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General Admissions & OTCAS Personal Statement

Discussion in 'Occupational Therapy [ O.T.D ]' started by Makingmoves2014, May 12, 2014.

  1. Makingmoves2014


    Oct 19, 2013
    Can someone proofread my personal statement please!
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  3. DanOTR/LNMT

    DanOTR/LNMT 2+ Year Member

    May 10, 2014
    Sure! Send it over to me and I'll take a look - I wish I had someone that could have looked over mine back when I was applying. :)
  4. Makingmoves2014


    Oct 19, 2013
    My personal statement is too long to send…..I can post it on here but I'm afraid someone will plagiarize my personal statement
  5. DanOTR/LNMT

    DanOTR/LNMT 2+ Year Member

    May 10, 2014
    Oi. You can send it to my email, which I'll message you.
    J966 likes this.
  6. ExceptionalSea

    ExceptionalSea 5+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2012
    i know you were just asking for someone to proofread your personal statement, but i've copied and pasted the essay tips from my school's pre-health advising website for anyone else who might need help. i thought they were SUPER helpful and the tips are really specific to writing a personal statement for OT programs. i read these tips before even starting my statement and it really helped the writing process go smoother.

    Tips for writing your essay

    • A personal essay is not a résumé in paragraph format! Follow the suggestions in this section to avoid this potential pitfall. The essay is not a list of what you've done. It is an opportunity for you to reflect on the experiences you have undertaken to learn about the profession, and a self-assessment in which you explain why you chose this particular career.
    • Undertake clinical observation in a variety of OT environments, and follow the suggestions on our Clinical Observation page. You can use your observations as a launch pad or brainstorming tool for your personal statement, and to enhance the essay itself.
    • Some programs have specific essay requirements or particular questions they want you to address, so check the web sites of individual programs to which you plan to apply. Check the same with regard to possible secondary applications.
    • Most applicants find that the question, "Why do I want to be a OT?" becomes an integral part of their personal statement. Again, you should also check the web sites of individual programs for specific essay or personal statement requirements, which can vary from program to program.
    • Personal statements can take many different forms, both stylistically and content-wise. One central purpose they should all share is building the applicant's credibility: it is important that you demonstrate to admission committees that you are 100% devoted to pursuing OT; that you have worked hard to develop the academic and personal skills, and gained the experience necessary, for success in graduate school; and that you are equally devoted to excelling within the profession itself.
    • Following from the above points, remember that within the health professions the focus is always on service to patients; on the caregiver-patient relationship; on effective rapport-building and communication within that relationship; on working effectively with other healthcare professionals on behalf of your patient; and on patient advocacy. Some aspect of this patient-centric approach should play a role in your personal essay. In other words, not to put too fine a point on it, but it's not all about what the profession can do for you (though certainly you want to find your career personally fulfilling), it's about the patient.
    • Specificity is crucial to a successful personal essay. Therefore, use your shadowing journal as a launch pad or brainstorming tool for your personal statement:
      • Recall in detail some specific OT-related volunteer experiences you might have had, and some interactions you had with a given OT while shadowing, which impacted your decision to pursue the profession, or which taught you something you did not previously know about yourself in relation to the profession. It is not mandatory that you include detailed accounts of shadowing or volunteer experiences in your essay, but most applicants find that doing so helps them demonstrate their interest in the profession, and their preparedness for embarking upon the intensive formal training process. Vagueness and over-generalization are the enemies of a strong personal essay. In fact, applicants will sometimes be as specific in their essay as, "...For instance, once, when shadowing a OT at such and such a place, I observed this and that, and here is specifically how that particular experience reinforced my understanding of the profession, my decision to be a OT, and/or my own related skills and attributes, such as this particular skill and this specific attribute." This level of specificity can greatly enhance a personal statement. It can reduce the chances that admission committees will have to read between the lines and guess what you mean, or worse, assume that you really have not thought much about your goals and your reasons for pursuing them.
    • Maintain patient privacy when describing clinical observation and direct patient care experiences. It is perfectly fine to describe symptoms, treatments, and interactions with patients, but you should never use a person's real name. Instead, you can refer to them using pronouns (he, she, they). It is also standard practice to substitute a made up name for the real name if it will help your writing flow better; for example, "One clinical observation experience which had a particularly profound impact on my decision to pursue the profession, was with a man - I'll call him Ted - recovering from a stroke...". (HIPPA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
    • Because the average personal essay runs about 600 or 800 words, you will need to be selective and very pointed with what you choose to write about, and what you decide to describe in more detail.
    • The above points all reflect another core purpose of the personal essay, and one to which most admission committees pay close attention: your ability to self-assess - to reflect upon your own experiences and draw conclusions from them about your goals, skills, and attributes; your ability to learn from your experiences; your dedication to learning from your mistakes, and your willingness to challenge your own preconceptions; your ability to effectively assess your goals and your reasons for pursing them; and, equally important, your ability to convey this information in a coherent, professional manner.
    • Stylistically, it is common practice to write the personal statement from the first person (I / me) perspective. This is your opportunity to tell admission committees the three or four most important things about yourself and your pre-OT experience prior to (hopefully) the interview. In fact, you could look upon the personal essay as the interview before the interview.
    • Avoid needless redundancy - repeating the same thought, sentence, or phrase, unless there is a valid stylistic or rhetorical reason for doing so.
    • Along the same lines, remember that vagueness and over-generalization are the enemies of a strong personal essay. Specificity is key.
    • Avoid clichés like, "I am very passionate..." Generalities and clichés can give the impression that you have not thought in detail about your reasons for pursuing the profession, and have not done a thorough assessment of the specific experiences and attributes that will enable you to be a successful graduate student, and an excellent practitioner in the profession. Generalities and cliche's tell admission committees nothing about you. You may indeed feel passionate about pursuing the profession (in fact, if you don't, you should be pursuing something else!), but you need to demonstrate how the passion developed, and how you have channeled that energy into your preparation. Do so by using specific language to describe how your shadowing, academics, and so on, clearly reflect your devotion to the profession.
    • Your essay should be perfectly free of typos and spelling / grammatical errors. Some admission committees stop reading after two or three such mistakes, and literally drop the offending essay onto the "No" pile. Professionalism is crucial. Just as college is a step up from high school, graduate school is a step (or two) up from your undergraduate degree.
    MoFarr, justinr1372 and tabsabs like this.

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