2015 Hiram graduate Curtis Webster knows what it’s like to be applying for physical therapy (PT) school. As a fresh medical student, Webster offers a unique prospective to our Hiram Health series — that of someone who is only beginning their journey in the medical field rather than that of already board-certified doctors. Webster, a first-year student at Wheeling Jesuit University, explained what it takes to be where he is today.
Webster first outlined the different paths a physical therapist could take, and what each entailed. An individual with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) works with gross motor skills that require the use of large muscles groups, like using legs to stand up, and focuses on strength and range of motion of specific body parts. Masters of Occupational Therapy degrees work with fine motor skills, such as using the hands or fingers, and focus on ADL (activities of daily living), such as how to use a modified fork. A Masters of Athletic Training degree entails working with sports-related injuries and often focuses on prevention.
When Webster was applying for medical school, he wasn’t sure what schools were looking for in terms of grades, or where he stood. Webster said that DPT programs typically look at a pre-requisite GPA of 3.4 (as compared to his 3.2), a GRE Verbal score of 150/300 (as compared to his 148/300), GRE Quantitative score of 150/300 (as compared to his 152/300), a GRE Analytical score of 4.0/6 (as compared to his 4.0/6) and a cumulative GPA of 3.6 (as compared to his 3.5). Webster stressed having a knowledge of the program, such as the school’s mission statement, before going into interviews. Wheeling Jesuit was the only school Webster was accepted to. To prepare for the GRE, Webster suggested taking a review course, especially if a student struggled with the ACT/SAT test-atmosphere.
When applying for physical therapy school, Webster suggested starting at the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service to gather research. Webster emphasized looking out for application deadlines (and to treat soft deadlines as hard deadlines) and to look out for any supplemental requirements (which, if failed to complete, will result in you not getting in – check your emails). He also suggested looking at required courses – the difference between having taken a statistics class or an algebra class can determine where you will be accepted. When on the PTCAS website, Webster said to be aware of the non-participating programs as well.