This is the first article of a five-part series, “The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview”
Part 3: Preparing for the Questions
Part 4: Make the Most of the Campus Tour
By: Mathew Hilton, MS, SPT, ACLS, PALS
University of Delaware Physical Therapy Class of 2017
The day has finally arrived for your Doctor of Physical Therapy interview. After working hard to earn your best grades and draft your best personal statement, you've received a coveted interview offer. You’re finally here to leave your best impression on the faculty and students.
If you’re wondering what your DPT interview day may consist of and how you should prepare, here’s a breakdown of the possible components of the day:
1. The Welcome Presentation
The DPT program will introduce their faculty and top administrators. As each candidate sits nervously in their seats thinking about if they have a shot to gain admission, keep in mind that the DPT program is trying to sell the program to you.
They understand that you may have choices of where you can attend and they want to work to ensure that the best candidates accept their offer of admission. Reflect on how the school sells themselves: are they advertising that they will simply prepare you for passing the licensing exam or do they have additional opportunities to prepare you to become the best clinician possible?
2. The Interview
The main event of this day will obviously be the interview itself. The interview can vary greatly between DPT programs and this will be covered at length in future articles. Above all, the best recipe for success is preparing for a broad range of questions that will be asked.
3. DPT Student Panel
The student panel is a great opportunity for candidates to ask the current DPT students about the realities of a DPT education. These sessions are particularly useful when the program does not supervise the event and instead allows an open, informative dialogue about what can be expected as a DPT student. By not supervising this event, they want to communicate that you can ask honest questions without fear that this will have any bearing on your candidacy.
As someone who has participated in these sessions as an interview candidate and a DPT student, I highly encourage each candidate to prepare some solid questions that they would like to know (but maybe are too afraid to ask faculty). Questions such as:
How much do you study on a weekly basis?
What was your biggest challenge when you started the DPT program?
Why did you decide to attend this program instead of any other program that you applied to?
This also allows you an opportunity to ask questions that assess the consistency of opinions between faculty and students. These questions can include:
I heard a faculty member describe the program as a “family.” Do you agree or disagree and why?
Do you feel that faculty are available outside of class to practice skills or answer questions?
How could this program be improved? Do the faculty make efforts to listen to and implement student feedback?
4. DPT Class Audit
This is also an excellent aspect of interview day because this will allow you to see the relative size of the class and assess how the class size affects the learning process. If there are 60+ students in the DPT program, will you be comfortable learning in that lecture environment? Do they allow time for small group discussions and skills practice with an adequate number of instructors? Does the program utilize technology to enhance the learning experience? Reflect on your preferences based upon your college experience and use this as a factor in deciding if the program would be right for you.
Other aspects of the interview day may include:
- Timed Essay
- Group Activity
- Campus Tour (Will be covered in an upcoming article!)
Subscribe to our mailing list and be on the lookout for future articles that will explain more aspects of the Doctor of Physical Therapy interview process. Have questions about the interview process? Comment below!
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