Observation Hours for Non-Trad Students

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7+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2015
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I'm 26 and applying to PT school for early admission. I think I have a strong application other than observation hours. I've always done steady volunteering, but up until I realized observation hours specific to PT were a requirement I had volunteer in more of a sports setting. I currently only have 40 hrs which is the bare minimum requirement for the school I am applying to. I have another 10 planned but won't have them finished before the early admissions application is due. Like every adult out there free time is at a minimum and it has taken me a while to even gain the 40! I am wondering if other people were accepting into programs with low observation hours to see if I even stand a chance or if I should hold off on my application and try to gain more hours.

My Stats:
B.S. in Public Health
GPA: 3.75
Prereq. GPA: ~3.70
I have all of my prerequisites finished and 3 strong letters of recommendation.

Thank you in advance for the input!

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What school are you applying to for early admission? I'd contact them and ask how they look at observation hours. Some programs care more than others.
I am a non traditional student and I also did the bare minimum observation hours. For me, each hour was extremely costly as it was an hour away from working and/or an hour I had to pay childcare. I just couldn't afford to do more without going into debt. This depends on the school. My schools stated a minimum and did not say that more hours were better. Some schools mention they like more hours in their preference factors.

I personally think your overall stats are fine and the hours are more a "check the box" for you.
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You can only do what your time allows. I would guess it is common for non-trads to be around the minimum as the minimum is a high demand of time. To be honest, most schools that I questioned about the hours cared more about the variety of hours vs. the quantity of hours. From their prospective what is the difference between observing an outpatient ortho clinic for 30 hours or 500 hours? Major diminishing return and a major waste of time for productive member of society.

I did find the inpatient hospital much easier to schedule as I could do weekends when the PT worked or she would set me up with someone working on the weekends. I would seriously look at the hospital route. Acute care and inpatient rehab are 7 days a week. Also, some outpatient clinics have extended hours to 7. You might be able to knock out 15 hours a week, simply by showing up to work early and slipping out by 4.
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Thank you for the input everyone, I really appreciate it!!