Advice from Students


Advice from PT Students

“I was an exercise science major at Grand Valley State University, so learning exercise testing procedures was very helpful for the cardiopulmonary classes in the program. I also was a teaching assistant for cadaver lab in undergraduate school, and because this was one of the harder classes in the first semester I felt I was in good shape because of the extra experience.” -Liz Malear, 2021

“It was definitely not essential to retain all the information from undergrad. But if you want to be ahead for some classes, the exercise physiology classes and athletic training labs that I took were really helpful in the musculoskeletal skeletal semester because we covered a handful of the special tests that we learned in the musculoskeletal exam course. These classes also served as good reference material when trying to understand concepts during the program.” -Jessi Ramos, 2021

“As we go through the program the professors do ask us to know information we might have covered in undergrad but they are also really good about giving us references to look at if we don’t remember the information or if our major in undergrad didn’t cover that topic.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021

“I would argue that coming in with a general biology and anatomy knowledge was sufficient for the program. Before coming into the program I was a pharmacy student, therefore I did not come into the program with the same base knowledge about exercise that some of my peers had. Just know that if you don’t remember something you learned in undergrad or perhaps never covered it like in my case, you may have to work a little harder to learn some of the concepts.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“I do not believe that you have remember every detail from your undergrad experience because the program is designed to work with students from a different undergraduate experiences. For instance I studied Allied Health and biology for my undergraduate degree and I had a much different course load and learning experience than my peers that studied exercise science before starting the program. By accepting all different undergraduate backgrounds the program is set up so you can work with your peers to help your understanding of topics that they may have had more experience with.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

“I think I had an advantage going into the first semester because I had taken a higher level regional anatomy course [BMS 460] during undergrad. I would say that knowledge from classes like regional anatomy helped me solidify my understanding of the human body during the first semester. Also, I had the opportunity to be a lab assistant in the cadaver lab, so I felt more prepared for working with cadavers and could use my skills to help others that had less experience working with them.” -Glenn Fitkin, 2021

“The courses you take are difficult but they challenge you in a different way. The classes ask you to apply things that you are eventually going to be using in PT practice whereas in undergrad I knew I would probably never need to know the details of the history class I was required to take.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021 

“The courses are comparatively a lot more work than my undergraduate workload, but it is manageable. I study twice as much as I did prior to the program, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is twice as much material to cover. Also, I think that the material you learn during the program is important for the rest of your career so you spend more time studying it because you need to know the material long term.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021 

“I do not think the classes are easy by any sense but I also don’t believe the classes are impossible if you put forth the effort. For instance, I find that I have good time management skills so I was able to stay on top of things pretty easily but if I did not have these skills I think I could have struggled to learn all the material they throw at you.” -Jessi Ramos, 2021

“I think compared to undergrad, the classes are definitely more difficult, but I do not think that the course load is going to cause you to lose sleep. If you can manage your time well, and are willing to put in the work to learn the material, the program is manageable.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“What I always tell people is that every semester of the program has been harder than my hardest semester of undergrad, and I don’t believe I had a particularly easy major in undergrad.” -Glenn Fitkin, 2021

“Study time really depends on the person but I probably spend 10-15 hours a week studying. Typically these hours were spent studying on the weekend because I prefer to set aside longer blocks of time to study versus just sitting down for 45 minutes and studying one PowerPoint.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021 

“I would say I spend an average of 3-4 hours studying every day. Which may seem like a lot after a 6-8 hour day of class, but it’s good to take advantage of your breaks between classes to complete assignments to spread out the study time. You also will need to add more study time if you have a large group assignment or an exam coming up.” -Jessie Ramos, 2021

“On average I study about 2-3 hours a day for a normal week but if we have a lot of exams or midterms I generally study as long and as much as my brain can handle. Also I found it helpful to find a group of people that study differently than I typically do because they taught me how to take in information I was struggling with and it was nice to be able to bounce questions off them.” - Liz Melear, 2021

“I study a lot. I will give myself 1-2 hours after class to decompress by watching Netflix or running errands, but after that I will study anywhere from 2-5 hours a night because I know that is the time I require to learn the information they give us in our classes.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021

 Everyone studies different amounts but you have to make studying your priority. You are here to learn everything you can, so use your time to learn it. Whether that be studying by yourself for 3 hours every night or finding a group to study with every weekend, you have to find a study style that works best for your learning.” -Glenn Fitkin, 2021

