Back in May of 2019 I posted this in the Queen’s University Physiotherapy Facebook group:
The Facebook group consisted of students from both the Class of 2019 and 2020. After posting, I received 14 responses from current students (at the time) who were previously rejected from PT school.
I told them that I was thinking of creating a video compiling advice from students who were previously rejected to give to students who were just recently rejected. These generous people understand the heavy feeling of receiving a rejection letter and were kind enough to send me some excellent practical advice to anyone who was rejected from PT school.
If you’re interested in hearing all of their responses verbatim, you can watch my full video here. Alternatively, if you want a quick summary, keep reading here.
After looking through all of the responses, I’ve compiled 5 common themes that kept coming up that I’ve laid out for you below. Let’s get right into it.
1) It’s not uncommon to apply multiple times to PT school prior to getting accepted
This one’s crucial to get a grasp on. I understand that facing rejection makes us feel inadequate, but the reality is… a ton of people apply to PT school multiple times prior to finally getting accepted. As you know by now, it’s an incredibly competitive program to get into, so a couple years of refining your application to ensure that it’s a standout is what many hopeful candidates are required to do.
In the video, Kate Moffet speaks to this perfectly when she says, “Not getting in the first time does not mean that you are not smart, that you didn’t work hard enough, or that you wouldn’t be a great physio; it just means that there are lots of other people who are also hardworking and smart, and have unique qualities, and this was their year and their time.” Similarly, my classmate – Evelyn Graham – wrote, “I think everything comes to you at the right time, so be patient and work hard in the meantime.” These statements couldn’t be truer.
To double down on that, Matt Johnston said that he applied 3 years in a row, which compiled 10 total applications, and he received 1 singular offer! But guess what? This guy’s a physiotherapist now, and he’s a pretty damn good one too. You can check out his IG page here if you’d like to.The main point is that none of these people who applied multiple times and eventually got in were inadequate; it just wasn’t their time. If you’re reading this right now and you find yourself in the same situation, please remember that.
2) A rejection is a small event in the grand scheme of your life
If your rejection letter is still pretty fresh, you’re probably shaking your head in disagreement reading this right now, but hear me (and everyone who sent in their responses) out.
Like I mentioned earlier, seeing a rejection letter on your screen is a very heavy feeling. It’s devastating knowing that you’ll have to wait another year to get your career on the road. This feeling, however, will fade after some time passes by.
Nicole Carnevale speaks the truth when she says, “Getting rejected from PT school may seem like a huge roadblock, but just know that this is a very minor event in the grand scheme of life.” When Nicole eventually got her acceptance letter after 2 attempts, do you really believe that she was thinking about her previous rejection letter? Likely not. It happened, but she moved forward and eventually got to where she wanted to get to.
Avery Michels – who was the amazing class rep for my graduating class – did the exact same thing. Avery reminds us that, “It may feel very disappointing right now and like there’s nothing you can do about the situation you find yourself in, but based on these feelings, you just need to keep working towards your goal of becoming a PT, since you know that it’s worth it.”
You’ll soon realize that this rejection letter is just a drop in the bucket. If my good friend Alex Derksen could get through receiving a physiotherapy school rejection letter on his birthday while also being on vacation, you can find it in you to shake this feeling off and start preparing for the next application cycle.
3) Reflect on why you want to be a physiotherapist
Once the feeling of rejection phases out, sit down with yourself and think hard about why you chose to pursue physiotherapy as a career. Going back to your “why” is reinvigorating and it provides us with the clarity that we need to actively work towards our goals.
When reflecting on his own experience, Sandeep Saroya says, “My advice is to question yourself why you applied to physio in the first place.” Sandeep’s classmate – Caray Ford – continues by saying, “If you don’t get into PT this time, use it as a way to reassess your goals… as cliché as it sounds, try to use the negative experience as a learning experience.”
If you’re reading this blog post right now, you’re likely someone who is very passionate about becoming a physiotherapist one day. I urge you to keep that passion burning by revisiting your “why” so that you can start moving in the right direction. Likely, you’ll carry this momentum with you throughout PT school and into your career. A passionate and motivated clinician is exactly what your patients will love about you.
4) Do everything you can to make your application better than your last one
This one’s a no-brainer. Over the course of this next year, you have to be willing to do more and be more.
Matt Johnston says, “If being a PT is truly what you want, you have to be willing to do everything in your power to make your application better for the next year.” Talk about keeping it real with you!
More tangibly, one of my former classmates – Jessica Craig – summarizes exactly what you need to do as a PT hopeful when she says, “You now have the opportunity to improve your GPA, get some work or volunteer experience, and think about what you want your future to look like.”
Improving your application is absolutely non-negotiable. Everyone in the video touched on this exact point, and luckily for you (the reader), I’ve amalgamated all of the practical advice they’ve provided on what you can do to improve your application over the next year. Here they are:
- Take courses to upgrade your GPA
- Gain more experience in PT- and non-PT-related settings
- Use your support network for guidance (e.g., profs, PTs, mentors, and/or friends in PT school)
- Call the PT faculty at schools you previously applied to and ask for suggestions on how to improve your application
First, take some time to reassess the weaknesses in your application, and then take your pick at any of the above pieces of advice so that you can attack those weaknesses at will.
Albert Einstein said it best: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” You can’t expect to get into PT school with the exact same application that resulted in a rejection letter. Get out there and start making some changes – you’ll be happy you did.
5) Believe that you can actually do it
Supreme belief in yourself can go a very long way. Before you can amount to doing anything, you first have to believe that you can actually do it.
To tie it all together, Stephen Mylonas says, “Believe in yourself and have a strategic plan for the next cycle.” Drawing on his own experience of self-belief, he continues on by saying, “Although it took a few tries, I just always thought it was going to happen.” Right now you may feel like you’re dead in the water after getting a rejection letter, but just know that it’s not over for you. Stephen’s living proof of that.
Finally, to bring it home, Kayte-Lynn Kowel tells us, “No matter what, keep telling yourself you will get in.” Believe it. Imagine it. Feel it. Speak it into existence. And seriously… stop watering the seed of doubt in your head. You got this.
If you’ve made it this far, you should feel really good about yourself. You now have some incredible tangible and practical advice that you can put into action so that you can live out your dream of getting into PT school. It’s time to get to work.
If you’re looking for structured guidance on how to make yourself a great candidate for PT school, check out our PT Application Booster course. In this course, we teach you exactly how to get the competitive edge in the PT school application process. Here at PhysioSchool.ca, we’ve helped out many people in your position, and we’re passionate about helping many others for years to come.
Lastly, before you run off, I wanted to leave with two quotes:
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
“Just because it’s not happening right now, doesn’t mean it never will.” – Unknown
Thank you for reading.