PTCAS Personal Statement Tips 2024-2025

First of all, congratulations on starting your journey towards becoming a PT! I have been a PT for almost 8 years and I continue to enjoy my work. Read more about me here. I love sharing my experience and insights to help other passionate pre-PT students get into their dream schools to pursue this truly rewarding career.

I will be posting a series on my IG story and you may be following along through there or just stumbled upon this page now. Either way, welcome! And if you’re not already following my page, find me on IG @clinicalsprinkles.

Now let’s get started.

Here is the 2024-2025 application cycle prompt: “Every applicant is unique in their own way, possessing individual qualities, abilities, and backgrounds. What unique traits will you bring to the physical therapy profession that will help you to be successful?”

Tip #1 – Make sure you’re answering the prompt.

The first sentence is a leading sentence to get you thinking but truly review the second second and make sure you are directly answering the question at hand. So you have to address, what traits do you possess that will make you be a successful PT? And this answer will be different for everyone. It is what you value most and how you show it in your essay.

Tip #2 – Rewrite your essay from last year

Although the prompt is very similar to last year’s, this year’s emphasis seems to be more about the traits the candidate (you) possess and how these will help you be a successful PT rather than the experiences that led you up to this point. If you spoke heavily about other people or inspirations, you may need to rewrite your essay to answer the prompt.

Tip #3 – Read your essay aloud

When you have your final draft, make sure to read your essay aloud to ensure there’s a good flow. Make sure you take pauses where you put in a period or a comma to make sure that it flows smoothly. This is a good time to hear when you are being repetitive or have a run-on sentence.

Let’s work together

If you need a place to start, I offer a coaching service that includes a phone call to discuss your ideas/concepts and help you create an outline to write your essay. If you already have your final draft written, you can submit it to me for an in-depth consultation where I go into great depth to refine your essay and I am excellent at helping you reduce character count. More about these services is on this page.

PTCAS Personal Statement Prompt 2021-2022

If you're applying for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program for the 2021-2022 cycle, you're in the right place.

This year's prompt matches last year's prompt which is:

Every person has a story that has led them to a career. Since there are a variety of health professions that “help” others, please go beyond your initial interaction or experience with physical therapy, and share the deeper story that has confirmed your decision to specifically pursue physical therapy as your career.

This is an elaborate way of asking... Why physical therapy? Why PT above all other health professions?

If your answer is simply, "because I want to help people," I'm going to be the one to tell you that you're going to need to dig a lot deeper than that. The prompt literally asks for a deeper story.

You don't have to have been a patient in PT to want to apply to PT school. I hadn't been a patient myself before I applied to school. Through observation hours and more, I found my calling in PT. I share my "PT why" in my personal statement for the 2013-2014 cycle here.

If you're finding yourself scrambled on how to write your essay or even how to start, a coaching call may be the best option for you. I've helped several pre-PT, pre-OT, pre-PA, and pre-med, students with their personal statements, and they've successfully been accepted. I specialize in finding the deeper WHY and making sure the writer is showing, not telling. 

If you've already have what you think is a close-to-final draft, I also provide consults to go over the essay with an unbiased view and help you bring in an emotional touch to your story to captivate the reader. I had a less than ideal application and I believe my personal statement helped me stand out. Read more about my less-than-ideal application here.

Good luck to all of those applying! And follow @clinicalsprinkles on Instagram for more application tips and learning about the life of an outpatient ortho PT.

How to Prevent Tech Neck

What is “tech neck”?

“Tech neck” is used to describe a posture of an individual sitting in front of a computer and the stressful position associated with working on a computer. The human head was about 12 pounds and if it’s bent forward about halfway, it increases the weight of the head up to 40 pounds and all the way forward is 60 pounds. The neck is made up of 7 small vertebrae and the muscles that support them, have to work so much harder when it’s lengthened.

What can you do to avoid tech neck?

Set up a good environment! Many of us spend hours in front of a computer or electronics and we need to set ourselves up for success. The desk can be modified to comfortably support and foster a good environment to reduce stress on our bodies.

