If you’re considering becoming an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), it’s important that you find a program that makes you feel supported throughout your education. That’s why St. Catherine University’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program is dedicated to providing students with an academic success coach, otherwise known as an academic advisor, from the very beginning of the program. Believe me, you’ll have plenty of questions for an academic advisor throughout the online OTA program. Here are the six most common questions academic advisors receive throughout the program and their answers so you know what you can expect ahead of applying to St. Catherine’s Online OTA program.
1. What is an academic success coach?
While your admissions counselor helps you navigate the application process from beginning to end, your academic success coach guides you through your entire educational journey. You can expect to hear from them in the second week of the first semester.
Your academic success coach will stand by your side to keep you going strong throughout your Online OTA coursework, hands-on skills lab, and fieldwork. They will provide you with constructive feedback on your academic progress and serve as a sounding board at all times.
“As an Academic Success Coach, it’s my job to help engage students in thoughtful, proactive academic planning, decision making, goal setting, and problem solving.”
– Claire Humphry, Academic Success Coach
Your academic success coach can serve as the following:
- Counselor or mentor; he or she can guide you through academic policy, financial aid, and other procedures.
- Resource; he or she can offer you a better connection with faculty members and administrators.
- Educator or instructor; he or she can help you understand the curriculum, the overall purpose of the online OTA program, encourage problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making.
2. How does my advisor help with my overall success?
To ensure that you find success throughout the online OTA program, your academic success coach will anticipate your needs by providing you with helpful resources to keep you engaged and on track.
I always tell my new students that I am only successful as an advisor if they are successful as a student.
– Adam Rothenberg, Academic Success Coach
To make sure you are structuring your time most efficiently, your academic success coach will provide you with a goal sheet. Prior to filling out your goal sheet, you’ll want to think of at least four potential obstacles that could arise in your first semester. After writing down your obstacles, you’ll then want to come up with some strategies that could help you overcome them. Your academic success coach can help you brainstorm ideas.
In addition to your goal sheet, your advisor will provide you with a time management chart. This chart will outline your life demands and responsibilities. While you may already be well aware of these obligations, it will be helpful for you to visualize them on paper. Why? Because the minimum number of hours you should spend completing academic coursework is 40 – having this sheet can help you schedule your duties around your study hours.
3. How often will I be in contact with my advisor?
Questions for your academic advisor will arise and you will be responsible to take action if and when you have them. “Students can truly call us whenever they need support,” says Adam Rothenberg, Academic Success Coach.
If you don’t reach out to your advisor, they will reach out to you every two weeks to check in. During this call, they may ask you questions about your grades, labs and fieldwork, or any recent exams. These calls will remind you of any important due dates or urgent forms that need to be filled out.
4. What information should I share with my advisor?
Everything your academic success coach does and says has your best interest at heart, so it’s important to be upfront and honest with them throughout your entire online OTA experience. Before connecting with them, write down your academic and career goals. This will help them to help you in the best way possible.
As you advance through the program, you should also talk to your advisor about any classes you are worried about. For example, if you are struggling in anatomy and physiology, your advisor may be able to help you connect to AP resources. If you are not upfront and honest about your weakness, your success coach cannot help you reach your full potential.
5. Who else, besides my advisor, can I lean on for support?
If for any reason you can’t reach your advisor, you can always contact another academic success coach. The academic success coaches are all one unit and your success matters to all of them.
For any academic questions, it’s best to reach out to your professors for insight and feedback. “While we know the ins and outs of the university, the professors are truly the masters of their domain and are a great source of information when it pertains to coursework,” says Adam.
Lastly, you can always reach out to your Regional Lead. This individual not only oversees your lab cohort, but often times teaches one of your classes, so you will see them frequently.
6. What tips or advice can my advisor provide?
We asked the team of advisors at St. Kate’s what tips or advice they would want prospective students to know – here’s what they had to say.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for support.
If ever a question comes up, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you. Do not let a problem or question sit and fester. This applies with questions about the program, financial aid, and classwork.
Have a good study area carved out.
Your study area is your kingdom to conduct coursework. Be proactive about this time. Consider investing in noise cancelling headphones to eliminate distractions, alerting those in your house of your study times, or, if you have children, consider setting up a “study time” where you and your children can both complete schoolwork together.
One of the beautiful parts of St. Kate’s Online OTA program is that you can complete the program in as few as 16 months (depending on previous coursework transferring in). However assignments will come very fast and frequent, especially when you start OTA coursework. To keep track of everything, you need to develop an organizational system that works for you. This could be using a planner, calendar, sticky notes, anything, as long as it keeps you on track.
Find the support you need now.
There’s a lot that goes into making your online OTA experience a success and at the end of the day your advisor will be the one to help you navigate the process best.
The support you need is right around the corner. If you’re ready to take the first step in your online OTA education, contact our admissions team today.