The Arizona Prospective Physical Therapy Student Panel

On Monday, September 26, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix opened its doors to 100+ prospective physical therapy students. The event was catered to individuals seeking information about program applications, interviews, and PT school survival skills.

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Guest Author: Maggie Delaney, 3rd year Student Physical Therapist at Northern Arizona University in Phoenix

On Monday, September 26, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix opened its doors to 100+ prospective physical therapy students. The event, coined #AZPTpanel, was catered to individuals seeking information about program applications, interviews, and PT school survival skills. Attendees included students from ASU, NAU, GCU, U of A, various community colleges, and even local high school students.

The #AZPTpanel is a recent effort by the Arizona Physical Therapy Association and Arizona Student Special Interest Group to educate future students about the benefits of pursuing a DPT in the state of Arizona. We are lucky to have 4 programs in the state of Arizona, with options for obtaining an education in Flagstaff, downtown Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, or Goodyear.

#AZPTpanel began with an overview of the basic application and interview process. Emphasis was placed on preparing the strongest possible application, and managing the realistic financial situation PT students find themselves in.

Afterwards, the event was opened up to Q&A. 11 panelists, current students from every DPT program in AZ, discussed their experiences and connected with students facing similar situations. The purpose was to provide a united front of all DPT programs, and offer up unbiased advice.

Questions varied:

“Is it possible to work during PT school?”

“How difficult was the transition from undergraduate school to graduate level school?”

“How do you stand out in an interview?”

“What do you do if you are struggling in a class?”

“What if I don’t meet the minimum requirements to apply for my dream school?”

And so on. Every panelist was able to offer a personal experience, story, or solution to each question. Several attendees lingered after the event for up to 45 minutes to speak individually with panelists with more specific questions.

A brief survey was sent out to attendees to assess their satisfaction with the event. Majority had heard about the event from a teacher or classmate, and none had heard about the event from Twitter. This showed myself, Cruz Romero, and Beth Horn (the event planners) that social media was not necessarily the outreach tool of choice for future students. It turns out, connections through our own faculty, undergraduate Pre-PT clubs, and professors who teach exercise science or kinesiology were our best medium for marketing. At the end of our event, however, we made sure to point these students to all relevant AZ and student PT social media accounts and hashtags.

Attendees were asked on a scale of 1-10, how likely would they recommend this event to another person interested in PT school? 6.7% of the respondents scored the event 7/10, 20% scored it 9/10, and 73.3% scored it 10/10. There were 15 total respondents. We were thrilled with the overall positive response.

There are hopes that the event will be an annual occurrence, as was expressed by panelists and attendees alike. Many of the DPT students on the panel were either friends already, or were excited to connect with students from other programs. When more applicants are educated about the PTCAS process, the more competitive they become. Programs will have a more prepared pool of applicants to choose from.

The presentation used to educate the attendees is linked here.

Thank you to all panelists, listed below. Special thanks to Cruz Romero (event moderator) and Beth Horn (this event was her idea).

Panelists:

NAU Phoenix: Maggie Delaney, Cruz Romero, Beth Horn

NAU Flagstaff: Lauren Brill

AT Still: Ariana Jones, Jenn Chalanycz, Kyle Flood

Midwestern: Kate Schriock, Catch Hurst, Daniel Nowland

Franklin Pierce: Sarah Mitchell, Ken Toves