legrev

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Here is my "academic/career" profile, those of you that have been accepted to MOT/ MSOT programs, please let me know what you think and if I have any chances. I'm worried because OT has been a recent discovery of mine, it hasn't been a dream of mine since a little girl, and to be honest-- I just stumbled upon this field about 6 months ago when I had my "quarter life" crisis after being rejected from clinical psychology programs. I plan to apply to programs beginning this August and into fall for admissions into programs beginning in 2013.

1)Graduated cum laude from UCSD in 2010 with a BS in Psychology
2)GRE: Verbal: 670 Quantitaive: 660 Writing: 4.0
3)Pre reqs I still need to take (summer and fall 2012 semesters): Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Medical Terminology (for some schools) and Adult portion of Developmental Psychology
4) Work history: past 2 years I have worked for UCSD psychiatry research working with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and alzheimer's patients (daily contact) I recently got hired for an ABA behavioral therapist working one on one with Autistic Children which will start in June
5) Volunteer: I have no hours as of yet; I have a volunteer facility set up with an OTR that will start in June as well; my goal is to get 40 hours by August


I plan to apply to all OT programs in CA with my top choices being Cal State Dominguez Hills and San Jose State for financial purposes.

Can any of you give me words of wisdom, suggestions, encouragement? Being rejected this past year put things in perspective and I am just really ready to get a career going as soon as possible.

Thank you so much!
 

Joe3333

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You should not have any problem getting into most schools. Your GRE scores are good and I am assuming you have a good GPA (above 3.5) if you graduated cum laude. Just make sure you volunteer at a variety of places to demonstrate a good understanding of OT. My profile is similar to yours and I got in everywhere I applied.
 

resot

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Make sure you get your hours completed and have good LORs. Once you have those, I think you're set for CSUDH. I know a few people in my cohort who got in with weaker stats. If your first choice is SJSU, your chances are not as good.

Good luck!
 
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gymnastau

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You'll probably do great! Start contacting both of those schools and visit if you can. Get as many volunteer hours in as you can and a variety of them as well. Do VERY well in A&P, it seems to stand out to OT programs. Start considering your letters of recommendations early. I'm sure your experience from already applying to clinical psychology programs will benefit you.

Those who are accepted to OT programs seem to have variable stats and there really is no recipe to get in. Although, it does not hurt to ask CSUDH and SJSU a bit more about the profile of their accepted students.

I would also consider other schools outside of those two programs just in case. Both programs get an insane number of applications and I believe SJSU marginally reduced the number of students they accept in order to deal with financial cuts.

PS: I also discovered OT after a series of bumps in the road and my own quarter-life crisis. :)

Good luck, OT is an awesome field!
 

2bOT

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In addition to the great advice above me, I suggest you take A&P first. As gymnastau said, schools value those pre-reqs the most. An "in progress" mark next to the most important pre-reqs on your application when you submit could really hurt you. Good luck!
 

legrev

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Wow all your guys' advice is great and boosts my motivation a little more. I do agree that Anatomy and Physiology should be the first I take, which is my plan--- but since almost every pre-med, pre-health sciences majors need it, I'm worried about not getting into the classes at the cc i'm starting at in June :(
I am trying everything I can and trying to network with as many OTRs as possible. I'm very excited, I keep hearing great things about this field!


Thanks for the advice guys!
 

127428

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In addition to the advice above I think it's really important to shadow in a variety of settings and go well beyond minimal requirements set by programs. With acceptance to these programs becoming so competitive it really helps to demonstrate your interest in OT this way.
 

127428

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Also, I have similar GRE scores, I was a psych undergrad, and I also had the same prereqs to take while applying- I am finishing them up now. It will probably be a stressful year but it's worth it in the end if this is what you want to do.
Btw- that work experience sounds great! I think if you do well in your prereqs and get lots of shadowing that at least a couple of OT schools will certainly accept you.
P.S. Don't wait to the last minute to apply like I did unless you really want to stress yourself out!!
 

legrev

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Thanks guys! I am worried about my shadowing for OTs because first of all it took me a while to get a volunteer position (but I don't start until June) because most places either didn't respond to me, OR they don't allow non student volunteers (for work comp issues?) OR the public hospitals had like a 6+ month waiting list. So I have one set up and ready for me to start at, it's in a pediatric setting which is my ultimate goal for OT but I'm worried about not being able to get set up with another type of setting since this one was so hard to come by.

Do any of you know if the schools judge what duties you did as a volunteer? All of the programs I look at just say "must volunteer X amount of hours directly supervised by an OTR and have a letter of rec written by one" none of them specify whether I need hands on contact, etc. What if my duties simply consist of filing and mailing and front desk things? I'm so worried! All I know is that my volunteer position is at an outpatient pediatric OT clinic, I would be supervised by an OT, get to "observe" but NO hands on training with children, and do a lot of clerical work.

Thoughts?
 

127428

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I would be very annoyed if I shadowed somewhere and they had me doing clerical work. In fact, I wouldn't shadow there. OTs know that students need shadowing and so most in my experience are very willing to have students come observe (hopefully not to do the "front desk" things). For having a hard time finding places, it really just takes A LOT of looking around on the internet for places, calling around, and then networking with OTs you shadow. Schools probably won't expect you to have hands on contact because there are liabilities with that. Pay attention to the things that OTs are doing because remembering those things really payed off in interviews and essays for me. I was also really nervous before I started shadowing but if you're observing a good OT the experience will probably be great in the end. Sorry for babbling, I just know that I've been there and it sucked!
 

