LOTS Lagniappe | Louisiana Tech News
We have a special guest for this month's Q & A at LOTS Lagniappe. She is a former member of our LOTS family where she was a PT-tech for over a year. We caught up with current Class President for the DPT class of 2023 at LSUHSC-Shreveport, Ms. Alysaa Campbell! She gives a lot of great information to anybody that is interested in possible attending Physical Therapy school one day, as well as some good tips/pointers on getting into school.
Where did you do your undergraduate degree and what was your major?
Alyssa Campbell : I received my degree in Biology from Louisiana Tech University in 2019.
Do you feel like Biology has fully-prepared you for PT school or are there some electives you would have like to take?
AC: I think it prepared me well for PT school in terms of learning how to study a heavy workload, but I’m not sure if any undergrad degree can truly fully prepare you. The most common undergraduate degrees for pre-PT are biology and kinesiology- I don’t think there is a huge advantage of one over the other. I might have more background in some courses, but there’s other courses that kinesiology graduates do. Once you’re in PT school, everyone is on the same playing field regardless of your degree.
One of my favorite courses at Tech was an elective I took from the kinesiology department- Functional Anatomy. I would highly recommend taking this! It’s a great brief overview of what’s to come in your first semester or so of PT school so that you’re familiar with some of the anatomy terminology.
Did you get into school the first time you applied?
AC: I actually took a gap year in between undergrad and PT school. But yes, I was accepted the first time I applied to PT school.
There are A LOT of students that do not get accepted the first time they apply though. This does not make you less of a student or person!! Do not give up or get discouraged- take advantage of the opportunity to improve your application over the next year. Once you’re accepted to school- nobody cares if you were accepted immediately, if you were initially waitlisted, or if you had to apply a few times. You’ve made a huge accomplishment of getting accepted into a PT program and everybody has a different journey and story. My journey included a year off and I’d honestly recommend it to anyone- it gave me an opportunity to get a lot more medical hours under my belt and took some time to breath before jumping straight into PT school.
Any tips/pointers you'd like to give prospective students hoping to get into school?
AC: Yes; grades are important but a 4.0 GPA is certainly not a requirement to get accepted into PT school. They are looking for well-rounded students - people who can problem solve real life problems, can communicate with a diverse group of people, have a drive to continue learning everyday, have a strong work ethic, and people who would proudly represent their program. So get involved within your undergraduate program, hold leadership positions, try to new things, volunteer in your community, the list is endless - these are great topics to talk about in your application and interviews. I also suggest starting to get medical hours as soon as possible, you can even shadow different healthcare professionals to broaden your knowledge of the medical field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and advice from practicing PTs or current students, we’ve all been exactly where you are and understand the stress it entails.
What is one aspect of PT school that you have been pleasantly surprised with and one aspect that has been tougher than you expected?
AC: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the relationship between the students and professors. No matter how much they challenge you, the professors are truly your number one supporters. They are not just your superiors, but they are your friends. In PT school, you are not just another number or student - they know you personally and professionally. They are always willing to go the extra mile to help you even with their busy schedules, they do their best to incorporate as many learning styles as possible, and are overall incredible role models.
PT school is TOUGH, but it’s the greatest thing I’ve had an opportunity to do. Nothing prepares you for the workload of PT school, which is extremely overwhelming. You get thrown in and there’s no going back, it’s just more information to take in at one time than ever before. I constantly feel like there’s no way I’m going to know it all (and you will never know everything). The 3rd years are always reminding me that they made it through and I’m constantly telling the 1st years that we made it so they will too. Although its extremely challenging, I love it because I’m learning about material that I truly care about and will carry with me throughout the rest of my career.
For those that get accepted into PT school.. what are 2-3 suggestions on how to successfully get through school and get the most out of their time?
AC: 1) You can’t to do by yourself. Find your people! You are surrounded by the most like-minded people of your life. Study with others, share notes, ask questions, and talk to professors. You’ll likely have to adjust your study tactics throughout each semester/class, it’ll take a while to figure out what works best for you. For myself and most of my classmates, a combination of individual and group studying is typically the most beneficial.
2) Self care! If you do school 24/7, you’re going to burn out fast. This was something that took me a while to realize because I would feel guilty for taking a night, day, or even a weekend break. But I realized that once I granted myself time to do things that made me happy outside of school, I began to do much better physically and mentally. The quality of my studying improved tremendously because I was in such a better state of mind. Have a movie night, go exercise, take a road trip, go have a fun night out, go shopping- do things that make you happy!
3) Once again- you do not need to get a 4.0 GPA to become a great physical therapist!! The professors talk about this often. Just like they want well-rounded students, clinics want well-rounded PTs. Don’t be too hard on yourself and grant yourself some grace, this isn’t easy!
Thank you Alyssa for the great information for all of those that might be interested in getting into PT school. We hope you enjoyed our article for this month and feel free to reach out to us about any observation hours! Always stay tuned-in to our social media for what's going on at LOTS!
-Chase Patterson PT, DPT (7/10/21)