CHANCE ME S24 want to apply Pitt with Guarantee to PA or DPT

Pitt is his top choice so far and he is debating between PA and DPT as career track. While Pitt offers Guarantee Program for first year applicants, we think it will fit him the best. However, we’ve heard PA Guarantee Program is very competitive and seats are limited. Therefore, not sure if his stat is strong enough to be able to compete the guarantee seat. Alternatively he is OK with DPT as well after shadowing a local DPT recently.

*US citizen

  • State/Location of residency: NJ
  • Type of high school: Suburban (about 250-275 per grade)
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional): Asian Male

Intended Major(s) Biological science or Rehab Science with intention to be PA or DPT

  • Unweighted HS GPA: NA
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.20 / 5.0
  • Class Rank: school does not rank, about more than 25% of his class has wGPA over 4
  • ACT/SAT Scores: ACT 29 (M30 S29 E29 R28) but will go Test Optional

10th grade
Algebra 2 Honor
Chemistry Honor

11th grade
AP Physics 1 (4) 89.65
AP Computer Science Principles (3) 92.13
Honor PreCal 93

12th grade
AP Biology
AP Chemistry

Tri-M Music Honor Society
High Honor Roll since 9th grade


  1. New Jersey Youth Symphony (violinist since 4th grade till now, required audition)
  2. Club competitive swimmer (since 6th grade till now but not at regional level)
  3. Rutgers WISE Summer scholar program 2022
  4. Published 6 sets of mRNA sequencing in NCBI database after WISE summer program
  5. DPT shadow intern summer 2023 for 3 weeks
  6. Children Specialized Hospital volunteer (in 11&12th grade only as 9-10th grade were COVID year and vaccine was not available for his age back then)
  7. Special Needs Children Peer Mentor (9-12th grade and he is also IEP student himself)
  8. Local Healthy Kids running series Age group leader (every Fall and Spring for 5 weeks, leading young children to run, develop exercise habits and healthy lifestyle)
  9. Community Ensemble President (organize and lead performance in local nursing homes)
  10. Full time Lifeguard during summer (10-12th grade)

He is asking his AP physics and AP Computer Science teacher to write LOR. Both are nice teachers and have good impression on him.

He is Dyslexic and has ADD. He has been on IEP since 4th grade but managed to overcome and advance his academics from a C student from elementary to be High Honor student in high school and from a special need teen to be a special needs peer mentor. This is what he wrote in his personal statement.


  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
    Seton Hall

  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
    Stony Brook

  • Match

  • Reach
    Case Western
    U of Rochester

Both of these professions are competitive for admissions.

Has the student shadowed/observed/spoken with/researched PAs? I would not apply to a program without shadowing first.

We are unable to find any resource nearby to shadow PA. Most hospitals or clinics in our state do not take high schoolers for shadowing especially after COVID. My son was only able to speak to his pediatrician about the PA role. She shared her experience and observation of PA role when she worked in NY hospital. I personally think PT fits his personality better. He does have more resource in PT. Besides he is shadowing one now. His lifeguard supervisor happens to be associate professor of Rutgers Physical Therapy and she refers him for current DPT shadowing.

If the student knows for sure that he wants to be a physical therapist, then applying to the guaranteed admission dpt at Pitt is an excellent option. If he doesn’t get in he can apply to dpt or PA programs as a traditional applicant. This will give him an opportunity to observe etc.

Both of these programs at Pitt (and everywhere) are highly competitive. He should choose the one he is sure about and make sure to have backup schools (he does).

I would not apply to PA without shadowing etc and I would not apply to dpt without knowing for sure.

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The Pitt GAP programs are very competitive. Without much patient facing experience, nor test scores, I would categorize them as high reaches. His lack of preference between PA and DPT, which are different careers, also suggests he needs more expoosure to both potential paths.

I do think it’s likely your S will be accepted to Pitt though (is it affordable?).

I hesitate to divulge an LD and IEP in college apps, so would encourage him to rethink his essay. Has he talked with his HS GC about this?

What is his unweighted GPA, on 4 point scale (any A=4, any B=3 and so on), core courses only? Has he had four years of each of the 5 core subject areas (Eng, Science, SS, Math, Foreign language)?