When choosing the optimal height of a desk, whether sitting or standing, you want to choose a height that allows the forearms to rest parallel to the floor on the tabletop. The hip angle can be modified based on the chair and the use of a footrest.

Read more to find recommendations to make your desk more ergonomically friendly.

#1 The Desk

The sit/stand desk is all the rave but only buy it if you think you’re actually going to use it. I prefer the kinds that allow the entire desk to elevate vs the platform that only holds the keyboard/monitor. The electronic version also reduces the stress on the shoulders from having to lift the desk/platform. This is the desk my husband uses and he’s a big fan! He stands right after lunch every day. So as long as you think you’ll use the standing function, then get the adjustable desk. There are different options for tabletop sizes as well.


#2 The Monitors

Your monitor should be arm’s length away and at eye level. A monitor stand can be used to elevate the monitors or even a couple of reams of paper. Even if you’re working from a laptop, you should be elevating the monitor height and then using a keyboard/mouse (see below for recommendations). If you’re dealing with multiple monitors, you should try to set them both in front of you so that your head is rotating very minimally. The one linked in this image is a clamp so it doesn’t take up desk space for your other work materials and the heights are easy to adjust.

#3 The Keyboard

Having a wireless mouse and keyboard is important especially when working from a laptop. This makes it so you can separate the monitor to a proper height to reduce the stress of “tech neck” and the heavyweight of our head when our neck is flexed forward. The wireless capability is not required but reduces cords and creates a much cleaner setup. The link attached to the image is for a mouse and keyboard combination.

#4 The Mouse

Using a mouse is much better than the trackpad of a laptop because it uses bigger muscle groups than just the couple fingers repetitively into flexion (can lead to trigger finger or carpal tunnel syndrome). I’ve linked a simple mouse you can purchase to reduce the stress on your fingers.

#5 The Chair

Having a chair that has an adjustable height and armrests is crucial for choosing an office chair. Also when sitting in the chair, the lower back should be able to rest against the backrest to utilize the lumbar support. The chair height adjustment feature is going to allow you to adjust to the desk height to allow the forearms to rest parallel to the floor. So make sure that you’re sitting all the way back in the seat and your forearms parallel to the floor. If you find that your feet cannot reach the floor, look at item #6.

#6 The Footrest

The chair and desk are crucial posture adjustments that are the biggest factors. If your feet don’t touch the floor when sitting all the way back in the chair (like me in most chairs), then a footrest is your best option. Having your feet dangle or having to reach by your tippy-toes is not ideal because this will increase the stress on your lower back, particularly the psoas muscle. So having a footrest can reduce the stress on your lower back.


This became more than “tech neck” but you can see how these items can make a big difference on multiple areas of your body and improve your posture while working in front of electronics. Some employers will reimburse you for these products so make sure you’re asking about them! Set your body up for success by implementing these key adjustments.

Pros and Cons of a Percussion Massager

If you're wondering whether you should get a percussion massager, you're in the right place. This blog post will answer your questions.

If you prefer to learn via video, here's a link to my YouTube video where I give an in-depth, honest review.

What is it?

A percussive therapy tool is used to improve mobility and blood flow to the applied body region by sending repetitive taps to the region applied to, like a jack-hammer. This can be used to reduce recovery time or reduce pain. As a physical therapist, I would apply this as a supplement to my normal treatment methods. But this would definitely save my hands in terms of soft tissue work for patients. Soft tissue including tendon, muscle, capsules, and fascia. I can use my hands more for joint mobilizations that the percussion tool isn't able to perform.

Who is it used for? 

People with muscle aches or pains. It can be used for athletes including runners, weight lifters, cyclists, basketball, baseball, you name it. It can be used for office workers looking for relief in between the shoulder blades or in the pec region. It should not be used for patients with chronic pain disorders that are hypersensitive to stimulus.


  • Saves hands from doing soft tissue work
  • Reduces time in treatment spent on manual therapy so it can be spent on therapeutic exercises or functional training
  • Easy to use
  • Increasing mobility and range of motion
  • Reducing aches/pain
  • Stimulates an increase in blood flow to the region being targeted


  • Hard to access areas like the upper back and around neck/lower back when performing on self
  • Cost, not covered by insurance
  • User error, if you don't know how to apply it, its effect may not be great

What it does NOT do

  • Evaluate or diagnose musculoskeletal conditions
  • Joint mobilizations
  • Treat pain in isolate
  • Eliminate the need for a proper warm-up

Which one to buy?

