Pre-PT Studies

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Physical therapy continues to grow as an excellent career pathway in the field of healthcare. The profession is expected to grow by 28% through 2026, with demand increasing as the number of older adults rises. After completing your bachelor's degree, you will attend three years of PT school to earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. 

CAS Major Selection

In the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint, multiple degrees offer designated Pre-Physical Therapy Tracks: 

It is important to note, there is no single major that is required to apply to physical therapy school or a single major that will guarantee acceptance. It is important to select a major that you are interested in pursuing for your undergraduate career. However, no matter the major, all students applying will have to complete the required prerequisite courses, which can vary slightly from school to school.

Physical Therapy Schools in Michigan:

There are currently six physical therapy schools in Michigan, including one at the University of Michigan-Flint. The programs are linked below, along with a guide comparing basic information about the six programs. 

Access this quick comparison guide to admission requirements for physical therapy schools in Michigan.

Preparing to Apply to Physical Therapy School

There is no single factor that will determine whether you will be accepted into a physical therapy school. Instead, schools take a holistic or overall review of your GPA, GRE score, research experience, observation hours and extracurricular activities. Below are a few key factors to keep in mind when preparing to apply. In general, physical therapy schools are looking for well-rounded students with broad, liberal arts backgrounds.

  1. Maintain a stellar academic record.

    1. Most physical schools in Michigan require a minimum GPA of 3.0. However, the average GPA of accepted students is often in the 3.5-3.9 range.
    2. In addition to your overall GPA, pay special attention to your GPA in the required science and pre-requisite courses as these are often evaluated separately, in addition to your overall GPA evaluation.
  2. Complete physical therapy observation hours.  
    1. It is important to observe physical therapists in order to understand the day-to-day activities of the job. This will help you to speak to why you want to be a physical therapist when it comes time to apply.
    2. Many physical therapy schools also require a minimum number of physical therapy observation hours in order to apply.
      1. Keep in mind that most physical therapy schools also want you to conduct observation in different physical therapy settings. For example: inpatient, outpatient, geriatric or pediatric settings.
  3. Participate in academic research.
    1. Physical Therapy schools highly value research experience.
    2. The project does not have to be related to physical therapy to be valuable to your application.
  4. Volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities.
    1. There are multiple organizations looking for dedicated volunteers. Some examples in the local area include, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Carriage Town Ministries, Hurley Medical Center-Auxiliary and Hospice Advantage.
    2. There are a lot of on-campus student organizations. One of particular interest to students hoping to attend Physical Therapy school would be the UM-Flint Pre-Physical Therapy Club

Applying to Physical Therapy School

Applications to physical therapy school are available on a yearly basis. The majority of physical therapy schools only admit students for the fall semester. This means that you will apply to physical therapy school one year before you hope to start. For example, if you hope to start physical therapy school in September 2021, you would need to submit your application in summer/fall 2020. Most physical therapy schools operate on a rolling admissions process, so it is important to apply as early as possible. The PTCAS application usually opens June 1.

  1. Determine where you want to apply to physical therapy school. 
  2. Take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination).  
    1. In order to apply to physical therapy school, you need to take the GRE. Visit the GRE website for more information on the test and how to register. 
    2. The website is also a great resource for practice exams and content review of key courses.
  3. Ask for Letters of Recommendation.
    1. Most schools require between 2 and 3 letters of recommendation. Check the requirements for each school in which you are interested. 
    2. It is recommended that you ask for letters of recommendation a few months before you need them.
    3. Ask for letters of recommendation from:
      1. Faculty members that know you well
      2. Physical Therapists that you have completed observation hours for.
      3. Research or Clinical Supervisors
  4. Request an Official Transcript Copy.
    1. Copies can be requested through SIS.
  5. Complete PTCAS application.
    1. Physical Therapy schools utilize the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS). This is where you will complete and submit your application to all of the physical therapy schools in which you are interested.