Trying to decide whether I need to transfer in my undergrad so that I will get into a PT school

Dec 1, 2013
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So I've been reading through these threads the past couple of days and they have been really helpful. I wanted to know if anyone knows whether transferring in my undergrad is the best choice for me. I'm currently at Villanova University where they do not have a PT program, but just an affiliation with TJU (which i dont even think I would go to if I got in since its too far to commute, I'm from NY). My freshman GPA was a 3.2 (not good) and I really want to pursue PT, but I am not sure whether or not I have to leave my dream school and go to a school that has a PT graduate school or a school with a better pre-health education so that I have a better chance of getting in. I was planning on majoring in psych at Villanova. To be safe, I sent in transfer applications and was admitted to all the schools which were: Sacred Heart University (health science major), Marist (Athletic training major), Nazareth, Delaware University (exercise science), Ithaca College (health science), and Arcadia. Does the "name" of your undergrad make a difference? Meaning will the fact that its "Villanova" help me if my GPA is under a 3.5 hypothetically by the time I apply for PT schools? Anyone with any advice about this would be greatly appreciated!! Especially anyone who went to Villanova and applied for PT schools! Thank you!
 
Jul 4, 2013
136
23
Status
Physical Therapy Student
So I've been reading through these threads the past couple of days and they have been really helpful. I wanted to know if anyone knows whether transferring in my undergrad is the best choice for me. I'm currently at Villanova University where they do not have a PT program, but just an affiliation with TJU (which i dont even think I would go to if I got in since its too far to commute, I'm from NY). My freshman GPA was a 3.2 (not good) and I really want to pursue PT, but I am not sure whether or not I have to leave my dream school and go to a school that has a PT graduate school or a school with a better pre-health education so that I have a better chance of getting in. I was planning on majoring in psych at Villanova. To be safe, I sent in transfer applications and was admitted to all the schools which were: Sacred Heart University (health science major), Marist (Athletic training major), Nazareth, Delaware University (exercise science), Ithaca College (health science), and Arcadia. Does the "name" of your undergrad make a difference? Meaning will the fact that its "Villanova" help me if my GPA is under a 3.5 hypothetically by the time I apply for PT schools? Anyone with any advice about this would be greatly appreciated!! Especially anyone who went to Villanova and applied for PT schools! Thank you!
The "name" of your undergrad makes no difference whatsoever. I went to one of the top schools in the country that always told us that when applying to grad school, a 3.3 from them is like a 3.7 from any other school. This isn't the case at all with PT school, name means nothing.
 
Oct 29, 2013
186
47
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Rehab Sci Student
Not only does the school not matter, neither does your major. I thought being animal science would be a stretch, but every school I have spoken with says they do not look at major at all. They only look at your GPA, gre, prerequisite courses, and whatever else is required for your application. Basically you can be an English major and take the required courses and you stand as much of a chance as a kinesiology major.
 
Jul 4, 2013
136
23
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Physical Therapy Student
acjp13's right. If I had know I wanted to DPT all those years ago and knew what admissions was like, I would have gone to a city or state college and saved myself the stress and debt. My undergrad cost almost $200k (thankfully my parents are helping me pay that off) and I chose the most difficult classes I could get my hands on, coming out with a 3.0 cGPA. Instead I could've taken easy classes at my local college, aced them, and gotten into PT school no problem.
 
May 13, 2013
42
14
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Broken Dancer is right. Undergrad school makes no difference. What does make a difference is GPA. If you attend a community college and receive a 3.7 it is much more likely to get you accepted than receiving a 3.3-3.4 from a top university. (However if you went to a community college you would want to make sure that the schools you apply to take credits from community colleges, because some require certain credits from a 4 year university). Since you are already at a university, which university you attend makes no difference so if I were you, I would stay where you are and try to raise your GPA as much as possible. I too, had only a 3.2 at the end of my freshman year and it has taken me getting mostly 4.0's for the last 3 years to make up for it and end with a 3.6-3.7 depending if you take PTCAS or the grades on my transcript. You will need to take the rest of college seriously because the competition to get into DPT programs because more competitive every year.

Also, because you seem interested in what to do to become the most competitive applicant possible I will give you a few tips I wish I would have had earlier in my college career. Start looking into Extra curriculars and observation hours. EC's are good to have because it makes you well rounded and taking leadership positions is ideal. This will help you tremendously when you apply and receive interviews. If you can find a research position TAKE IT. Lots of programs love to see that on the application, it will help you get to know a professor well which will help with a letter of recommendation and again it can help you stand out and give you something interesting to talk about in the interviews. You wont need thousands of observation hours like some people do, however getting around 200 hours in many settings will be very beneficial. Also remember that these observation hours will likely be how you get letters of recommendations from PTs which you need for most programs. You want to build a relationship with those you observe because the letter will ask them to speak from experience. Unfortunately when I was observing they had me switch between many PTs usually not spending more than 8 hours with any one PT. This made it difficult to feel great asking any for a LOR so if possible get experiences where you shadow the same PT for a few months and then move on. If you do those things and get a good score on the GRE you should be a pretty competitive applicant :)

Good Luck!

