The big thing about liberal arts is the opportunity to take a variety of different classes in order to be exposed to new ideas. By taking several classes outside of the PT prerequisites, students get a well-rounded education in preparation for graduate school. For me, a big part of this came through philosophy classes. Philosophical thinking is much different from your typical science classes, and I believe it has made a difference in how I view others and the world. Going to school at a liberal arts college gave me this opportunity to pursue other interests while staying on track to complete the prerequisites for PT school.
At CSB/SJU, you are free to pursue any major and take any classes you want as long as you take the prerequisites for PT school. This loose structure gives students the chance to explore other interests without being limited by a specific track they need to follow. The opportunity to branch out and experience different subjects also allows students to explore other interests, which is a unique advantage that CSB/SJU offers.
I have had nothing but positive experiences with our faculty members. Everything I needed to do to get into PT school was clearly laid out for me. All my professors knew me and were always available to answer questions and give advice. These relationships were also helpful for letters of recommendation when it came to applying for PT school. As long as you are willing to put the work in, the faculty puts you in a great position to be successful.
A difficult thing about PT school, and any graduate school, is that you need to do very well in your classes in order to be accepted. This makes it difficult at times to balance studying with extracurricular activities or simply doing things for fun. College is a time to learn but it is also a time to get out and enjoy yourself, so finding a balance between the two can be a challenge. Everyone is different, so finding what balance works for you is important.
The biggest thing would be to get out and shadow multiple physical therapists early on. This will give you a taste of what PT is all about and if this is a career you want to pursue. It is also helpful to talk to several therapists in order to get as much exposure as possible and to build relationships. It would also be a good idea to pursue a job or internship where you can do research or work with patients. Both of these experiences will be very rewarding and will look great on a PT school application.
My current plan is to attend the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota, this fall.