How to Ask for a Physical Therapy School Letter of Recommendation

Sometimes, you just need to take the first step. The thing that is the most difficult for you to do can turn out to be very rewarding. We often overlook this and get caught up in fear. The fear of rejection is a powerful and crippling tool. You can easily get caught up in the idea of being denied something you want. When we were small children, we grew accustomed to believing rejection was a bad thing. Looking from the surface value, we will relish in the negative of the situation. However, once we look beyond the surface, we can see the positives. Rejection even though it can be harsh, it can also be a great motivator and teacher. This only happens once a person makes up their mindset to take possession of a victor mentality.

" need to be respected and be known as a hard worker."

Mindset is going to help you to attain your goal. Map out in your mind how you want life
to unfold for you. This could be in the form of short term or long-term goals. For the sake of the conversation I want you to map out your letters of recommendation. Envision in your mind having the letters of recommendation from the people you wanted. You must see it before it happens. After your mindset is firm, you should work on your network. As cliché as it sounds, your network equals your net worth. This does not even have to relate to money. If you have a great network, your net work can be equivalent to opportunities presented to you. Think about the three people you want that letter of recommendation from. I need you to write down exactly how you plan on getting those letters. In order to be successful, you must get in the habit of writing things down. Do not underestimate the process and remain humble through it.

To get these physical therapy school letters of recommendation, you need to be respected and be known as a hard worker. Every day you are in a clinic getting observation hours you are setting the tone. Are you on your phone or are you present in the moment? Do you look to go above and beyond to help the staff and the patients or are you content with doing the bare minimum? The difference between wins and losses in life comes down to effort. You must carry yourself like a future doctor of physical therapy. I know this sounds difficult but remember you must envision your goal before it happens. Pay attention to detail when you are shadowing. Remember patients’ names, make comments to encourage them, wipe down equipment, and be selfless. In the hunt for greatness, you must learn to put your pride to the side and step outside of your comfort zone. The same principles apply to getting a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

"Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time."

Of the many things to remember, please don’t forget the golden rule. Treat others like
you would want to be treated. These people that you want your letters of recommendation from are human beings with feelings. Treat them as such. Build genuine relationships with them. A relationship with a solid foundation will guarantee a letter of recommendation. If you are respected and liked, you will get a letter that shows fully how phenomenal you are. I know you care about having a good GPA and a great GRE score. I know having a lot of observation hours matters tremendously to you. Have the same type of appreciation for a physical therapy school letter of recommendation. These letters will give universities a glimpse into who you are and strike their interest. Nothing happens before its time and that is fine. It is critical though that while you wait you are still working. Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time. Even if you are months or years away from applying, never become complacent along the way. Respect the process and it will respect you right back. So, if you are asking, “How do I ask for a physical therapy school letter of recommendation?” The answer simply put is to work and build a relationship with these professors and clinicians. You can’t lose if you do this. Sometimes, you just need to take the first step. I challenge you, step forward.


-Karl Bourne Jr.




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