With a low acceptance rate of 16%, physical therapy programs are among the top healthcare careers in the US. PT programs are highly competitive and difficult to get into. Most schools require applicants to submit GRE scores in their application process. Garnering high GRE scores naturally helps secure admission. 155+ is a good GRE score for both verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Aspiring Physical Therapists who would like to apply for graduate schools must have 4.0+ is a good GRE score for analytical writing. Applicants with low GRE scores still stand a chance of being accepted as long as they compensate through the additional requirements.
It varies. Some PT schools require the GRE test for admission requirements while others don’t. However, for the Top 30 programs in PT schools, the GRE is required in the admissions process. Some schools even have minimum cut-off scores for applicants. PT schools usually expect applicants to exceed the 50th percentile score in all three sections of the GRE.
No, not all schools offering physical therapy programs require the GRE. Although the GRE is important for the admissions committee to compare applicants based on academic abilities, some PT programs do not require it but instead ask for other requirements such as GPA, science GPA, letters of recommendation, and clinical experience.
The PT graduate programs that don’t require the GRE are as follows (2):
- American International College
- Boston University
- Chatham University
- Ohio State University
- Daemen College
- Pacific University
- Quinnipiac University
- Saint Francis University
- Saint Louis University
- Thomas Jefferson University
- University of Kentucky
- University of St. Augustine
- University of North Georgia
- Belmont University School of Physical Therapy
The programs listed above are PT programs only in the US that do not require the submission of applicant GRE scores.
Aside from the GRE test, the other prerequisites for PT admission are the following application materials (2):
- Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). PT schools may require you to submit the official transcript of a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Official Paper Transcripts or Electronic Transcripts can be submitted.
- Science Grade Point Average. 3.0 is also the usual cut-off score for science courses’ GPA. If the school also requires your GPA for prerequisite courses, anything below 3.0 will have you rejected.
- Resume. Submit a comprehensive resume to support your application.
- Letter of Recommendation. You can include letters of recommendation to help your application.
- Finish your bachelor’s degree. Completing your baccalaureate degree is necessary to secure your admission to PT schools. An undergraduate degree is not allowed to apply for PT programs. Proof of completion is a must.
- Complete your observation hours and have them verified. Observation hours may not be required by certain programs, but they are highly recommended to ensure that you understand the physical therapy field. Provide precise information about the hours of experience or volunteer hours you have on the clinical experience sites.
- Retake the GRE test or get a prerequisite course. You may retake the GRE up to five times within a 12-month period or opt to get a prerequisite course instead. Take into consideration the time of application. Remember the application deadline for your university of choice.
The requirements for admission presented above can help secure your application for PT schools. Credential evaluation is done by all schools. However, such requirements vary from school to school depending on their preference. Remember these application requirements in the course of the application period.
GRE tests are important because they serve as an indicator of an applicant’s academic abilities. It is critical for graduate admissions because schools evaluate their credibility for higher education. It covers three broad subject areas, such as verbal, quantitative, and writing. Being a standardized test, it helps PT school committees to compare international applicants or local applicants, identify subject areas that need working on, and determine an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Submitting GRE score reports is beneficial for your official evaluations.
The table below shows the average GRE scores for PT schools (2):
|Physical Therapy Program||Average Quantitative Reasoning||Average Verbal Reasoning||Average Analytical Writing|
|University of Delaware||156||155||4.5|
|University of Pittsburgh||154||153||4.5|
|University of Florida||155||155||4.5|
|University of Utah||151||156||4.5|
|University of Colorado– Denver||155||155||4.5|
|Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences||154||157||4.5|
|George Washington University||156||156||4.5|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||153||152||4.0|
|Medical University of South Carolina||155||154||4.5|
The table above only includes the average prerequisite GRE scores for the top Physical Therapy programs in the US. It includes an average writing score, average verbal reasoning that assesses English language proficiency, and quantitative reasoning.
155+ is a good GRE score for both verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. 4.0+ is a good application score for GRE analytical writing. Although applications have minimum score requirements, scores in the late 140’s or around the 50th percentile are acceptable. Competitive scores are advantageous for a successful application. (1)
Yes, applicants with low GRE scores can still get into PT schools provided that they compensate for the low scores by submitting the other minimum requirements. Such requirements include a minimum Grade Point Average, recommendation letters, essays, clinical experience, and a resume. A good GRE score, however, will support your application since PT is a high-earning and competitive field.
Here’s what to do if you get a low GRE score. Follow the tips below that contribute to the admissions decision (2):
- Submit multiple applications. Consider a 2nd choice campus. List all the PT schools you look forward to applying to. Check their admission process and admissions requirements.
- Possess clinical experience. Clinical education, healthcare experience, and physical therapy practice will be vital deciding factors for your successful application. This will help the institution assess your foundational skills for your baccalaureate degree.
- Exceed the minimum GPA cut. If you want to be one of the competitive applicants, you must have an above-average GPA cutoff score.
- Exceed the minimum science GPA cut. Completing prerequisite science courses is an edge for PT graduate school program applications
- Finish the prerequisite course requirements. Aside from finishing the courses required, it will be beneficial to achieve the prerequisite grade.
- Ace the interview. Practice a series of interview questions before the interview date. Dress properly and be on time for your campus interview.
To ensure admission to your desired PT program, send out several separate applications to other schools. Make sure to go above the minimum score GPA cut-off, take the prerequisite courses, and compose yourself during the interview. Having clinical education experience can also be an advantage.