What are you truly passionate about? Not just physical therapy, a passion motivating you to make a difference in the world. This passion should be turned into a project, more than just volunteering, one you can add to your application, which will not only help define you, but showcase your characteristics as a person. If you need help with finding your passion, I can help!
What better way to make sure you want to be a PT than by shadowing actual physical therapists? You can shadow PTs in a variety of settings, from private offices to out-patient care in hospitals. Through shadowing, you'll gain experiences and possible future references. Consistent and committed shadowing will go a long way in not only making you a mature applicant, but making sure others see you as prepared.
The University of South Alabama PT Program requires a minimum of 50 hours observation or work experience in physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist and it must be documented. A form is available for download from their website and must be signed by the physical therapist with the license number included.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham requires at least 40 hours of documented observation of physical therapy in various settings (e.g., hospital, outpatient clinic, pediatric clinic). Documentation is to be submitted via PTCAS. You can see their requirements here.
Community Service and Volunteering
Working in dentistry means wanting to serve others. This means wanting to give back, in medical and non-medical ways. Find something you enjoy doing, something truly warming your heart, and go forth! Put as much time as you can towards those types of areas. Don't volunteer because you think it's a checkbox, do it because you care.
Keeping a Journal
Keeping a journal can be helpful for some through the process of preparing for a career in physical therapy. Use it to record thoughts on your experiences, you may find you get more out of activities if you spend some time reflecting about them. Topics to consider writing about may include experiences starting your interest in physical therapy or those you had while observing or volunteering clarifying for you this is the career for you. This journal will be very helpful when it comes to writing your personal statement, interviews, and other parts of the process.
Research experience can provide you with the opportunity to work closely with faculty, learn skills beyond the classroom, use research methods, engage in critical analysis, and problem solving skills. Our faculty work on a variety of research projects, which observation or participation in, will allow a better understanding between theory and practice using innovative and creative thinking.
Getting into dental school is not about accomplishing the perfect checklist. It's about truly desiring to be a better person and better future dentist. It's a complex process and sometimes, even with the best application, students will not get in. Read here to learn more about the process and here to find out more about other areas involved in the journey.
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