I've tried a couple of different types and one of my biggest factors is the sound.

Some percussion devices are LOUD and the one that I've liked is relatively quiet which is the Back Hammer (BH$50 saves you $50 from the sale price).

This device has speed settings from 1-20 and can tolerate being pressed pretty hard on the muscles by the person handling the device. It also has 6 different attachments that vary based on the target tissue.


Send me a message on my page here with the subject line "Percussion Device" so I can help.

Orthopedic Residency Q&A for Physical Therapists

These were some questions/answers I had put together with the help of my peeps from my Instagram story 11/10/2020 regarding my experience with an orthopedic residency. So thank you to those who contributed questions.


How long did it take?

Two years.


How much time out of work did it take?

It is hard to put a true number to this! However, there were several weekend courses that were spread over the course of two years. There were 6 600-level NAIOMT courses and three additional lectures, pharmacology (in-person), imaging, and research (online). Plus studying for the CMPT (certified manual physical therapist) certification and OCS (orthopedic certified specialist) exams. But this was manageable with working 40-hours per week.


What was the most valuable part?

MENTORSHIP. I had an amazing key mentor that followed me from the beginning to the end of the residency and he helped me grow as a clinician. The first year was recognizing and performing manual techniques and special tests. The second year was about putting the puzzle pieces together and building clinical patterns. I valued my key mentor immensely and included experience with other PTs as well.

Legendary PTs shadowed me working with patients and vice versa. Each experience, I walked out with something new.


Which residency did you do?

The one I completed was offered through my employer, Therapeutic Associates Inc. It was an orthopedic residency with a focus on manual therapy with a structured curriculum surrounding NAIOMT (North American Institute of Manual Therapy).


How much did it cost?

The cost was dependent on how much course work I already had completed. Over the course of two years, I had my paycheck deducted ~$142 every two weeks which ends up being $14,768 over the course of two years.


Was it worth it considering the financial strain?

Yes, 100%. Although it cost, $14k, the mentorship and method of accelerating my clinical skills and pattern recognition are priceless. I strive to be the best physical therapist I can be for patients and starting early in my career was invaluable. The plan was for my company to pay it back to me over two years of working with the company post-completion however, I was laid off from COVID-19 and didn’t return. I don’t regret the investment in my career.


Are residency programs standardized/accredited?

Yes. Residency programs are held up to a standard by the APTA and become accredited. There are minimum requirements for the curriculum and are dependent on the type of residency (ie. sports, manual, neuro, etc.).


Do you have to do a residency in order to sit for the OCS?

No. There are two options: (1) complete an APTA-accredited residency within the last 10 years or (2) “Applicants must submit evidence of 2,000 hours of direct patient care as a licensed United States physical therapist (temporary license excluded) in the specialty area within the last ten (10) years, 25% (500) of which must have occurred within the last three (3) years.” per the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists website.


When should I apply?

When you are ready and when you plan to start. Depending on the program, there are different start dates throughout the year. I personally liked working for 1-year before applying to develop my own style and gain experience. There were many peers that were in my cohort that just graduated PT school less than 6 months before the start of the residency program. In my opinion, if you were to start one, I’d recommend starting within the first three years of working as a PT.


Did your work offer an in-house residency?

Yes! They did which made obtaining hours and collaborating with colleagues within the company/residency very easy. 


Residency or certification?

You can get certifications without a residency. For example, I earned the Certified Manual Physical Therapist (CMPT) within the residency but that certification is not exclusive to residents. I performed an orthopedic residency so I can’t speak much towards a sports residency. 


Are you able to be as thorough as you were in residency as you are in your daily practice?

Yes, 100%. If anything, more thorough. On days of mentorship, we filled out clinical reasoning forms for each patient to lay out subjective, objective measures, interventions tried so far, and our assessment of how the patient has progressed (expected or not expected). This practice is helpful and carries over to my daily practice and makes me more efficient and effective as a PT!


