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otbea

Current U Of T Ot Student Willing To Answer Any Questions :)

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Hi everyone,

 

Hope everybody got good news on admissions day! I know the wait for results is nervewracking and deciding where to go (if you were lucky and got into more than one program) can also be difficult. I'm currently a student in the first year of the OT program at U of T and if anyone has any questions about the program, I'd be happy to answer. Also an FYI: I don't come from a science background, so if any non-traditional applicants have any questions/worries (I know that I did last year), I can definitely tell you more about what it's like to enter the program :) Congratulations to everyone that got into OT - the competition is always tough. And to those that didn't - hang in there. I know amazingly smart and capable people currently in my program that applied to it in previous cycles and did not get in, but are now thriving!

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Thank you so much for doing this! Is there anything you wish you had known going into the program? Any general advice for someone entering the program? Did you participate in OT Welcome Week and is it a good way to meet people? Also how did you find the workload compared to undergrad?

 

Sorry for all the questions... definitely don't have to answer them all :)

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Thank you so much for doing this! Is there anything you wish you had known going into the program? Any general advice for someone entering the program? Did you participate in OT Welcome Week and is it a good way to meet people? Also how did you find the workload compared to undergrad?

 

Sorry for all the questions... definitely don't have to answer them all :)

 

No problem! I know I had so many questions going into my first year, and I unfortunately missed most of the open house/welcome day that the department has in May (due to the highway being blocked off/traffic) and didn't get the chance to ask them. So, to answer your questions:

 

1) Things I wish I'd known: more anatomy and statistics. I don't have a background in either, and any additional background would have been helpful. That said, you can definitely pass and even do quite well in the neuro/anatomy courses without a background in those areas, if you're willing to put in the time to review the material as you go, spend lots of time in the lab, and ask questions. There are also little anatomy review groups that are run by second years in the second semester that can be helpful, and often people in the class will group together to study, so there's no shortage of people to study with. In terms of statistics - the research courses in the first two terms mainly teach you the basics of qualitative and quantitative research, but not much about stats, and I do find that I wish I knew more. We do have a summer research course though, so I'll see how that goes!

 

2) General advice: Hmmm. In terms of the program, you do need to be very organized and communicate with your classmates, as unfortunately, the program can feel disorganized at times. Communication is also very important in group work - and there is a LOT of group work. Groups are large (8-9 students), so getting used to group work can be tough. Everyone goes through a period of adjusting to the group work in first semester, and it does get better after a while. I was from a program where I did mainly individual work, so I found group work frustrating at first, but I generally liked my group members and the process became much easier after I got used to it.

 

3) OT Welcome Week: I did participate in Welcome Week and it is a great way to meet new people. I met my friends either through Welcome Week events or through friends that I made during Welcome Week. The program is small enough that you will meet most of your classmates during class or through groups anyways, but the events gave me plenty of time to meet people and talk about things that were not assignment-related. It's also good to be able to come in on the first day of class and know most of your classmates already! The people that didn't come to the events were still able to meet and make good friends, though, so it's not a necessity. You also don't have to go to all of the events, but I made some good friends because we went to an event and ended up bonding over our mutual disinterest in it, so you never know! (Actually, that's the advice I would give - be open to new things while you're in the program. There are a lot of opportunities and you can end up learning a lot!)

 

4) Workload: This is a tricky question, as your perception of the workload will depend on which program you came from. I also came from a previous master's degree, so my perception of the workload was a little different. It was a lot lighter than my MA in terms of reading (since the MA had featured ~ 700-1000 pages of reading per week, clearly an insane amount), but classmates coming straight from undergrad found it heavier. You do discover that in certain classes, the PowerPoint contains all of the necessary information anyways, so a lot of the class simply didn't do the readings for those classes, as the program already felt hectic to them. I found that overall, the workload was on par with the MA, and I remember that I was really overwhelmed when I started the MA and felt like the workload was heavy. Obviously, I got used to the MA workload and I came into the MScOT prepared for the amount of work, so I was 0% stressed! I think the best general advice I can give you is that if you do find it overwhelming, it gets easier to deal with after the first semester because you know roughly what to expect. Most of your classmates will also be frustrated with the amount of work, so you won't be alone, and as time goes on, everyone learns what to prioritize (what readings are necessary, etc). Also, the class learns to work together and share information. For example, this semester our class started a reading group in which people were assigned certain readings to summarize and summaries were posted for the rest of the group to read. Another classmate posted online flashcards to help others study. So in the end, everybody adjusts :)

 

Let me know if you have any more questions!

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Hi otbea, 

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions! You mention above that the OT program at U of T can feel disorganized at times. Can you elaborate on that point or give an example of this? I am currently deciding between U of T and Queens for OT and any information you can provide would be great!

