Admissions

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program Admissions Procedure Compiled October 31, 2019 | Revised December 16, 2019

Rocky Mountain College will admit one new cohort of OTD students who will begin classes in January each year (30 students/cohort).

The 2019-2020 OTCAS WebAdmit cycle is now open! We admit students on a rolling basis. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. Reminder: OTCAS conducts an annual maintenance period that occurs from approximately mid-June through mid-July. We encourage applicants to complete their application in OTCAS prior to or after the OTCAS maintenance cycle. We are incredibly excited about the 100% face-to-face learning opportunities our program offers. OT is about doing, and if you are a hands-on learner, this program is for you! Apply today! Feel free to contact Cody Halverson at halversonc@rocky.edu if you have additional questions.

Occupational Therapy Program


Objective
To ensure that applicants are vetted based on their understanding of and passion for Occupational Therapy (OT) as well as their demonstration of technical skills, emotional intelligence, research mindset, fellowship and group interaction, and appropriate writing abilities, the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) Program at Rocky Mountain College (RMC) has established the following admissions procedure to be implemented by the estalbished admissions committee.

Committee
The admissions committee consists of the Coordinator of Admissions for Health Professions, the Program Director, the Administrative Assistant, and all RMC OTD Program faculty. The Coordinator will act as the Committee Chair, and the Assistant will be responsible for taking minutes at each admissions committee meeting. If the Assistant is not available and/or unable to attend the meeting(s), the Committee Chair will appoint another committee member to take minutes.

Procedure
Applicants are encouraged to apply early through the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS). Once an application has been verified, the Coordinator of Admissions for Health Professions will notify the candidate via email that the application has been received and is now under review.

If an application is verified by OTCAS but does not meet the 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) requirement set by the RMC OTD Program, the Coordinator will notify the candidate of an application update via email. In that email, they will specificy that the admissions committee has indicated that their overall and/or prerequisite GPA’s do not meet the 3.0 minimum requirement. The Coordinator will go on to share that for some students who may have extenuating circumstances, we are able to offer a GPA waiver on an individual basis. If the applicant wants to move forward with their application, they will need to provide a one page letter documenting why their GPA is where is is and the steps they have taken to make improvements and to submit it to the Coordinator as soon as they are able. The Coordinator will also note that this process does not guarantee a GPA waiver, interview offer, or admission to the program. Once the letter is submitted to the Coordinator, they will bring it to the admissions committee, who will review and discuss the letter. The committee will then vote to either move forward with vetting the candidate or denying consideration into the Program.

The Coordinator will review and score verfied applications using the Blind Screen Form with assistance from the Program Director and/or the committee member(s) assigned to assist in reviewing and scoring the verified applications. In addition, the Coordinator will assign the

Personal Statement portion of each verified application to be reviewed and scored by a minimum of two (2) RMC OTD Program faculty members.

Once these steps have been completed, the admissions committee will decide whether or not to offer an interview to that applicant. Interview Day dates will be established by the Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. Multiple applicants may be offered to interview on the same day. Applicants will be responsible for their own transportation and accomodations.

Interview Day Agenda
The Interview Day will typically last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will consist of the following:

  • Welcome to Campus/Program Overview
  • Campus Tour
  • Timed Writing
  • Research Overview
  • Lunch with Current Students
  • Panel-style Individual Interviews with Admissions Committee Members
  • Clinical Scenarios/Role Play
  • Group-based Intervention Development
  • Applicant Questions/Conclude Interview

*The Coordinator has sole authority to edit/alter the schedule at any given time.

Final Applicant Evaluation
Once an applicant has completed their interview, the committee will get together to review notes and scores and holistically evaluate the applicant. The committee will then decide whether to grant the applicant a seat in a specific cohort year, put them on an active list, or deny them admission.

RMC Graduates
Graduates of Rocky Mountain College who have met all the requirements for admission and have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 60 credits earned at RMC will be granted an automatic interview. This interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Advanced Placement
No advanced placement, transfer credit or credit for experiential learning may be applied toward fulfilling the RMC OTD curriculum.

The following information is available to potential applicants on the RMC OTD Program website (www.rocky.edu/otd).

Important Deadlines:

  • OTCAS opens: Mid-July annually
    • NOTE: annual OTCAS maintenance occurs from approximately mid-June to mid- July. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to avoid the maintenance period.
  • Application deadline: December 15
  • Decision posted: Rolling Acceptance
  • Classes begin: January

Application Requirements
The following materials are required. (NOTE: meeting admissions criteria does not guarantee admission to the program).