I hope you found these answers helpful in weighing the decision of whether to pursue a residency program. I highly recommend it. If you have more questions, feel free to send me a question on the Contact page or DM me on Instagram!

Money Mindset Books for Beginners

Are you ready to start feeling in control of what the heck is going on with your money? If so, keep reading because I provide a list of the beginner books I started with and why they helped me.

I truly wish I would have started this sooner… I wasn’t turned on to books about money until my final year of PT school. One of my CIs assigned me to read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This book simplifies the basics about balancing your income to your expenses and your assets vs your liabilities. It was a great and easy book to read through to get your toes wet. It wasn’t until I read this book that I realized how little I knew about money and the concept of investing.

I’m under a mountain of student loans and I want to be able to set myself up for success for retirement and get ahold of my money now so I don’t feel guilty for my “fun” expenses/purchases. I hope these are helpful to you.


I’ll share a few other books I’ve read over the past 4 years that I recommend reading through. I’ll provide a brief synopsis about each book and why I liked each one. These will be listed in no particular order.


  • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert KiyosakiThis book simplifies the concepts of money and terminology
    • It primes the mind for the idea of investing and how to start saving for a retirement fund and why start sooner rather than later
    • I liked this book because… It was easy to read. The concepts are introduced very well so that even a beginner (like me) could follow along.
  • Money, Master the Game by Tony Robbins
    • Review concepts of HOW to make the most of your money with the use of compounding interest and how to make the best out of your retirement plans
    • The basics about taxes
    • How to divide your income into different “buckets” for different purposes
    • Ray Dalio’s All Seasons Portfolio Breakdown
      • Ray Dalio is a financial guru (who I hadn’t heard about until this book)
    • Wealth, not just financial but also emotional wealth
    • I liked this book because… it gave actionable steps and goals to target for setting up my retirement fund
  • Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
    • People are categorized into 4 different financial groups: the employee, self-employed, business owner, and investor
    • This is a great continuation of the Rich Dad Poor dad book that builds on the concepts of how to generally save and then this book goes into when you become a worker OR how you can make your money work for you
    • Money mindset concepts like: “live within or below your means so you can expand your means,” “business and investing are not risky, but being under-educated is.”
    • I liked this book because… it helped me understand where I’m at financially and where I want to go.
  • Profit First by Michael Michalowicz
    • If you’re a business owner or plan to be one, this book is a great resource on how to learn how to pay yourself first
    • Application of Parkinson’s law: you work with what you have, if you give yourself excess, you’ll end up using it
    • Strategies to destroy your debt
    • I liked this book because… I plan to be a clinic director someday and want to be able to apply financial savviness to my work and personal life. It gave a clear outline of how to allocate money in a business. 


Each time I read through a book, I take notes and save them for later to reference. The links above are affiliate links through amazon and I do receive a commission if you purchase from them. I would greatly appreciate your support if you bought through the links provided, but there is absolutely no pressure to buy at all. I just want to share the books that have helped me feel a little bit more in control of my financial status.

Should I take a gap year?

It depends… The cliche PT answer but is applicable to answer this question. I’ll share what I did and why. Then we’ll compare and contrast each option.

I did NOT take a gap year. I applied for PT school in my last year of undergraduate college in the midst of being a full-time student and part-time worker. It was hard to fit in my 100+ hours of observation but I was able to meet the minimum threshold (I applied with less than 200 hours total).

The reason I did not want to take a gap year is that I have the personality type that is go-go-go. I had the steps in my life planned out: finish college, finish DPT school, get married, buy a house, then start a family. I didn’t want to be held back by time (a whole year) for that to happen. I figured I wouldn’t know what to do with myself for that year if I wasn’t in school.

In hindsight, I realize I could have collected more observation hours (and not feel rushed) and work for a full year to save up money for school. After getting into PT school, many of the students had worked as a PT aide and had insight into what life looked like in the clinic for a PT. They also had more background and experience with therapeutic exercise. So in the “gap year” that I didn’t take, I could have worked as an aide, made money, saved for living expenses for school so I could ultimately take out less in loans.

