Recent High School Graduate, Solid Plan for Physical Therapy?

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by nazmar, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. nazmar

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    As the title conveys, I recently graduated High School last June. However, my High School grades were not stellar by any means (didn't take school seriously enough, was 'too cool' for school.) I never tried in High School, though with some work in Mathematics, I could have easily been a 4.0 student. It took one bad gas station job for me to realize that I should probably take my hide back to school.

    I figured out what some people take ages to figure out.

    With that said, I'll be attending a local Community College (College of the Desert,) where I intend on taking the general education pre-requisites for transfer to a California State University or UC School. During this time, I would also gain some volunteering hours - but hopefully someone can explain the process of volunteering to me?

    Also, for anyone who may be interested, I find a career in health attractive because I adore the human body. I actually find it interesting, and often if anyone asks me 'what was the most important class you took in High School?,' i'd often reply - 'Health Science.' It allowed me to be aware of my body, drop over 50+lbs, and join the High School Football team.

    Also, it was Physical Therapists that helped my through my healing process when I broke my leg in my Middle School years. Only now do I realize exactly how rewarding this job can be in terms of the satisfaction of being able to help others live as normal as a life that they possibly can. I commend all those in the field.


    But I guess my main questions are:

    1.) Does it matter if I attended a Community College first? After all, it is more cost efficient.

    2.) How important is Mathematics to the field? I plan on reconstructing my Mathematics skills from the bottom up at my local Community College, using all resources necessary and hopefully bring a new understanding to the course.

    3.) Volunteering process; is it as cut and dry as just calling and speaking with a Physical Therapist?

    4.) What are common and/or good majors for Physical Therapy?

    5.) Obviously, I have a long road ahead of me. Any other advice I could use from experienced D.P.T. students and/or Physical Therapists would be mostly appreciated and greatly valued.


    Thank you for your time.
     
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  2. NeophyteParkour

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    No, however a small number of schools require that you take prereqs at a university. You can find prereq lists at ptcas.org under program requirements.

    You just need precalculus, which is enough for you to get by in most physics courses.

    For out-patient clinics, I would recommend going in person to their clinic and asking about volunteer opportunities. Make sure you're dressed appropriately and have a resume on hand. For in-patient, you'll need to call first. In-patient experience is often hard to get, and required by some schools, so try to complete it early. As a freshman, however, I don't think you should be worrying about this just yet.
    In the future, at least one of your letters of recommendations for grad school should come from a PT, and it's easier for a recent PT to write this for you.
    Exercise science, kinesiology, are biology are the most common majors. People of all majors (even completely irrelevant majors) are accepted, as long as the prereqs are met. I've heard from grad students that relevant majors tend to have an easier first year of grad school.

    GPA is very important, so try to keep it up.
     
    #2 NeophyteParkour, Jan 10, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  3. OP
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    nazmar

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  4. dlizzy

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    The only math many schools require as a prerequisite is a statistics course. Go to http://www.ptcas.org/DirectoryByState.html and click on the schools you're thinking about in order to see specifically what they want. I also took trig only because my major required it, and was still granted acceptances from schools. Don't worry... you will get through it, hang in there! :)
     
  5. NewTestament

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    You are in an enviable position, nazmar. You haven't wasted any years completing a major you don't want and you have no debt.

    If I were you, I would choose exercise science, biology, or some health science major. That will cover all your pre-requisites. Do as well as you can in all your classes. Don't slack off. You slacked off in high school, which won't hurt you, but you will get nowhere in this day and age if you don't have a good education.

    Take you classes at the community college and save money. Classes will be smaller and you won't feel as overwhelmed as you would at a university. Very few schools require that prerequisites be taken at a university (UConn, Howard, maybe two others).

    Start obtaining letters of recommendation now. Even if you work at a grocery store, get to know your manager well and be a faithful worker. I would obtain two letters of recommendation from PTs in two separate environments. Go to your hospital and ask about volunteer opportunities. Look for PTs who practice in-home therapy, or work with mentally disabled people. Those opportunities are hard to find but I'm sure you would find one after awhile. You have four years before you graduate so you have plenty of time.

