By: Mathew Hilton, MS, SPT, ACLS, PALS
University of Delaware Physical Therapy Class of 2017
Now that summer is over and students are beginning another school year, many may wonder what they should be doing to build their best advantage to physical therapy school. There are many aspects of school that you can get involved with, but in order to optimize your time, here are some things that you should focus on:
1. Get Settled With Your Classes
The bottom line is that your GPA is important. As you begin your courses, you should definitely take a week or two to understand the workload involved with each course. Look through the syllabus, talk to former students and discuss the workload with the professor. If you’re anticipating a busy quarter/semester, then it may be best just to just to focus on performing well, especially if you’re enrolled in many prerequisite courses for physical therapy school.
In addition, this is also a great opportunity to begin building a solid relationship with your professors by attending office hours (think about those letters of reference that you'll eventually need). As someone who attended a large university, I can understand how this can feel daunting, but it does not have to be!
Each week, you should schedule in your planner the time in which the professor has office hours. Treat this like a part of the class that you must attend. Throughout the week, write down any questions that you have on a sticky note and then just read down the list while you're in office hours. It’s that simple to build some quality face time!
2. Find Consistent Volunteering
This will be your next priority if you find that you have about a 4 hour block once or twice a week that you can spare. Look up local physical therapy clinics and try to find settings that you have not explored yet, such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), acute rehab, pediatric clinics and/or hospitals.
Logistics also important because you don’t want to burden yourself by traveling far from your university to volunteer. So if an outpatient clinic is your only local option, then volunteer there (or better yet, try to acquire an aide position). Ultimately, you want to be sure that you’re diversifying your experiences and learning new aspects of the profession.
3. Get Involved With Your University's Pre-PT Club
These clubs are a great opportunity to network with fellow pre-physical therapy students like yourself. These students will likely be in your classes and you all can form study groups to help each other succeed. Join their Facebook page and look out for events that feature PT speakers and admissions officers. Some students even post PT aide openings! In addition, these clubs present leadership opportunities from within the club which can also reflect well in your application to PT school.
4. Join a New Intramural (IM) Sport
Physical therapists need to know how other people move, especially in sports. In PT school, your time is limited and the curriculum will likely not cover all of the different movement patterns of every specific athlete. Also, if you are a kinesthetic learner, then your best learning strategy is simple--get out there and move!
Therefore you should take the time to participate in a new sport, dance team, martial arts gym or any other new activity. Take advantage of your university's gym and facilities while you still have access as a student and have some fun while you take a break from classes!
- Jul 5, 2018 The 2018-2019 PTCAS Personal Statement Guide Jul 5, 2018
- Apr 24, 2018 How to Easily Find Inpatient Physical Therapy Experience Apr 24, 2018
- Feb 19, 2018 How to Improve Your GPA as a Pre-Physical Therapy Student Feb 19, 2018
- Jan 28, 2018 How Important are my GPA and GRE for Physical Therapy Admissions? Jan 28, 2018
- Jan 15, 2018 Do You Want to Become a Physical Therapist? Jan 15, 2018
- Nov 20, 2017 Pre-Physical Therapy: 3 Ways to Build a Strong Application Over Winter Break Nov 20, 2017
- May 26, 2017 DPT Program Financial Analysis For Pre-DPTs May 26, 2017
- Mar 27, 2017 4 Things to Remember to Stay Sane When Applying Mar 27, 2017
- Jan 30, 2017 5 New Ideas for Better Pre-Physical Therapy Meetings Jan 30, 2017
- Nov 17, 2016 4 Tips to Leverage Mentorship During Your First Clinical Affiliation Nov 17, 2016
- Nov 1, 2016 The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview: Essential Questions for Faculty and Students Nov 1, 2016
- Oct 25, 2016 The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview: Make the Most of the Campus Tour Oct 25, 2016
- Oct 19, 2016 The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview: Preparing for the Questions Oct 19, 2016
- Oct 12, 2016 The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview: Preparing for Different Interview Types Oct 12, 2016
- Oct 6, 2016 The Doctor of Physical Therapy Interview: What to Expect Oct 6, 2016
- Sep 20, 2016 Essential Experience: Succeed in the Physical Therapy Aide Interview Sep 20, 2016
- Sep 12, 2016 Back to School: What Should I Do as a Pre-PT Student? Sep 12, 2016
- Aug 31, 2016 Essential Experience: How to Find a Physical Therapy Aide Position Aug 31, 2016
- Aug 13, 2016 Essential Experience: Become a Physical Therapy Aide Aug 13, 2016
- Jun 20, 2016 Where Should I Apply for Physical Therapy School? Jun 20, 2016
- Jun 5, 2016 Fresh Perspectives: A Conversation on Social Media & The Job Market (UpDoc Media guest post) Jun 5, 2016
- May 15, 2016 Leverage Your Volunteer Experience When Applying to Physical Therapy School (NGPT Guest Post) May 15, 2016
- May 9, 2016 Don’t Submit Your 2016-2017 PTCAS Personal Statement Without Answering This May 9, 2016
- Apr 20, 2016 The 2017-2018 PTCAS Personal Statement Guide Apr 20, 2016