FAQs regarding prospective student advising
Who advises prospective students?
Our website is updated on a regular basis and contains the most accurate, complete information available.
For additional information on specific admission requirements for the Master of Occupational Therapy program, please call 208-282-4095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students seeking admission to the MOT program through the Pre-Occupational Therapy—Accelerated concentration of the Bachelor of Science in Health Science program, should review the webpage information or contact Dr. Amanda Henscheid at email@example.com or 208-373-1971 for specific information.
Can I rely on advice given to me by department faculty and staff?
Advice given to prospective applicants represents the best judgment of the individual giving such advice, but it is important to recognize that only the MOT Admissions Committee, acting in its official capacity, can make binding decisions regarding the suitability of a candidate’s qualifications. No individual can, thus, make any promises regarding issues such as whether or not an applicant’s prerequisite courses meet admission requirements, whether requirements might be waived, whether certain observation hours fulfill the requirements or other such judgments. Faculty and staff members will act judiciously in giving advice, but the advice given represents, at best, only that individual’s opinion as to what decision the MOT Admissions Committee might ultimately make.
FAQs for MOT admissions
When is the application deadline?
For each fall’s cohort, the priority deadline is the preceding January 15 (or the business day most closely preceding January 15 if it falls on a weekend or holiday). Applications will still be accepted after this date; however, applicants whose applications are complete by the priority deadline are eligible for scholarship consideration and enjoy the security of knowing that their applications will be considered in the first round of review. Please note that only complete applications received by January 15 are considered to meet the priority deadline.
Will you still accept applications even if the deadline has passed?
Yes, applications will be accepted until the class has been filled for that fall’s cohort. Applicants whose applications become complete after the priority deadline of January 15, however, are not eligible for the MOT Merit Scholarship and run the risk of all seats in the cohort having been taken before their applications are reviewed.
I understand that only “complete” applications are considered by the admissions committee, but when is an application considered to be “complete”?
An application is considered to be complete when it meets both of the following criteria:
- The on-line application is marked as “verified” by OTCAS,
- The on-line application to the ISU Graduate School has been completed (with the appropriate fee paid to that office) and the processed Graduate School application has been received in our department offices. The Graduate School will not process an application until transcripts from all colleges/universities attended and GRE/MAT score reports have been received.
How do I apply to the MOT program?
All applicants must apply via the centralized, on-line application service offered by OTCAS (go to its website for details). All applicants must also complete an on-line application to the ISU Graduate School.
After I apply through OTCAS, do I have to do anything else?
Yes. In addition to completing the OTCAS application you must also complete an on-line application to the ISU Graduate School. Your application will not be considered to be “complete” until all requirements of the Graduate School application have been met.
What fees are involved in applying to the MOT program?
All applicants must pay a non-refundable fee to the ISU Graduate school in conjunction with their on-line application process.
Applicants must also pay the fees associated with the OTCAS service which are fully retained by OTCAS.
Successful applicants will be asked to submit a $300 seat deposit at the time of acceptance. That deposit will later be applied to their first semester's tuition.
If I pay the OTCAS fees for applying, why do I have to pay more to the ISU Graduate School?
The fees paid by applicants to OTCAS cover the on-line services provided by that company. ISU does not receive any portion of those fees.
Both the ISU Graduate School and the Department of Occupational Therapy incur substantial costs in personnel time when reviewing applications, and the fees paid to ISU help to offset those costs.
Can I apply even if I haven’t completed all of the prerequisite courses?
Yes, however the admissions committee gives precedence to applicants who have all prerequisites complete at the time of application. Applicants can have up to four prerequisite courses in the “in progress” or “planned” stages (those with five or more such courses are automatically rejected). To be competitive, it is best to complete as many courses as possible prior to application. (See “How does the admissions committee evaluate applications?” below).
How does the admissions committee evaluate applications?
Applications are first grouped according to their completeness and achievement of minimum admission standards. Thus, applications that have all prerequisites completed and that meet the minimum admission standards for overall GPA, GPA within each prerequisite category, and GRE/MAT performance are placed into Group A. Those with prerequisites in the "in progress" or "planned" stage but that meet minimums in all completed items are placed into the next set of groups. Applications that are complete but have areas where they fail to meet minimum admission standards (e.g. a B- in statistics, a one or two point deficiency in GRE score, etc.) are placed into the last set of groups.
After applications are placed within groups, offers are extended starting with the highest ranked applicants (Group A) and proceeding until all seats are offered. Some applicants may be offered a position on the waitlist. Occasionally, we will not have enough seats available to offer to all students in the next group. If this happens, the applications within the group are ranked from strongest to weakest based on the subjective evaluation of each application in its entirety by the admissions committee. Seats are then offered based on that ranking until all seats have been filled or all individuals in the grouping has been offered and declined a seat.
