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Black, Male, OT School...

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by johnsrt7, 05.20.11.

  1. johnsrt7

    johnsrt7

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    Hey Everyone, I am a black male and currently attend Auburn University. I am looking into applying to OT school for Fall 2012 , but my problem is I have a very low GPA at about 2.5 overall and pre req at a 2.7. I really want to go into the OT field and I am extremely worried about my chances of getting accepted. What do you all think my best chances are...do you think I can make it into a school. I know I can excel, I just kind of slacked off in my younger years of undergrad! Thanks!
  2. exrx

    exrx

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    Yeah, your gpa is fairly low. Honestly, I would be surprised if you got into a competitive program. Since you have a little time before you apply, I would seriously consider taking some/most of your prereqs again and acing them. Additionally, get more OT observation hours in various settings and build some rapport with the admission directors of the schools you plan on applying to.

    Schools want the best applicants, they don't want to gamble. You have to let them know that you are a serious and capable candidate. Unfortunately, grades are a big part of the overall picture.
  3. luv4ot

    luv4ot

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    I agree with retaking some of those pre-reqs and getting more observation hours. Also, talk to the schools that you are interested in. See what they focus on in applications and what advice they'll have for you in order to be a better applicant. Don't give up!
  4. lizzo76

    lizzo76

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    Okay, this is N O T going to be a politically correct answer, by any means. I think the fact that you are black and male will definitely work in your favor. You're very rare in the OT field. Healing professions need people with whom patients can identify and feel comfortable, and you might fill a vital role.

    I'm not being racist here - let me state that first and foremost. I did a year in law school and at the time that I was applying, I spent a lot of time looking at an ABA website which reported GPAs and LSAT scores for students admitted to major law schools, broken down by race. It was not a site which directly showed that, say, black males on average had lower GPAs and LSAT scores, but rather it was a table in which you could search a certain GPA range and LSAT score range, and then see what percentage of people in each race were admitted with those stats. When you got to low stats, whites were not admitted but minorities still were. There were people with VERY poor stats getting into Harvard Law School.

    My point is not to rail against affirmative action or even to make any kind of commentary. I don't know what else these people may have had going for them. But I do know that I have worked in higher education for years, and affirmative action is just a well-known fact, even if some people don't like to mention it because it sounds racist. But the existence of affirmative action in no way suggests that minorities are on average less smart and couldn't get in on their own merits... it just shows that there is a system which tries to give them a leg up when needed. End of story... I'm not going to judge that one way or the other.

    So, back to you, OP. It would be hard for you to up your GPA (sounds like you've already taken the prereqs) to get you into the 3.0 range, even if you retake all your prereqs. But what you COULD do is take some elective science classes to prove that you just didn't take school seriously before. Or retake A&P I/II to prove you can do it. It's not in the school's interest to accept someone who will be in over his head, but if you can do SOMETHING to show ahead of time that you won't be... even if that means getting an A in just one hard science class... that might help you. And do as much as you can to show that you're serious about the field... volunteering, shadowing, etc..

    Normally I would say there's no hope for you, but I suspect that you have a shot. And if you can somehow frame your earlier slacking off in the best light... without lying... that would be good. Were you facing any obstacles or did you just party and fool around? What have you learned from not being serious? Why will things be different now? Etc..

    Oh, to add... look at schools in white areas. Seriously. I know people are going to jump down my throat, but schools in New England at chomping at the bit to add diversity.
  5. BigMeech

    BigMeech

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    Honestly retake all C's. The fact that your a minority will work in your favor once you have the standard they are looking for. You are far below what they are looking for trust me I know. I was rejected from every school except 2 and I had a higher gpa and good GRE scores. If you got C's in anatomy retake them and get A's along with other classes you did poor in and youll get in.
  6. lizzo76

    lizzo76

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    Yeah, of course having the best GPA possible AND being a minority will be more helpful than just being a minority, but no, it's not the case that being a minority only ever helps once an individual reaches the standard they're looking for. It works for some and not for others. I think you DO need to do something which shows you can handle the program... it's not in their interest or your interest for you to be admitted and be unable to handle it. But I don't know that you'll need to bring your GPA all the way up to a 3.0. And if you're talking about a 32-course undergraduate program, even retaking several courses will not bring your GPA up that high unless the new grade completely replaces the old grade, which is often not the case.

