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High School Early Acceptance to DPT Program

student observes instructor demonstrating physical therapy exercise with patient laying on table

Physical Therapy High School Early Acceptance (HSEA) Program

High school students interested in a career in physical therapy have the opportunity at Southwest Baptist University to start their education journey early. The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at SBU teaches students about the healthcare industry and about serving patients in need. The DPT degree program builds upon a strong liberal arts background and highlights Christian values and behavior to mold you into a well-rounded professional.

As an HSEA student, you can guarantee your spot in the program and feel confident about your career and job options.

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

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DPT Early Acceptance Application Process

Applications are due prior to fall freshmen enrollment at SBU. If a student is attending Scholars Day, applications submitted before the Scholars Day deadline will be eligible to interview at Scholars Day and receive quicker feedback regarding acceptance.

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. 

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

  • Submit a current overall graduate program application
  • 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 and KIN 3073 Physiology of Exercise at SBU with a minimum of a "B" grade prior to enrollment
  • Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum of a “C” grade prior to enrollment

Apply Now to the HSEA Program (PDF)


Successful HSEA participants will receive a scholarship upon entering the professional phase of the physical therapy program with the potential of up to $3,000. 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. If a student is placed on academic probation during their time in the professional program, 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. 

Frequently Asked Questions About HSEA

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.
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.
Yes! It is expected that you move immediately from high school to SBU and begin taking classes that next fall.
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 division as well. If there is any question, please receive permission in advance and do not assume the course will automatically transfer.
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.
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.
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 up-to-date 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 meetings 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.
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