The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Services (PTCAS) offers multiple benefits for applicants, physical therapist programs, physical therapist profession, and pre-health profession advisors.
Benefits to Physical Therapist Applicants
- Offers a simple, efficient process to apply to multiple physical therapist education programs using a single Web-based application.
- Provides a standardized application form that reduces or eliminates duplicate data entry.
- Reduces or eliminates the need for duplicate letters of reference and transcripts for those applying to more than one physical therapist program.
- Provides program-specific admission requirements in an easy-to-find and standardized format.
- Offers consistent terminology for PT program and admission types (e.g., early decision).
- Provides direct access to the PT application that is separate from other degrees or disciplines offered by the institution.
- Provides a real-time status tool so that applicants may check the status of their PTCAS application, transcripts, and letters of reference online at any time.
- Offers applicants an online checklist, admission requirement summaries, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help them more easily navigate the complexities of the PT admissions process.
- Decreases the number of applicant errors and omissions through the use of validation rules in the Web application and the transcript verification process.
- Displays an applicant's PTCAS-calculated GPAs once the application is verified. By reviewing the GPAs, applicants assist PTCAS in the quality control process.
- Allows applicants to access the application from ANY computer with Internet access and a standard browser. Applicants can close and re-open the application as often as desired prior to submission.
- Facilitates applications to a broader array of physical therapist institutions which may increase the likelihood that qualified applicants will enroll in a physical therapist program.
- Provides the applicant one point of contact for all PTCAS customer support needs.
- Provides an online message center that displays PTCAS emails sent to the applicant. This tool protects against lost emails due to spam filters.
- Facilitates the application fee payment process by allowing applicants to make online credit card payments over a secure Web site using a real-time payment system (VeriSign). Personal checks and money orders are also accepted.
- Offers a fee waiver those applicants who are financially disadvantaged.
Benefits to Participating Physical Therapist Programs
The participating PT programs can use PTCAS to ...
- Significantly decrease the administrative burden on admissions committees and staff by reducing data entry and filing responsibilities.
- Promote program to a broader spectrum of prospective applicants in order to recruit a qualified applicant pool that is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, background, and geographic location.
- More effectively compete with other doctoral health profession programs that utilize a centralized application service including allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physician assistants, and podiatry.
- More effectively promote physical therapist careers to pre-health profession advisors. Advisors are accustomed to centralized services and find it helpful in advising applicants who wish to apply to multiple programs.
- Reduce the expense of developing and maintaining a paper or web-based application process at the program level.
- More easily contact prospective applicants before their applications are verified in order to send recruitment and/or supplemental application information and increase the program's acceptance yield.
- Capture more comprehensive applicant data in which to make admission decisions.
- Analyze local application trends against peer and national data in order to develop more effective recruitment strategies.
- Contribute to and access a rich database of applicant data that could eventually eliminate the need for surveys on student data.
- Use PTCAS generated GPAs to eliminate the time-consuming grade conversion and GPA process at the local level.
- Be confident in the applicant's state of residency. Applicants cannot improperly claim dual or multiple residency status on their PTCAS application.
- Check the real-time status of an applicant's application, transcripts, and references online at any point in the cycle.
- Export PTCAS data from client software into a local computer database (e.g., PeopleSoft). Exporting to separate database requires local programming to create "bridge" from PTCAS data to the local database.
- Share and receive information regarding suspected cases of falsified data and transcripts.
- Use the dedicated and free PTCAS customer support for general and file-specific questions.
Benefits to the APTA and Profession
PTCAS will enable the American Physical Therapy Association to ...
- Determine the number of physical therapist applicants versus applications to better track national application trends.
- Better analyze the under-represented minority applicant pool. Better data on the size of this pool, clearer and standardized identification of ethnic categories, and comparative data on grade point averages, test scores, and acceptances may be used to improve diversity in PT programs.
- Compare physical therapist applicant trends to other health profession institutions that utilize a centralized process.
- Generate national data regarding the entire and accepted pool of PT applicants in regards to applicant to application ratio, state of residency, gender, age, race, academic criteria, and many other selected fields to focus national student recruitment efforts.
- Better promote careers in physical therapy and information about the PT admissions process to a more accessible audience via the PTCAS Web site.
- Use applicant data to support arguments for increased federal funding in such areas as HRSA Titles IV and VIII of the Public Health Service Act, Health Career Opportunity Programs (HCOP), Centers of Excellence (COE), Financial Aid loans and grants, and research grants.
- Better track applicants through the educational program and throughout their professional careers. Data may contribute to manpower research and discussion.
- Eventually incorporate applicant data into a national database to help the physical therapist profession measure student attitudes at graduation, level of educational indebtedness, and the placement of physical therapist graduates. The database can be used to track cohorts of practitioners over time to characterize changes in practice and attitudes.
Benefits to Pre-Health Profession Advisors
Pre-health profession advisors and guidance counselors can use the Service to ...
- More easily guide students through the physical therapist admissions process.
- Access to a Web-based query system to check on the status of their students or alumni who have authorized PTCAS to release this information to advisors.
- To more easily track the acceptance rates of their students into physical therapist programs.
- Learn more about physical therapist education and careers which will assist them in counseling qualified students.