OT Program Reference Requirements
Applicants are required to enter up to three (3) evaluator names on your OTCAS application and may list a maximum of five. You are required to list three individuals even if the programs to which you are applying only require two. Review the OTCAS Directory to determine the number and types of evaluators required by each institution. OTCAS will NOT determine if you have met the reference requirements for a particular OT program.
STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOUR EVALUATORS TO SEND ELECTRONIC LETTERS OF REFERENCE (eLORs) to OTCAS. Alert your evaluator to watch for an automated email from OTCAS with the subject "OTCAS Reference Request". If your evaluator does not receive an email from OTCAS, ask your evaluator to check all spam and junk email file folders or provide an alternate email address.
Paper references take longer to duplicate and send to your designated OT programs. If the evaluator does not have Internet access, login to your application and print the OTCAS Reference Form (PDF). Each OTCAS reference form is unique to the applicant and evaluator. The evaluator should complete the paper form and attach it to a signed letter. OT programs may not accept paper references unless a completed form and letter are attached. OTCAS does not verify your references are complete. Paper references must be mailed to OTCAS in a sealed envelope on the evaluator's signed official institutional or business stationery. The letter of reference and OTCAS reference form must arrive together in a single envelope. OTCAS will not accept paper references mailed by applicants. Arrange for only one paper reference to be sent to OTCAS per evaluator. OTCAS will provide a copy of your paper reference to each of your designated OT programs.
Committee and Composite Letters
OTCAS will not accept committee or composite letters. You must enter in the names of three to five separate references.
College and university letter services may mail references directly to OTCAS. Encourage your letter service to complete the OTCAS Reference Form and attach it to your letter packet.
Arrange for OTCAS to RECEIVE all of your references as early as possible. Although OTCAS will not hold the application if references are not received, OT programs may not consider applicants who submit late materials. OTCAS does NOT enforce reference deadlines and will forward the references to your designated OT programs even if they arrive late.
OTCAS Mailing of References
OTCAS will begin to post your references to your designated OT programs once your file is complete. OTCAS will NOT hold your application for missing references.
Check Reference Status
Login to your application to check on the status of references sent to OTCAS.
Do NOT send more than five (5) references to OTCAS. Send any additional references directly to your designated OT programs. OT programs may not consider extra references.
Editing Your List of References
If one or more of your evaluators is unresponsive or declines your invitation to submit a letter of reference on your behalf, you may edit your evaluator contact information on your OTCAS application before or after you e-submit your application to OTCAS. You cannot make edits to your evaluator's information once the evaluator's reference is received.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives applicants the right to access letters of reference written unless they choose to waive their right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting a reference from an evaluator, you are required to indicate whether you wish to waive your rights. OTCAS will release your decision to waive or not waive access to this reference to your evaluator and your designated OT programs. OT programs may interpret references as more honest and candid if you waive your right to see the letters. If you retain access, you must contact the evaluator or the admissions office directly to view the reference, and you may be asked to explain your reasons for your choice during the interview(s).
Your waiver decision on the OTCAS web application serves the same purpose as a legal signature, and is binding. If you decide to change your waiver decision, you must login to your OTCAS application to edit your selection online. For paper references, you must reprint the paper form and give the revised copy to your evaluator. Once your reference is received by paper or electronically, you cannot make changes to your waiver decision.
In order for OTCAS to process your letters of reference, you must certify the following statements:
- I hereby give OTCAS permission to contact the Reference below via email to request the completion of the OTCAS reference form and letter of reference. If my Reference does not submit a paper or online reference form to OTCAS in response to the email request, it is my sole responsibility to contact the Reference directly to ensure all references required by my designated OT programs are received by the deadline.
- I understand that the occupational therapist programs to which I am applying may contact the Reference either to verify the information provided and/or for further clarification of the information provided, and I hereby give permission for the programs to do so.
List of OTCAS Questions for Evaluators
Do NOT use this page as a reference form. The list of OTCAS reference form questions is provided for informational purposes only. It is intended to help you select the evaluators who can best respond to these reference questions on your behalf. To submit the official OTCAS reference forms, you MUST login to your OTCAS web application and go to the "Reference" section.
- How long have you known the applicant?
- In what capacity?
- How would you rate the applicant for each of the following characteristics?
Please select the rating that best describes the applicant in the category (5=Superior, 1=Below Average)
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Written Communication Skills
- Oral Communication Skills
- Team Skills
- Conflict Resolution
- Interpersonal Skills
- Awareness of Limitations
- Overall Evaluation
- Summary Evaluation:
- Do Not Recommend
- Recommend with Reservation
- Recommend without Reservation
- Do Not Recommend
- Comments Section: Please comment on any of the ratings or provide any additional information that will help the admissions office in the application review process.