Yes, you end up paying extra money for this application service in addition to the fees paid to each school you apply to, but there are some advantages too.
- You fill out ONE application.
- Pay ONE fee for all applications and transcript requests.
- Send in ONE set of transcripts (saves a little money compared to ordering multiples to be sent with each separate application).
- Send in ONE set of reference letters.
- Send in ONE Personal Statement/Letter of Intent.
- They confirm all the information you included in your application, and send you a verification report that lets you know whether all your transcripts/letters of reference made it in time. Individual programs won't do that for you.
- They forward all your info/documents to each program you apply to.
Now before you start to feel all warm and fuzzy about this one-ness you should know that beyond ORPAS the MOT programs get very... hmm... something that means the opposite of my made up word one-ness. What I mean is:
- Every program has its own entry requirements.
- Every program has a different way of evaluating applicants.
- Every program, though they share many of the same goals for program outcomes, has a different approach to pedagogy (aka how they will teach you the stuff you need to know).
So before you pick where you're going to apply, do some homework. You want to make sure that you're a competitive applicant for the program based on the evaluation criteria they use, and you want to make sure that the way they teach the program jives with how you learn.
A couple of "for instances":
- Most programs assess your GPA based on your last 2 years of study (or equivalent in course credits). However, Queen's assesses you based on the GPA of your entire undergraduate career! If you had a stellar 1st year, or a prior degree where you did well, then this is a real boon to your application. However, if you're like most people and your first year was a rough transition that is reflected in your grades then guess what? You may have a reduced chance of getting in at Queen's.
- McMaster's program uses a very different approach to teaching than the other universities. They use something called "Problem Based Learning", with very small work groups and more independent study rather than lecture or workshop based instruction. This approach might be your dream scenario or your worst nightmare. The point is to know what you're getting yourself into before you apply.
And now the two big mysteries in any application process...
- What do they want you to say in your Personal Statements/Letter of Intent? (Everybody but McMaster)
- What are they going to ask me in the interview?? (McMaster only)
The answer to both is, I have no idea!! I looked and looked and looked for information posted by other previous applicants giving hints or tips or don't-do-this stories. I found nothing :(
So... if there's anyone out there who has gone to the McMaster interview and wants to give people an idea of what to expect, send me an email!! I'll post your hints anonymously :)
As for the statements... I can tell you what they asked this year (see below). And if there's anyone out there who would like to comment on what sorts of things the admissions people look for in these statements, it would be most appreciated.
Best of luck to all who applied this year!!!
Clearly describe your reasons for pursuing a career in OT and how your personal experiences and background have contributed to your preparation for this career choice (maximum 5000 characters). <-- note, that's characters NOT words. It's about a page in 10pt. Arial font.
Demonstrate your understanding of the profession of OT by identifying 2 current or emerging trends in Canada's healthcare system and discussing how occupational therapists are well positioned to play a leadership role on healthcare teams (maximum 5000 characters).