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Question about application and observation hours

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by Julie S, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Julie S

    Julie S Functional monster
    2+ Year Member

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    Hello,

    I have very recently decided that I want to become a physical therapist, but I would like to apply in the fall. I have extensive experience working in the health care field with Parkinson's patients as I have spent the last year at the University of Pennsylvania as an Outreach and Research Coordinator. I helped to start a dance program for Parkinson's patients and we collaborated with physical therapists, which is how I became introduced to PT. I also have extensive experience leading support groups which has given me skills in communicating with patients, but not necessarily in a PT-specific way. Before this, I was set on being a nurse practitioner.

    I have recently started volunteering in 3 different PT settings (outpatient ortho, outpatient neuro, and inpatient acute care). By the end of the summer, I will have accumulated over 50 hours. I will get good recommendations from my neuro PTs as I have worked with them on a couple of projects.

    My academics are solid (a 3.85, bunch of graduation awards, 770M and 540V). I also was involved with extracurriculars in college (a community nutrition project, teaching assistant, and captain of my cross-country team). I think I'm a good candidate, but I'm concerned about the lack of volunteer hours.

    Pitt is my first choice, and I know that they start reviewing applications on September 15th. Would it be a better idea for me to wait and apply when I have logged more hours with PTs, or should I apply right away to get my application in the mix? Should I mention that I don't have these hours yet because I was set on being an NP prior to this point?

    Thanks for your help!
     
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  3. kcrat21

    5+ Year Member

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    I know a lot of programs have a specific date by which they require your observation hours to be complete, however that date is not necessarily the application deadline. Contact Pitt and ask them when their deadline is for observation hours and you can always put them on your application as planned/in-progress with an anticipated completion date. Pitt will then be able to see that you are continuing to observe in various settings even after submitting your app. All of your other stats are stellar, so I wouldn't sweat it too much!
     
  4. CherokeeWahine

    7+ Year Member

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    Don't worry darlin! :D All of the schools I'm applying to allow your hours to be in progress, so you don't have to worry about your hours being completed when you turn in your application. Make sure Pitt has the same policy. Your GPA and GRE numbers look stellar! I wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors!
     
  5. pumpkinpatch

    2+ Year Member

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    Double check Pitt's policy on observation hours... do they have a minimum requirement? If they do, make sure you meet it and seriously don't sweat it if you are not significantly above it, I've found that most schools don't care if you have the minimum or hundreds above it. They just care that you've met the minimum and that it's been in a variety of fields (which you are doing)! If they don't have a minimum, then 50 I'm sure is fine, I've seen schools that have a minimum below that. Just make good use of the hours you have. Take note of interesting patients/experiences so you have something to bring up in your essay/interview.

    You don't mention anything about your prereqs... I only bring this up since 1. you say you have decided very recently, which may mean you haven't had time to take any, and 2. this is obviously a very important part of the application. Granted, you were going for NP, which I'm sure has a lot of overlap. I just wanted to bring it up to make sure you are not neglecting this portion of the application!

    Otherwise, as others have said, your stats are great. I imagine you'll be hearing good news in the next few months. :)
     
  6. johncronejr

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    As posted above, check the admission websites for the schools you are interested in and see what their required observation hours are...then meet that. The schools want to see that you meet that and generally are not concerned if you go over that number. It is strictly to ensure that you know what you are getting into, not to give you more "experience".

    Your stats are OUTSTANDING! I think you are a "lock" for getting into whichever school you choose.
     
  7. markelmarcel

    7+ Year Member

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    Julie, I also encourage you to check out Chatham University (also in Pittsburgh)... I was deadset on going to Pitt until I visited Chatham and fell in love... Hopefully I'll still feel that way when I start in 5 weeks! ;)

    I'm fairly certain that Pitt has a requirement of 100 hours minimum for shadowing/volunteering.

    Also, you have great stats, so I'm sure you'll be accepted wherever you apply! :)
     
  8. Julie S

    Julie S Functional monster
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    Thanks for the advice and encouragement. I am applying to Chatham as well. I read that they have a problem-based learning approach. Has anyone experienced that? I've heard mixed reviews about it from PTs that have had students from Arcadia. Also, were you faced with a significant cost difference?

    I saw on the PTCAS website that Pitt doesn't have a minimum requirement but that they do recommend 150 hours. I will submit my application soon and stipulate that I am continuing with my experiences. And that's a good idea to write down interesting cases. I will certainly take note!

    As for prereqs, I am lucky in that they are very similar to NP programs and also that I took a lot of the right courses in college. I have two left, which I can do at night in the fall and spring.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
    #7 Julie S, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

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