When can I expect a response to my application?
The admissions committee works to make sure that all students receive an offer of admission, notification that they are on the waitlist, or notification that their application has not been selected as quickly as possible but reviewing applications is a time-consuming process. This process cannot begin until after the priority application deadline has passed. While the committee may have ranked candidates and made the recommendations of who to offer seats to,, applications should not expect to hear about admissions decisions until mid-March or later depending on an applicant’s ranking.
How does the admissions committee communicate its decisions to applicants?
All seat offers, notices of rejection, and notices of waiting list status are sent to applicants via the email address indicated on each application. Please ensure that your email address in OTCAS is current during the entire application and admissions process and check your spam/junk folders periodically.
Can I be admitted to the MOT program with advanced standing and/or receive credit toward the degree for courses that I have taken at other institutions?
Program policy specifies that students desiring to substitute previous coursework for MOT degree requirements must petition the MOT Program Director to do so after they have matriculated into the program. For details, see the Request for Admission with Advanced Standing.
FAQs for MOT prerequisites
What prerequisite courses are required for admission to the MOT program?
Prerequisite courses are required in order to fulfill accreditation standards as well as in order to assure that our students have the background knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in courses within the professional curriculum.
The full list of required prerequisites can be found on the Entry Requirements page of our department website.
Applicants should look for and enroll in courses that very closely match the description on our Entry Requirements page. We generally do not allow substitutions or exceptions and your application will not be competitive if your coursework does not meet our requirements. Please contact our Admissions Advisor in advance if you have any questions at 208-282-4095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can I take prerequisite courses?
Prerequisite courses may be taken at any institution of higher education (college, university, vocational/technical school, community college, and/or dual credit high school classes or AP classes for which the candidate received a college credit and transcript) accredited by its regional accrediting agency as long as the course meets the prerequisite requirements. There is no competitive advantage given to applicants who have taken their prerequisite courses at ISU.
Are courses with pass-fail grades accepted?
Courses that are assigned pass-fail grades are accepted for our prerequisite courses. In calculating the admission grade-point average (GPA), pass-fail courses are excluded from the calculations if the student received a passing grade; however, the course is included in the calculation if the student received a failing grade.
Can I test out of a prerequisite course?
Generally, no. Students must present a completed academic course for which they have earned credit at an accredited institution of higher education in order to satisfy a prerequisite requirement. Students who pass aptitude tests which exempt them from certain basic courses at their undergraduate colleges (such as introductory courses in English composition) may substitute a higher-level course for the requirement, but they are not able to fulfill the prerequisite based on passing the test alone. Students who earn college credit via the AP test process will not be required to retake or take a higher-level course to meet the requirements.
Can I substitute life experiences for a prerequisite course?
No, not unless you can get an accredited college or university to grant you credit for that experience through a course that fits our prerequisite requirement. Other than the medical terminology requirement, our prerequisites can only be fulfilled by courses for which an accredited college or university has awarded you academic credit.
Do I have to have all of the prerequisites completed before I apply to the MOT program?
No however, applications are accepted and reviewed if there are up to four prerequisite courses in the “in progress” or “planned” stages (those with five or more such courses are automatically rejected); however, our admission procedures give precedence to applicants who have all prerequisites complete at the time of application. (See “How does the admissions committee evaluate applications?”).
Will any chemistry course satisfy the prerequisite requirement?
We require a college-level chemistry course that covers topics such as atomic structure, chemical calculations, solutions, acid base reactions, and equilibrium. We prefer the General Chemistry course with a Laboratory that is taken by science majors at that college/university, and applicants with such a course may be ranked higher than those with introductory-level courses.
Can I count an anthropology course as fulfilling a sociology requirement (or vice versa)?
No. Although anthropology and sociology may deal with similar phenomena, they have their own unique world views and methods of inquiry. We want our students to have an appreciation for these defining features of each field as separate academic disciplines. Because of this, only courses taught within an anthropology department (ANTH) may fulfill the cultural anthropology prerequisite requirement, and only courses taught within a sociology (SOC) department may fulfill the sociology prerequisite requirement.
Will any anthropology course satisfy the cultural anthropology requirement?
No. The course must deal primarily with human culture. Courses that deal mainly with artifacts (physical anthropology/archaeology) do not satisfy the requirement.
What courses can I use to satisfy the liberal arts requirement?
For this category, we require prerequisites that provide knowledge and experiences in fields other than those fitting within our other specified categories and which have general applicability (as opposed to preparing students for specific vocational areas).
We require five or more courses in a variety of the following areas: Fine Arts (music, art, theatre, dance), Philosophy, Literature, Political Science, Economics, Language, Humanities, Ethics or History. You can include up to 8 credits from any department.
We do not accept coursework in Education, Business, Religion, Health or Natural Sciences or from programs that are vocational in nature in this category.
