Applying to Physiotherapy School in 1-3 years? Here is what to do now.

student preparing physiotherapy school application

Written by Reid Vander Vleuten

Reid graduated from Queen's University with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy in 2019. Since then, he has worked in private practice at a sports and rehab clinic. He is passionate about providing care across the lifespan with extra interest in concussion rehab and working with youth athletes.

October 6, 2021

Applying to Physiotherapy School in Canada is a big decision. It is also a long and arduous process. Everyone’s path to applying to physiotherapy school is different. Some individuals have had the dream of becoming a physiotherapist since they were in junior high or high school. Others decide that it is their passion in the third or fourth year of their undergraduate degree or later. Regardless of where you’re at in your journey, there is never a bad time to start preparing for your physiotherapy application. This blog will specifically discuss the steps you should be taking right now if you are 1-3 years away from applying to physiotherapy school in Canada.

Must do #1: Begin researching schools now

No matter where you are at in your preparation for applying to physiotherapy school, odds are you already have an idea of which schools you would like to apply to. Great! This is already a fantastic step in the right direction. However, are you aware that even the most similar schools in geographic location, admission statistics, and course syllabus have different program requirements and prerequisites? That is why researching physiotherapy programs is essential to do as the first step if you are a few years away from applying.

You do not want to be the person who realizes three weeks before applying that you needed an English or liberal arts credit to be able to apply to Western University’s physiotherapy program. This creates panic, and quite frankly a very difficult scenario for you being ineligible to apply to Western. If you take the time now to look ahead at prerequisites, program requirements, and application components from each school, you will save yourself the stress and worry a few months/years later when applying. If you want to learn more about physiotherapy program requirements check out our blog What are the Requirements for Physiotherapy School in Canada?

Must do #2: Write out your PT and Non-PT related experiences

As the profession of Physiotherapy continues to evolve, so does the application process to entrance into University programs. At one time physio and non-physio related experiences were not as highly valued as they are now within applications. Therefore, it is essential that you have impressive experiences to list and discuss in your application and potentially interviews in the future. Therefore, I recommend you take the time now to write out your physio-related experiences AND your non-physio related experiences. Then begin to ask yourself questions about these experiences:

  • Have I worked with a multitude of patient populations throughout my experiences?
  • Have I demonstrated leadership characteristics within any of my experiences?
  • Can I speak extensively about my experiences and how they relate to the profession of physiotherapy?

There are many other questions you must ask yourself regarding your experiences. The benefit of writing them out is your ability to dissect the experiences and begin to identify gaps in which you can then begin to fill in the next 1-3 years while you prepare to apply. If you are looking for a template to base your experiences off of, check out our PT Application Booster course. Anthony, Kash, and I all created videos explaining our physio and non-physio related experiences that we used on our applications for physiotherapy school. Also, check out the blog 5 Ways to find Volunteer Opportunities Related to Physiotherapy.

Must do #3: Take a hard look at your GPA

Although your GPA is not everything, it’s still an important component of your application. Physiotherapy programs across Canada have various GPA requirements for your application to even be considered. Furthermore, some programs release statistics regarding what your GPA should be in order to be competitive for their program. This is important information to find and consider when looking ahead to applying to physiotherapy school.

The longer away you are from applying, the more time you have to make important changes to ensure your GPA is competitive. Of course, you still have to fulfill requirements for each physiotherapy school. However, if you have noticed that your GPA needs to improve then it may be worthwhile discussing which courses you can excel at with students in upper years of your program or academic counselor in your faculty. This can be an awkward conversation at times but one that can pay off when applying to physiotherapy school. If you need more information on how to calculate your GPA, what your GPA should be to be competitive, and study tips on how to make information stick then our PT Application Booster course is perfect for you.

Must do #4: Speak with others who have gone through the process

Finding a mentor to assist you in the process of applying to physiotherapy school is one of the best things you can do for yourself during this difficult and often confusing time. As we have discussed there are a lot of components to a physiotherapy school application. Having someone in your corner to guide you through the process is valuable and will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. This individual should be someone who has gone through the process in the past and understands the magnitude of each component of the application.

I truly believe having multiple opinions can be beneficial as well. However, it can be confusing too. Therefore, establishing your circle of trust and who you feel confident in taking advice from is an important first step. The individual who you ask to help you with your application may be a close friend or a relative stranger. Regardless, having someone who can assist you in accomplishing a dream of yours is invaluable.

I encourage you to speak to someone as soon as possible, regardless of where you are in your application process. Ask them what they were doing when they were in a similar position to where you’re at right now. This will only help you understand your next steps and how to create an action plan going forward.

Step #5: Create an Action Plan

By now, you should already have a pretty good idea of the next steps you need to take in your pursuit to becoming a physiotherapist. Writing down an action plan and listing these steps is a great way to make your ideas more concrete. An action plan should consist of the various steps you need to take in order to have the strongest application possible and a timeline associated with it. Maybe you need to improve your GPA, or gain more physiotherapy-related experience? Either way, you will need to set a plan for each of these smaller components in order to build a strong application.

I strongly encourage you to write out an action plan if you’re one, two, three, or more years away from applying to physiotherapy school. It will save you time, worry, and ensure that you have all of the requirements needed for a strong application. Our PT Application Booster course was created for this exact reason; to create a strong plan for you to implement in your pursuit to becoming a physiotherapist. Check it out if you are feeling that you need some assistance in creating an individualized plan specific to where you are currently at in the application process.


You now have 5 steps to work through that will assist you in developing a strong and impressive application to physiotherapy school. If you have any questions we would be happy to help you out. Send us an email through our contact page or enroll in one of our courses and we will reach out to you personally to discuss your next steps. Being a physiotherapist is great and has been a dream come true for us. We hope to assist you in achieving yours.

Thanks for reading.

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