PTCAS 2020-2021 Changes & Insight

The Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service has announced numerous new changes this year to enhance the application, but also to better accommodate new changes due to Covid19. Below you will find some of the many changes and guidance from our admissions office to help you navigate this year. You can find more information from PTCAS here:

Changes to PTCAS for 2020-2021:

1. Early Application Access: PTCAS has modified the cycle open and deadline dates for the 2020-21 application. PTCAS will open to applicants only on Wednesday, June 17 – two weeks earlier than usual. During this additional two week period, applicants will be able to create accounts, review and select programs, complete application requirements, answer program specific questions, and have letters of recommendation and official transcripts sent to PTCAS. Applicants will NOT be able to submit applications to programs until the usual open date of July 1, nor will programs see or have access to applicant information until July 1. This early access period is being provided to applicants only to assist them with additional time to review and prepare their applications in advance of the first application deadline.

2. Program “Deep Link” to Application: Programs will be able to generate a link to post or share that directs an application directly to their application within PTCAS.

3. Updated Personal Essay Prompt: The personal essay prompt has been updated to be: “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 experiences with physical therapy, and share the deeper story that has confirmed your decision to specifically pursue physical therapy as your career.”

4. In addition to updating the personal essay prompt, clarifying instructional text will be added to the top of the essay page within the application, reading: “DPT program faculty and admissions committees are looking for you to use this essay to persuade the reader that the physical therapy professions is the right fit for you. Please keep this in mind as you complete your personal essay.”

5. Enhanced “Program Search” Page: The refreshed page has modernized the user experience by increasing search capabilities, providing a more easily navigated interface, and including additional search criteria to narrow down searches. This improved page was not previously available to PTCAS as it was not compatible with the Early Decision workflow.

6. Bypass “Program Selection” Requirement: Applicants will be allowed to skip the program selection page after creating their account. The applicant can complete quadrants 1-3, and select a program later, before submitting their application. Once they select a program, they will appear in WebAdMIT for that program as normal.

7. Improved “Colleges Attended” Workflow: Based on applicant feedback, the workflow for entering colleges attended has been improved. Changes include the option to employ an e-transcript vendor from within the application (e.g., Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, or Credential Solutions, where applicable), an improved process for uploading and previewing unofficial transcripts, and an enhanced display of requirements.

8. Post-Submission Visa Information Updates: Applicants who do not list themselves as a US citizen in the Visa Information section can now update their visa information after submitting their application.

9. Increased Max Number of Recommendations: To help applicants meet the letter requirements of multiple programs, PTCAS has increased the maximum number of letters of recommendation accepted from four to five.

10. “Professional Transcript Entry” (PTE) Status in WebAdMIT: Applicants have the option of paying an additional fee to PTCAS’s technology partner, Liaison, to have their coursework entered onto their application rather than key entering it themselves. Applicants availing themselves of this option must still go in and approve the entered coursework before advancing in the application process, which some applicants have failed to do.

11. Hide Program Specific Questions in the Full Application PDF: This new feature will allow admissions users to configure program-specific question to show or hide on the full application PDF, in an effort to assist programs using the full PDF for reviewers who do not have access to WebAdMIT, and who are asking questions reviewers should not see.

Other Important Considerations:

GRE: Many programs and USF will still require the GRE. ETS/GRE has created a new at home option, and they are hopeful to open testing centers again soon. To learn more about GRE visit:

Observation Hours: Most programs have either lessened, extended the time to complete observation hours, or waived the observation requirement. For this cycle (2020-2021) USF DPT is not requiring a minimum number of hours of observation. We just ask that if a student completes any hours that they have them verified and submitted via PTCAS. Check with each program you attend to apply to for their policies/guidance.

Letters of Recommendation: Many programs are adjusting this requirement based on current situations and Covid19. USF DPT will still require 2 Letters of Recommendation, but they do not need to be from a licensed PT. We recommend the letters be from a Physical Therapist, Academic Faculty member, or Supervisor. Keep in mind that any letters submitted via PTCAS all programs you apply to will have access to review them. Check each program for their requirement.

Online Classes and Labs: Many DPT programs have moved to accept online classes and labs due to Covid19, again check with individual programs for their policy/guidance. USF will accept them, but if possible we recommend taking them on campus.

Pass/Fail and/or U/S Grades: Many programs are accepting this as an option, but we keep in mind PTCAS does not use these courses/grades in your GPA calculations. USF will accept these courses, and again check with each program you plan to apply with.

Interviews: Many DPT programs may likely move towards online interviews, or may delay their admission timeline to accommodate in person interviews. Be prepared for changes or adjustments as it relates to interviews. Keep in mind that at USF we do not require an interview, and that decisions are made based on your PTCAS application.

If you ever have questions on PTCAS, applying to programs, or specific questions to our USF DPT program admissions you can email us at