“I feel like people usually have to study about 10-15 hours a week at minimum, but I know that a lot of my peers feel like they need more time to study. When midterms or finals come around though, everyone is studying all day every day to try and make sure their understanding of material is solidified before testing.” -Adam Doorn

 

“When adjusting to grad school it is not so much adjusting to harder material, but instead it is adjusting to the amount of material given to you. You have to change the way you typically schedule your day and you have to change how much time you take to prepare for classes. Overall though, you still deal with the same old college student problems, but with more responsibility.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“The hardest adjustment was definitely the studying. I have always liked school, so studying and having good grades was never something I had to work at. Then, when I started the program and the workload increased significantly, it was a lot more work having to study all the time to keep up with the material.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021

“Honestly, It didn’t feel like a huge change for me. I will say the biggest difference was that I didn’t know a lot of people coming into the program, so finding a group of people that you get along with and that have similar study habits was a priority entering the program. As far as classes go, the expectations weren’t much different, but the amount of material was definitely much more and I do spend more time overall on school related things.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021

“Class wise, PT school is much harder and there is more studying, but it is fun because you are here to learn how to be a PT and the skills you learn will help you throughout your career. As for the social side of the program I see all of my classmates as friends so I think it’s great that we plan things and get together as a class outside of class. I mean it is a good adjustment from undergrad, I got 59 new friends when I started the program. How cool is that?” -Jessi Ramos, 2021

“The biggest adjustment for me was the increase in study time required for the classes. I am not someone who used to have to study an entire weekend for one exam, but once I realized the expectations for the program I knew I would need to put more effort into studying and even change the way I studied.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

“Yes… the first semester is stressful. My recommendation for handling the stress is taking Thursday nights off and sleep in on Friday before you jump back into studying. It gives your mind a break after a long week of classes but then you can still go to the cadaver lab Friday morning to study. Also, just stay on top of the studying, if you don’t keep up with it you will get yourself in trouble come exam time.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“I would not say I coped well with my stress during the first semester because I am someone that stresses over things easily. This being said, I still made it through, and if I could go back and change things I think I would try to find more time for myself. Whether that be going to the gym or to a yoga class, I think it would have helped better manage my stress.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021

 

“First semester is definitely stressful because you are trying to meet new people, and learn how the professors in the program teach, all while trying to keep up on the material. I managed my stress the best when I planned ahead and set aside time for myself which meant going to the gym, having a game night with family, and or spending time with friends.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021

“I don’t think the semester is difficult because the semester is ‘hard’ material wise, but because the transition into the program means changing your study habits and learning how to handle the amount of information thrown at you. To manage the stress I would just recommend stay up to date on upcoming assignments and exams.” -Liz Malear, 2021

“First semester was very stressful, so I was thankful that I was working with the GV softball team. Having this opportunity helped me manage my stress because it was 2 hours every day that I wasn’t studying. This being said, I still was quite stressed until I found a way to study anatomy and adjusted to the amount of information given in all the classes.” -Jessi Ramos, 2021

“First semester has been the most stressful semester for me in the program thus far. It is a big adjustment as far as time spent only on school and I had to learn how to manage my time better. In order to manage my stress better I always picked one day where I would not do anything school related. Also I found that staying involved in social outings and events with your classmates really helpful in managing my stress because we are all going through the same program, and everyone understands the demands that it places on each of us.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

“If I could go back I think I would’ve put more work into intentionally learning my specifics like origin insertions innervations and actions during kinesiology because I think I didn’t commit those to memory as well I could have.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021 

“If I could go back I would not have taken it so easy at the start of the semester because when it came to the first anatomy exam I realized how much material we covered in the first few weeks. It would have been more beneficial for that first anatomy exam grade if I would have just jumped right into studying the first week of classes instead of waiting.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“If I could go back to semester one I would not have spent so much time focusing on anatomy, even though I thought I needed to at the time. I think that because I was worried about my grade in anatomy, I didn’t really learn the material from other classes as well as I could have.  This meant that I was just cramming information for the other exams the night before whereas I should have been trying to learn all the foundational knowledge.” Jessie Ramos, 2021

 

“I don’t think I would have done things differently as far as classes go, but I think I would have spent more time with my classmates. Getting to know the people I am spending every day with in classes and studying has been helpful as I have gone through the program and I think having that social support early on in the program would have been beneficial. I mean I like to think, those who stress together, stay together.” -Lauren Lyon

“I would not stress over things as much. I was so worried about my A- in anatomy that I studied way more than I probably needed to when I could have been using that time to study with other students that were struggling in the class. Having the mind-set that an A- is ‘failing’ was not okay while I never really considered the fact that people may not have been passing the class and I could have helped them.” -Liz Malear, 2021

 

“I recommend doing something outside of school and taking care of yourself whether that means working out or eating healthier, do something for yourself.”-Liz Malear

“I have two pieces of advice:

1. Breathe…and don’t feel bad about taking time away from school. A lot of people stress taking one night off, but making sure you have a balance of taking time for yourself and taking time for your learning is essential. 

