Considering OT

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by TheCBkid, 05.12.14.

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  1. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

    Joined:
    03.02.14
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    Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
    So, some of you may have seen me around before. Kid who has been getting mental health disorders treated. Desire to be a PT, but messed up bad due to everything I dealt with.

    Anyway. I met with my OT today, and we were talking about this while I was working through a few other things (I have an OT to help with dexterity, because I've always had problems writing and doing other fine things with my hands). She suggested I do my research on OT. And I did, and though I'm not sure that I want to do it, I am keeping it as a possibility because it actually seems like something I'd like. I just wanted to know if you guys agreed with these points:

    1) it seems my messing up in certain classes won't hurt me as bad as in PT, because my prereqs are different, and I've not messed up OT prereqs
    2) as someone who is interested in a career in rehabilitation, but struggles in chemistry, OT might be a better choice than some others because it doesn't seem to be too chemistry heavy (I've looked at some curricula and prereqs and haven't seen much if any chemistry related things)

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just at an age where I'm trying to figure out what to do, so I'm making sure I check all avenues. I won't do OT if I don't think it's for me of course. I'm currently in the process of doing research, as well as me having an open invitation from my own OT to do some shadowing.

    Thanks to all who read, and especially those who respond.
     
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  3. RedHeadOT

    RedHeadOT

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    To answer your first question, if you have not received low grades on your OT prerequisites, that is a good thing if you plan on moving forwards on the path towards OT. I think the biggest concern with doing poorly in other courses, that are not specifically OT prerequisites, is how those low grades have lowered your overall GPA. For admissions into many schools, you are required to have at least a 3.0 GPA. If you meet this minimum requirement, than I would assume the classes you have performed poorly in, as long as they don't relate to OT, would not harm your chances of entering OT school except to maybe make you a less competitive applicant. I do not know how PT handles admissions requirements, so I cannot speak to how OT admissions is different from PT admissions.
     
  4. coolrunnins

    coolrunnins

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    San Diego, CA
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    I agree with what RedHeadOT said but I would like to make a note of what you seem to believe is some large difference in OT vs PT courses and admissions criteria. You are correct, for the MOST PART (not all but most) OT programs don't require both chemistry and physics like PT programs do. Plenty of programs in OT do require one or the other though so be aware. Also, the admissios criteria are fairly similar and OT is not an easier admissions process. It is merely a bit different because of the slightly different courses you might have to take (more psychology for OT). I advise you to think hard about why you couldnt pull off a satisfactory grade in chemistry and if that will affect other science courses you most definitely need for OT. Also I would advise thinking about how you are going to handle yourself if your mental health disorder rears its ugly head again. Most OT programs will find out sooner or later about previous applications to PT programs and might be asking you about how this time around is different. Your best bet is interview heavy admissions programs where you can be armed with a good diplomatic and positive answer.
     
  5. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
    Thank you for your answers. I really do appreciate people taking their time to help me out.
    To clarify, I've not yet finished school I'm just preparing for the future. The reason I struggled in chemistry is because I had depression, but had trouble admitting it. Which meant i wasn't treaTing it. I have retaken chem and pulled off a B, but that was with very hard work, and a better state of mind. Currently retaking Anatomy and i am confident in my ability to succeed due to having taken a course in it in high school and doing well (college level course that sadly didn't transfer over)
    I am not looking at OT because I think it's an easier process, rather my OT believes it would be better suited for me (the actual schooling itself, not the job.) This woman has known me almost all of my life, so I can't really say anything other than she's worth listening to.

    I guess if I do go this route I'd either be looking for schools that A) replace grades instead of averaging or B) focus on the last 60 and prereqs.

    And lastly, what will I do if my mental disorder rears its head again. That's a great point. I've been taking medicine as well as doing therapy every two weeks. Exercising to get my overall health better and making sure to eat right and sleep enough. I also learned some techniques through biofeedback that help me calm down in the heat of the moment (has helped on many tests lol). I'm not really sure what to do if it comes up again honestly. I just have to hope it doesn't. I've been fine for a few months, as I think the team of doctors helping me are doing a good job
     
  6. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    So after doing some research, I've noticed there are a fair amount of schools (I think I counted at least 15 and I haven't even finished looking at every single school) that say they only look at your last 60 and Pre-reqs. That's good news for me. Also saw some schools that don't weight your cum GPA nearly as much as your Pre-req (I think Texas Tech said 20% pre-req, 5% Cum). Some schools seem to actually look at the full student and not just grades (I have some okay extras from before this stuff happened that I plan on continuing assuming this treatment holds up for the long term). And lastly, some schools with a lower Cum GPA requirement to apply. Some school that look at all of your credits do seem to have a 2.75 GPA requirement, so hopefully that will help me too (although I'm still fairly confident in my ability to bring my GPA above a 3)
    Can't find anything about GPA calculations, but I'm going to assume all schools will average out my First take of Anatomy and my second one. Which I guess won't be the end of the world as long as I pull off a solid A this time around.
    Set up two hours worth of observation, so the next two times I have appointments I will arrive an hour early and watch my OT with another patient.