    I felt sort of bad about pointing out the availability of affirmative action until I realized that there was a reason the OP mentioned that he was black and male. I suspect he suspected his status might work in his favor. I don't come on here and mention that I'm white and female, but if I were on a forum for people applying to engineering programs, I'd mention that, because it would be relevant to the admissions decision. I think he knows being black and male could be relevant to the admissions decision.
  7. Penguinita

    Penguinita

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    hey Johnsrt7,

    I suggest re-taking the pre-req classes you'll need and make sure those grades are B-A range, mostly A! Being a minority might help, but that's depending on the admissions committee and remember when schools say they're looking for diversity it is not in the category of race/ethnicity only, it is in current occupation, age, hobbies, accomplishments and so on. Another factor is that the committee must think that you're capable of finish the program and then passing the NBCOT exam, otherwise it hurts the image of the institution.

    If this is what you really want to do your desire will show, volunteer/shadow as much as you can and in as many different places. Raise your pre-req GPA as high as you can. Also go tot he schools you will be applying to and show your interest and speak to people about the program. Make sure your essay is strong! Make sure your references are good too.

    The only person I can honestly say that got in, at Columbia no less, with a low gpa (2.7) came from Brown and with a bachelors in science majoring in hard science.

    Good Luck!!!
  8. SDCal19

    SDCal19

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    You have the same overall GPA as me but I am higher in prereqs. I think you should get more observation hours as well as volunteering in other areas as much as possible. Volunteer for things like the American Cancer Society or something like that and try to get into a leadership type role. They want to see that you are committed to this field and can handle responsibility in a leadership role. I am also a male and will be starting my program in the fall. Like others have said if this is what you really want to do then keep at it and you will find the right school for you.
  9. lizzo76

    lizzo76

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    Schools want a diversity of interests, but the fact remains that skin color is extremely important in admissions. Diversity is usually a buzzword for skin color, particularly at schools in white areas. (I went to a liberal arts college in New England in an area which is about 98% white.)

    In any case, I was just looking at a thread about Bay Path College, and saw that a poster with a 2.7 GPA got in. He/she had high recent grades, though. So it's possible if you can retake some classes and do well! Or if you have poor grades from early in college but better grades now.
  10. Twomoreclasses

    Twomoreclasses

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    I think that where there is a will there is a way. If you meet the minimal requirements and had have strengths to make up for the low GPA you might have a fighting chance at a less competitive school. Good recommendations might help. Not to be rude, but at some schools you could be purple and still not get in without at least a 3.6. To save money on applications I would ask the school directly if you stand a fighting chance. You could always apply to an OTA school as a Plan B. With good grades, a bridge to OT could happen.
  11. FutureOT2013

    FutureOT2013 MOT Student

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    With the numbers you gave, you have a slim to none chance of getting into any OT program for Fall 2012 even being a black male. Not sure exactly how many of prereqs you completed, but you need to retake all of your prereq C grades and do better and you need A's to bring your GPA up. I was in your shoes two years ago, overall GPA was a 2.6, but I had taken none of the prereqs yet. Completed 45 units (42 A units, 3 B units), and barely brought my overall to a 3.0, I got into USC on my upward trend. I live in California, and Samuel Merritt calculates your GPA on your most recent grade in a course and disregards any other grade instead of averaging, so if you retook some of your prereqs and did better your GPA would rise dramatically on their application. SJSU looks at your last 60 only. Some schools understand people can become better students gradually, and students can be motivated to work harder when they find a career that truly interests them. You should look into those schools and closely look at their admission criteria and how they calculate GPA's, you'd be surprised. Not sure if this is going to change when schools start using OTCAS, but this was how it was this past year. And if you haven't yet, try and kick ass on the GRE because it can really help your cause and make them think twice about a mediocre GPA, but you need to at least get your GPA closer to a 3.0 which is very doable.
  12. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig

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    A few thoughts.

