Application Process & Timeline for Physical Therapy

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Candidacy Assessment

Your preparation for application to physical therapy programs should always begin with assessment of your individual candidacy. Use the Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment as a guide to self-assess and plan to speak with a Pre-Health Advisor about your progress. 


Pre-Health Pillars Candidacy Assessment


PTCAS: Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service

This application opens each year in early July. There are 15 application deadlines from October - May, so you should review deadlines for programs of interest carefully. Despite program deadlines, you should apply as early as possible due to the application verification process and rolling admission cycle. 

Graduate Record Exam

The exam consists of three sections:

1. Verbal Reasoning
2. Quantiative Reasoning
3. Analytical Writing

Test Preparation Resources

There are many types of test preparation resources that vary in cost and approach. Pre-Health Advisors do not endorse any of the providers below, but are happy to speak with you about how you might identify the style of preparation that best fits your needs.

Source Cost Level
Educational Testing Service (ETS) Free - Low
Khan Academy Free
Magoosh Low
McGraw-Hill Education Low
Clayborne Education Low - High
Princeton Review Low - High
Manhattan Prep Mid - High
NextStep Test Prep Free - High

Kaplan Test Prep

Free - High

Selecting Schools

It is essential to select schools that are not only a good fit for you academically, but also a good fit for your values, skills, interests, and that will help you become the professional you want to be. Take time to research programs prior to the application process. Here are some factors you should consider:

  • Admission requirements: coursework and clinical experiences
  • Institution's mission, goals, curriculum, grading system
  • Size of cohort / class
  • Location. Where do you want to live? Where will you have a support network in place? What is the cost of tuition and cost of living?
  • Where will you complete your clinical rotations? What type of patient population will you serve (i.e. urban, rural)? Will this provide the experiences you hope to gain?
  • Does the school's mission and training focus align with your professional interests (i.e. research, personalized medicine)

Recommended Length of School List: 5 - 7  


Guidelines to Making a School List
PTCAS Program Directory

Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

You may submit up to 4 evaluators on the PTCAS application. Letters must be submitted electronically through the PTCAS evaluator portal. You should determine any specific LOR requirements from programs of choice. However, letters are most commonly submitted by: 

  • Physical Therapists
  • Science Faculty
  • Non-Science Faculty
  • Faculty Advisor
  • Employment Supervisor
  • Healthcare Professional


Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a distinctive aspect of your application. It begins with reflection. Consider the following questions to begin:

  • Why do you want to become a physical therapist? Why is this the profession you have chosen instead of another?
  • Think back to your experiences volunteering, shadowing, researching, studying abroad. Can you provide a specific story that deeply impacted you and your decision to become a physical therapist?
  • What do you want the committee to know about you as a person or future colleague? What makes you a good fit for the profession?
  • How do / will you embody the American Physical Therapy Association's vision for the profession?

The PTCAS personal statement section includes a 4,500 character limit (including spaces). See PTCAS for a formal prompt topic.



Request official transcripts from all institutions attended. Make sure to carefully follow PTCAS instruction manual guidelines for specific details on transcript submission to the application service.


UVA Registrar's Office

Interview Preparation

Pre-health mock interviewing is available to students and alumni preparing for or currently in the health professions application cycle. Interviews are one hour and include a feedback session aimed at increasing your readiness and confidence before an actual admissions interview. To schedule a mock interview complete the following steps.

  1. Schedule Your Mock Interview With an Advisor: Contact the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 and indicate you are requesting a Pre-Health Mock Interview or schedule online through your Handshake account.

  2. Come to the Career Center to be Interviewed: Please dress as if this were a real interview. By doing so, you can become comfortable with an interview situation dressed in professional attire. The Pre-Health Advisor will provide feedback as to appropriate interview attire. If you do not have interview attire at this time, please dress in the most appropriate outfit you have available.


Interviewing for Health Professions Admissions

UVA Statistics for Physical Therapy School Applicants

  Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Percentage Accepted
2017 33 24 73%
2016 64 38 59%
2015 41 30 73%
2014 41 30 73%
2013 42 30 71%


Application Timeline

The entire application process lasts approximately 12-14 months. Whether you plan to apply immediately after your 3rd year, 4th year, or after graduation, this timeline begins with preparation in the fall prior to your application submission in late summer.

  • Have your resume reviewed by a Career Counselor to use when requesting Letters of Evaluation (LOEs)
  • Attend all relevant application process meetings and workshops in preparation for July submission of your application
  • Begin drafting personal statement
  • Begin requesting LOEs from faculty and physical therapists
  • Attend all relevant application process meetings and workshops if not attended in October
  • Practice using Interview Stream to prepare for Mock Interview with Pre-Health Advisor
  • Continue revising your Personal Statement Draft
  • Submit Interview Stream for Mock Interview Appointment
  • Research programs and schools
  • Participate in Mock Interview Program
  • Finalize your Personal Statement
  • Consider Mock Interviewing if not previously completed 
  • Participate in Mock Interview if not previously completed
  • Take GRE no later than May
  • Confirm preparation of all LOEs for July submission to PTCAS evaluator portal
  • Review PTCAS application instruction manual
  • Gather and compile any remaining materials in preparation for July application submission
  • Primary application (PTCAS) opens in early July
  • Submit primary application, transcripts, and all LOEs
  • Utilize InterviewStream and Mock Interviewing
  • Complete secondary applications within two weeks of receiving them
  • Utilize InterviewStream and Mock Interviewing
  • Interviews begin
  • Complete secondary applications within two weeks of receiving them
  • Interviews continue until spring
  • Provide any relevant (academic, co-curricular) updates to PTCAS / schools in December
  • Make final choice of school based on PTCAS traffic rules

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