    I guess my next question would be, will I at least have a chance to explain my situation and why I had these rough semesters? Grade trends clearly matter to these schools as they focus mostly on the last 60. I figure this could help people (Like me), or hurt people (someone who did really well to start and finished rough). What about Ws? I have a few of those too.
     
    mgeagle likes this.
  7. mgeagle

    mgeagle

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    First off let me commend you for your desire to do research before jumping into the application process, it is something people take for granted and it costs admission into med school, pt school, ot school, pharmacy etc. You are clearly an intelligent individual for this. Now concerning the schools with the 2.75 requirement don't let that fool you, as those schools just like any other OT school will get so many competitive applicants that they may have an informal cutoff you might not know about where if you don't have a 3.0 or better you won't be considered. Those minimum gpa requirements are such a smokescreen and can be very misleading, I called an admission office that said they would probably not look at an applicant fully with a gpa under a 3.5 but their website states that by all means you could apply as long as you had a 3.0, lol silly to me, why not say 3.5 then on the website and let people save their money instead of giving them false hope. To avoid being fooled and wasting application money CALL the admission office and get an idea of what the typical accepted applicant looks like, see if there were any that got in with a lower gpa. You may be surprised that the info they give you may not be stated on the website.
     
    coolrunnins likes this.
  8. coolrunnins

    coolrunnins

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    Couldn't agree with this response more...staying in contact with programs and getting the "reality" straight from the "horses" mouth so to speak is vital regarding application requirements/cutoffs. Also, don't forget that "informal" admissions criteria often times can play a role so get in contact with admissions personnel in the school.OT department you want to apply for and go visit...let me say that again GO VISIT if you can. Not just the normal info sessions, but ask to set up a meeting with a professor in the department or a appointment with admissions personnel to goover your individual profile. A face and a personality speaks more than stats ever will. I know from firsthand experience and my mother is a high school guidance counselor and has taught me the inside scoop on admissions.
     
  9. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    Thank you for your kind words guys. I am not going to be applying for admission until after my graduation in may 2016, so I'm guessing the class of 2016 will be my first, and ideally, only cycle (assuming I do apply, I like the stuff I read, but no decisions will be made until after at least 30+ hrs of observation, since this would be my life).

    I am taking 71 credits between now and then, ans with the exception of Biomechanics and calc 2, I'm sure I can do really well. As in mostly A's.

    Other than acing my classes and getting some observation hours, what can I do to increase my chances? And are there any schools on the east that you guys recommend I look into? I'll apply anywhere, but ideally I get to stay on the East (family everywhere from New York to Florida, but nowhere west.) I'm real interested in VCU because I know they look mostly at prereqs and last 60, and it's right near a fair amount of my family.
     
  10. ExceptionalSea

    ExceptionalSea 2+ Year Member

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    look for any and all research or volunteer opportunities that could even be loosely related to occupational therapy. to make yourself stand out you'll want to be unique in the extra-curricular activities you pursue. volunteering for another cause on top of your observation hours can show your passion for serving the community and also set you apart by demonstrating what other kinds of things you are interested in. you will probably still be able to relate those volunteer experiences back to OT in your personal statement/interview since OT is such a broad field. just an example off the top of my head would be volunteering with big brothers/big sisters and relating it back to your interest in pediatrics, etc. obviously you could go many different ways with it! having research experience (even if it's not in OT, but in a related field like psychology) will help set you apart too.
     
  11. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    I just like your response because you happened to point out big brother, which I've been involved in since i was fifteen. My first little brother is actually entering high school in September. Crazy.

    Iv been contacting schools personally, so I guess my final question for this thread is, is there a place for me to explain my rough start to school, and do you guys think it will be taken seriously as long as I continue to show significant improvement?
     
  12. ExceptionalSea

    ExceptionalSea 2+ Year Member

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    haha nice coincidence that i pulled the big brother reference out of nowhere.

    yes, you will have a time or place to explain your rough start to school. i actually failed 3 classes my freshman year. i didn't go on and on about it my essay, but i did briefly touch on it and used it as a jumping off point to show how i had matured since then. if you have significant improvement from your mistakes it will make it all the more easier to show how dedicated you are. i didn't apply to any schools that required an interview but i am sure it is something you could explain during your interviews as well.
     
  13. RedHeadOT

    RedHeadOT

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    I remember having the question, "How will you handle the workload of the program?" during at least one or two of my interviews. I think this question would allow you to quickly explain your previous experiences before going on to explain your current situation.
     
  14. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    Thank you all for taking time to answer all of these general questions :)
    I think I have all of the information I need, so my next post in here SHOULD be a report back on how my first set of observation hours went, and how I feel in general about whether or not to apply. Like I said, on paper the career seems great for me. I just want to see how it looks/feels in reality, outside of my own appointments.
     
  15. TheCBkid

    TheCBkid

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    WAIT ACTUALLY- one last question!
    I notice a lot of the schools I'm looking at don't use OTCAS. How often do they switch to from Non-OTCAS to OTCAS? I hear OTCAS increasing number of apps and therefore makes it much harder to get into. Since I wouldn't be applying for a few years (I'd miss the 2015 and 2016 cycles), I feel like quite a few schools may switch. Does that happen often?
     

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