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Hi otbea, 

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions! You mention above that the OT program at U of T can feel disorganized at times. Can you elaborate on that point or give an example of this? I am currently deciding between U of T and Queens for OT and any information you can provide would be great!

 

In terms of disorganization, I think this is really a function of having so many different requirements from so many different sources (professors, Blackboard, PowerPoints, etc.), so sometimes, figuring out what you need to do can be confusing. For instance, U of T uses Blackboard for class/IPE info. Aside from having requirements for your courses, you also have IPE (interprofessional education) requirements. On Blackboard, you can find listings for IPE events under a link for IPE, but the actual sign-up is on another website, and the reflections that you complete for IPEs are posted under the Mentorship link on Blackboard. Individual professors also set up their courses differently on Blackboard, so information can be a little difficult to find, as it might be posted under different tabs for different classes. Getting used to the organization can be a bit of a pain at first, but it feels a little easier as time goes on. Also, everyone in the class tends to help each other out by posting reminders of requirements anyways, so it's not a huge deal in the end - more of a minor annoyance at times.

 

Also, are placements opportunities very competitive at the University of Toronto? Have you found that you have received some of your first choice placements?  

 

I've only been on one placement so far, but yes, it was one of my top choices. Certain placements do tend to be popular, but they structure placement requirement and selection to give everyone a fair chance at getting their top choices. Basically, they give you the list of placements, and you pick your top ten. Each placement is assigned a code, and if you pick a placement that is coded B, for instance, you need to be OK with all the placements coded B at that location (for instance, TRI), as you only enter the location and the code into the top ten list. A computer program then goes through and assigns placements. Almost everyone in the class received one of their top ten choices. Some of the class may not have gotten the exact placement that they wanted at the hospital that they chose (e.g. they may have preferred the thoracics one, but may have gotten the MSK instead), but overall, I think everyone was satisfied with what they got. It's also good to keep in mind that people have found interesting areas of practice in placements that they wouldn't have chosen as a top five placement, and that some interesting placements that tend to be chosen as top 5 can be very difficult and demanding (I've heard this about Sick Kids, for instance - preceptors there have very high standards, even according to other preceptors). Placement satisfaction can be very dependent on your relationship with your preceptor, too, and some of the less popular placements may have amazing preceptors that make the experience rewarding. Basically, things work out :)

 

Congratulations on getting into U of T and Queens! I'm sure you'll have a great experience at whichever one you choose. Let me know if you have any more questions, and good luck with decision-making!

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Hey otbea, thank you so much for your in depth response!! That was more than I was hoping for! I'm a little worried about the anatomy. I regret not taking it in undergrad but it wasn't required for me so I never even thought about it. It's definitely intimidating considering all the kin students coming into the program. Guess I'll be studying extra hard for it! I'm a bit worried about the workload but having the actual OT end goal in sight will make it a lot easier I think.

 

Did you commute or live downtown? Do you have any advice on this aspect? I was torn before but now I'm set on moving downtown because I feel like commuting would be tiring and I don't wanna miss out on anything. Now to deal with finding a roommate ????

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Hey otbea, thank you so much for your in depth response!! That was more than I was hoping for! I'm a little worried about the anatomy. I regret not taking it in undergrad but it wasn't required for me so I never even thought about it. It's definitely intimidating considering all the kin students coming into the program. Guess I'll be studying extra hard for it! I'm a bit worried about the workload but having the actual OT end goal in sight will make it a lot easier I think.

 

Did you commute or live downtown? Do you have any advice on this aspect? I was torn before but now I'm set on moving downtown because I feel like commuting would be tiring and I don't wanna miss out on anything. Now to deal with finding a roommate

 

I think I actually replied to the other post you made with a question about commuting, but I'll paste the response in here anyways:

 

I can speak to the commuting experience, as I have been commuting since September!

 

Pros:

- cheaper rent (especially if you're not currently paying rent - I still am, but it is less rent for a nicer place than you'd find downtown)

- fewer expenses if living with parents or relatives

- no moving stress

- potentially higher chance of getting a placement near where you live, as most students don't want to commute outside of Toronto (this is especially true if you're from Whitby, but also for Scarborough, Mississauga, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, etc.)

- no roommate scramble/adjustment to new roommates

- being closer to your job (if you currently have one and want to keep working)

 

Cons:

- LONG commute, depending on where you live (I live north of Toronto, and my commute is an hour and thirty minutes one way, on average)

- difficult to attend early morning or late night social events

- potentially less time to study (I studied and even did assignments on my commute, which actually made it weirdly useful)

- a fair amount of VERY long days (required IPEs and group meetings are often after class/in the evening, so I would get up around 6:20, leave home around 6:40-7:00, and potentially not arrive home until 11:20 p.m. on the very worst of these days)

- having to get up super early even for 9 a.m. classes (thanks to the frequent delays on the TTC as you reach 9 a.m.) and especially for 8:30 a.m. placements (I now get up at 5:30 a.m. . . .)