Do I regret my decision? Absolutely not. If I were to give advice to someone, it would be to weigh out what’s most important to you and what fits your situation best, because it truly depends.

PT School Interview Tips ✨👩🏻‍💼

🎬  Know where you want to sit for the interview (if virtual) – be mindful of what’s behind you and in view of the camera
🙊  Minimize background noises – tell everyone in the house what you’re doing to minimize background noises
🤳  Clean the camera – wipe the lens of the camera so you’re presented clean/clear (don’t be 𝒕𝒉𝒆 blurry candidate)

🗣️  Look up practice interview questions and think, write, and practice out loud your answers
🎥  If you’re really feeling up to it, record yourself talking, watch your facial expressions and count how many “ums” you do

🧐  The school – know their key philosophies and their program strengths
🚶🏻‍♀️ The campus life – tour the school if you can
📚  Resources – know what resources are available to students
🤷🏻‍♀️  Whatever you don’t find, save for questions to ask at the end of the interview

🤐  If it’s a group interview, take turns. Don’t always be the first to talk.
🙏🏼  Thank the interviewer for their time, express gratitude for the opportunity to interview – more than “thank you!”
📧  If you can write the interviewer’s full name down after the interview, you can send a follow-up email to thank them

Follow my Instagram to continue to learn more tips about getting into PT school and follow my journey as a PT.

Differences between a PT and PTA

I have been a physical therapist (PT) for 4 years so far and honestly, I didn’t know about physical therapist assistants (PTA) until I started my observation hours and I had already decided to pursue a career in PT.

Now that I’ve worked closely with PTAs and can compare our jobs, I created a list of the differences between a PT and PTA in the table listed below.

*The numbers are a generalization as it varies greatly between schools and regions. This is more of a representation of the difference between the two options.

Although I would love to have WAY FEWER student loans, I am too curious to not be a PT because it provides me a set of tools and knowledge to assess and diagnose conditions. Also being able to dictate a plan of care for patients and problem solve through differences in individuals or changes in POC feeds my mind. 

I am happy with my decision to be a PT and I wouldn’t change it if I were to go back. I’d just tell myself to be a little smarter with spending, saving, and taking out less in loans.

12 Essential Supplies To Improve Study Sessions

I created a list of my study essentials for physical therapy school. Things to motivate me, keep me in the zone, and more. Check out the list below and click the photo to follow the links to purchase.

Set yourself up for success by studying with these essentials.

Sharpie Highlighters – these are the best brand I’ve tried that also doesn’t bleed through the paper, doesn’t smear, and is retractable


Earplugs – great for studying to zone out and for test-taking. It bothers me when people are moving around and making noises during tests, so it’s helpful to use earplugs (if the professor allows).


Flags – great for bookmarking in textbooks to refer back to (ie. yellow = important, pink = to memorize, green = where you left off).


Planner Stickers – liven up your planner with fun and colorful stickers. Makes it much more fun and enjoyable to look at the week and keep track of your tasks.


Whiteboard (24” x 36”) – taking notes and a strategy to memorize information! It helped me a ton to write things out but with limited access to study rooms on campus, have your own whiteboard at home.


Dry Erase Markers – what good is a whiteboard without the best markers?



Post-it Notes – a way to keep track of reminders, tasks, or important things to remember


Colored Pens – I have always had a “thing” for pens. Every time we walk past a pen wall at a store, I am drawn to it and my husband gives me a big eye roll. So I couldn’t choose just one! Here are my favorites for different reasons. 

Fine tip recommendation (0.5 mm)


Smooth and thick tip (1.4 mm) 


Gel pen (1.0 mm)


Notecards – to make flashcards to study with


Laser Printer – Ok. This is a pricey item but let me tell you why this is a smart purchase. This printer prints double-sided (saves paper) and toner are less expensive per page than inkjet. So be prepared that refills are expensive but you don’t have to refill as often as an inkjet. If you like to study off printed lecture slides as much as me, this is worth it.

Good luck with your studies! Don’t be afraid to change up your study group a couple of times to find out the best team that works with your study style. And change up the environment so you’re studying at different places and settings.