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Which is harder to get into: PT or OT?

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by ActionJaxsun25, 04.25.12.

  1. ActionJaxsun25

    ActionJaxsun25

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    I spent the past year applying and interviewing at DPT programs only to be relegated to waitlists. I have now been planning what to do this next year. Do I reapply to DPT or do something else? This led me to look into OT programs and I think I would be happier practicing in this emphasis. So I am preparing to apply to OT schools and trying to understand the application competitiveness. Has anyone had any experience with this? Or has an opinion on the position? Thanks!
  2. 2bOT

    2bOT

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    Historically, PT programs have been more difficult to get into than OT, but in the past few years the number of applicants to OT programs have literally grown exponentially. OT school is becoming increasingly harder to get into and will continue to do so, as it's being consistently ranked on "best jobs" and "growing fields" lists published nationwide (unfortunately the number of seats in schools do not appear to be growing with the job opportunities). Not to mention tons of people are making OT a second career with the downturning economy and poor job prospects for those with general bachelors degrees. While OT and PT are similar fields, you should really go with what you WANT to do for the rest of your life. If going into OT is "settling" for you because you didn't get into PT school the first time around, you might be unhappy in your career later down the road (not to mention have taken up a seat in a program someone who is really passionate about OT missed out on). My roommate considered applying to OT school if she didn't get into a PT program this year, but after she was accepted and she was able to retire her backup plan, she confessed that she really wouldn't have been happy with OT and would have regretted not trying again for PT. You have a few months before the apps open for both fields, so why not get out there and shadow an OT? You'll need documented observation hours if you decided to apply anyway, and that real life exposure will allow you to figure out if it's something you actually want to pursue. Good luck!
  3. speedyy12

    speedyy12

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    Make sure you WANT THIS. You said you "think" you may know, so I suggest that you go do some observations in both PT and OT and see which one you may prefer. I was in your boat because I used to be in PT, however, when I went to observe OT more, I found myself more drawn to it. So don't just go the easy route and apply to what may be the "easier" profession, because OT is VERY different than PT and much more psych based because OT's look at the entire person, where as PT looks more at the injury. Not to sound mean or harsh, but make sure you know what you want and not go into it because it is an "easier" route.
  4. affa

    affa

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    One of the few thing I think OT schools do right in their application process is that they require a significant amount of hours of shadowing or working with an OT. Best way to find out if it could make you happy is by trying it out!

    My suggestion is to make three phone calls to OTs. Today. Try to set up a day you can shadow them soon so that you can quickly find out what makes the most sense for you.
  5. ActionJaxsun25

    ActionJaxsun25

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    DPT / OTD
    Thanks everyone. I didn't mean to imply that I was trying to find an easier career or anything. I was just curious if there are any former PT students that decided to go into the OT field instead. I was also wanting to try to gain an understanding of the level of competivity for admittance to OT programs. Difference between MSOT and MOT. Also to know PT schools receive hundreds of applications. Is OT just as popular or sought after? I'm still researching and going into to shadow in OT clinics before I begin applying. Thanks for any and all help!
  6. 2bOT

    2bOT

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    I think that if OT is not as competitive as PT yet, it soon will be. Most schools out there get at least 4x the number of applications that they have seats for.
  7. 127428

    127428

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    To answer your question about how many applicants there are to programs, there is a ton of variation. Some schools will have 500-600+ applicants with 30-40 seats while others only have 100 applicants. Call schools that you are interested in and ask if you can't find the info on their site. Schools with applications through OTCAS will usually have way more applicants than schools that you send your application directly to the program so I would suggest finding the schools not yet on OTCAS for less competition. Good luck in whatever path you decide!
  8. speedyy12

    speedyy12

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    at Seton Hall's program, the number of seats available are determined on how many 3+3 students are going into the class. my current class has a split of about 17 3+3 students (from undergraduate) and 17 open spots left for applications and i believe we had about over 200+ applications. this year i heard it went up even more so it just depends.
  9. failureisnotfatal

    failureisnotfatal

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    So, is the basic answer that the programs are equally difficult to get into? or that PT school is harder to get into? I have been wondering about this too because i'm an undergraduate right now. I know a lot about both fields but I honestly think that I could enjoy doing either one so the difficulty of the school/amounting of school is a factor at this point.
  10. OTtoB

    OTtoB

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    The economy is going down the drain. The lack of funding for higher education (in general) has led to a decrease of seats, and an increase of tuition rates. The number of OT seats in higher education hasn't increased, despite the demand for OTs. Everything is getting harder to get into however, not just OT. An old professor of mine told me that a student with a 4.0 GPA and Great MCAT applied to 19 medical schools and didn't get in anywhere.

    I have a 3.6 overall GPA, 3.7 science GPA, prereq GPA of 3.5-3.7, +800 total hours of observation and extracurricular stuff (all highly relevant to OT, including working as a rehab tech).
    I've had 3 interviews, got rejected from the first school, waitlisted at the second, currently waiting to hear from the third school. I had another interview invite but declined because it was too far away, and I'm waiting on another school to review my application and possibly send me an invite.

