Management of Modern-Day Physical Therapy Program Admissions: A Reconstructed Approach Using Enhanced Communication and Collaboration


To discuss one program's method for reorganizing the Physical Therapy admissions process to a more stream-lined, cohesive practice.

Methods and/or Description of Project

Our program recently redesgined the admissions process to enhance collaboration and communication between the program and the Office of Graduate Admissions. Previous practices included siloing of the program and office of admissions, scattered data collection, and inconsistent communication between parties. Interviews have always been a part of the process; however, the program as a whole made the decision to shift to group interviews, and a family component was added in the new design. The interview process was streamlined, consistent meetings were added for communication as well as clear but flexible deliniation of roles. PTCAS was also utilized at a higher level for data management and communication, with varying levels of access provided.


The redesign resulted in increased communication and involvement of all parties, more streamlined data collection, and improved consistency in the interview process. The admissions team continues to receive positive feedback both externally, form applicants and families, and internally, from faculty, financial aid office, bursar, and other campus departments, on the improvements made with the transition to the new team. There has also been less turnover in the admitted applicants than was seen at this time in previous cycles, allowing us to retain a greater amount of our highly qualified applicants. While there is always room for improvement, the team and faculty are excited with the progress made in the new design.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

Admission to Physical Therapy programs continues to be a highly competitive, high-stakes process, with no one best way to manage applicant pools. Our program's redesign of the admissions process gave us the ability to look closely at more applicants and provide more personal interaction, which may have resulted in a more stable pool of admitted students than with previous methods.


Benham, B. and D. Hawley (2015). "The effectiveness of tools used to evaluate successful critical decision making skills for applicants to healthcare graduate educational programs: a systematic review." JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports 13(4): 231-275.

Cesario, S. (2015). "Factors that Determine Admission to and Success in Physical Therapy Programs: A Pre-PT Website Designing Narrative."

Engelhard, C., et al. (2016). "Effectiveness of pre-admission data and letters of recommendation to predict students who will need professional behavior intervention during clinical rotations in the United States." Journal of educational evaluation for health professions 13.

Jones, P. E., et al. (2014). "Imperfect physician assistant and physical therapist admissions processes in the United States." Journal of educational evaluation for health professions 11.

Riley, S. P., et al. (2016). "Selectivity of physiotherapist programs in the United States does not differ by institutional funding source or research activity level." Journal of educational evaluation for health professions 13.

van der Spuy, I., et al. (2016). "Interviewers' experiences with two multiple mini-interview scoring methods used for admission to a master of physical therapy programme." Physiotherapy Canada 68(2): 179-185.

Course Objectives

Following this presentation, participants will:
- Recongize differences in program/university structure that impact the admissions process
- Discuss how to create a representative team that is primarily responsible for admission decisions throughout the entire process
- Understand how to increase Webadmit utilization (or other application portal) to centralize all pertinent admissions data
- Describe the impact of more intentional programming for the interview portion of the process

Instructional Methods

Discussion, cases, Q&A

Tentative Outline/Schedule

15 minutes: Context – univeristy information
Avg. # of applications
Historical info of program
Avg. incoming GPA
10 minutes: Previous admissions process
Roles of Admissions and department (autonomous silos)
30 minutes: 2016-2017 Cycle Updates
New “DPT admissions team”/process
Greater utilization of Webadmit
Interview day
20 minutes: Outcomes
5 minutes: conclusion


BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2740980
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. Beth Ennis, Jordan Wiehebrink
  • Keywords:

BACK to Abstract Results