Three Things to Do if You Don’t Get into Physical Therapy School

"If no one has told you lately, I believe in you."

So, the time for applying to physical therapy school is over. This cycle has passed, and you didn’t get in. The resounding question in your mind asks, “Now what?” I mean, you put damn near everything into your preparation for getting into a program. All the prerequisite classes, observation hours, GRE studying, and extracurricular activity led you to this moment. It feels like it was all for no reason doesn’t it? You would have been better off going down an easier career route. This isn’t really for you, and you are not really meant to be a physical therapist. At least, this is what the negative voice in your head is saying. Let’s face the facts, rejection sucks. It can be that guy or girl you had a crush on who put you in the friend zone. It could be the one time you tried to use your debit or credit card, and it was rejected or declined due to insufficient funds. In this situation, it is the fact that you didn’t get into a PT program.

Every time adversity strikes, we are presented with a crossroad. The road we decide to take can either harm or help us; this is where you must choose wisely. The first road will challenge you to pick up the broken pieces of your pride and self-esteem. This road will require you to get yourself together and get ready to apply again next cycle. The second road will lead you to a ton of regret and sorrow from giving up on your dream. I want you to focus on taking the first road. If no one has told you lately, I believe in you. I believe that this is a minor setback for a major comeback. The tired phoenix asks, “how many times will I rise from the ashes until you see I can’t be burnt down?” This is the mindset you must adapt. It does not matter how many times obstacles come, welcome them with open arms. They will not break you down.

Now that you have not been accepted into a program, you must do three things to ensure you get in on the next attempt.

First, you must take a step back and self-assess. The inability to self-assess is detrimental to your success. By self-assessing, you can do a couple things. You can look back on this cycle and be brutally honest with yourself. Look at the areas where you slacked off. Think about the parts of your application that are weak. After you do these, you will be ready to make a game plan on how you can strengthen your application for the next cycle. Self-assessment allows you the opportunity to look at your strengths and weaknesses and analyze them so you can build a foundation on them.

Second. After self-assessing, the second thing you need to do is place your focus on the things that are within your control. This means dropping the victim mentality and picking up a victor mentality. Focus on controlling your resiliency, attitude, work ethic, and networking. The latter which will be covered shortly. When you focus on what you can control, you get tunnel vision. You turn the blinders on to everything that is out of your realm of control. Also, you learn to run your own race and stop comparing yourself to others. Forget about who got into PT school, this serves you no purpose. Don’t worry about how your stats look compared to other people you know. At the end of the day, schools are going to worry about you, not your peers, so refocus. It does not matter what other people receive; it does not matter how much success they obtain. No matter what, what is destined for you will never miss you. It may make you wait to test your desire, but it will always find its way to you.

"Every time adversity strikes, we are presented with a crossroad. The road we decide to take can either harm or help us; this is where you must choose wisely."

Third. Lastly, you want to make it a priority to surround yourself with a community of people that can help you become a better person and a stronger applicant. Find a mentor who can help guide you and help you navigate through this upcoming application cycle. Mentors play a critical role in our lives, so please make sure you get one. Aside from a mentor, you need likeminded individuals who can help keep you accountable and push you beyond your limits. Some of you may think, “Well I’m not really a people person,” or “I’m not very social.” Stop right there! You are going into a profession where you must serve people and socialize with them. The sooner you work on your communication skills, the better it will be for you in the long run. Things do not happen overnight, so give yourself time to really understand and utilize these three things. Also, keep in mind, the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. So, self-assess, focus on what you can control, and find people that can help you level up. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.


-Karl Bourne Jr.


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