2bOT

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Sometimes hospitals aren't the best way to go because they can abuse volunteers in that way. Story - when I first signed up to volunteer at my university hospital, I couldn't specify what department I wanted. I was placed in the GIFT SHOP, basically doing the job that a paid cashier should while the "manager" sat in the back room and read tabloids. Super irritating.

If you're interested in peds, check out if there are OTs at elementary schools in your area. My most valuable observation experience was at a small private school for kids with disabilities. I loved going every week, the OTs and PTs were so helpful, and I truly learned a lot! I developed a great relationship with the OTs there because it was a small facility. I did help out with cleaning up after some activities, walking the kids to the bathroom, etc., but stuff like that didn't bother me like the freaking gift shop did.

Do a search for rehab facilities in your area - OT is a vast field, believe it or not, and smaller lesser known facilities (not affiliated with a huge hospital) will likely be more accommodating and easier to get into.
 

kgirl0042

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Hey, you sound so much like me, it's crazy! I'm also a recent psych undergrad who, after a round of clinical psych program rejections and a quarter life crisis of my own, discovered OT. :)

I agree with the suggestion above about shadowing/volunteering in a school setting. I'm in the process of setting up my shadowing experience at an elementary school, and the OT I've been talking to has been SO helpful and grateful that I want to volunteer in the classroom. For someone who's especially interested in peds, it seems like the ideal setting to put in observation hours.

Best of luck to you!
 

OTdream

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Hey, you sound so much like me, it's crazy! I'm also a recent psych undergrad who, after a round of clinical psych program rejections and a quarter life crisis of my own, discovered OT. :)

I agree with the suggestion above about shadowing/volunteering in a school setting. I'm in the process of setting up my shadowing experience at an elementary school, and the OT I've been talking to has been SO helpful and grateful that I want to volunteer in the classroom. For someone who's especially interested in peds, it seems like the ideal setting to put in observation hours.

Best of luck to you!

How did you get in contact with the school OT please? I seriously called about 40 places and they all said that they either have enough volunteers or not interested in someone observing their work (which is so odd to me). I live in NYC so I don't know if that makes a difference. I already volunteer at a geriatric center but I'm trying to observe different settings. I also volunteer in settings unrelated to OT.
 

kgirl0042

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How did you get in contact with the school OT please? I seriously called about 40 places and they all said that they either have enough volunteers or not interested in someone observing their work (which is so odd to me). I live in NYC so I don't know if that makes a difference. I already volunteer at a geriatric center but I'm trying to observe different settings. I also volunteer in settings unrelated to OT.
Hi, sorry, I just saw that you replied to this!

I live in a suburb, so I'm guessing that may be a factor in why it was easier for me to set up a school observation experience. But what I did was contact the OT "Team Leader" for the school district, and she then sent out a message w/my contact info to all local school OTs, asking if anyone was willing to have me shadow them. The OT I'm working with was then able to email me, and we set it up from there.

Even though it's almost summer, you might try contacting school OTs and/or special ed teachers to see if there's a summer program you could shadow/volunteer for. Lots of schools continue programs for special needs children in the summer, and it may be easier for you to find a shadowing opportunity during one of these "lesser-known" programs. Good luck!
 

babycheeks

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I was a part time volunteer at Denton Regional Medical Center, it was near University of North Texas. I did it all four years during my bachelors by being a volunteer they didn't mind if I did some observation hours here and there. I was able to observe many OTs over the four years. I rounded up the observation forms, also got a lot of recommendation letters this way (I had way more than the required amount). I didn't do any other settings my car started to break down couldn't really get to a bunch of settings. I decided to apply to a MOT without the other settings and sure enough... got into the MOT.

I believe all the recommendation letters helped they were well written and I had MORE than enough, but of course the volunteer work and observation hours played a role. My essay I worked on for months and asked a professor at UNT to review it (she also wrote a recommendation letter). My advice you want to make sure your gpa and gre is high or at least good enough, and def get in those recommendation letters, observation hours, be prepared for an interview remember your goals during your interview: to convey your interest, motivation, and professionalism, you should anticipate questions and you should prepare questions, and it won't hurt to have someone review the personal statement or essay to make sure you don't have a lot of mistakes!

Here is an idea if your stuck on finding a setting: Try nonprofits many occupational therapist work at a nonprofit.
 
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eagle88

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pretty sure almost all schools require X amount of hours from AT LEAST 2 different settings. you will have to find another population to observe an OT under im afraid
 

babycheeks

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eagle88 not all schools require at least 2 different settings. I got in with one that means not mine, but than again it's a small college. Many others yes at least two settings!
 
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frootloops

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I didn't read what anyone else wrote but I will let you know that my OT school applications were hindered by the number of volunteer sites I had. They wanted to know that I had a breadth of OT experience before I got into school and said that it would have helped to have volunteer hours in the more difficult setting of mental illness. Otherwise, I don't think you will have a problem. I would also suggest looking into out of state schools because you would be surprised how inflated CA tuition rates are. EWU and UW are out of state, but once you declare residency, you are basically paying the same as the cal states. Additionally, both have a wonderful program. EWU did seem more difficult to adjust because I am a Cali girl and never lived far from the Pacific ocean.

Apply to more schools because the cal states get A LOT of applications. When I applied to CSUDH last year, I walked in my application because I lived in LA and was told that 100 other people WALKED IN their application. So, I don't even know how many applied online, but I know that program is ridiculously saturated with applications.
 

quraish

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You have the academics obviously and I am sure any OT school would love to have someone intelligent and with experience working with people with disabilities. Make yourself more valuable by shadowing or assisting an OT. Other than that you should be good!
 
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