-K
 
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OP
V
Dec 1, 2013
3
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Wow thank you all so much for your helpful advice! Being as all of the schools offered me scholarships on top of a tuition that is much less than what I am paying now its making my decision even harder. I'm really only considering SHU, Marist, and maybe Delaware (depending what money they give me). Sacred Heart would benefit me because if I maintain a 3.3 I can go right into their PT program and not apply or take the GRE's (according to the admissions person I spoke to there, idk how accurate that is)-- if that is true that logically makes the most sense in that I would probably be saving myself a lot more stress that struggling at Villanova to get B's and boost my 3.2 GPA. Marist does not have a PT school themselves but they are less expensive, especially with the scholarship. Delaware is the #2 PT program I think so it would be very competitive to get in even if I went there for undergrad, but likewise to Marist they are less expensive. I have a few questions still-
1. In terms of being able to stay in PT school once admitted, do you find that students who majored in a science are better prepared and less likely to drop out or does your undergrad major not make that much of an impact since the pre reqs are essentially all that matter and all that pertain to the PT curriculum?
2. Is a goal of cGPA of 3.5 and pGPA of 3.3 good enough to be a competitive applicant?
3. Is it frowned upon to take pre reqs at a local or community college when applications are reviewed since they tend to be easier courses there? (I'm looking to catch up this summer and save money)
4. Has anyone taken any pre reqs abroad/ is that not accepted by schools? If so, where did you study?
5. 66666- I definitely need to boost my EC's, I've done 50 hours outpatient rehab, 100 total of inpatient geriatrics and outpatient peds at NYU Rusk, but i LOVE the idea of getting a research position - i think that would be a great asset for when I apply
6. Ideally I would love to go to NYU, Touro Manhattan or Sacred Heart for grad because I could commute- has anyone gotten in there yet and would be willing to share there stats?
Sorry for the overload of information-- I have to make my decision about transferring this week!
Thanks so much again!
 

NewTestament

7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2010
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1. I find no correlation between success in PT school and undergraduate major. I know people who majored in business and philosophy who are doing well.
2. I would aim for a higher pGPA of 3.5.
3. Schools do not put more weight on credits taken at the university level and taking classes at CC's is not discouraged.

Kevin
 
Jul 4, 2013
136
23
Status
Physical Therapy Student
Tuition/debt is a huge deal, I would strongly considering transferring if it'll lead to much less debt and you think you'd be happy there.

1. I've seen some people who say they did exercise phys felt they were better prepared than their fellow students, but only on a very basic level. No real long term advantage though.
2. Agreed with Kevin. Always aim high. I'd shoot for all As from here on out. If it doesn't happen, that's ok, but don't set your goals low.
3. Not frowned upon at all, I took half my pre-reqs at my local college. Some school's won't take CC credits, so it may be something you want to investigate. A local 4 year college definitely won't be a problem though.
4. I didn't study abroad, sorry.
5. You're off to a great start already, keep at it! Be sure to keep in touch with the people you did those hours under so you can get them verified when the time comes and potentially get a letter of rec.
6. The GPA, GREs, Acceptances sticky has stats for a ton of applicants, you can check there. There are a number of other schools in the NYC area you could attend, all of them cheaper than NYU and with better NPTE rates than Touro. I'm not knocking NYU or Touro, but do investigate all your options.
 
Oct 29, 2013
186
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Rehab Sci Student
1. Because I am currently applying and haven't actually begun a program yet, I can't say for sure. I do think taking science classes that allow you to practice research skills and hands on science skills definitely wouldn't hurt. However, as an Animal Science major, I am currently regretting the toll that the large volume of science courses (Organic Chem, Biochemistry, embryology, etc.) have taken on my GPA in comparison to applicants who took only the pre-requisite science courses. Its all about finding the right balance.
2. Personally, I'd say aim high for both, but I think that a lower cGPA can be more easily excused if you have an awesome pGPA. In other words, if you are pulling more like a 3.4 cGPA, really focus on those prerequisites.
3. Check to make sure your schools of interest don't have any stipulations about CC classes. Otherwise, it definitely won't hurt. You can even put on your application that you took them there to save money and get ahead in your courses. I made a point to only take CC classes over the summer so that it didn't look like I was "running away" from my 4-year school's courses. Schools understand that it is cheaper at CC's and it shows that you are putting in the effort to get classes done, so most don't judge you at all for taking summer classes.
4. I did study abroad, but it was through my University, so I knew everything would transfer into my school correctly. Also, the only course relevant to PT was a humanities course, the rest were only towards my graduation requirements.
 
Jul 4, 2013
59
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Physical Therapy Student
I would definitely echo what everyone else has been saying... the name of your undergrad means nothing.

