Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from Applicants to the
Queen’s Occupational Therapy Program

Please make sure you have thoroughly reviewed the ORPAS Application Guide at www.ouac.on.ca/guide/orpas-app-guide, where you will find answers to many of your application questions.

Program Eligibility

Question: I am an international student. Can I apply to the OT Program?
Answer: Normally, only Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for admission.

Question: What type of degree do I need to apply to the OT Program?
Answer: The minimum academic requirement for admission is a four-year Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
No preference is given to applicants who have studied in any particular university program and no preference is shown to applicants with any particular level of training (i.e. undergraduate vs. graduate degree). Place of residence, location of undergraduate university, and full time vs. part time status are also not selection criteria.

The School of Graduate Studies at Queen’s University regulates our admission requirements and criteria can be found here: http://www.queensu.ca/calendars/sgsr/Academic_Qualifications_for_Admission.html

Question: I attended CEGEP, followed by university. Does this degree qualify?
Answer:
A CEGEP diploma, combined with a three-year Bachelor’s degree, is equivalent to a four-year Bachelor’s degree and is an accepted type of degree.

Question: In my 4 year Bachelor’s program, do I need to complete the thesis route, or can I complete the project route instead?
Answer: We do not have admissions criteria related to thesis or project routes in your 4 year Bachelor’s degree. However, completing the thesis route may help you build relationships and experiences that would contribute to your CV and your references. It will also prepare you for the research project all MScOT students undertake in the OT Program.

Question: I am wondering to what extent one's research experience is taken into account when reviewing an applicant?
Answer: We do not have admissions criteria related to research experience. However, completing research may help you build relationships and experiences that would contribute to your CV and your references. It will also prepare you for the research project all MScOT students undertake in the OT Program.

Question: I am planning on applying to both the Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Programs. Can I apply to both? Additionally, should I have different people as my references for each program?
Answer: Through the ORPAS system in Ontario, students are able to apply to Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology and Audiology. Students are free to apply to as many or as few programs as they choose. When applying to multiple programs, it is important that your application to the OT Program articulates your suitability to Occupational Therapy, and that your references do the same.

Question: I am Canadian but my first language is French. Do I need to write a language test (TOEFL, etc.)?
Answer: If you have lived in Canada or another English speaking country for 3 years or more, you do not need to write a language test.

Application Process

Question: How do I apply to the OT Program?
Answer:
Applications are received through the Ontario Rehabilitation Sciences Programs (ORPAS) application centre at www.ouac.on.ca/orpas

Question: How do my referees submit their Confidential Assessment Forms?
Answer:
The Confidential Assessment Forms are embedded in the applicant’s application through the ORPAS portal, and these have instructions for the referee on them. You will enter your referee’s information into your ORPAS application, and the system can send them an email to complete the reference online, or you can mail them a paper form to complete and return to ORPAS. When assigning your references, you will designate them as R1, R2 and R3 (if you have 3 referees) within your ORPAS application. Do not assign anyone as a "Confidential Clinical Referee," as this form is not used in the OT application process.

Question: What format should my resumé/CV be in?
Answer:
Resumés must be typed in 11 point font, on 8.5 x 11 paper, single sided, with one inch margins on all 4 edges. They should be no longer than 2 pages. Please include your name on your resume. No cover page is required. Upload all resumés to the "Personal Submissions" section in the ORPAS application.

Question:  I’m not sure what to include in my resumé and is a cover letter required or just a cover sheet with my name on it?
Answer: Your resumé can be a maximum of 2 pages and should highlight your academic, professional and personal accomplishments. You do not need a cover letter or cover page. Please include your name on your resumé.

Question: How do I know if my ORPAS application is complete?
Answer:
After you have submitted your application, you can inquire online to determine which supporting documents have been received by ORPAS. Log in to your online application account and click on the appropriate link. This information will also be presented on the Verification of Application Data report that will be available online once your file has been reviewed by ORPAS.

Question: For the personal submission essay questions, what is the appropriate length and should applicants use APA formatting and include a bibliography?
Answer: Questions 1 and 2 each have a character limit of 5000 characters. If you do include citations, please use APA format and include a reference list.

GPA Calculations

Question: I studied abroad during my undergraduate degree and my home university considered the courses as pass/fail or transfer credits. Will these grades be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer:
If your home university counts the courses as a pass or transfer credit, then they will not be included in the GPA calculation. You can include your transcript from studying abroad in your application to ORPAS, if you wish, but this is not required when the courses are already included on your undergraduate transcript. WES transcript assessments are not required in this scenario.

