In addition to a strong GPA and specific pre-requisite courses, OT programs also look at exam scores, letters of recommendation, and experiences. Typically, programs want well-rounded applicants, so it is critical that you do not neglect these areas of the application.
Most OT schools require that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE consists of three sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing. Although you do not need any specific course before taking the exam, you should expect to study for at least a couple of months in advance.
Average combined GRE scores for accepted students tend to be in the range of 305-310 range. Also, a score of 4 or greater on the writing portion is preferred.
Please visit the GRE website for more information, registration dates, and study guides. The Pre-Professional Advising Office has a Resource Library from which you can check-out GRE prep books as well as Study Rooms which can be reserved.
Most OT schools will require you to have at least a minimum of three letters of reference.
- Augusta University requires three letters of recommendation. At least two of these must be from occupational therapists, while the other may come from an OT, a college professor, or a work supervisor who can assess your academic or work-related behaviors and potential for success as an Occupational Therapist.
- Brenau University requires three letters of recommendation. At least one of these must be from an occupational therapist, while the others may come from an OT, a college professor, a work supervisor, or other individuals who can assess your promise in the field of occupational therapy.
- Georgia State requires three letters of recommendation. At least one of the applicant’s letters of recommendation must be from an occupational therapist that has observed or supervised the applicant in the clinical setting. The second letter, though, should be from a professor. The final letter may be from a work supervisor, academic advisor, or other health care professional, but may not be from a family member.
*Please note that if you choose to apply to multiple programs, you will need enough letters to meet the requirements of all of the schools to which you have chosen to apply!
Should I waive my right to view my letters of recommendation?
Yes. Letters that can be viewed by the student do not carry the same weight as those kept confidential.
Many schools require applicants have experience observing or shadowing occupational therapists in action. Most programs require 50-60 hours at the least, but more is certainly recommended. Some programs specify the number of sites, as well as the types of experiences that students should pursue. It is usually expected, though, that students have at least one outpatient experience and one inpatient experience. It is also recommended that students get a wide variety of shadowing experiences and are well-rounded in terms of the hours they accumulate, since these experiences are frequently asked about during the interview process. The specific requirements and recommendations for each OT program can be found on their website.
Looking for OT-related experiences in Athens?
For Shadowing Experience:
- The Athens Orthopedic Clinic
- Athens Heritage Home
- Trapeze Therapy
- St. Mary’s Outpatient Rehab
- Athens Regional
- TMC Rehab
- Athens Neuro and Balance Rehabilitation
For Volunteering Opportunities:
- Athens Community Council on Aging
- Extra Special People
- Learning Ally
- Athens Inclusive Recreation and Sports (AIRS)
- Butterfly Dreams Farm
- Camp Twin Lakes
- Special Olympics
Admission committees may also consider additional factors when evaluating an application, including: traits desirable in a future occupational therapist, previous accomplishments, and diverse life experiences. Experiences which demonstrate these traits may include: volunteer work, international mission work, military service, proficiency in foreign languages, unique life experiences, health training or certification, unique leadership positions, and research experience.