Physical Therapy - Applying

Where to Apply ~ When to Apply ~ How to Apply ~ Tips and Advice ~ What Happens Next

Where to Apply

When choosing where to apply, you should:
• Do independent research - a good place to start is the American Physical Therapy Association website
• When looking through programs, be sure to track the following information on an excel spreadsheet:
o Gpa requirements
o Letters of recommendation
o Tests required (GRE, MCAT, etc…)
o Minimum number of clinical hours
o Application windows; when it opens and when it closes
o Additional required courses you might need to take
• You should come up with a short list of programs to apply to. Usually 5-7 programs.
• Make an appointment with Susie Fang to discuss your options.

When to Apply

Most applications become available in the summer. (The Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) usually comes online in July.)

It is recommended that you apply as soon as possible for the best chances as admission and financial aid. If you are applying through a centralized application service, keep in mind that it can take as long as 4-5 weeks for your application to be processed before it is transmitted to schools.

How to Apply

Access the application online through the PTCAS website.

  • Materials you will send to PTCAS are:
    • PTCAS Web Application
    • PTCAS Application Fee
    • Letters of Evaluation (processed through the central application at PTCAS)
    The PTCAS web application is the first step in the physical therapy admissions process. In addition to the PTCAS application, PT programs may require you to send a supplemental application, fee, and other materials directly to that institution..
    Examples of supplemental materials include the following:
    • PT Program Supplemental Application
    • Supplemental Fee
    • Official GRE Scores
    • Official Transcripts (in addition to set sent to PTCAS)
    • Results of a Physical
    • Immunization Records

Tips and Advice

Coursework: All schools have slightly different coursework requirements for admittance so be sure to check them for each school to which you apply. If you are missing any courses, you can plan to take them during your application year.

Observation Hours: There will be a section on your PTCAS application to indicate your PT observation hours. Make sure you check with the schools you are applying to in order to ensure you meet their observation hour requirements.

Personal Statements: The standard PTCAS essay is as follows – “What personal characteristics and motivating factors have led you to pursue the profession of physical therapy?” PT programs may choose to require applicants to respond to a custom essay question in addition to the standard PTCAS essay question. The PTCAS application will automatically prompt applicants to respond to any custom essays for their designated programs. For tips on writing, visit our Personal Statements/Essays page.

Letters of Evaluation: Some PT programs have specific evaluation requirements. For example, they might specify a minimum number of evaluations or suggest a specific type of person they want an evaluation from. Make sure you check with the schools you are applying to in order to ensure you meet their evaluation requirements.

It should be noted that almost all physical therapy programs would like one letter from a licensed physical therapist with whom the applicant has shadowed, mentored, or discussed careers in physical therapy.

Make sure you ask you evaluators to write your letters in advance and provide them with a deadline for when you would like to have your letter written. You should give your evaluators a minimum of four weeks.

If you are applying through PTCAS, your recommendations will be sent using eLOR which stands forstands for electronic Letters of Recommendation. It lets evaluators complete the evaluation process over the internet. After you enter your evaluators' information into the spaces provided, the evaluators will then receive an email requesting them to log into the secure eLOR service and complete your evaluation at their leisure. -Let your evaluators know to expect this email! Evaluators have the option of denying your request.
You are allowed to submit your application before your evaluators have submitted their letters. Just make sure that your evaluators submit their letters in a timely fashion (and, of course, before the application deadline). You should monitor the status of your evaluations (i.e. whether or not they have been completed) by logging into your application and visiting the eLOR section. This can be done even after you have submitted your application.
If a letter had not been submitted and you think that is should have been, it is a good idea to follow-up with your evaluator to make sure he or she has not forgotten.

What Happens Next?

After reviewing your application material, schools may request you for an interview. For tips on interviewing, visit our Interviews page.

Please inform us if you are interviewed or accepted to a health professions program/school. We track all of this data to better inform future applicants of where our students have had success.