What to Ask Reps from Undergraduate Programs

What to Ask Reps from Undergraduate Programs

Use this document in conjunction with the HPPLC page pertaining to your field of interest, andin particular, the Researching and Applying to Multiple Programs section of either the OT, PT, or PA page!

Below are some questions you might consider as you research programs. If you cannot find the answers on the web, you can contact the program itself and enquire. You will probably come up with other questions as you continue your research. (NOTE: this handout is intended for those researching OT, PT, and PA programs, though parts of it may also be of some use for those researching undergraduate health professions programs.)

We suggest you record the answers you receive in an organized log that you keep for each program. Doing so will enable you to make side-by-side comparisons of programs. Always note the name and contact information of the person(s) who answered your questions. Along those lines, we suggest that you go into your word processing program's file menu and perform a "Save as…" of this document. In the newly-saved document you can delete questions you don't want to research and type in your own questions, thus creating a customized research tool and information log.

ALWAYS BE THOROUGHLY POLITE AND PROFESSIONAL, IN EVERY INTERACTION, AND WITH EVERYONE. An applicant can be denied admission because of one impatient or presumptuous interaction with a secretary, office manager, or admission representative. Remember that programs have far more applicants than they can admit, so they can afford to be selective.

1)What are your program's greatest strengths compared to other such programs?

2)What is the class size and student-to-faculty ratio?

3)What percentage of graduates from your program pass their boards the first time?

4)Are there special issues transfer students should be aware of when considering your program?

5)Do you give preference to in-state residents? Typically how many students accepted are in-state and out-of-state?

6)Do you have "rolling admissions" (i.e., the school starts to fill seats long before the deadline to apply)? By when do I need to apply in order to be competitive for admission?

7)What admissions test(s) do you require or accept (e.g., GRE)?What is a competitive score range for admission?How are scores taken into account during the admission process? Are scores from certain sections of the exam given greater weight than others?

8)All other things being equal, what are the average and lowest admitted Cumulative Grade Point Average range for admission to your program?

9)Is the Science or Prerequisite Grade Point Average a separate component of the admission process? If so, all other things being equal, what is the average and lowest admitted Science or Prerequisite Grade Point Average range for admission to your program?

10)Is there an admissions interview? If so, how are your interviews conducted?

11)Is a personal statement required? If so, what do you look for in the statement?

12)Are letters of recommendation required or suggested when applying to your program? If so, what are your guidelines for the number and type of letters? From whom will you accept or do you require letters (e.g., faculty, AI's, professionalsI've shadowed).

13)What types of extracurricular, shadowing, or clinical experiences do you think are most helpful in preparing for your program?

14)What does your program look for in an applicant?

15)What types of problems or mistakes could prevent good students from being accepted into your program?

16)In what ways and how early in the program are students given opportunities for patient contact and clinical experience?

17)How diverse is the student body? Are there support services or organizations for students from underrepresented groups in the medical professions?

18)From where do most of your students come?How much geographical diversity is there in your classes?

19)Is someone available to help with budgeting/financial planning?

20)Are there any scholarships, honors programs, or other special opportunities available?

21)Is there anything else you think I ought to know about the admission process, about your program in general, or about the career in general?

Additional criteria that can help you identify the 6 - 8 (or more) programs to which you will apply:

1)Many university homepages or Office of Admission homepages have links to virtual campus tours. Recognizing that these tours are biased advertisements for the university, it can still be useful to take the tour to get a feel for the campus, and whether it seems to fit your preferences. For instance, is it more urban or more rural? Do the public spaces seem inviting to you?See if program websites have photos of the classrooms and clinical settings in which you would spend much of your time if you attended the given school, and whether those spaces look appealing.

2)Look up the program's faculty on the departmental website (for instance if might be the School of Health Sciences page, or something similar; or the OT, PT, or PA program homepage). See if the faculty are actively working in the given field (for example, if OT faculty are actively engaged in treating OT clients), and actively undertaking research and/or publishing in professional journals. If you have a particular interest in a given area of practice or research, you can check to see if programs have faculty who share your interests.

3)Some applicants have geographical preferences, i.e., certain states, or certain parts of the country, where they hope to attend school, or would like to avoid. You must decide for yourself whether or not you can afford to be selective in this regard. Applicants with high GPAs and an otherwise strong application portfolio can sometimes be more selective. Applicants with less competitive GPAsor a less robust application portfolio may need to apply to more schools in hopes of garnering an interview, and may not have the opportunity to be overly selective with where they attend professional school. But remember that as long as a program is accredited, than ultimately it can help you reach your professional goals. Use the resources in the Researching and Applying to Multiple Programs section of either the OT, PT, or PA page to help you identify accredited programs.


This information was prepared for Indiana University Bloomington students by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Please note that specific requirements and policies can change at any time without notice. Students are responsible for obtaining the most current information directly from application and testing services, and the schools and programs in which they have an interest. Refer to each program's web pages, bulletins, and other publications for the most current information. Students are responsible for understanding degree course requirements, as well as other requirements, policies, and procedures related to the degree(s) they are pursuing; for enrolling in appropriate courses; for understanding IU policies/procedures; and for following through properly with regard to all of the preceding.

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