PT School of the Week: University of Central Arkansas


Congratulations to University of Central Arkansas on being selected as the PT Pintcast School of the week. If you would like to nominate your program, fill out the form here.

Why is your program the best?
UCA is the best because we are like a big family! Not only are we ranked the #3 PT school country in the country in 2015-2016, but we have fun learning and going through life together. We have students from all over the country/world – Ohio, Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi, even Africa! – who bring a different personality to our program, giving it a well rounded feel. Our curriculum is plenty thorough to prepare us to be clinicians, and we have 53 total weeks of clinical rotations in all kinds of settings (OP, OP pelvic floor, pediatrics, acute, ICU, inpatient rehabilitation) that give us real life learning experiences. The UCA DPT program also offers a PhD program, as well as a pediatric residency program.
What’s a strong point of your program? What’s something that makes it stand out from other programs?
The main “pro” to our program is the faculty. Each faculty member is involved in some sort of research, some of which are leaders in their field. Research coming from our program includes concussion research, neonate pain therapy, BWSTT in the pediatric population, max strength testings, and many more. They are passionate about teaching, learning, and making sure we become our best selves. Being constantly surrounded by encouraging, brilliant people who was you to succeed is why we all do so well at UCA.

Another strong point is the amount of real patient contact we receive throughout our 3 years. The first year includes our basic sciences, but once you enter your second year, our teachers bring in current/past patients who are still in need of therapy. We treat patients with CVA, SCI, TBI, pediatric developmental delay, and other neurological disorders, which greatly prepares us for the clinic. Just another example of how our teachers go above and beyond to help us succeed.

What’s cool about your program?
Our program loves to have fun! Every year we make sure to schedule lots of cool events put on by our program. We have tailgates at home football games, a Family Day where all students and their families get to come and tour the building, meet faculty, and get details on the program. We have a huge Halloween party each year, where everyone brings food and we have different costume contests (which can get pretty competitive!). We throw a Homecoming weekend with tailgating, CEU courses for alumni/other PTs, and events for alumni to catch up.

We participate in lots of community service – fundraising for the Rollin’ Razorbacks (the wheelchair basketball team for AR), Miracle League, Camp Aldersgate (pediatric summer camp for children with disabilities), donating home ramps/wheelchair ramps to patients who participate in our student clinic, etc. Our school was just awarded the “Most Creative” Award for raising money for the Marquette Challenge by making/selling homemade christmas sweaters. We’re in the process of raising money for this Challenge again, currently at $2,500 of our $10,000 goal.

It also doesn’t end in the classroom! Each class is so close (spending all that time in gross anatomy lab can do that, am I right?) We go on Spring Break trips together, attend each other’s weddings, and go to trivia almost every week!

What are the (approximate) stats, class sizes, # of faculty?
Class sizes run from 50 – 56, depending on the amount of applicants.
We have 20 faculty and staff combined, with 12 of those being professors.
We have our own PT building, where the students are exclusive to the PT program.
Each year, roughly 300 students apply to the program, and around 230 meet the requirements. Of those that meet the requirements, 85 are interviewed.
Graduation rate: 97.6%
Employment rate of those passing the NPTE: 100%
What’s the area around school like? Social scene? Recreation?
Conway is a smaller town of roughly 60,000, about 30 minutes from Little Rock, the capital. In Conway alone, there are three colleges, so Conway has tons of young people! We have a downtown area with great restaurants, mountains and other outdoors areas to hike within 20 minutes, and rivers for floating are within a couple of hours. In Little Rock, the downtown Rivermarket is popular for concerts, shows, food truck festivals, minor league baseball games, and so much more.
What’s the school’s mascot?
Go UCA Bears!
If you had a PT student who was on the fence about coming to your program, what’s one thing you would point out to let them know why coming there would be a good choice?
The UCA DPT will put all of it’s resources – time, money, education – into you as an individual and a future clinician. Unlike some of the larger universities, we are a small program with small classes, which allows you easy access to some of the best clinicians and professors in the state. You aren’t just another number, and the people you meet here will change your life for the better, no doubt. It’s also been shown year after year that our academics are the best in AR, as well as the country! So you get the best of both worlds.
Best local beer:
Lost 40 Love Honey Bock – Lost Forty is a brewery in downtown Little Rock that has tons of local, variety beer.

About the student who nominated the University of Central Arkansas:

Kelsey Davidson

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where you’re from, year in school, what setting you want to practice in and anything else you want to add…
I’m a Conway native – I grew up here, went to high school here, and got my undergrad degree from UCA (can you tell I love it?!) I had such an amazing experience in undergrad, I knew I would love the DPT program as well. I’m a third year student now, and I’m still on the fence with what direction I want to take my career. Right now I’m looking into the pelvic floor arena, because I think there’s so many men and women having trouble in this area that have no idea how much PT can help. However, before I start that I’d like to do some travel PT for at least a year, since I have been in this same town my entire life!
And, what made YOU specifically want to go there?
Essentially, I was told by someone else the same thing I wrote in the above answer. About how everything is tailored to me, the classes are small, and I talked to alumni who had nothing but great things to say. And I wouldn’t change a thing!

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