Impact of the Interview Process on student decision making when choosing a Physical Therapy Program
The ‘Interview Day’ (ID) at the University of Miami (UM) is structured to allow potential students to interact with current students and faculty in a formal and informal setting. Candidates, in groups of 40, are invited for a 4 hour experience starting with a faculty led introduction and overview of the program. A rented bus is used to take candidates on a campus tour and current students lead facility tours. Faculty interviews are conducted one on one with candidates and allow for more in-depth exploration of the candidate’s qualifications, interpersonal skills and knowledge of the profession. Breakfast is provided for candidates and current students allowing for informal discussion of the program. The ID is a labor intensive, costly process, and the potential benefits to students warrant investigation. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the ID on current students’ decision to attend UM for their PT education.
An online survey was sent to current UMPT students asking them to rate their impression of the ID by answering 2 questions and entering written comments. Students were asked to rate the ID’s influence on their decision to attend UMPT on a scale from 0-10 with 10 representing the highest level of influence. They were then asked to rank the components of the ID (faculty intro to the program, facility tour, campus tour, faculty interview, informal interaction with current DPT students) in order of greatest influence on their decision to least. Finally they were asked to comment on ID
180 students were sent a survey with 100 responding. Students reported that ID had a great influence on their decision to attend UMPT with 90% of respondents rating ID a 7 or higher. When asked to rank the components of the ID in order of most influential, the majority of respondents (55%) rated the interaction with current DPT students most influential with faculty interview ranked second. Subjective comments left by the students were overwhelmingly positive. Students stated:
“ID gave me a chance to prove myself in ways I can’t on paper”
“ID allows students and faculty to base admission decisions on more than just numbers on a page”
“Interacting with students was crucial in my decision”
“Interaction with the students was the best part…they sold me on UM really quickly”
Faculty gave their impression of ID stating that meeting the candidates in person gave them a more in-depth understanding of their ability to succeed in our program and in the profession as a whole.UM students felt empowered in the admissions process, as they were able to provide feedback to the admissions committee about their interaction with the candidates
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
The ID, while costly and labor-intensive is highly valued by students. The benefit of the ID to students and faculty might outweigh the cost and effort expended.
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