Mercer University undergraduate students who plan to pursue a career in physical therapy are considered to be on the “pre-physical therapy” or “pre-PT”, track. Pre-physical therapy is not an academic major; every pre-physical therapy student must declare and work towards an academic major and minor>> as they work to fulfill the admission requirements for their preferred physical therapy graduate programs. Information and advice about all aspects of the pre-physical therapy tracks can be found in The Student Handbook for the Pre-PT Tracks>>. Information about all of the pre-professional tracks at Mercer-Macon can be found on the web pages of the Office of Academic & Advising Services>>.
Becoming a Competitive Physical Therapy School Applicant
Pre-physical therapy students must plan ahead carefully in order to create a competitive application “portfolio” during their undergraduate years. This means taking the appropriate coursework, performing well academically, and participating in appropriate extracurricular activities that will develop the skills and characteristics required of a successful physical therapy school applicant. To help them make appropriate choices regarding these things, students should bear in mind that physical therapy schools are looking for individuals with the following characteristics:
- a strong academic background with a firm foundation in the sciences;
- good reasoning ability and strong critical thinking skills;
- a positive attitude, able to function effectively under stress;
- strong leadership skills but with the ability to work well on a team;
- compassion and a commitment to service;
- strong interpersonal skills, able to connect well with patients from various backgrounds;
- excellent communication skills (both written and oral);
- integrity and high ethical standards;
- a good base of knowledge about physical therapy;
- competitive Graduate Record Examination scores; and
- a well-written Personal Statement.
Because the pre-physical therapy track is challenging and physical therapy schools are so selective, all pre-physical therapy students should develop an alternative plan to implement in the event that adequate progress is not made on their pre-physical therapy track (i.e., GPA’s below 3.3) or acceptance to PT school is not achieved. Such plans may include strengthening the application portfolio followed by reapplication or a complete change of career goals. Students are advised to consult the Office of Career Services>> and their academic advisors for guidance in this regard.