I highly recommend you retake the GRE and also maybe do a GRE course before you do so (if you have trouble studying for it on your own). I agree your scores will hold you back right now.

You absolutely need to take Microbiology and I recommend you wait until you have completed the course to even apply (if you were a straight A, traditional student then you could apply with it in progress but I'm betting the schools will want to see you can do well in that course to make a decision....and help offset low GPA).

I think your experiences will be good reading in the essay portion but will not outweigh your GPA and GRE right now.

Yes, I would take Abnormal Pysch as well BEFORE applying unless the school has granted written permission that they will accept your thesis in lieu of this class.
 
OP
R
Aug 15, 2015
4
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Pre-Physical Therapy
My GPA before I went into the Masters Program was 2.99... and after graduating from the program was 3.6.

How does that work out cumulatively?
 

starrsgirl

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Oct 5, 2010
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You have to average everything with the credit hours. (2.99 x undergrad credit hours) + (3.6 x grad credits) / Total credits

Make sure EVERY college class in included in that calculation too....even if it's from other schools and didn't count toward undergrad or whatever.
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
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It's a 3.09. They round the 3rd decimal....I know this because for a bit I had a 2.993 or something which they didn't round. A 3.1 is pretty low, not impossible but low. I got in with around that in cumulative GPA but I did have straight As in all my pre req classes so that helped a lot. Figure out your pre req GPA next by averaging each grade with the number of credit hours. Include all retakes.
 

okramango

7+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2011
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As said above, your cumulative GPA (3.09) is low, but your prereq GPA may overcome this to some extent if it is high. You'll also need significantly higher GRE scores for any PT program, including at least a 4.5 AW to be eligible for UCSF. You can also check if any of your programs look at the last 60 units GPA rather than total cumulative GPA, which would bring your GPA up significantly.
 
OP
R
Aug 15, 2015
4
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Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
Starrsgirl

"Figure out your pre req GPA next by averaging each grade with the number of credit hours."

I'm not sure what this means? Does this mean a B=3? I see on my transcript that I have a B in certain areas and it gives 4 credits, while an A in another class offers 3 credits. Can you clarify a little more on how to do that?
 

starrsgirl

7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2010
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You need to calculate each class individually.....your equation will look something like this: (grade for Chem 1 x credits for Chem 1) + (grade for Physics I x credits for physics 1) / total pre req credits.

Yes, B is 3.0. But a B+ and B- are also weighted differently so look those values up as well on PTCAS. I know there are worksheets out there (google this) where you can type in each class and grade and it will do the math for you...just make sure the worksheet uses the same grade values.