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"Rank in the top 10 percent of high school graduating class "

This seems where the issue will come - even if the school doesn’t rank, the profile will cause issue.

I think - forgetting the guarantees - I think Drexel and RIT are likely as will be Rutgers.

Any cost constraints ?

Interesting to me - there is a guaranteed Public and International Affairs - my daughter got it but didn’t apply.

What is his unweighted gpa (with a 4.0 = all A’s)? My daughter is currently at BU going into her 4th semester dpt program. She was accepted at Scranton and Quinnipiac for the guaranteed admit, but chose not to go that route in case she decided PT wasn’t for her (even though she shadowed a lot junior/senior year of HS and spent many hours in PT herself, a runner/dancer). She ended up at UDel honors, graduated a year early with a 3.9, and did well on her GRE’s. However, even though UDel has a top DPT program, she wanted to move on to an urban campus. I never saw that coming, I assumed once she got her acceptance she’d stay. Another issue is that pre-med classes tend to be weed outs, many students move on to plan B after freshman year.

She just did a 6 week clinical at JFK medical center in Edison this summer in the ICU, stroke patients, learned so much, found she was fine with the nitty gritty of hospitals (wiped her share of butts), and enjoyed every minute. She’s only worked in PT clinics and was so relieved to find out she loved working in a hospital as well (never get bored). I’m glad she chose the 4/3 route.


I am not a fan of these programs because some students change their mind. My daughter was invited to apply to Pitts guaranteed medical school acceptance when she applied, but she chose not to do it in case she changed her mind.

That being said, there are students who have done their research and know early on what they want to do, and never waiver. These types of acceptance programs seem to work for them.

Your son doesn’t strike me as a student who is ready to apply (based on what you are writing) and that’s perfectly ok.

I don’t think the two career paths are interchangeable, and I’d encourage your son to get more hands on experience with both before making a decision.


I think the programs at Quinnipiac are similarly competitive…and I would not categorize them as likely.


Price is not a concern here. We have enough to fully support his college tuition without scholarship or student loan. I have a family friend who works in Rutgers AO and he knows my son from baby. He told me that his academic from our district definitely is good for Rutgers-NB as in state student and should not have problem to get in so I put Rutgers in Match. As far as I can see from Naviance, more than 25% of our graduates were accepted to Rutgers-NB every year so I think he should not have problem getting in. For Pitts, we have more than 20 acceptances every year.

As of LD, counselor thinks it’s good idea as he ties his own experience with his volunteering and end goal of college in healthcare major.

His unweight is over 4.0 as our school has A+ for 4.5 for unweight. If I use 4.0 for both A/A+, 3.5 for B+ and 3 for B, his unweighted GPA will be 3.85. He has 4 year of English, Math and Science, 3 years history and 3 years of Spanish.

Thank you. He is currently shadowing a DPT in our town and will continue to do so.

As far as we know from Pitt admission office, Pitt GAP is not binding. Meaning you don’t have to commit to go even you get in or if change your mind during undergrad. That’s why we think it’s more flexible than those 6 or 7 years direct admit program.

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You mentioned that he is also interested in becoming a PA. If this is still the case I would hold off in applying to the dpt program.

If he is accepted to dpt, will he still have time to shadow PAs so that he can make the right choice?


Thanks for sharing your daughter’s experience and provide another angle of thinking.

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Pitts GAP program is not binding. Meaning you don’t have to go into DPT if you change your mind during undergrad. For now, I see him leaning toward PT more than PA so we will just continue his shadowing with DPT through his senior year and see where it will get him. Possibly keep in touch with his lifeguard supervisor who is DPT as well as Rutgers PT associate professor. He is also interested in Biology and DNA. We will keep that in radar when applying as well. If not going direct admit route, then that will be the major he mostly will choose.

If he’s interested in bio/DNA, he should do some research on genetic counseling. A fabulous career.

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If he attends the dpt program, will that provide the time and flexibility he may need to explore other interests such as PA, genetics etc?

Can you share more information about that? He did research with Waksman Institution of Microbiology through WISE scholar program last year and he likes it. He was able to published 6 sets of mRNA sequence in NCBI.

My daughter is beginning a GC program if you have any questions.

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