 

Commuting can definitely be a pain on the TTC, but even though commuting is sometimes very difficult, you get used to it. For me, commuting is something that works well given my individual situation, but can be very tiring given my involvement in extracurriculars and work on top of the program itself. Keep in mind, though, that you can always start off by commuting and move downtown if it doesn't work well for you! (Or vice-versa . . .)

 

 

Also, re: the anatomy - I'm from an arts background, I had absolutely no anatomy experience, and I did just fine in the bio/anatomy course (as the two are merged into a single course). Kin definitely gives you an advantage - the higher grades in that course naturally went to people with kin backgrounds - but you don't need a kin background to do well in the program. I was also intimidated by the anatomy, but I was fortunate to meet a second year with the same academic background who had done well in the program without the kin/anatomy background. You'll be fine :)

 

And FYI: the O-Week Committee creates a Facebook group for incoming students each year shortly before/after the acceptance deadline (I don't know exactly when it will be made this year, but I know it will be made), and there will probably be other future first year students looking for roommates. If you're going to look for a roommate, that might be a good place to start!

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Wow. I didn't subscribe to that post and here I was thinking nobody responded. Oops... Thanks for relying haha! Thank you so much for the info on commuting. The delays especially due to commuting during rush hour are what pushed me to move. At this point I'm just gonna suck it up because I would have had to lease a car anyways.

 

And thank you for the reassurance about anatomy. I'm still nervous but it feels good to know that it's very possibly to excel. I have done neuroanatomy and I'm pretty good at memorization so hopefully that will help me. I will have to scope out study buddies early on lol!

 

Definitely gonna check out the OT group for roomies. I'd rather live with someone in the same boat as me. Thanks again otbea for all your words of wisdom. Incredibly helpful in a time of unknowns. I'm unbelievably excited for September!

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Hey otbea, thank you so much for your in depth response!! That was more than I was hoping for! I'm a little worried about the anatomy. I regret not taking it in undergrad but it wasn't required for me so I never even thought about it. It's definitely intimidating considering all the kin students coming into the program. Guess I'll be studying extra hard for it! I'm a bit worried about the workload but having the actual OT end goal in sight will make it a lot easier I think.

 

Did you commute or live downtown? Do you have any advice on this aspect? I was torn before but now I'm set on moving downtown because I feel like commuting would be tiring and I don't wanna miss out on anything. Now to deal with finding a roommate

Hey, I'm also looking for a roommate!  If you're interested, personal message me if you would like to discuss it further!

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Hey otbea! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions :)

 

Do you have any study tips or advice? During my undergrad I would generally do a pretty in-depth reading of my textbooks in addition to my lecture notes. I know there will be more time constraints during grad school, so I'm wondering if it's wiser to focus more on the lecture material instead?

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Hi everyone,

 

Hope everybody got good news on admissions day! I know the wait for results is nervewracking and deciding where to go (if you were lucky and got into more than one program) can also be difficult. I'm currently a student in the first year of the OT program at U of T and if anyone has any questions about the program, I'd be happy to answer. Also an FYI: I don't come from a science background, so if any non-traditional applicants have any questions/worries (I know that I did last year), I can definitely tell you more about what it's like to enter the program :) Congratulations to everyone that got into OT - the competition is always tough. And to those that didn't - hang in there. I know amazingly smart and capable people currently in my program that applied to it in previous cycles and did not get in, but are now thriving!

 

Hi otbea, i had a question regarding the UofT OT waitlist. I am currently on it, and I am worried about how high my chances are of getting off the waitlist. From your previous experience, did you know a lot of people or have any friends that came off the waitlist? I know waitlist movement is unpredictable but if you know anything about it, i'd love to know!

 

Thank you very much!

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Hey otbea! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions :)

 

Do you have any study tips or advice? During my undergrad I would generally do a pretty in-depth reading of my textbooks in addition to my lecture notes. I know there will be more time constraints during grad school, so I'm wondering if it's wiser to focus more on the lecture material instead?

 

I know most people tended to focus on the lecture slides and notes, and even though I started by reading textbooks in-depth, I found that I had to be selective about what I read. A lot of how you structure your studying will depend on which profs you have and their teaching styles - some tend to put all necessary information on the slides, while others will draw heavily from the text. It might be more helpful to ask a second year about study strategies once you know which profs you have! I would say that the first resource in all cases would be the slides and lecture material, and for many classes you can figure out which readings are more heavily emphasized based on the slides/classes (e.g. OT Practice courses tend to draw a lot from prep modules, so you need to read those). Practicing practical skills with your classmates is also very helpful.

