PathforwardtoDPT

2+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2016
108
15
Which one would you choose and why?

Right now these two schools are my top two choices, but I can't seem to decide which one. Can people with experience with these two schools chime in on points to consider? Right now, these are the positives and negatives I'm comparing:

University of Southern California:
(+)
  1. Great network in the southern California region.
  2. Well known and well established name with great reputation in and out of rehab field.
  3. Number/variety of clinics available for clinical rotations.
(-)
  1. Class size is enormous (~100, but divided into classes of ~50), which means less interaction with instructors as well as cliques forming
  2. High tuition costs
  3. Further from where I live
Azusa Pacific University:
(+)
  1. Smaller class size ~50 students total, which means more interaction with instructors?
  2. Base tuition is around 50k less than USC
  3. Closer to my home, reachable via metro.
(-)
  1. Lesser known program with lesser known reputation in and out of rehab field.
  2. Unsure about networking in the SoCal region
  3. Religious aspect of the school. Religious obligations despite my non-affiliation with religion.
 
Last edited:

DPThopeful1859

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
141
45
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
I think honestly being in PT school regardless of where you go is a good thing. You're going to have to choose which one suits you best. After attempting this for 7 years myself, I was FINALLY accepted somewhere, granted it's out of state and it's predominately baptist...but, I've never felt more welcomed in my life! I think the fact it's a lesser known program won't matter to employers and who knows: maybe this could be an opportunity to bring something to the table for them to expand the program (more PT internship locations).
 
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PathforwardtoDPT

PathforwardtoDPT

2+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2016
108
15
I think honestly being in PT school regardless of where you go is a good thing. You're going to have to choose which one suits you best. After attempting this for 7 years myself, I was FINALLY accepted somewhere, granted it's out of state and it's predominately baptist...but, I've never felt more welcomed in my life! I think the fact it's a lesser known program won't matter to employers and who knows: maybe this could be an opportunity to bring something to the table for them to expand the program (more PT internship locations).
I will definitely be grateful for being accepted in any program if/when it happens. I'm merely trying to discern the differences between the schools in the event that I get accepted to both APU and USC.

As far as school reputation goes, I believe those in the PT field and relative rehab fields would understand that APU is a great program as well. However, most people I'll be working with (patients and those in fields that aren't familiar with DPT program reputations) may have a more difficult time recognizing APU as a respectable DPT program. My reasoning for leaning towards USC over APU is that USC is already a well established producer of quality medical professionals whereas APU isn't as well known. Hence choosing USC would give me a foot in the door with most patients and other professionals when making connections and inroads. I'm not too worried about other DPTs seeing that I went to APU since they'd have a better grasp as to its program quality. More worried about those who aren't familiar.
 

DPThopeful1859

2+ Year Member
Apr 27, 2016
141
45
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
I think it could be an opportunity for you to extend your knowledge about how great of a program it is to those who are unaware. That's my take on it though.
 

scrawnyguy

7+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2012
588
244
Colorado Springs, CO
Status
Physical Therapist
Personally I would choose APU. The cost difference is a huge factor for pretty much everyone. For me the commute would be a big factor. A large chunk of your day will be spent between class and study time. Personally I wouldn't want to spend a large chunk of my remaining waking hours sitting in a car. My mom lives on the east side of the city (not far from APU) and if the USC PT school is located near the main campus downtown you will be spending a lot of time in your car (not to mention fuel cost and wear/tear on your car). That may be a non-issue for you, but I would take it into consideration.

As far as reputation goes I'm not sure if it's that big of an issue. There are some forecasts that show that the profession may be reaching a point of over saturation. If that happens then perhaps a school's reputation will become a bigger factor for employers and what not. As far as patients go I don't think I've ever heard one ask where the PT went to school. Has it happened before? Probably, but I don't think it's all that common. Perhaps some USC grads can chime in and tell us if they think their degree gave them a leg up when they graduated.
 
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PathforwardtoDPT

PathforwardtoDPT

2+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2016
108
15
Personally I would choose APU. The cost difference is a huge factor for pretty much everyone. For me the commute would be a big factor. A large chunk of your day will be spent between class and study time. Personally I wouldn't want to spend a large chunk of my remaining waking hours sitting in a car. My mom lives on the east side of the city (not far from APU) and if the USC PT school is located near the main campus downtown you will be spending a lot of time in your car (not to mention fuel cost and wear/tear on your car). That may be a non-issue for you, but I would take it into consideration.

As far as reputation goes I'm not sure if it's that big of an issue. There are some forecasts that show that the profession may be reaching a point of over saturation. If that happens then perhaps a school's reputation will become a bigger factor for employers and what not. As far as patients go I don't think I've ever heard one ask where the PT went to school. Has it happened before? Probably, but I don't think it's all that common. Perhaps some USC grads can chime in and tell us if they think their degree gave them a leg up when they graduated.
Great perspective. I may be overemphasizing the need for reputation. The USC DPT program is at their Keck campus, which is also on the east side of DTLA, so the commute isn't that bad actually. Your point about oversaturation of the field is a great point.
 

jesspt

10+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2008
1,120
404
Chicago, IL
Status
DPT / OTD
Virtually no one that matters to you or that will influence your professional future will care where you went to school. Go to the cheaper school.
 
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PathforwardtoDPT

PathforwardtoDPT

2+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2016
108
15
Virtually no one that matters to you or that will influence your professional future will care where you went to school. Go to the cheaper school.
Seems to be the case the more people I talk to about it. As far as connections go, people say USC's networking is top notch. Is it really that much better than that of APU's?
 
Aug 10, 2016
27
15
Status
Pre-Physical Therapy
If, by "networking", you mean finding a job, I believe all accredited schools prepare you enough to take the National Exam and be a competent Physical Therapist, which are both required to practice. Sure, a large percentage of success is based on "networking". But to base success solely on your ability to network really doesn't make sense to me. It's up to you how you want to approach your practice and how hard you want to work to get what you want out of this career.