By Rachel Luzer, Aiyannah Wilson, and Chiamaka Obidigbo
We understand you may have unanswered questions regarding the application process and more specifically the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Services (PTCAS), you are not alone. Despite many schools offering application review sessions (which you should definitely take advantage of!), PTIS will be here to answer general questions in regards to the application process. Here are important things we think you should know!
Navigating PTCAS: An account is required in order to begin any part of the application process on the PTCAS website. Once you are logged in, you will be presented with four different categories: Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Program materials. Within these categories, you will find sections requiring information detailing an applicant’s demographics, academic history (transcripts and testing), essays and letters of recommendation, experience and observation hours, and any additional materials.
How do I order transcripts?
In PTCAS within the category History, Academic History, you will see a section labeled "college attended” that will help navigate your transcript. Make sure you send your transcript to the correct recipient based on your school’s e-transcript service or if you are using a paper transcript.
Where can I locate the transcript ID form?
The transcript ID for can be located within the Colleges Attended section. Once you enter a college into your application, select the option in the bottom right hand labeled “order” and choose a platform to request your transcript. Once you choose an electronic transcript platform it will identify your transcript ID which is available to copy to your clipboard.
How do I upload my letters of recommendation?
First you must have selected schools to apply to. Within the Program Materials category, if you select a school, and display the references section. This way you will be able to request a letter through PTCAS to your referee and check the status for completion updates.
What counts as experience and observation hours?
Experience could be anything from paid to unpaid. PTCAS prefers to see your experience within your undergraduate career and onward. Observation hours could be any clinical paid or unpaid shadowing under the direct supervision of a physical therapist.
What are the prerequisites?
Prerequisites are courses required by a school that must be completed, or in some cases outstanding, to be considered for a specific program. In general, most PT schools require Biology 1&2, Chemistry 1&2, Physics 1&2, Anatomy and Physiology 1&2 to name a few. Each school may require additional prerequisites on top of the general prerequisite.
Will schools accept the higher course grade if I had to retake a course?
Each school is different and handles this issue uniquely. Some may take the average while others take the highest grade, it is best to check with each individual school to confirm transcript analysis. Additionally, there is a portion of the personal Information category that you are able to provide detailed information about why or why not your grades match your abilities.
Will schools accept pass/fail coursework?
Each school handles this issue uniquely. Some do accept pass or fail while others do not. Either way it is best to contact the school directly for individual evaluation.
Some schools require a “prerequisite GPA”. Where can I find this?
If required by the program you are interested in, schools have this information posted on their program requirements or this can be found on the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website.
Any tips on deciding on schools?
Everyone wants to assure that they choose a PT program that best suits them. When considering your school, make a checklist of requirements you're looking for in a program. Research the required observation hours, GRE scores (if required) and course prerequisites. Check the location to make sure that is an area you can see yourself complete school. Find out the deadline and start date for the program you are interested in. Look at tuition to ensure that the cost is affordable for you. Find out the values, beliefs and accreditation of each school to see if they best align with yours.
Where can I find information on the application process?
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) updates this information every cycle. This information can also be found on a program’s specific website.
When will I hear back about my acceptance?
Each school is different and handles this issue uniquely. It varies on the school, how early or late an applicant applies. Some schools offer a rolling admissions process, while others wait until the deadline to begin their application reviewing process. When in doubt, submit your application earlier rather than later!
We hope these additional questions helped you along your PTCAS application process. Take your time, while respecting deadlines and staying organized. Remember to take care of yourself and take well-deserved breaks. Additionally, don’t hesitate to contact the admissions office of the programs you have interest in with any questions you may have or dm us. We wish you the best of luck!