Getting into Graduate School

For many students, the most important decisions pertain to their future employability. While some graduates take steps to enter the work force upon graduation, others place their attention on preparing for graduate school (Ingram, et al., 2000).

Getting into graduate school is not an easy thing. You have long GRE tests, interviews, and applications. Graduate school has a lot of requirements and prerequisites that you need to obtain before applying. Most people apply to many different schools when they are looking at graduate school. There are many important aspects to your application. This includes your GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, clinical experience hours, community service hours, volunteer experience, research experience, etc. the list goes on. Your undergraduate GPA is definitely important, particularly in higher level sciences classes and graduate level courses taken as an undergraduate (Reiske, 2001). Perhaps one of the most attractive attributes of a perspective graduate student is their research experience (Reiske, 2001). Take advantage of your undergraduate institutions co-op program or senior thesis program!

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When looking at schools, you should look at the school’s general requirements, class profile, fieldwork placements, and the national certification exam scores. The schools I have been looking into are occupational therapy graduate programs (M.O.T). To apply to almost any OT school you need the following prerequisite courses:

Human Anatomy- 4 credits
Human Physiology- 4 credits
Statistics- 4 credits
Human Development- 4 credits
Abnormal Psychology- 4 credits
Social and Behavioral Sciences- 4 credits
Biology- 4 credits
Medical Terminology- 1 credit

Bachelor’s degree

Additional courses in the sciences and mathematics are also recommended, including chemistry, physiology, physics, and biology (Midwestern University, 2016).

Another requirement before applying to OT school is first aid and CPR certifications within 1 year of application. You also need to have experience with community service, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, motivation for the health care field, communication skills, and pass a background check. Once you have all these courses completed, all the requirements, along with your Bachelor’s degree, you are ready to apply to OT school! Once applied, you will be invited to complete an on campus interview process.

Like most graduate schools, you must go through an interview process. You need to demonstrate your skills in:

Academic achievement
 Oral and written communication skills
 Articulation of the domain and scope of OT practice
 Community service
 Leadership in extracurricular or other activities

(Midwestern University, 2016).

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When you are applying to graduate school you have a lot of different things you need to get done before the application deadline. The ability to juggle responsibilities effectively is a life skill; time management is a constant and responsibilities change over time (Schlemper, 2011). Waiting until last minute to apply to the school you want to attend, isn’t the best idea. Getting your application in in a timely manner is an important thing. Getting into graduate school can be a long and stressful process, and that is just the beginning. In essence, building a set of strategies to cope with challenges before and during graduate school will prepare you to handle similar demands as a professional in whatever career path you choose in the future (Schlemper, 2011).


Ingram, K. L., Cope, J. G., Harju, B. L., & Wuensch, K. L. (2000). Applying to graduate school: A test of the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(2), 215.

Occupational Therapy Program in Glendale, AZ | Midwestern University

Reiske, H. (2001). Getting into and surviving graduate school. Bios, 72(3), 100–102.

Schlemper, M. B. (2011). Challenges and coping in graduate school. The Geographical Bulletin, 52(2), 67.

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