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SBU Physical Therapy Department

Physical Therapy High School Early Acceptance Program (HSEA)

(Formerly known as "Freshman Guarantee")

Physical Therapy Department : A Healing Mission.

High School Senior students with 24 ACT (or equivalent SAT) scores or higher are eligible to apply on a competitive basis for early conditional acceptance into the physical therapy program. High school students (or freshman with less than 30 credit hours completed), should contact the PT department for an application for early conditional acceptance.

Applications should be submitted to the department on or before the first of April prior to Fall freshman enrollment at SBU to ensure consideration. Notifications will be sent early in the summer for those receiving the award. A maximum of 20 awards will be given during any one academic year. If the 20 slots are not filled during the first selection cycle, a late cycle pool will be considered during February of the student’s freshman year. If slots are not filled for any one academic year, they will not roll over or be extended.

Once a student is accepted into the HSEA program, the student is expected to enroll immediately and begin taking a full time course load at SBU. All undergraduate classes must be taken at SBU. HSEA students must confirm their intent to matriculate into and pay the appropriate deposit for the professional phase of the program by the end of January in their intended enrollment year. Currently, the DPT program utilizes PTCAS ( as a centralized application data base and all students applying to the program must complete this process. For HSEA students, completing the PTCAS application signals your intent to matriculate into the DPT program.

Students earning this conditional acceptance must meet the following standards to enter the professional phase of program:

  • Submit a current overall graduate program application (PTCAS currently utilized)
  • Earn an overall GPA of 3.00 and a prerequisite GPA of 3.25
  • Document 40 hours of observation or work hours in physical therapy
  • Participate in 50 hours of community service
  • Complete the bachelor's degree in any major at SBU prior to enrollment in the  physical therapy program
  • Complete PTH 2523 Introduction to Physical Therapy at SBU
  • Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum of a “C” prior to enrollment.

Successful HSEA participants will receive a scholarship upon entering the professional phase of the physical therapy program with the potential of up to $3000.*

For more information call SBU Physical Therapy Department

(417) 328-1672   Email:      Facebook: SBU Physical Therapy

* Students will receive credit for the scholarship by attending and documenting mentoring sessions on a semester basis during their undergraduate semesters (max 8 semesters). The total scholarship is awarded in 3 equal annual installments upon entry to the SBU PT program. The award is not distributed as cash. If the student does not accept the HSEA enrollment into the SBU PT program, the award becomes null and void. If the student does not merit entry to the SBU PT program under the established guidelines as a HSEA participant, the award becomes null and void. Once enrolled in the professional phase of the program, the HSEA participant must meet established unconditional matriculation requirements or the remaining award distributions will be forfeited. Eligibility for awarding the HSEA is established at the point of SBU undergraduate graduation and all normal requirements must be completed at the time of recognized graduation.


1. Wasn’t this program formerly called “Freshman Guarantee”? Why the name change?
Yes! This is the same program that we used to call the “Freshman Guarantee.” We have updated the requirements and felt the old name was not reflective of the message we were intending to send. This program is designed for high achieving high school students offering them an early conditional acceptance into the DPT program at SBU and rewarding them for choosing to come to SBU as a freshmen student.

2. If I am accepted into the HSEA program am I guaranteed admission?
If you meet the established standards of conditional acceptance when it is time for you to enter the professional phase of the program, then the answer is “yes!” However, if you do not meet the standards of the conditional acceptance, then the answer is “no.” If the latter is the case, you may always apply through the general application pool.

3. Once I am accepted into the HSEA program do I have to start taking classes right away?
Yes! It is expected that you move immediately from high school to SBU and begin taking classes that next fall.

4. Do I have to take all of my undergraduate classes at SBU?
In general, the answer is yes. The spirit of this provision is not to prevent the student from taking an occasional summer or correspondence course from a different college or university. It should be noted that when taking occasional courses at other colleges or universities, you must seek prior approval from your undergraduate degree advisor and possibly the PT department as well. If there is any question, please receive permission in advance and do not assume the course will automatically transfer.

5. What if there are more than 20 people applying for the HSEA program in any one given year?
The application process is competitive to determine the top 20 who eventually receive the HSEA award. A waiting list will be compiled from those students not initially accepted. Students on the waiting list will apply through the general application pool during their senior collegiate year, and open HSEA slots will be awarded at that time based on competitive ranking of the student’s general pool application.

6. I am not in the HSEA program. Do I still have a chance of getting into PT school at SBU?
 Absolutely! Students who attend SBU receive preference points on their application. If a student excels in their coursework and on standardized entrance exams, they have an excellent chance of being accepted. Remember, this is a competitive process!

7. When should I take my prerequisite courses?
We recommend you take your prerequisite courses early in your college career and work to have most if not all completed by the end of your junior year. If you have outstanding coursework when you apply to our program, we insert a grade of “C” as a placeholder to estimate your overall application. For students who have several prerequisite courses outstanding, this can really harm your application.

8. I receive advisement from my undergraduate advisor, do I need to visit the PT department?
Yes! While you do receive advisement on how to obtain your bachelor’s degree from your undergraduate advisor, they may not always have the most accurate information on how to enter the PT program at SBU. You are encouraged to seek advisement from your PT mentor, the PT admissions coordinator, and attend informational meeting through the pre-PT club on a semester basis. It is best that we hear directly from you! You will receive credit toward your HSEA “scholarship” by coming to seek our consul during each semester (up to 8 semesters). This will help us to ensure that you are on track to enter the program and achieve your goal of becoming a professional physical therapist.

Apply now!