Identify Schools of Interest
Use The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) Program Directory to identify potential schools; you may consider the following factors:
- Test requirements – Many schools require the GRE (see list)
- Start dates – Programs vary in start dates, the most common being January, May, and August.
- Duration of the program – Programs are for approximately 3 years long
- Tuition - Tuition information is provided on each school's individual website.
- GPA – Majority of schools require a minimum GPA of 3.0, though some schools may specify an applicant needs a 3.0 science GPA.
- Location – Consider where you would like to live for the next few years as well as where you may want to practice in the future
- Prerequisite courses – Schools vary considerably in terms of prerequisite courses. Identifying which courses are required by the schools you are interested in can help you reconsider any schools that require extra courses or courses you do not wish to take.
- School Mission – While you are considering what criteria you look for in a school, the school mission statement can give you insight into what qualities they look for in a student. For example, a school strongly rooted in addressing medical needs in rural areas of New York State may be something you are passionate about, or conversely something you have no connection to at all.
- Deadlines- There are multiple deadlines for the DPT school application (preferred, priority, or early decision), so it is important that you strive to apply early to your programs of interest. Deadlines range from late fall (October-December) to mid-late winter (January-March). Refer to Deadlines by Program Name to get an understanding of the deadlines of your schools of interest.
Narrow Your Search
We recommend creating a spreadsheet to track potential schools' prerequisites, test requirements, minimum GPAs, program length, program start date, application deadlines, letters of recommendation, application fees, or other factors that are important to you.
Prepare to Apply
- Familiarize yourself with the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS), a common application that allows students to apply to multiple DPT programs with a single application. To avoid common mistakes that will prevent your application from being processed, it is important for you to read the information on the PTCAS Portal before creating an account.
- Identify reference writers – Identify a list of potential reference writers and confirm their willingness to support your candidacy. Since the number and type of recommendations vary from school to school, check these requirements for each program you are interested in before submitting. For instance, one school may require two letters from professors and one from a supervisor, whereas one school may require one letter from a health professional, one from a supervisor, and one from a professor.
- Begin thinking about your personal statement – what makes you a good candidate for Physical Therapy and why you want to enter the field.
Create account at each school of interest
The majority of accelerated programs do not use a universal application, although many schools will require an applicant to create accounts through individual university portals. Thus, each application must be treated as a separate entity.
- Transcript(s) – Schools vary in terms of how transcripts need to be submitted: some will require official transcripts sent directly from the registrar(s) or some may accept unofficial transcripts during the admissions process. Check each school individually to see what they require, as transcript deadlines are essential to meet.
- Essay – Many schools will require you to write a personal statement expressing your motivation to become a Physical Therapist. Essay length varies for each school and there may also be additional questions you need to answer. See supplemental requirements by institution.