High School Early Assurance Pathway to Doctor of Physical Therapy

The High School Early Assurance Pathway (HEAP) is for high school students interested in studying health sciences and physical therapy at the University of Cincinnati. Acceptance to the pathway is limited to highly qualified incoming first year students only, and students are admitted to the pathway in the fall semester only.

High School Early Assurance Pathway students must enroll in the undergraduate health sciences program in the College of Allied Health Sciences. Upon completion of this degree, students will have completed all prerequisite courses required for enrollment in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduate program.

Deadline: March 1st

Application Requirements

Applicants to the High School Early Assurance Pathway must first be admitted to the health sciences program then complete and submit the supplemental high school early acceptance pathway application. Applicants are required to meet requirements beyond those required for admission to the health sciences program.

Admission into the pathway is based on the following:

  • GPA in high school 3.5 out of 4 OR rank in the top 10% of the graduating class (if applicable)
  • Standardized test scores: ACT - 29 composite or SAT - 1350 
     

Three letters are required for each applicants from the individuals below:

  • Recommendation your high school math teacher
  • Recommendation your high school science teacher
  • Professional recommendation (i.e. work supervisor, PT at a clinic where you volunteered, etc.)
     
  • 250 words essay addressing why you want to be a physical therapist.
  • 250 words essay addressing a topic of the applicant's choice.
     

Your resume should provide details on the following items:

  • Extracurricular activities
  • Work experience
  • Volunteer work
  • Honors and awards
     

Accepted Student Expectations

Following acceptance into the program, students will be directed by the program to submit the following to information.

Students must meet the following GPA minimums:

  1. Cumulative GPA of 3.5 at the end of their 1st, 2nd and 3rd years in the Health Science program. (A student who fails to maintain the specified GPA forfeits high school early acceptance pathway
    status)
  2. Prerequisite coursework GPA of 3.5 with no less than a B- received in any of the prerequisite coursework. The Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program prerequisite courses are:
  • Core science prerequisites
    • Anatomy & physiology (one year sequence)
    • Biology with lab (one year sequence)
    • General chemistry with lab (one year sequence)
    • General physics with lab (one year sequence)
  • Non-science prerequisites
    • English composition (one year sequence)
    • Introduction to psychology and one of the following: abnormal, developmental, or lifespan psychology
    • Statistics, exercise physiology, and medical terminology (one course each)
       

Last test date accepted: July 1st

It is recommended that applicants reach the below listed scores in one testing attempt, on each section of the GRE test. Multiple testing attempts are acceptable.

Verbal = 150
Quantitative = 150
Analytical = 4.0

Failure to meet any of the contingency requirements will result in the student being disqualified from the junior early acceptance pathway program. Students disqualified from this pathway are still eligible for, and encouraged to apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program via Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Students are required to pay the UC Graduate School supplemental fee, $65 as of Fall 2018, students will be prompted to pay by the program coordinator.

After HEAP students accept their offer in November or December, they will be asked to put down their $500 admissions deposit. This will be done through the graduate school application portal.

Half of work/volunteer hours must be completed by the application deadline and the rest by October 1st senior year, though rare exceptions have been granted on a case by case basis.

A total of 50 hours of observation/volunteer work is required in a physical therapy setting.

  • 25 hours are required to be completed in an inpatient care setting. Completing hours in an acute care setting is not required but highly encouraged. Acute care is defined as: "physical therapy is provided to individuals that are admitted to a hospital for short term patient care for reasons such as illness, surgery, accident, or recovery from a trauma. The goal in this setting is to discharge the person as soon as they are medically stable and have a safe place to go. Retrieved from PTCAS. 
  • The remaining 25 hours can be completed in any other physical therapy practice setting.
  • The observation hours must occur in a clinical physical therapy setting. NO research observation hours will be considered in the required 50 hours. However, any research hours may serve to enrich your overall physical therapy experience.

Applicants are reminded that a recommendation from someone in a supervisory role in the physical therapy clinic setting must also be submitted.

Professional behavior and attire is expected of all applicants during their observation hours. The department and physical therapy program faculty and staff will not provide suggestions on facilities. To obtain volunteer experience, students can contact a physical therapy facility in their geographical area by mail, in person or by phone and inquire about opportunities for paid or volunteer work experience.

If applicants are accepted into UC's Doctor of Physical Therapy program, they cannot perform clinical rotations at a facility where they have a conflict of interest. This includes, but is not limited to facilities where:

  • They previously volunteered or worked (in the physical therapy department or rehabilitation area).
  • They have a relative working in the physical therapy department or rehabilitation area.
  • They have already secured a post-graduation position.
  • They or a relative have ownership.
  • They know a person or persons with whom they have previously volunteered or worked will supervise them.

Students will be contacted via email by an outside agency, Certiphi, asking them to submit their information.

Applicants are advised that they will be required to undergo a full criminal background check upon admission to the UC Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Included in the acceptance letter will be information pertaining to how to complete the check. The background check will be due 60 days from the date of the acceptance letter. If offered a seat in the program less than 60 days from the start of the program, then the background check will be due prior to the start of class. Matriculation into the program is contingent on the results of the background check. If a criminal history is revealed in the background check, the nature of the offense and other factors will be considered in making the final decision regarding matriculation. If it is determined that the offense will prevent the student from completing the clinical education requirements of the program or from obtaining a license to practice physical therapy, the student will not be permitted to matriculate into the program. Additional background checks may be needed for certain clinical placement sites. Also, admission into the program does not guarantee the ability to practice since the Ohio occupational therapy/physical therapy/athletic training board and places of employment will make independent decisions regarding criminal background checks.

Headshot of Ashley Sandburg

Ashley Sandburg

Program Coordinator , Department of Rehabilitation, Exercise & Nutrition Sciences

3202 Eden Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45267-0394

(513) 558-7477