March 18, 2014
Why study pre-physical therapy at a liberal arts college?
The world is becoming increasingly diverse and being a diverse person is becoming more important. This is evident in physical therapy. Being able to diagnose and treat injuries is only half of the job — being able to communicate with others and understand patients is just as important. A liberal arts education helps you develop as a person in a wide variety of areas. This helps you relate to a wide variety of people and be able to hold educated conversations with your patients.
What makes the pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU unique?
The pre-physical therapy program at CSB/SJU really promotes pursuing an undergraduate degree. Several schools will push you to complete only the prerequisite courses for graduate school and immediately move on. This school allows you to pursue a degree that interests you and influences students to participate in elective courses and research, all while completing the prerequisite courses that allow you to apply to graduate school.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU pre-physical therapy program faculty been like?
The faculty at CSB/SJU are amazing and the pre-physical therapy staff is no exception. They are always there for you when you have questions. It is easy to schedule a meeting and they respond quickly to your emails whether it is just for a quick question or to organize a meeting. They also have all of the resources you would ever need during your pre-physical therapy journey. The availability of the staff truly shows that they are here for you and want each and every student to succeed.
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?
The greatest challenge for me has been transferring to CSB/SJU. I attended a different university for my first year of college, which put me behind on my coursework. However, the advisors here sat down with me right away and helped me to make a four year plan that allowed me to study abroad, graduate and apply to physical therapy school. The planning process took several long meetings, but every advisor was willing to meet with me and help me accomplish my goals. This goes back to the faculty at CSB/SJU — they truly make our university stand out from other schools.
What advice do you have for students considering the pre-physical therapy program?
I advise students to do a lot of job shadowing. You should observe several different times and observe multiple people. Sometimes, your interest in a field may be determined by your observation experiences. Some of mine were better than others, so it is very important to meet several different physical therapists and see a variety of patients. Also, I suggest talking with each therapist that you shadow after your session is done. Ask questions about physical therapy school, their experiences as a physical therapist and about the variety of fields within physical therapy. Collecting all of this information will allow you to make an informed decision that you will be happy with.
Did you study abroad? If so, how did that experience impact you?
Yes, I studied abroad in Fremantle, Australia. The experience was amazing, and no matter the sacrifices I had to make to do it, I don't regret it one bit. Challenges were definitely a part of the experience, but they helped me to grow as a person. Don't be discouraged, however. The amount of good times outweighed the bad by a great margin. I made some new friends from across the United States and from around the world that I will never forget or lose touch with. It changed me so much as a person to be in a completely different culture. My time abroad gave me a new appreciation for other cultures and gave me a thirst for adventure. Studying abroad supplies you with stories for a lifetime and a knowledge that couldn't be obtained any other way. The decision to spend a semester abroad was one of the best I have ever made and I suggest that everyone take advantage of the opportunity if it is available.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be attending the University of North Dakota doctorate of physical therapy program this fall and I currently plan to become an orthopedic physical therapist after graduate school.