Whether it’s been a few years or decades since you’ve gone back to school, the process can be overwhelming. Let’s face it, the college admissions process has changed immensely and you may have a lot of questions. Where do I start? Am I qualified? Will I need to take prerequisites? Add an online program to your admission concerns and we have a recipe for confusion. But don’t let any of this keep you from your goal!
At St. Catherine University, we aim to make it all as painless as possible. See what questions other students have asked – the answers may reveal that the online OTA program is the perfect choice for you.
Start with the Frequently Asked Questions
Sharon West, the admissions manager at St. Catherine University, says these are the four most common questions she received from potential occupational therapy assisting (OTA) students.
1. Can you really learn how to be an OTA online?
“People are still a little skeptical about online learning – and that’s okay,” Sharon says. The online Occupational Therapy Assistant program is not 100% online. Our program combines what you learn in online learning modules with hands-on skills labs and fieldwork.
According to Sharon, the easiest way to explain it is: instead of sitting in a classroom or commuting to and from class, you do all of your traditional classroom wherever you learn best, at times that suit your schedule.
You will still be required to meet deadlines, but for most students, the online learning portion is a huge advantage. For 2015 St. Catherine graduate Marie, the flexibility of the online courses was a plus.
“I didn’t want to sit in a classroom all day long, especially having a kid and a husband,” Marie says.
2. Does learning online mean learning alone?
Sharon says she hears this question all the time. With our online OTA program, you are not on your own. There are many tools in place to help you connect with your peers and professors. Here are a few ways students connect with one another:
- Canvas, the online learning platform – allows you to communicate with professors and fellow classmates from one site
- Study Sessions – designed to facilitate cohort interaction, students are encouraged to attend study sessions throughout their program
- Private Facebook Group – serves as a way to engage socially with other students who have enrolled in the OTA program
- Skills Labs – you and your cohorts will attend skills labs together and are encouraged to mingle, learn from each other, and work collectively
3. Will I actually have the time to complete the program?
This is probably the #1 concern most potential students have, according to Sharon. Many of our students have families or careers, and they want to know how completing this program will impact those areas of their lives.
“Our admissions advisors have a time calculation sheet that they share with potential students,” Sharon says. “You fill out a form and it shows you how much time you will have to spend on school. It’s really neat.”
4. Will I be the oldest person in the program?
Many potential OTA students at St. Catherine University are worried about being the oldest person in their cohort. We have students of all ages and backgrounds in the program. Karen, a student starting the program in January 2017, was worried about being the oldest student and had this to say about going back to school.
“At 41, I was worried about being an elder in the bunch,” Karen says. “I believe at this age, our priorities solidify. I think for all of us, we are people who need to connect, give of ourselves, heal, encourage, and inspire. I’m excited to be in such good company!”
The Admissions Process
If you’re ready to begin your occupational therapy journey, here are the main steps you’ll take to apply to St. Catherine University’s online OTA program:
- Speak with an admissions advisor – Before you begin applying, make sure to speak with an admissions advisor. In addition to guiding you through the entire process, our admissions advisors can determine your eligibility and take you through the time calculation sheet mentioned above.
- Submit your application – If you’ve met all of the program requirements, you will be ready to submit an application online through St. Catherine’s application portal. If you have not met the program requirements (such as successfully completing all prerequisites), an admissions advisor can walk you through which courses you’ll need in order to take the next steps.
- Send official transcripts – Once you’ve applied, it’s time to submit all official transcripts from the high school(s) or universities you’ve attended.
- Complete prerequisite courses – Before starting the program, you have to complete four college-level prerequisites, but you have options! “With our program, the great thing about it is that it’s unique and we offer various options for students,” Sharon explains. So whether students want to take a lighter course load or take prerequisites with us – we are able to support both.”
If you have more questions about our online OTA program, Sharon suggests you talk directly with an advisor.
“You should call and speak to an admissions advisor before you start the process. The admissions process can be overwhelming. Our role is to help support you throughout the entire admissions process.” There are no stupid questions when it comes to pursuing your dream of becoming an OTA. Our admissions team is here to answer them all and to support you 100%.
If you have a desire to work in the diverse and growing field of occupational therapy, contact our admissions team today.