    The only other thing you should do is to keep reading these message boards, and search the archieves for more advice.

    Kevin
     
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  6. dizzy88

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    I decided on PT pretty young as well. Don't worry about your HS grades, but now is the time to kick your butt into line. Grades aren't everything, but you should strive to make each part of your application as strong as possible. I know a lot of your questions have been answered, but I'll throw in my 2 cents:

    1. Doesn't matter if you went to CC first, but look into the universities you plan on applying into. If their program requires university level pre-reqs, then keep that in mind as you plan out your schedules.

    2. Every program has different requirements, most commonly they are trig and stats. Basic algebra skills are needs for classes like physics/chem, and will be used in biomechanics/kinesiology once in the program.

    3. All of my experience has been accomplished just by picking up the phone and asking if I could volunteer/shadow. I even got a job out of one of my shadowing experiences! You may have to do some things like a TB test, drug test, etc if you go to bigger facilities or hospitals.

    4. Most of my classmates are Exercise Science majors. However, we have art history, economics, theater, and business/marketing majors in our class as well. Pick something you enjoy and know you will do well in.

    5. My extra advice is to make sure your experience is varied. Don't stick to outpatient orthopedic clinics. Go shadow therapists in acute care, neuro, wound care, vestibular/balance, etc. Also, start making connections early - get to know your professors/mentors/etc. Finally, find your unique passion. Your admissions essay is what's going to set you apart from everyone else. Most people will say they love the human body, they want to help people, they went to PT before, etc. So find something you love about the field that is unique to you.

    Good luck!
     
  7. ptresearcher

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    To restate what a couple of individuals have noted above, most programs do not require any math other than statistics, but almost all programs require physics and taking physics almost always requires that you have completed algebra. So, if your CC offers physics, check the prereqs. Some physics courses require calc as a prereq - you don't need or want that one. The algebra one is good enough.
     
  8. ammonihah99

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    I just have a couple things to add, since most of this has been answered.

    My math pre-req for physics (which, in turn, is a pre-req for PT school) was a choice of either college algebra plus trigonometry or going straight from intermediate algebra to pre-calculus. I chose the former. Yes it was one class longer but my math background had much to be desired so I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be overwhelmed and forced to drop it. Trig was hard enough, can't imagine the jump to pre-calc.

    My advice is to start volunteering at the hospital now, even if you can't get in to the PT department right away. This will give you valuable experience understanding how a hospital works, and it will give you a chance to do some good. Plus it will give you a chance to show how committed you are to health care.

    Good luck!
     
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    nazmar

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    Thanks for all the info! Appreciated, and I'm going to get on some volunteering opportunities very soon. So I checked the prerequisites on a Physics class at my Community College, however they only have Engineering Physics; which requires Calculus as a prerequisite. Is it possible that I take that particular class at a University after the transfer?

    Again, I appreciate all the responses. You've all been extremely helpful and motivating.
     
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  10. ammonihah99

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    Most likely you can take it as a program elective if your program doesn't cover it, but it depends. Here's what I did and I would suggest you do as well, which is to work from the top to the bottom:

    1. Find out which PT schools you want to attend. Make a list of all the pre-reqs for those schools. This might be daunting considering you might not know what to look for, so you might want to keep it geographically or financially limited until you learn more about what you want, you can always change your list later.

    2. Find a program at your four-year university of choice that satisfies those pre-reqs as closely as possible (ex sci, kines, and bio will be your best bets).

    3. Take all of this information and meet with a counselor at the community college and find out how you can stay there as long as possible but still get everything done you need to transfer to your four-year university. It won't hurt to meet with a counselor at the university to make sure you are on track as well.
     
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    nazmar

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    Great advice. I'm in good contact with my advisor at my Community College anyway, so # 3 is excellent as with 1 and 2. Thank you, will do just that!
     
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