Considering OT with a 3.1 undergrad gpa, is this realistic or a fantasy?

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StLouie in Edwardsville, Illinois

17 months ago

Hi, I'm glad to have found this forum to talk about OT. I really have no one to talk to about some concerns I have about my likeliness of acceptance into an OT program.

For starters, my undergrad gpa with my BA was 3.137, which is above the 3.0 requirement for some Master's in OT programs I'm considering, but BARELY above it. I have not taken any of the prereq's, but if I were to make a solid 3.75+ average in prereq's, would that bring my cumulative gpa up for applying?

Secondly, is it REALLY true that going above-and-beyond in other application requirements like observation hours and GRE score will help bolster a low gpa such as mine? For instance, would having many volunteer hours in excess of the program's required amount, and observing in a variety of settings, improve my likelihood of acceptance?

Also, what advice could you give me on my timeline of events? I would like to begin a program August 2014. I have not begun prereq's but I'm trying to get in last minute for some classes this summer, then A&P I in the Fall, A&P II in Spring 2014. For those of you who are OT's or are in a OT program, did you job shadow/observe, figure out you loved it and then started prereq's? I haven't even shadowed anywhere yet so at this point I am trying to get into prereq classes based on what I read about OT and thinking I'd like it.

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OT grad 2012 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

There's another post about low GPA, etc. check it out =)
I'm copying my response from that one to here.

The much more expensive private and higher ranked schools like USC, BU, and Wash Univ (St Louis) can afford to take on more students, so they tend to have lower requirements in stats. Many students may apply to these schools, but due to the high tuition costs, opt not to attend. So these schools end up casting their nets wide to accept a full class of students. And because they're private, they tend to have more slots available. Public universities have more issues with fewer faculty, less slots available due to state budget cuts etc.

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OT grad 2012 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania

17 months ago

Oh, you should not discount the COTA programs, path.
The work is almost identical to what an OTR does, except for evaluations/ assessments.

The schooling is much cheaper because it's an Associates degree, but typically most COTAs have a BA (typically in psychology or other liberal arts) before COTA school.

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OT123 in Los Angeles, California

17 months ago

StLouie in Edwardsville, Illinois said: ...but if I were to make a solid 3.75+ average in prereq's, would that bring my cumulative gpa up for applying?

Honestly, because you have already accumulated so many units to complete your BA, adding a few more for prereqs will barely make a dent in your CUM GPA even with a straight 4.0. Unless you are taking two years of full time student prereqs, I suppose. Then your CUM GPA may bump up a bit. Also, it is pretty standard to make a solid 3.75 in prereqs (to be a competitive applicant). So if you really want to prove that you are not the same self that achieved a 3.1, you should really do everything possible to hit that straight 4.0 in prereqs.

StLouie in Edwardsville, Illinois said: Secondly, is it REALLY true...

To a certain degree. For public schools especially, GPA and GRE tend to be the two top factors to qualify applicants for admission. The other requirements are merely requirements that, once met, can be checked off their applicant checklist. Private schools tend to look at the bigger picture of the applicant. They may be impressed by surplus observation hours. But also remember, many applicants complete more than the required number of hours.

StLouie in Edwardsville, Illinois said: Also, what advice could you give me on my timeline of events ?

Not really sure what type of advice you are looking for here. All you can do is try to complete the prereqs as soon as you can and apply for schools. Keep in mind that some schools prefer applicants who have finished all prereqs (especially the science ones) before they apply. Having prereqs still in progress won't necessarily disqualify you, but it may hurt your chances for some schools.

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OT123 in Los Angeles, California

17 months ago

StLouie in Edwardsville, Illinois said: I haven't even shadowed anywhere yet so at this point I am trying to get into prereq classes based on what I read about OT and thinking I'd like it.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend that you observe OT in a couple different settings before committing your time, energy, and stress to the process. No, it is not impossible to get into an OT school with a 3.1 GPA. However, it is a lot harder. How much harder it is depends on you: your prereq GPA once finished, your GRE score, your personal statement, your letters of recommendation (most schools want at least one from a professor who can attest to your academic abilities and one from an OT who supervised you while you completed observation hours), etc.

Also some questions to keep in mind:
Are you willing to attend a private (and most likely very expensive school)? Public schools are very competitive.
Are you willing to relocate to attend a lower ranked private school?
Are you willing to try again the following year if you don't get accepted the first time you apply? (Some individuals have to apply 2, 3+ times before they are accepted. Are you willing to put your life "on hold" even if it takes you a couple years to get admitted?

Once again, it definitely IS possible to be admitted! These are just some factors you should think about. If you really want this, you'll find a way to make it happen. Good luck.

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