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3 Tips for Applying to OT School

Written by Sue Ram, Published on June 19, 2017

Applying to OT school is not easy.

It can seem like a time of constant self-doubt and worry.

Here at NGOT, we want to help you become the best OT you can be, starting right at the application process! Check out these 3 tips to help those of you applying to OT school. Being competitive is key.


Show admissions that you are a well-rounded applicant. Good grades are important, but schools want to see that you did something else other than studying all day and night. When looking to do your required hours, look for volunteer positions in the rehab department at a local hospital or clinic.

This can show that you helped out in addition to observing. Volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to OT-related activities. Show admissions that you have something unique to bring to the table. Maybe you plan an annual 5k run every year or maybe you like to walk dogs at the shelter on the weekends.

Our profession is about giving back and having a strong volunteer/extra-curricular background is always a plus!

Get familiar with different practice settings

You don’t have to be 100% certain about whether you want to work with pediatrics or with older adults. It will strengthen your application if you show that you took an interest and initiative to learn about the various settings that OTs can be found.

Check out an inpatient psych unit that has an OT or an adult outpatient setting. You can even check out a hand therapy clinic or a school setting. It can be difficult to find places to observe or shadow at, but try to start your search early in the game. Some hospitals have long waiting lists and requirements that are needed just to step foot into the facility.

The key here is to mix it up in order to learn as much as you can. Also, remember to ask questions and take notes!

Be unique

Don’t be afraid to be different by highlighting your unique strengths. Most programs strive to admit students with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Don’t be embarrassed to share your personal journey through your educational endeavors. Your personal characteristics will make you the best OT that you can be.

Another tip is to use your personal statement to give the reader an idea of who you are. This is not a time to repeat everything on your transcript or resume. It is a  time to show and describe how you are a good fit for OT. Don’t be afraid to use real-life examples. You have something special to bring to the table that nobody else has, use that to your advantage.

Looking for more detailed content on applying to OT school? Be sure to register and sign up for NGOT and download our extensive ebook on occupational therapy school admissions. 

Don't let the name fool you. NGOT is committed to helping new grads AND prospective students applying to OT school. Be sure to follow us for future OT school admissions content. 😄

Topics:admissionsapplicationapplying to OT schoolGrad Schoolot schoolsettingstips for occupational therapy students



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