Appendix D: Timeline for Occupational Therapy Program Applicants

Applying in 2 Years (typically fall of Sophomore Year)


  • Look through the Pre-Health Handbook.
  • Choose courses very carefully to meet occupational therapy schools' prerequisites but avoid overloading yourself with difficult courses (grades are much more important than they were freshman year).


  • Meet with your advisor once and keep him/her abreast of your progress and problems.
  • Take a look at the GRE schedule online and plan when you will take the exam in the future.


  • Begin to plan summer experiences. Where will you get your shadowing experience?


  • Meet with your advisor to discuss summer plans such as research, shadowing, and classes.
  • Actively set up summer experiences early in the semester before the mid-term crunch.


  • This would be a good time to shadow an occupational therapist.

 Applying in 1 Year (typically fall of Junior Year)


  • Touch base with your advisor to bring him or her up to date on your plans. If you have any questions regarding course selection, contact your advisor early.


  • Look at the current Pre-Health Handbook to check for changes from last year that might affect you.


  • Register for GRE to be taken in April or May.
  • Register for a GRE course or buy GRE study books.


  • Touch base again with your advisor.
  • Begin summer planning; shadowing is a must if you have not done so already.
  • Make good course selections for second semester.


  • Complete a draft of your personal statement.
  • Approach trusted professors for letters of recommendation. One of your letters should come from an occupational therapist.
  • Make a tentative list of occupational therapy schools to which to apply.
  • Update your resume.


  • Finalize list of individuals who will write letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a pre-health advisor to outline your personal essay for the OTCAS application.


  • Make sure you have taken the GRE by this point so that you have the scores back before you apply.
  • Begin working on  your OTCAS personal statement.


  • Ensure that the writers of your recommendation letters know when their letters are due.
  • Submit request for transcript to be sent to OTCAS.
  • Complete personal statement and have it reviewed by a pre-health advisor.

In the Year of Application


  • Decide on the basis of your first GRE scores whether you will want to take them again.
  • Check periodically to see if letters of reference have been submitted.
  • Send polite 'reminder' letters to recommendation writers if letters are not in (check with pre-health director for assistance with any delayed letters of recommendations).
  • Draw up a flow grid or neat checklists to chart the progress for each of your applications from initial contact through interviews. Create folders for each school.


  • OTCAS will begin accepting applications in mid-July.


  • Save money for interview trips.


  • Begin calling schools to ensure that applications are complete.
  • Talk with your advisors about potential questions that will be asked during your interviews, review strengths and weaknesses in your application, and discuss how to deal with your weaknesses.


  • Make sure all of your secondary applications are completed.
  • Interviews are scheduled by OT programs.


  • Interviews continue into the spring semester. But if you do not receive any interviews, alternate plans should be considered. Talk to a pre-health advisor before re-applying.


  • Acceptances sent!
  • Things to consider when choosing your school include quality, location, and financial aid package.


Emory, Va. Campus: P.O. Box 947, Emory, Va. 24327 (map)    276.944.4121
Marion, Va. Campus: 565 Radio Hill Rd., Marion, Va. 24354 (map)    276.944.6342 ·  276.781.7200