  • A bachelor’s degree is required prior to enrollment. Official transcripts from the degree- granting institution(s) must be sent to Occupational Therapist Centralized Application Service (OTCAS).
  • A minimum of 3.0 overall GPA is required. However, the program admissions committee may grant a GPA waiver when presented with extenuating circumstances.
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses. Prerequisite coursework may be completed during the admission cycle. Candidates should include any planned courses in OTCAS transcript section. Coursework must be completed by the time students matriculate into the program.
  • Applicants taking prerequisite courses during the application cycle may submit unofficial transcripts and proof of enrollment. Applicants will not be able to enroll until official transcripts have been received verifying completion of prerequisite courses with a “C-” or better, and the required minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Three references are required (submitted via OTCAS). At least one reference must be from an occupational therapist. Reference from a college professor who can attest to your ability to enter a competitive professional program is recommended, but not required. References from family members will not be accepted.
  • Applications will be accepted online through OTCAS (www.otcas.org). The initial application fee is $145.00 and a $60.00 fee for each additional OT program application. Students must use OTCAS to submit an application to Rocky Mountain College.
  • In addition to the OTCAS fee, a non-refundable program application fee of $45.00 is required.
  • The most current Graduate Education Examinations (GRE) score must be sent to OTCAS. The GRE must have been taken within five years of application to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. The OTCAS GRE Code for Rocky Mountain College is: 2722. There is no minimum GRE score. The OTCAS application cannot be processed without official GRE scores from the Educational Training Services (ETS).

Prerequisite Courses

Required Courses

Credit Hours

Comments

Introduction to Biology

3-4

Lab not required but recommended

Human or Vertebrate Anatomy

3-4 *

Lab not required but recommended

Human or Vertebrate Physiology

3-4 *

Lab not required but recommended

Physics/Kinesiology

3

Recommended but not required

Introduction to Psychology

3

 

Abnormal Psychology

3

 

Introduction to Sociology or Anthropology

3

 

Lifespan Human Development (birth to death)

3 + *

More than one course may be required to fulfill the “birth to death” requirement.

Statistics

2

May be from biology, mathematics, psychology, business; or Research Methods

Medical Terminology

1-2

A medical terminology certificate may be used to fulfill this requirement.

* Can be combined with Anatomy and Physiology for 8 credits. Anatomy and Physiology courses may not be taken online.

OT Observation Hours: 40 hours are required to explore occupational therapy as a career in at least two different settings. Information on how to provide this information can be found on the OTCAS application form.

Essay: OTCAS application form will require a brief personal essay describing why you selected OT as a career and how an occupational therapy degree relates to your immediate and long-term professional goals. The essay should be no more than 1500 words in length.

Official Transcripts

Transcripts must be received prior to the scheduled class matriculation date or class standing will be revoked. Failure to submit the mandatory transcripts or fulfill any other requirements specified in a conditional offer of admission to the program, prior to the scheduled class matriculation, will result in the withdrawal of the conditional offer.

In addition to initial submission through OTCAS, upon acceptance into the RMC OTD Program, any additional final official transcripts accounting for outstanding required coursework should also be mailed directly to:

Rocky Mountain College
Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102

Interview: The admissions committee will send invitations to selected candidates to interview. Not all applicants will be invited to interview. An interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Graduates of Rocky Mountain College who have met all the requirements for admission and have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 60 credits earned at RMC will be granted an automatic interview. This interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Advanced Placement
No advanced placement or transfer credit may be applied toward fulfilling the RMC OTD curriculum.

Disability Support Services
The following information comes from the Disability Services tab on Rocky Mountain College’s website (https://www.rocky.edu/):

Rocky Mountain College is committed to providing courses, programs, services and facilities that are accessible to students with disabilities. To identify and provide the necessary support services as soon as possible, students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the disability services office as soon as possible after enrolling.

Students with disabilities are responsible for identifying themselves, providing appropriate documentation and requesting reasonable accommodations. Diagnostic services are not available through disability services.

Disability documentation needs to be submitted to, and approved by, the Disability Services Coordinator before any accommodations can be arranged.

The following documentation is needed to determine eligibility for modifications or accommodations:

  • A detailed evaluation from a professional qualified to diagnose a disability. The evaluation should have been completed within the last three years. Evaluations may be from a licensed clinical psychologist, school psychologist, learning- disability specialist, medical doctor, and/or neuropsychologist;
  • For learning disabilities, evaluations should include test results with composite and subtest scores for intelligence, reading, math, written language, processing skills, and speech and language when appropriate;
  • A report that states the disability as a diagnosis; and
  • A current IEP or 504 Plan with stated modifications and accommodations.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to:

Terri Haun
Disability Services Coordinator Rocky Mountain College
1511 Poly Drive
Billings, MT 59102

Phone: 406.657.1128
Fax: 406.657.1037
Email: terri.haun@rocky.edu

Please see Disability Verification Form and guidelines for documentation of ADHD/ADD.

NOTE: some accommodations are not easily available at the graduate level, so it is important that candidates get their documentation to the Disabilities Services Coordinator as early as possible so the Coordinator can discuss individual academic needs.

