Why study pre-PT at a liberal arts college?
I strongly believe that studying at a liberal arts institution enriched my education. One of my favorite things about physical therapy is that it is very dynamic, and that requires dynamic practitioners as well. Therapies are constantly being perfected and studied, and the various settings to practice PT challenge therapists to be adaptable, which a liberal arts education prepares you for.
What makes the pre-PT program at CSB/SJU unique?
Don Fischer is wonderful at making PT fit into what you want to do. For example, I was able to study nutrition, which stood out in my graduate program interviews. Rather than changing yourself to squeeze into what you think a physical therapist should be, this school allows you to create your own identity, which in turn creates a stronger professional presence in the world of Physical Therapy. CSB/SJU sets you up for success by creating opportunities to be the best professional leader that you can be.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU pre-PT program faculty been like?
Don Fischer has been outstanding. You can't find a better person to direct and guide you down a path that is unique to you. He is always flexible and more than willing to help. It gave me unparalleled peace of mind to have someone who was able to walk me through a four-year plan. He did a great job of highlighting the timeline of pre-requirements that I needed to complete, such as shadowing, recommended work experience, GRE, etc. I don't know what I would have done without him!
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?
I think the application process was the most overwhelming thing for me. It was really hard for me to decide on which programs to apply to. There are so many great schools and a great website to consult (ptcas.org/directory), but trying to find a school that I felt matched my experience and future goals was really difficult and time-consuming. Don helped me get through this by offering really good advice, such as making a spreadsheet with prospective schools and their pre-requirements and comparing the ones I had already completed. Making the final decision on which schools to apply to was still extremely difficult, but it was helpful to have the resources at CSB/SJU to navigate the choice with more confidence.
What advice do you have for the students considering the pre-PT program?
Shadowing a physical therapist was the most invaluable experience for me in making my decision. PT offices are everywhere, so just get into connection with them and ask to shadow a PT for a day. It gives you a great idea of the typical day-to-day work experience, and PTs are usually more than willing to answer your questions between patients. Also, talk to Don Fischer. I guarantee CSB/SJU will set you up for a great career in PT, but you have to put in the work to make yourself marketable by embracing all of the opportunities that CSB/SJU offers, like the Allied Health Club panels and events.
What are your plans after graduation for graduate school? And, what are your plans after completing graduate school?
I will be attending the University of Minnesota Twins Cities to work toward a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in the summer of 2019. Beyond graduate school, I hope to use the skills and connections from CSBSJU to continue a career in Physical Therapy, wherever that takes me!