In terms of majoring in science versus something else, I think you can do well either way. I pursued exercise science because the degree included all the pre-reqs for PT school, so I was able to graduate earlier because all my pre-reqs were included in my undergrad degree (which saved me money in the long run because I graduated in 3 years instead of 4). With an exercise science degree, I have found that I have not had to study as much for things like therapeutic exercise, just because I have a great foundation in strength in conditioning, exercise physiology, and exercise testing/prescription. But, if you apply yourself, you will succeed with any undergrad major. Do what you love!

For GPA, I would definitely aim for 3.5 or higher. My undergrad advisor told me that if I wanted my choice of PT schools, I needed to stay well above 3.5. So, take that for what its worth... (I did stay above 3.5 and was accepted to all of the PT schools I applied to, so theoretically you could argue that she was right, though of course, there were a ton of other variables).
 
OP
V
Dec 1, 2013
3
0
Thanks guys again for all of your advice!
So I'm now deciding between Sacred Heart and Marist. I realized that with Nova's tuition being so high and hearing how insignificant undergrad name is.. on top of the fact that GPA will be one of the biggest factors of getting into PT school..I don't think staying will be the best for my future. So now I wanted to share a few more of my concerns:
1) Academic difficulty- is SHU or Marist harder academically...where will I have a better shot of gaining a higher GPA
2)SHU has PT graduate school which requires a 3.2 GPA.. therefore with this GPA I could go right into this program
I visited Marist and could see myself there more than SHU but I can't decide if this is the right choice considering how SHU has a PT school themselves which gives me a better chance of getting in
any advice about these two schools would be helpful thank you!
 
Oct 29, 2013
186
47
Status
Rehab Sci Student
Thanks guys again for all of your advice!
So I'm now deciding between Sacred Heart and Marist. I realized that with Nova's tuition being so high and hearing how insignificant undergrad name is.. on top of the fact that GPA will be one of the biggest factors of getting into PT school..I don't think staying will be the best for my future. So now I wanted to share a few more of my concerns:
1) Academic difficulty- is SHU or Marist harder academically...where will I have a better shot of gaining a higher GPA
2)SHU has PT graduate school which requires a 3.2 GPA.. therefore with this GPA I could go right into this program
I visited Marist and could see myself there more than SHU but I can't decide if this is the right choice considering how SHU has a PT school themselves which gives me a better chance of getting in
any advice about these two schools would be helpful thank you!
This is 100% just personal opinion... but this is how I see it. Yes, SHU has its own program, and you have a great shot of getting in if you go there, but... If you choose to go there for undergrad, especially for that reason, you will probably end up feeling obligated to attend their program just because that was a main reason for transferring there. Also, as much as GPA matters for PT school, enjoying your time and classes as an undergrad is also very important. So, if you feel like Marist is a good fit, you should go for it! Plus, at Marist, you will probably have a good shot at a good GPA, and then you will be open to ALL potential PT school options, which is exciting! Who knows, after being somewhere for all of undergrad, you may be ready for a totally new place! I went to Cal Poly for undergrad, in one of their most difficult and competitive majors. Although I regret how it affected my GPA, I wouldn't change it even if I could go back. Cal Poly was SUCH a great fit for me and I learned a lot from some amazing faculty. Since Marist is less challenging than your current school, and you can see yourself there, I think it sounds like the best of both worlds! Best of luck with your decision and future!
 
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markelmarcel

7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
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DPT / OTD
Not only does the school not matter, neither does your major. I thought being animal science would be a stretch, but every school I have spoken with says they do not look at major at all. They only look at your GPA, gre, prerequisite courses, and whatever else is required for your application. Basically you can be an English major and take the required courses and you stand as much of a chance as a kinesiology major.
Just wanted to comment in agreement. My undergrad is in early childhood and elementary education and I just graduated with my DPT yesterday. Major and school are nothing-- requirements to be accepted are much more important.

1. In terms of being able to stay in PT school once admitted, do you find that students who majored in a science are better prepared and less likely to drop out or does your undergrad major not make that much of an impact since the pre reqs are essentially all that matter and all that pertain to the PT curriculum?
No. The people that did not make it through my program were from all majors. The reasons they failed were personal-- two couldn't handle the stress/rigor of the program, one had a family emergency that caused her to have to drop out and others simply failed one too many assignments.

2. Is a goal of cGPA of 3.5 and pGPA of 3.3 good enough to be a competitive applicant?
Get as high of GPA as possible-- the higher the better because it shows you have good study habits!

3. Is it frowned upon to take pre reqs at a local or community college when applications are reviewed since they tend to be easier courses there? (I'm looking to catch up this summer and save money)
It is not frowned upon as long as the schools accept credits/courses from community colleges and if the course meets the requirements of the school you are attending. I double checked all the courses I took with the admissions directors of 3 schools I was interested in before even registering.
 
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