In an effort to simplify the application process for prospective occupational therapist (OT) students and to facilitate the admissions process for professional OT educational programs, AOTA first launched the Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) on August 2, 2010. OTCAS allows OT applicants to use a single web-based application and one set of materials to apply to multiple OT programs. OTCAS is a service of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and is administered by Liaison International (LI), an education information technology company located in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Applicants who apply through OTCAS submit a completed web-based application comprised of biographical data, colleges attended, academic course history, occupational therapy observation hours, list of reference providers, work experiences, extracurricular activities, honors, professional licenses, and a personal essay. It is the applicant’s responsibility to read and follow all OTCAS and program-specific instructions.
2016–17 APPLICATION CYCLE
The 2016–17 OTCAS admissions cycle began on July 19, 2016. Applicants may start and submit the OTCAS application at this time. The Academic Update for fall 2016 coursework will open on December 15, 2016 and will close on February 15, 2017.
ROLE OF OTCAS
The purpose of OTCAS is to facilitate the OT admissions process for applicants and programs, promote the occupational therapist profession and educational programs to a broad spectrum of applicants, and provide rich applicant data for institutional, regional, and national analysis. OTCAS will not determine whether an applicant has met the OT program requirements or is eligible for admission.
OTCAS PROCESSING OVERVIEW
OTCAS will consider an application complete and ready for transcript verification once the following items are received:
- Complete OTCAS application
- Official transcripts from every regionally accredited U.S. or Canadian college and university attended
- Correct OTCAS application fee
OTCAS will also accept up to five (5) letters of reference, as well as foreign transcript evaluation reports, as required by participating programs. OTCAS does not hold applications for these missing documents, but individual programs may not consider applicants who are incomplete based on their individual admissions standards.
Once an application is deemed complete by OTCAS, the Service will verify the accuracy of the application materials, compare original transcripts to the self-reported course information on the application, calculate various OTCAS GPAs, and submit the verified application file to the applicant’s designated OT institutions. OTCAS processing may take up to six weeks once all of the required materials are received and processed.
ROLE OF OT PROGRAMS
OT programs will determine whether an applicant is eligible for admission and will notify applicants directly regarding all admission decisions. OT programs may not take all OTCAS application fields into consideration in the admission decision process. Admission policies and prerequisites vary significantly by program.
OT programs may also require applicants to send additional materials directly to the institution, known as supplemental materials. OT programs may not consider an applicant’s file or offer acceptance until all required materials are received. Supplemental materials may include a graduate school application, official GRE scores, original foreign transcripts, or other items. Failure to submit all required OTCAS and supplemental materials by the program’s deadline may jeopardize an applicant’s eligibility for admission consideration.