    The first two schools have seen large increases in the number of applications (+100-200 applicants within the past two admissions cycles, for a total of 600-800 applicants competing for just 35 seats). Needless to say, at those schools I am competing against people with 3.7-3.9 GPAs, with degrees in subjects like Neuroscience, who already have several years of experience in healthcare and are doing a career change.

    I'm not sure about the other schools, but they have seen increases too. So yes, OT is now approaching the competitiveness of what PT and medical school once was (from my experience). I was told by an interviewer that the OT profession will be moving towards the OTD as the standard entry level degree, so OT is changing drastically.

    If your GPAs aren't in the 3.7-3.9 range, you may want to focus on schools that receive less applicants. I decided to apply to and invest in highly competitive schools this application cycle when I should have broadened my options a bit more.
    Last edited: 12.04.13
  11. failureisnotfatal

    failureisnotfatal

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    Thanks for the perspective on things. It is interesting to see that both types of school are equally competitive to get into. I hope you get in somewhere. With a GPA above 3.5, you should definitely be accepted to PT school somewhere. I know that the average GPA for PT school last cycle was around 3.5. So you are a bit above average and seem very qualified.
  12. OTtoB

    OTtoB

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    The average can be deceptive. I'd say you need .2-.3 above their average for both overall and prerequisite GPAs. I was rejected from the university that had a 3.43 average, waitlisted at the one with a 3.57.

    Avoid having a minimalist mentality. You don't want to shoot for the average, you want to shoot for what their quota is to secure a seat. Otherwise, you'll get waitlisted, or at worse rejected.

    There are also other factors involved. The one I was rejected from after the interview has a low acceptance rate (3%) for students out of state, and I applied out of state. Meanwhile the acceptance rate was 14% for in state students. If I was in state, I may have had an easier time getting in. But since I was out of state, I was competing with say, the top 3% applicants out of that pool, and the top 3% may have had 3.7-3.9 GPAs.

    Lastly you should ask the program what their criteria is before you apply. It might increase your chances by applying to a program that is a better fit. If a program likes work experience, and that is your strong point, then that might be a better fit than a program that doesn't really consider experience when calculating your score for admissions criteria. Some consider the applicant as a whole, others just look at your scores.
    Last edited: 12.04.13
  13. alansda

    alansda

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    A casual estimate for the average GPA for OT school is 3.5
    I did a simple google search for the following to come to that estimate:
    Code:
    occupational therapy accepted average gpa site:*.edu
    Granted this is by no means scientific but just a casual observation
    How'd you arrive at that number?
    Last edited: 12.04.13
  14. failureisnotfatal

    failureisnotfatal

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    Found it on a CAPTE factsheet

    http://www.capteonline.org/uploaded...gram_data/aggregateprogramdata_ptprograms.pdf
  15. drm66

    drm66

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    so all undergrad I wanted to do PT, I was even the president of the Pre-PT club at my school. I applied to DPT school and didn’t get in. I was deviated and didn’t know what to do with my BS in Health Science. However, throughout undergrad I always questioned PT, but didn’t know of any other pathways.
    My rejection happend to be the best gift. I took a job at a rehab hospital to see ST, PT, and OT. I assist each of the therapists. I shadowed elsewhere too. Between shadowing and my job, I was able to see all the disciplines. I have been accepted to MOT school currently..yaya! but I owe this to my experience. I can clearly say why I want to go to OT school and not PT school.
    It is a personal decision and you might like one more than the other. at my hospital I even checked nursing, respiratory, and nutrition out…I didn’t know what to do. I did find my way.

    I think it depends on which schools as for competitiveness with PT and OT.
    what i’ve learned: there are more PT schools than OT schools, so there are more Pt applicants than OT applicants from what I understand. Regardless it is a tight competition

    You might also want to look into PTA and COTA/L which are the assistant to the PT’s and OT’s…. not as rigorous academics, and excellent job security. You can pretty much do everything the PT’s and OT’s do.

    Take everyones advice and shaow/volunteer SEVERAL environments. There was one hospital I hated, but 2 other environments I loved. Depends on population.
    You might not even like PT and/or OT. So get out therE!

    You will find your way!
  16. drm66

    drm66

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    devistated*
  17. OTtoB

    OTtoB

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    I don't know. Before interviewing I took an intro to OT book, read that twice, memorized terminology from the book, read excerpts from a standard textbook used in MOT programs, and read articles in Occupational science. I was able to talk to the interviewers using extensive OT theory and terminology. I could articulate my reason for pursuing OT, the future of the profession, and the underlying philosophical differences between OT and PT quite well. Most of the interviewers were amused, one was quite thankful that I did that much research into the profession.

    To some degree, the admissions process is random and arbitrary. Sometimes its about being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes its about getting to the right interviewer who you happen to connect with really well, that has the tenure to get you a seat.
    Last edited: 12.04.13

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