2. We are all here for a reason, and straight A’s are no longer necessary. Now it is focusing on taking material from class and applying it in order to carry the information over into clinical practice.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021”

“My best piece of advice is that the program is a lot of fun, but you have to come in ready to work.” -Jessi, Ramos

“Have fun, you are in grad school doing exactly what you want to be doing, so enjoy it. Also you made it here because you were smart enough to be here so be confident in your skills use them to get you through the program.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“The program will probably be one of the most challenging experiences you will face in your academic career, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help if you need it. The faculty and staff all want you to succeed, so if you are struggling with a topic or a class, talking with any of them can really help.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

“Be willing to put in the work, and if you need help ask for it. The faculty here are amazing and they will not let you fail if you are willing to put in the effort it takes to stay.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021 

“It is 100% possible to work while in the program. I worked about 15 hours a week, but you have to be able to manage your time well.” -Jessi Ramos, 2021

“I believe that is very possible to work while in the DPT program, but I do not think it is realistic to work more that 10-15 hours a week. This being said, I find having a job helpful not only because it gives me something besides school to think about, but because it also helps with the financial stress that comes with paying for graduate school.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

 “I worked almost full-time the first semester but that was a bit too much for the demands of the program, so I went down to part-time second semester. Overall this time commitment was more manageable with the program, and I found that a few shorter shifts during the week worked better that a long shift on the weekend because it accommodated the class schedule better.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021

“I have not worked during the program, because I feel like the program is where I need to spend my time.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021

“I definitely think it's possible to work outside of school but it depends on how much someone likes to study and spend time with others. I liked working because it gave me something non-school related and trivial to worry about for 8 hours like stressing over being out of tomatoes on the line  is much a much less stressful than thinking about the three exams and  group assignment all due this week.” - Liz Malear, 2021

“I don’t work but most of my friends here in the program do, and I think they manage to do so pretty easily. It seems like working a part time position somewhere works the best so you can make some spending money for those Thursday nights off from studying. I also see the benefit of having a job in the manner of having a responsibility outside the program to help you to study when you have the time instead of pushing it off.” -Adam Doorn, 2021

“For me, the Grand Rapids area was a big part of the reason I decided to apply to GVSU. I am from a small town so being in a more metropolitan area was a good change for me, and I felt there were a lot more opportunities offered for employment after graduation being in the city.” -Lauren Lyon, 2021.

“I was drawn to Grand Valley’s programs because it was close to home for me so it makes living accommodations really easy and I liked that I have only heard good things about the professors of the program and their willingness to help us grow and become the best clinicians that we can become in the time it takes to finish the program.” -Leslie Tannis, 2021.

“I first heard of Grand Valley when my sister went here for undergrad, so when I heard they had a PT program I knew I wanted to go here when I was applying to undergrad. Then, as I learned more about the PT program, and got involved with lab modeling for the PT program, knew it was the right program for me.” - Liz Malear, 2021

“When deciding which DPT program I wanted to attend, I did a lot of research on success rates, costs, program requirements, etc. During this research I found that a lot of the programs that I was accepted at were similar in these areas, but what set Grand Valley apart was the experienced faculty, the Grand Rapids location, and the program’s commitment to the success of its students.” -Christine Garcia, 2021

“Well if you ask any of my classmates they will all tell you how much I love Grand Valley, but in all seriousness, there are only good things to say about the program’s faculty and quite honestly, they make the program what it is. All of them care about their role as a professor but they also are just all around great people who care about their students. That is why I chose Grand Valley.” -Jessie Ramos, 2021  

“In my case I knew people who were currently in the program when I applied. These people, which may have included my twin brother, all spoke very highly of GV’s program which made me think that if the students like the program so much, they must be doing something right. Also, the people I talked with mentioned how your classmates become almost like a second family, and this was something I wanted as well. Looking at where I am now, I definitely made the right choice coming to Grand Valley.” -Adam Doorn, 2021