Admission variables and academic success in the first year of the professional phase in a doctor of physical therapy program

J Allied Health. 2010 Fall;39(3):138-42.


Background: To date, there are no standard sets of admission criteria identifying an applicant's ability to succeed in an entry-level doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship existed between preadmission variables and academic success, as measured by the physical therapy GPA in the basic sciences after the first professional year (PY1GPA).

Methods: The sample consisted of 63 students from three consecutive classes admitted to an entry-level DPT Program from fall 2002 through fall 2004. The preadmission variables included age, gender, degree status, pre-cumulative GPA, and prerequisite course GPA. The preadmission factors were correlated with the dependent variable of PYIGPA. In a second analysis, the resulting significant correlations (p < 0.05) were entered into a forward multiple regression analysis to determine the best predictors.

Results: The Spearman rho correlation coefficient indicated that the pre-cumulative GPA correlated positively to the PY1GPA in the basic sciences (r = 0.441, p < 0.01). After multiple regression analysis, it was revealed that pre-cumulative GPA and age accounted for 16.7 and 3.9%, respectively, of the total variance (20.6%) in PY1GPA in the basic sciences.

Conclusion: Although this study did not address academic success throughout the length of the professional academic program, the findings offer insight regarding students' initial academic performance. Gaining insight into students' performance at this early stage in their education may provide a greater understanding of their potential success throughout the graduate program.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Education, Graduate*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / education*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • Young Adult