What specifics are you looking for in the prerequisite courses?
We require courses in Human Development, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and Abnormal Psychology. These social-behavioral science courses, taken together, must yield a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
- For Human Development, we prefer one course that covers lifespan development but we will accept courses in child, human, lifespan or adult development. Look for those course titles when you register.
- For Sociology we will accept any course taught in the Sociology (SOC) department.
- For Anthropology- look for an ANTH course that deals with human culture (as opposed to artifacts--e.g. physical anthropology or archaeology).
- The Psychology course should be titled "Abnormal Psychology" or "Psychopathology".
We require the Anatomy and Physiology courses for this category to have been taken within the past 5 years. Either two semesters of a combined A& P course or one semester each of Anatomy and Physiology are acceptable, whichever way your college teaches the subject. Both courses must include labs. Taken together, they must yield a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
We require students to have one semester of a college-level chemistry course (lab not required). We require that the course covers topics such as atomic structure, chemical calculations, solutions, acid base reactions, and equilibrium A General Chemistry course with a lab for science majors is recommended but not required. A grade of "B" or better is required.
We require a statistics course from any department. Research Methods, Marketing Statistics or Tests & Measurements courses will not meet this requirement. A grade of "B" or better is required.
A medical terminology course may be an academic, for-credit course or a course taken through an extension service or on-line. If the course is not an academic course (appearing on your transcript), the course must have included a post-test to show competency and a certificate of completion must be included with the application.
We require a course in English Composition as well as a course in Communication. Taken together, they must yield a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
- Applicants must take one course in English composition.
- Applicants must take one course in speech or public speaking.
- A course in technical writing is recommended. If taken, the technical writing course is included in this category and its grade is counted toward the minimum grade-point average requirement of 3.0 for this category.
See earlier entry on Liberal Arts.
Physics with a laboratory component is not required, but highly recommended. Any physics course with a lab will meet this requirement. Taken together, it is recommended that they yield a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
Do I have to get certain grades in prerequisite courses for them to count?
Each category of prerequisite courses (for example, liberal arts) should have a grade-point-average of at least 3.0 when taken together. If the candidate’s grade-point-average falls below a 3.0 in a category, it is considered a deficiency that will result in being placed in a lower group but it is not grounds for an automatic denial from the program.
If a category has more than one course, a student may have (for example) a B- or a C in one course if the other course(s) in that category have sufficient grades so that the overall GPA in that category is 3.0.
In order to maintain a 3.0 GPA, categories that contain only one course (e.g. Mathematics), must receive a B or better in that course to not be counted as a deficiency.
Please refer to a GPA calculator that calculates both grades and credits to ensure you meet the requirements.
FAQs for observation/volunteering hours
How many hours of observation/volunteering in occupational therapy are required to apply to the MOT program?
We require 40 hours, divided between two different occupational therapy practice settings. While many candidates are excited about one type of practice setting (such as pediatrics), the committee values candidates who experience a range of practice settings as part of their observation. However, please refer to the Entry Requirements page for any changes due to the COVID pandemic.
Will I have a better chance for admission to the program if I have more than the minimum required observation hours?
Yes. Although there is no magic formula, the members of the admissions committee tend to be impressed by the interest and dedication exhibited by applicants who have extra observation hours across multiple practice settings. They, thus, tend to rank such applicants higher during their subjective evaluation of the applications.
I work in a setting with occupational therapists. Can I count work time toward my observation hours?
It depends. If you are employed within a rehabilitation department so that you are working elbow-to-elbow with the OTs (e.g. as an OT aide or a language interpreter during therapy), you could probably count those hours. If you are a CNA working with patients and occasionally help the OT transfer patients or you bring the patients to the therapy room and drop them off, you probably could not count those hours. Factors that are important to consider in deciding whether work hours can count as observation hours include the percentage of time that you are with the OT, the ease with which you can ask questions and receive explanations about the OT’s actions with clients, and the degree to which the nature of your relationship with the OT allows for mentoring to occur. If you plan to use work hours to count toward observation hours, you would be wise to contact the MOT program beforehand and obtain guidance about how the admissions committee might view this in order to avoid disappointment at the time of application.
Can I observe an occupational therapy assistant (OTA) rather than a professional occupational therapist?
Yes. Skilled occupational therapy is often carried out by an occupational therapy assistant (who is a licensed practitioner, not an OT aide), and it is perfectly fine to count observation of OTAs as observation hours.
Can you recommend places for me to observe?
No. It is the prospective applicant’s responsibility to identify and arrange for his or her observation hours. We suggest deciding upon what type of occupational therapy practice settings you would like to observe in and then contacting such settings and asking to speak to an occupational therapist there. Tell that person what you are looking for, and see if you can be accommodated at that site.