NBCOT Testing Accommodations

The following information comes from the Overview portion of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) Testing Accommodations Handbook:

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the NBCOT provides reasonable and appropriate Testing Accommodations (TA) for exam candidates with disabilities who are otherwise eligible to take the OTR [Occupational Therapist Registered] or COTA [Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant] certification examination An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g., caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, breathing, learning and walking).

In order to request TA for the OTR or COTA examination, exam candidates MUST have a documented disability as defined by the ADA. Having a diagnosed disability does not automatically necessitate testing accommodations.

English as a second language, computer anxiety, and test anxiety are not covered disabilities under the ADA. Pregnancy is also not a disability covered under the ADA; however, it the candidate is experiencing a resulting medical complication, TA may be considered. Candidates with a transitory or temporary condition (i.e., sprains, facture, or medical emergencies) who would like to request TA should contact NBCOT as soon as possible before the exam is scheduled to take place. TA requests are reviewed based on the candidate’s specific request, the nature of the disability and supporting documentation.

NOTE: all students enrolled in the RMC OTD Program will be required to take a preparation course exam for the NBCOT’s OTR certification exam prior to graduating from the Program. Upon graduation, alumni of the RMC OTD Program will need to take and pass the NBCOT OTR certification exam prior to practicing.

Additional Program Requirements
After having been granted acceptance into the RMC OTD Program and prior to attending, students must provide:

  • Criminal background checks (federal requirement for all persons working with vulnerable populations) at student expense.
  • Signed Technical Standards document
  • Written verification of immunizations at student expense.
  • Complete the $500 OTD Seat Deposit Form

After classes start, and in preparation for clinical placements, students must also provide:

  • Written verification of health insurance at student expense.
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers certification from the American Heart Association at student expense.
  • Any additional requirements as stated by specific health care agencies (such as drug screening, background check, etc.) at student expense.

Please note: The Rocky Mountain College OTD Program Admissions Committee reserves the right to assess applicant qualifications on a case-by-case basis and adjust appropriate admission criteria when warranted by special considerations pertaining to applicant background and experience.

It is the applicant’s responsbility to:

  1. Keep the Coordinator of Admissions for Health Professions informed of any changes in contact information. This must be done in writing (email is acceptable).
  2. Ensure the program’s receipt of all required application materials, including official GRE score.
  3. If all prerequisite requirements have not been met at the time the candidate applies/interviews AND they are offered and accpets a seat in the RMC OTD Program, all courses must be completed before matriculation.

NOTE: failture to complete the program prerequisite courses with a grade of “C-” or higher prior to the matriculation date of the class for which application is being made will result in withdrawal of the seat offer.

Selection Process & Prefences
All completed applications undergo a preliminary selection screening process, which evalutes and awards admission points based upon the following program preferences:

  • Past Academic Performance.
  • Cumulative and prerequisite GPAs. A minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.0 is required to be a competivie candidate. A miniumum prerequisite GPA of 3.0 is required.
  • NOTE: however, the RMC OTD Program Admissions Committee reserves the right to assess applicant qualifications on a case-by-case basis and adjust appropriate admission criteria when warranted by special considerations pertaining to applicant background and experience.
  • Documented completion of all program-specific prerequisite courses before the scheduled class matriculation date. Students are required to provide evidence of the awarded Bachelor’s degree and completion of the program-specific prerequisite courses.
  • Grade improvement in repeated courses.
  • GRE score. A writing score of at least a 3.5 is preferred.

Geographic Home: Applicants are awarded admissions locality preference points based upon the permanent address within the Program’s stated region (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North or South Dakota, Utah, or Idaho).

Personal Statements: Applicants are evaluated for their ability to express themselves in written communication as evidenced by the required personal statements.

Letters of Recommendation: The letter writer’s assessment of the applicant’s ability to be a future occupational therapist is the basis for this evaluation.

Applications are ranked according to the number of points awarded during the selection screening process. Those with the admission minimum-required score for a rolling admissions
 
interview are immeidately invited to complete the second phased of the selection process: a campus visit and personal interview with the Admissions Committee.

Seat Deposit
Upon notification of acceptance to the RMC OTD Program, applicants will be required to submit a $500 non-refundable admissions deposit. This deposit, which must be received within fourteen days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) of being notified of acceptance, will be applied toward the first Spring Semester tuition. If students are applying and admitted for a sugsequent year, they must submit the Enrollment Verification Form and pay the seat deposit no later than 6 months prior to the start of the program.

References
Rocky Mountain College (2018). Disability services. Retrieved from:
https://www.rocky.edu/academics/academic-support/disability-services

National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (2019). Certification exam handbook [PDF file]. Retrieved from:
https://www.nbcot.org/-/media/NBCOT/PDFs/TA_Handbook.ashx?la=en