University of Wisconsin–Madison

Application Process

Application Timeline

This is a general timeline for preparing and submitting your application. If you do things earlier than we list here, all the better. In addition to using our website, be sure to use the PTCAS instruction manual and the application resources of the APTA website.

Below is a rough timeline for preparing your application.  Click on the arrows for more information. We have also prepared a guide for completing the PTCAS.

Fall before you apply

Research Schools

For a list of physical therapy schools, visit the American Physical Therapy Association.  For tips on choosing schools, visit our Selecting Schools page.

Make a list of your activities outside of class

  • Hours, dates, locations, contacts
  • What your role was, what you learned
  • Write answers to these questions for each activity: What was the name of your role? What were your responsibilities? What did you learn? How were you different after the activity compared to before it?
  • Use your answers to these questions to draft descriptions of each activity.

Identify and start talking with possible letter writers

Spring before you apply

Study for the GRE

Physical Therapy schools require the GRE. To hear how other students have prepared, visit our exam tips page.

Write personal statement

For tips on writing your application essay, check out our Personal Statements page.

Request letters of recommendation

Most schools require between 2-3 letters of recommendation.  We recommend one from a professor, one from a physical therapist you’ve shadowed, and one other letter. For tips on how to build relationships with faculty, visit our Letters of Recommendation page.

Summer that you apply

Complete the centralized application

Most physical therapy programs use a centralized application called PTCAS which opens in early July. PTCAS costs $140 for the first school and $40 for each additional program. The centralized application includes:

Complete school-specific supplemental application

Some, but not all, physical therapy programs have a supplemental application.


Some, but not all, physical therapy programs have finalists interview. For help preparing for interviews, visit our Interview Preparation page.