 

Also, the program can be very fast-paced, so it's not always possible to find time to study as you go, but I would say that if you're unfamiliar with or rusty in anatomy and neuro, you should read the lecture/chapter ahead of time and try to study the material as you learn it - it'll help a lot with exams. Study in the anatomy lab/museum for anatomy as well.

 

Ultimately, adjusting to grad school is really a matter of knowing yourself and learning to triage assignments, readings, etc. Think about what kinds of assignments and material you find most difficult (or easy) and try to prioritize accordingly. You may want to get top marks in everything (after all, you're the kind of hard worker that gets into a competitive program!), but you need to let go of the expectation that you can put 100% of your effort into every assignment or complete 100% of the readings. You're human, and you only have so much time! The transition can be rough, but do what you can and don't be too hard on yourself  :)

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Hi otbea, i had a question regarding the UofT OT waitlist. I am currently on it, and I am worried about how high my chances are of getting off the waitlist. From your previous experience, did you know a lot of people or have any friends that came off the waitlist? I know waitlist movement is unpredictable but if you know anything about it, i'd love to know!

 

Thank you very much!

 

To be honest, I don't know anything about the waitlist - I never actually thought to ask anyone about their experiences with waitlisting, because once you're in, you're in! The length of the waitlist, as far as I know, varies from year to year, so there's no way of predicting what will happen. I will say, though, that in general a lot of the people that get first-round offers from OT programs get multiple offers, so there should be waitlist movement. U of T had one year where they over-admitted and since then, they've been trying to limit first-round offers, so chances of getting in off the waitlist are *probably* a little better than they were before, but this is just me guessing! Good luck and sorry that I can't be more helpful. Hopefully, I'll see you in September!  :)

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To be honest, I don't know anything about the waitlist - I never actually thought to ask anyone about their experiences with waitlisting, because once you're in, you're in! The length of the waitlist, as far as I know, varies from year to year, so there's no way of predicting what will happen. I will say, though, that in general a lot of the people that get first-round offers from OT programs get multiple offers, so there should be waitlist movement. U of T had one year where they over-admitted and since then, they've been trying to limit first-round offers, so chances of getting in off the waitlist are *probably* a little better than they were before, but this is just me guessing! Good luck and sorry that I can't be more helpful. Hopefully, I'll see you in September!  :)

 Thank you for your reply! I hope i see you in September as well!

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I know most people tended to focus on the lecture slides and notes, and even though I started by reading textbooks in-depth, I found that I had to be selective about what I read. A lot of how you structure your studying will depend on which profs you have and their teaching styles - some tend to put all necessary information on the slides, while others will draw heavily from the text. It might be more helpful to ask a second year about study strategies once you know which profs you have! I would say that the first resource in all cases would be the slides and lecture material, and for many classes you can figure out which readings are more heavily emphasized based on the slides/classes (e.g. OT Practice courses tend to draw a lot from prep modules, so you need to read those). Practicing practical skills with your classmates is also very helpful.

 

Also, the program can be very fast-paced, so it's not always possible to find time to study as you go, but I would say that if you're unfamiliar with or rusty in anatomy and neuro, you should read the lecture/chapter ahead of time and try to study the material as you learn it - it'll help a lot with exams. Study in the anatomy lab/museum for anatomy as well.

 

Ultimately, adjusting to grad school is really a matter of knowing yourself and learning to triage assignments, readings, etc. Think about what kinds of assignments and material you find most difficult (or easy) and try to prioritize accordingly. You may want to get top marks in everything (after all, you're the kind of hard worker that gets into a competitive program!), but you need to let go of the expectation that you can put 100% of your effort into every assignment or complete 100% of the readings. You're human, and you only have so much time! The transition can be rough, but do what you can and don't be too hard on yourself  :)

 

Thanks for the awesome advice! It's definitely going to be a bit of a challenge to get adjusted to grad school, but it seems like the upper year students are really supportive, which I'm sure will make the transition easier. I'm both nervous and excited :)

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Can anyone please tell me if my cumGPA will matter compared to my subGPA. Looking at all the recent applicants, there is no way i can improve my cumGPA to 3.8 or higher in the next two years :( 

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Can anyone please tell me if my cumGPA will matter compared to my subGPA. Looking at all the recent applicants, there is no way i can improve my cumGPA to 3.8 or higher in the next two years :(

 

The only school that considers cGPA is Queens. The rest of the schools only look at your last 60 credits (sGPA). You should be fine!

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