PT school decision

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May 15, 2023
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I am a California Resident and have gotten into Wash U in St. Louis and just recently gotten off the waitlist at Sacramento State. I'm really torn right now because Wash U has higher tuition (130k) and cheaper rent (1k/month) and Sacramento State has lower tuition (90k) but higher rent (1.5k/month). In addition to this Wash U is a highly ranked program and I'm worried I would miss the opportunity. But I also have lots of family in the Sacramento area. What should I do?

Anything helps I have to decide in 2 days!

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I was also in the same situation just over a year ago and went to a school with less tuition. A $40K difference is pretty significant, and even with the difference in rent, you are still saving $22K. Now if you believe that the cost of attending a highly-ranked program is worth the difference, then that is okay. I do not know your financial situation, but graduating with a high amount of debt is also not ideal.

Everyone I have talked to or seen seems to imply that the most affordable school is almost always the best option. All PT programs prepare you for the same licensing exam so the curriculum is uniform. Additionally, you said you have lots of family in the Sacramento area, and that can be helpful for support during your time in PT school. I chose the more affordable school, and I couldn't be happier.
Rankings of DPT programs are based on subjective surveys, not objective data. The most important numbers to look for are graduation rates and NPTE passing rates. Here are the graduation rates:
  • Sacramento State has a 100% graduation rate for the combined classes of 2020 & 2021.
  • Washington University in St. Louis-The two-year average for On-Time Graduation is 91.45% and the two-year average for Ultimate Graduation is 98.85%.
    • Note that their class is about triple the size of SS
NPTE Ultimate Passing rates:
  • The 2019 & 2020 classes for Sacramento State had 64 students for each class, 128 total and had a combined weighted pass average rate of 99.22%
  • Wash U had a combined 343 students for classes 2019 & 2020, and their pass average rate was 99.415%
NPTE First-Time Passing Rate-This is an important stat, three years from now you don't want to be the graduate with a doctorate degree who can't practice therapy (or pay your student loans) because you're taking the NPTE multiple times.
  • The two-year average for SS 1st-time Passage is 95.35%
  • The two-year average for WU 1st-time Passage is 93.6%.

So the MOST IMPORTANT numbers show that Sacramento State is just as competitive as Washington U and the extra 20+k in tuition is NOT justified.

If you want to review these numbers (YOU SHOULD) here are the links:
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