If you are accepted to more than one physical therapy program, it can be challenging to choose which one to attend. Although there are plenty of articles to help make it easier for you to decide, the decision is still not an easy one to make.
To help you out, I created a free downloadable spreadsheet for you to organize your favorite schools, and help narrow down which ones you want to apply to. Here’s a post that goes into the details about the spreadsheets I used when applying to schools.
I recommend creating a pro-con list to help you decide which program will be the best fit for you. Below are the top things I considered when I chose a physical therapy school:
1. Tuition and Cost of Living
I graduated with over $160,000 in student loans, including undergraduate loans, and paying off almost $10,000 during PT school. It’s so important to try to keep tuition and living expenses as low as possible. Not only will you need loans to cover tuition, but you need to factor in school supplies, rent, gas, clothing for clinicals, and possibly paying rent if you go to a different state for a clinical.
Loans also have high interest rate. That can add around 10 – 15,000 dollars by the time your 3 years have passed. If you choose to attend a more expensive PT program, make sure you are okay with the extra interest and potentially many extra years of paying the loans back.
2. How are the graduation and NPTE pass rates?
Is one program better than the other? You can find this data on the PTCAS website, or on the program’s website. The goal is to attend programs with 100% for both, but the high 90’s are also fine.
3. Which school do you like more?
Did you have a better experience on your interview day? Are there better research or clinical opportunities? Do you love the volunteer opportunities? Does one program have a nonprofit clinic that students can work at? Do you like one location more than the other? Will you prefer a smaller or larger class size?
These are all important considerations. If the programs are pretty similar, just choose the one you think you’ll be happier with.