Question: I have a university undergraduate degree, but some of my courses were transfer credits from a college. Will my college courses be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer:
If the university which grants your undergraduate degree lists your college courses as a pass or transder credit, rather than a grade, these will not be included in the GPA calculation. Only the university undergraduate transcript is used to calculate the GPA. However, it would still be beneficial to include the college transcript to provide a full academic picture.

Question: I have a college degree, or have taken college level courses. Will these be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer: 
A university degree is required for admission to the program, and college and diploma courses are not included in the GPA calculation. This is the standard practice for GPA calculations across the Ontario programs who utilize the ORPAS system. The equivalency of undergraduate and college courses across universities is difficult to interpret. However, it would still be beneficial to include the college transcript to provide a full academic picture.

Question: I have a graduate degree, or have taken graduate level courses. Will these be included in my GPA calculation?
Answer:
Graduate courses are not included in the GPA calculation. This is the standard practice for GPA calculations across the Ontario programs who utilize the ORPAS system. A graduate degree is not required for admission to our program, and the equivalency of undergraduate and graduate courses across universities is difficult to interpret. However, it would still be beneficial to include your graduate transcript to provide a full academic picture.

Question: Can you provide an estimate of the sub GPA and cumulative GPA cut-offs for this year?
Answer:
We use cumulative GPA for our admissions process, and the cut off varies by year, depending on the applicant pool. In 2016, with 807 applicants, our initial cut off was 3.2/4.0 to proceed to full review, and the overall cumulative average of students who received a first round offer was 3.6/4.0. In 2017, we had 893 applicants, and the initial cut off was 3.3/4.0 to proceed to full review, and the overall cumulative average of students who received a first round offer was 3.65/4.0.

Question: I am planning to improve my GPA, and was wondering what type of courses would be most appropriate for it? Is there a preference in regard to degree or non-degree courses?
Answer:
There are no course pre-requisites for OT programs in Ontario, although you might want to ensure you have a solid foundation in psychology and sociology, as well as anatomy and physiology. All university undergraduate level courses will contribute to the final GPA calculations equally (no special weighting for degree vs. non-degree courses, or part-time vs. full-time course load).

Question: How does ORPAS convert grades to a 4.0 scale when my undergraduate grades are on a different scale?
Answer: You can find ORPAS grade conversion information here: www.ouac.on.ca/guide/orpas-conversion-table/

Question: What type of courses are not included in the ORPAS GPA calculations?
Answer: The following courses are not included in the ORPAS grade point average (GPA):

  • naturopathic and chiropractic medicine
  • consecutive Bachelor of Education programs
  • college courses (even if transfer credit is granted)
  • challenge for credit courses
  • practicums, placements, internships and activity courses
  • diploma or certificate programs
  • graduate courses
  • undergraduate courses taken as part of a graduate program

Question:  I am finishing my degree in April but my application is due in January, and my transcripts will not include my final semester of courses at that time. Do the grades of courses that are in-progress after the application deadline get factored into the cumulative GPA calculation when the grades are available late April?
Answer: The cumulative GPA used in the admissions process is based on transcripts submitted in January, so if your degree is in progress at that time, you will be considered for "provisional" admission. You will need to submit your final transcript that confirms your degree completion by June 30.

Transcripts

Question: I am completing my undergraduate degree in the spring or summer semester. Can I apply for intake in September of the same year?
Answer:
Final, official transcripts that confirm the completion of an undergraduate degree are required by June 30 of each year for entry into the OT Program in September. Please see the important deadlines listed on the ORPAS website: www.ouac.on.ca/orpas/orpas-dates
When final transcripts, confirming degree completion, are not available until after June 30, students need to apply the following year.

Question: I studied abroad during my undergraduate degree and my home university considered the courses as pass/fail or transfer credits. Should I include the transcript from the international university?
Answer:
If your home university counts the courses as a pass or transfer credit, then they will not be included in the GPA calculation. You can include your transcript from studying abroad in your application to ORPAS, if you wish, but this is not required when the courses are already included on your undergraduate transcript.

