Accepted: Bria Jackson


Happy Sunday friends! I hope you enjoyed the first “Accepted” post, because I’m back with another!

Meet Bria Jackson, our next future PT superstar!

Bria’s journey is proof that you should never give up on your dreams. After 3 application cycles, she will be starting PT school at Howard University in the fall! I am so excited for her, and proud of all of the hard work she’s put in. To connect with/learn more about Bria, you can find her on Instagram @Briajayy_!


Age and Gender: Female, 25 years old

University and Major: Northern Illinois University Class of 2016, Pre-Physical Therapy Major

Overall Cumulative GPA: 3.2

Pre-req GPA: 3.4


  • Traveled abroad to Nicaragua on a medical mission trip with Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, and Occupational Therapists
  • Huskies Athletic Intern
  • Black Student Union
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council, President
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Pre-Physical Therapy Club member

Observation Hours: Outpatient, Early childhood intervention, Pediatrics, Nursing home, Elementary school, Day Rehab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Letter of Recommendation: 1 PT supervisor, 1 PT manager, 1 Faculty member

How many cycles did you apply? 3

How many programs did you apply to? 24 schools

How many interviews did you receive and what were the outcomes?

I received three interviews total:

2nd cycle:

  1. (Out of state) Feb. 21, 2017  

Rejected: March 10, 2017

3rd cycle:

  1. (Out of State) Feb. 16, 2018

Rejected: March 2, 2018

  1. (Skype Interview) March 24, 2018

Accepted: March 30, 2018

Weakest and strongest points of your application? The weakest point of my application would be my grades and GRE scores. I retook 5 classes to boost my prereq. GPA, but there was nothing I could do to improve my cumulative GPA after graduating.

GRE: To be honest I’ve never been good at standardized tests. I really struggled to get the desired score most schools required. So after taking the test three times, I focused on schools that either didn’t require the GRE or didn’t weigh it heavily.

The strongest point of my application I would say is my experience. Not a lot of people can say that they traveled abroad with physical therapists on a medical mission trip, so I made sure to highlight the opportunity any chance I got. I also looked forward to interviews because I would be able to show how passionate I am about physical therapy.

Most challenging thing about your pre-PT journey or the application process? The most challenging thing about my application process would definitely be MONEY. Working a job that only pays a little above min. wage and applying to school was very challenging. Applying to schools is not cheap. On top of the application fee you have to pay PTCAS, some schools require a supplemental fee, and in addition to that you have to pay to get your GRE score sent in (only 4 are free). Let’s say you get an interview: the school does not cover airfare, hotel fare, or Ubers. So after all is said and done I looked at it as an investment into my future (trust me I wish I could get all that money back).

The most challenging thing about my pre-PT journey would be the lack of representation in the field. I really struggled to find myself in the career because I saw no one who resembled me. It took me THREE years to find someone with the same complexion as mine. Now that I’ve been accepted into a PT program I’m going to make it my priority to increase the number of African-Americans in the field.

What is one thing that you have learned from this experience? The biggest take-away from my experience is to not be afraid to ask for help. The first and second time I thought I could apply by myself and I didn’t need help. The truth is we all need help. Get someone to look over your application in case you miss something, proofread your essays, and do mock interviews with you.

What were your favorite resources (blogs, apps, books, websites, people, etc.) throughout your pre-PT journey? My mentors, Pre-PT GrindThe Hunt for Greatness podcast with Greg ToddStudent Doctor ForumThe DPT Diaries, MyRoadtoPT, and TheCurlyClinician!!!

How did you deal with rejection? Rejection isn’t easy for anyone to deal with. But I told myself that I couldn’t give up. I’ve invested my whole life into this profession as well as my money and I wasn’t going to let rejections stop me. So what kept me going was my positive attitude and passion. I truly believe that things will happen when they’re supposed to. I know it may seem frustrating not knowing your next moves, but just be patient, your time will come.

My favorite quote that kept me pushing: “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

Any other advice or tips for pre-PT students?

  • Seek out mentors (this could be someone that works in the setting you wish to work in to someone you admire)
  • Surround yourself with motivated people (this includes social media)
  • Keep a positive mindset (things may not go as planned but remained focused)
  • STOP comparing yourself to other people (everyone’s journey is different)
  • There is no age limit to success (no matter how old you are it’s never too late to pursue a Doctorate degree)
  • Step outside your comfort zone

If you’ve recently been accepted into PT school and would like to be featured next, feel free to shoot an email to! I can’t wait to hear from you guys, and continue sharing your stories!



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