St. Edward's alumnus, Santiago Chavez '05, is in his final year of the physical therapy doctoral program at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
Santiago spoke to a group of interested students and faculty in Fleck Hall recently about his experiences getting into PT school and beyond. Dressed in a UTMB t-shirt and scrubs, having recently gotten off from his shift at Seton Hospital, Chavez made these points about the PT field:
Physical therapy evolved from the nursing profession after World War II, a need evolved for more sustained wound care became necessary.
It's an ever-changing career moving toward a more independent status of PTs being able to diagnose patients, in addition to treating them.
Today, learning how to diagnose patients requires more medical training, which goes beyond the human body's neurotransmitter system.
He had a few suggestions for undergraduates applying to PT school: focus on your grades, your observations and your involvement on campus. He stressed to students not to limit themselves to doing only PT observations--he worked with two occupational therapists and a chiropractor. Chavez also said he'd be willing to help SEU PT students network within the Austin area. He encouraged students to reach out to other Physical Therapy Organizations from The University of Texas and Texas State University, as well.
Chavez offered these suggestions to help students with the application to PT school process: Use the resources available to you in SEU Career Services to produce an impressive resume/CV; make sure the recommendation letters you include are personalized; and hand-deliver the application when possible so that someone within the department can review it, which allows you to make a personal connection.
And, don't forget to apply for financial aid--it's available. Take the time to fill out the FAFSA paperwork and don't be afraid to ask the "dumb" questions. It's not the first time most of them have been asked.
For more information about PT schools in Texas, contact Dr. Frank Smith.