As a pre-occupational therapy student, Carthage has numerous faculty and staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements.
For questions regarding occupational therapy school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center. They can help you with general questions relating to the application process and prerequisites to help you meet your career goals.
Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. Carthage also has many dual-degree programs that can assist you in reaching your professional goals.
Join the Pre-Health Club and Pre-Occupational Therapy Club at Carthage to help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand what your next steps will look like, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. Actively participating in class and being a positive role model will help them craft your letters of recommendation.
It is highly recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved. It is never too early to volunteer, shadow, or secure an internship/research opportunity. All of these experiences will help leverage your application and provide insight into your involvement in the community.
While different schools will have different expectations on what classes you should take, the following are often required.
- Abnormal Psychology (PYC 3500)
- Child Psychopathology (PYC 3650)
- Child and Adolescent Development (PYC 2850 )
- Adult Development and Aging (PYC 3850)
- Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2010 and BIO 2020)
- Medical Terminology (BIO 400D)
- Additional Course in Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Statistics Course (Business Statistics is typically not accepted)
- Life Science Course of choice
While the most common majors for pre-occupational therapy at Carthage are psychology and biology, most schools you will be applying to will be more focused on the GPA and course requirements needed for their program. You should make sure that you are taking recommended courses for the programs you are interested in applying to.
A minimum GPA of 3.3 is typically required, although you should be aiming higher than that to be competitive. You will be competing for the same places with individuals who have 3.8-4.0 GPAs, and as such should try to maintain a grade level in this range.
Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between 6 and 8 schools total. There is a financial commitment associated with application fees so you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.
Application Process Timeline
Applications will be submitted through the OTCAS platform. This opens in July and if you are planning on attending right after your undergraduate degree you should apply in the summer of your junior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit them during late summer.
You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.
You will need several letters of recommendation (3-5) for your application. While different schools may have different expectations for where your letters of recommendation should come from, it is usually expected to have 1-2 letters from a science course professor, 1 letter from a non-science course professor, and 1-2 letters from an occupational therapist you have worked with or shadowed under.
Letter of Recommendation Timeframe
Ideally, you should ask for letters of recommendation at least 2-3 months in advance of your application deadline, although give as much time as possible. This way they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience.
The minimum amount required for most OT schools is around 40, but you will need more to be a competitive applicant. The location of shadowing largely depends on where you plan on applying. Different schools have different qualifications in terms of where and how you shadow or volunteer. While schools are often flexible, they could also specify the different settings they would like to see you work in. It is recommended to try to get a large amount of experience over a variety of positions before you apply.
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) The GRE will require less or more time studying based on how extensive your knowledge is on tested material and you should pace out those hours around your own current and anticipated schedules. ETS.org has free resources and practice tests available to assist you. We recommend that you take the GRE at least one full year before you submit your application. This would align with the summer of your sophomore year or the fall of your junior year, allowing adequate time to prepare if you need to retake it and ensures you have your results before your application deadline.