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Valerie Larson, University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Name: Valerie Larson

Accepted to: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Doctor of Physical Therapy program

Major: Undergrad: B.S. Kinesiology; Grad: M.Ed. Sport and Exercise Science

Undergrad University: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Work at ACR: I have worked at ACR for just over 3 years now, and the experience I have gained is amazing. I get to work with disabled adults and truly make a difference in their lives as they do in mine. I have gotten to practice assisting with activities of daily living, passing medication, leading residents through physical therapy exercises, adapting and responding to adverse behaviors, and being an advocate for my residents’ health and well-being.

Total healthcare experience hours: When I applied, over 1000 hours; now 2000+ hours

Shadowing hours: 140 hours at 7 different locations

Other volunteer hours: I volunteered at various sporting events, in healthcare settings, and in the community

How many programs did you apply to? I only applied to one school right away; the U of M was my top choice and luckily I was accepted right away so I did not have to apply to any more!

Anything you found surprising about interviews? My program did not require interviews

Were there any helpful resources you used to get through the application and interview process? I utilized my academic advisor to help me especially with writing and editing my essays. I also Googled common themes and ideas for writing topics. It was also helpful to stay connected with the program faculty to get to know what they were looking for in an applicant so I could tailor my information toward what they wanted.

Any other advice for other pre-PT students? Get a wide variety of experience before applying! It not only looks good on applications, but can also help you discover what areas you like or dislike, and give you a wider knowledge base going into PT school later. Also, keep track of where/when you get experience which will be helpful when filling out applications.