References

Question: How do my referees submit their Confidential Assessment Forms?
Answer: 
The Confidential Assessment Forms are embedded in the applicant’s application through the ORPAS portal, and these have instructions for the referee on them. You will enter your referee’s information into your ORPAS application, and the system can send them an email to complete the reference online, or you can mail them a paper form to complete and return to ORPAS. When assigning your references, you will designate them as R1, R2 and R3 (if you have 3 referees) within your ORPAS application. Do not assign anyone as a "Confidential Clinical Referee," as this form is not used in the OT application process.

Question: Is there a preference for university academic references, or could I submit an academic reference from a college professor?
Answer:
One reference must be completed by someone who holds an academic position in a postsecondary university or college and is qualified to judge your academic ability. Positions such as teaching assistant, laboratory coordinator or athletic trainer do not qualify as academic referees.

Question: Can I submit two academic references, or do I need one academic and one professional?
Answer: One reference must be academic. The second reference may be either academic or professional and should be completed by someone who can judge you on your work performance, interpersonal skills and suitability for studies in occupational therapy. Neither of the references may be submitted by relatives or friends.

Question: I have been out of university for more than 5 years. Can I submit 2 professional references instead of 1 academic and 1 professional reference?
Answer:
It is important to provide a full picture of your capabilities, both academic and professional. You could certainly include 2 employer/professional references in your application. You should also explore the possibility of getting a third reference from a past professor, or taking a course on a part-time basis to have access to a more recent academic reference.

Question: I completed a degree online and don’t have easy access to an academic reference. Can I submit 2 professional references instead?
Answer:
It is important to provide a full picture of your capabilities, both academic and professional. You could certainly include 2 employer/professional references in your application, though you should also explore the possibility of getting a third reference from an online instructor.

Question: Do my referees only fill out the Confidential Assessment Form, or should they submit this form in combination with a reference letter?
Answer:
The Confidential Assessment Forms are embedded in the applicant’s application through the ORPAS portal, and these have instructions for the referee on them.

Application Review and Feedback

Question: Can you provide a personalized review of my application file?
Answer: Due to our large volume of applicants, we do not have the resources to offer specific feedback to students on their applications. Information about the application criteria and process can be found at www.ouac.on.ca/orpas. The application process, as explained on the ORPAS website, provides potential applicants with sufficient information to apply to the program. To ensure fairness in the application process for all applicants, it is not possible for anyone in the OT Program to provide additional information beyond what is posted on the ORPAS site, nor can we review applications to provide feedback, give specific advice about your application package or advise on volunteer experiences. 

In 2017, we had over 890 applicants to the Queen's OT Program this year, most of whom had excellent volunteer and professional experiences, and who expressed passion about the profession of occupational therapy.  The cumulative GPA average for students who received a first round admission offer was 3.65/4.0, coupled with strong academic and professional references, an excellent letter of intent, as well as a record of relevant volunteer and professional experiences.

Campus Tours

Question: I would like to come for a tour. How can I sign up?
Answer: A campus tour is a great way to get a general sense of the Queen`s atmosphere. These can be booked at http://queensu.ca/admission/campus-tours
On your walk around campus, you could acquaint yourself with some of the buildings we use, including the Louise D Acton building and the Clinical Education Centre, as well as the School of Medicine building, Botterell Hall and Bracken Library. These buildings are all close together, on Stuart and George Streets. http://www.queensu.ca/campusmap/main
The School of Rehabilitation Therapy, in the Louise D Acton building, is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. With advance notice, a staff member may be available to greet you. Over the summer, we are not able to offer personalized tours of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. Please know that if you are accepted to the Queen’s OT Program, you will get a full tour during our September orientation week.

Specialization/Electives

Question: Are there any opportunities to specialize to a particular population within the program? Are there any electives or optional courses in the program or will all students be taking the same set of courses?
Answer:
Students graduate from all Canadian OT programs as generalists, and as such our program covers a wide breadth of content without specialization. We are in the process of modifying our curriculum, and there may be the opportunity in the future to take short seminars or workshops on topics of interest. However, the majority of courses take place in a set sequence with the same cohort of students.

CAOT Licensing Exam

Question: Do students take the OT licensing exam as part of the 2 year OT course at Queen's or do we complete this after graduation on our own?
Answer:
Students take the CAOT exam independently after completing their degree at Queen's, typically in October or November of their graduating year.

Still have a question? The ORPAS application centre also has a list of commonly asked questions, found at: www.ouac.on.ca/faq-application/orpas