    1.I perceive and believe there is enormous naivete in this field and this forum. Lizzo's come closest to addressing you and your issue, perhaps fretting too much despite proclaiming "no PC" about stepping on your toes, addressing this openly,candidly.

    2. We all are extended grace and mercy. My own view is that yours is unique and generous, being the potential beneficiaray of EO/AA stuff. No opining on that, as it simply is what it is. You may be offered a wonderful gift, giving you entry into many things that would not be available to persons of other races and/or ethnic background.

    3. Confronting this should NOT be deemed suggesting you or others with this gift are stupid, of lesser ability, or incapable of succeeding. It merely means the rules that are applied to the general populace do not apply to you. There is little or no evidence that because you are a black man, you could be more or less effective in dealing with black or white patients. THAT is a racist POV.

    4. Suggesting there is some "magic" in being a 3.4 gpa vs. a 2.5 gpa ... is silly. What this is is simply a reflection of current levels required for the run of the mill, meaning a WASP woman, must achieve to be considered. What I'm suggesting in this is that those who think there is some kind of achievement or aptitude level in this ... well it's purely academic, literally. There is NO EVIDENCE that a now-highly motivated man of color could not complete and succeed well, passing the NBOT exam, having a 2.5 or 2.7. It is merely a way to sort and keep score in what seems to be a modestly "objective" manner.

    5. My advice? I'd talk very directly to program folks of programs you might be interested in considering, exploring your admissability under your current record.

    6. And here's the game breaker. You get 1100+ on your gre's? You are a slam dunk, imo, even for the most competitive programs. You already know ... yours is the perfect storm, in reverse. A bright, if under-performing black male seekkng admission to programs and profession literally devoid of persons who look like you AND have apparent aptitude. Remembering that EVERY OT program is under enormous PC and grant-giving pressure to enlist the likes of you.

    Now, I hope I've not harmed or offended you.My lone desire it to offer honest, candid opinion to your honest, candid inquiry. I'm offering my own, different opinion from others here. And I'd place wager on mine. Rules for your candidacy are different. ESPECIALLY in academe and professional schools trying to become ever more legitimate in a crazy PC society. Receive this gift and do something great with it. And that means once admitted? Be that 4.0 student you allege you coulda/shoulda/woulda been absent laziness or lack of motivation or whatever kept you from being that already. For you see ... the downside to the gift available to you? You will have to go above and beyond to prove that you are worthy. For it is that same skin color that will work to your disadvantage down your road. Go, do great things, and prove your worthiness of running with the big doggettes,i.e. female of the species. ;-)
  13. FutureOT2013

    FutureOT2013 MOT Student

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    Your best advice is going to come from admissions people at the schools you are interested in applying to, not from a message board filled with potential OT students and new OT's, they know exactly what type of students they accept and with large amounts of applicants it has become a numbers game to an extent. Not saying anybody here is wrong or right, but we most certainly have different POV's and experiences. I brought my GPA up from a 2.7 to a 3.0, and that was the GPA Sarah Kelly from USC suggested I be at to be competitive and I managed to get in. The admissions people can give you stats of their admits, the low end GPA for the admitted group, advice on where you should be numbers wise by a certain date. Before I applied, I gave them my stats and asked them what they were looking and how I could make myself more competitive. You should cut and paste into an email and send it the admissions chair of different schools, they are really easy to get a hold of and are happy to answer your concerns. For some reason I doubt the OP is even reading this thread anymore though.:laugh:
  14. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig

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    You're prbly right. But it doesn't matter. Others will be, and the discussion and counsel offers some, dare I say it, diverse opinions on the subject and potential action-steps.

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