OT Dude

Complete Personal Statement Guide for Pre-OT Occupational Therapy School Programs


This detailed guide will provide you with tips, do’s, don’ts, examples, and other helpful things along the way to write your personal statement for OT school.

You may be thinking:

  • Where do I even start with writing a personal statement?
  • Maybe I can look for some more examples online.
  • My story does not seem as exciting as these examples.
  • These examples don’t really relate to me.
  • I don’t like the writing style or “feeling” that these examples give me.
  • How do I even go about this?

Or maybe you didn’t have any of these thoughts and you are just looking for some extra tips to polish up your personal statement before you send it to the world. This guide will still help!

While this guide was written with Pre-OT’s for occupational therapy personal statements in mind, it of course can apply to other professions such as physical therapy, speech therapy, PA, RN, even undergraduate programs.

I am not part of any admissions committee or affiliated with them in any way. However, as a graduate of an occupational therapy program, I also read and edited many other personal statements for friends and family. This guide is not a guarantee that you will get accepted or a guarantee that you will produce the best personal statement. This is just my opinion and unfortunately, the writing is all up to you!

Fortunately, you already have the hard part done – building your education, experiences, personal character, and goals!

Not quite there yet, that’s okay too – this guide will give you a preview of how to prepare to write your personal statement.

The Process

The process of writing a personal statement may involve something like:

Reflecting, getting something typed on the screen, getting writer’s block, getting distracted, taking a break, editing it, reflecting, typing some ideas, deleting those ideas, repeat, have it proofread, reading it out loud, reflecting, make more edits, and you’re done! While this sounds like a lot, it’s doable.

Set-up and Preparation

Start Early

When you feel like you are ready to write your personal statement, start writing! Don’t wait until the last minute to write. Personal statements require editing, giving it some time for your mind to clear to re-read, having it proofread by someone else, and making more edits.

Install Grammarly

We use Grammarly as a browser extension for its spellcheck and grammar check. It is really good at catching mistakes as you go and the free version is all you really need to get some basic editing done. This allows you to focus on the writing and not the spelling. Software like Grammarly also helps if you especially have a hard time with writing in general. While it can suggest edits for errors, it is up to you to write the content.  AI is not quite there yet, but we are close!

Cheating & plagiarizing

I just have to say it. Don’t cheat or plagiarize. Don’t hire someone to write for you. I hear stories of students cheating here or there, so it must still be happening. Grad school is not the time to jeopardize all the hard work you put in.

Have a back-up system for your document

It would be a huge set-back to lose all your hard work. These days, you can easily use the cloud such as Dropbox or Google Drive/Docs for storing your files. This goes for your personal statement document as well as your graduate school application files such as notes, deadlines, resumes, etc. All it takes is a coffee spilled on your laptop for you to lose all your hard work (it happened to my classmate in OT school). Better yet, back up all your data that is important to you. Lectures, recordings, assignments.

Write in a place you feel productive

It doesn’t have to be a quiet library. It just has to be what works. If it’s a coffee shop, then go there. Write in a place you associate with positive work (but also don’t get distracted too easily, e.g. a cat cafe) – like to your favorite study area.

It’s okay if it doesn’t seem perfect or even good at first

After all, you are writing something like this probably for the first time, with a unique set of experiences for a specific intention of impressing the OT’s admissions panel. It can be difficult for artists to create art or music, or write a book in one session. So don’t stress it!

  • Re-research the profession, job description, duties, etc. BLS.gov is my favorite go-to for profession research. We have a video on it here .
  • Follow the personal statement prompt and instructions. Read it several times to make sure. If there is a word limit, don’t go over. Double-check before you submit.
  • Pay attention to the file format that is requested from the programs. Word doc? PDF? Make sure your file actually opens after you upload it and is not corrupt, if possible. If you are uploading to a central application like OTCAS, make sure you meet those guidelines.
  • Write in the same tense and person throughout (“I”, first-person is fine).
  • Write in an order that makes sense and flows to the reader, e.g. chronologically.
  • Write with a purpose. Each sentence should be there for a reason and not be filler. Exclude extra information or too specific of information that doesn’t contribute to your story.
  • Example: Nowadays, I want to be an occupational therapist first and foremost because I want to help people and really make a difference in each of their lives.
  • Better example: My goal is to become an occupational therapist who makes a difference in people’s lives.
  • Warning : I wouldn’t you use this specific example in your personal statement because it’s probably been overused. Try to be creative by saying how you want to “help” people in  other ways .
  • Be honest, try to copy an example’s voice, do not write over-the-top or fabricate the story.
  • Be politically correct and culturally sensitive.
  • My personal statement didn’t have big GRE words or fancy syntax. It told a great story that was (in my opinion) to the point, compelling, persuasive, and driven.
  • Describe your values and goals while highlighting your strengths.
  • In my opinion, it is best to talk about college, work, and other achievements and experiences in your “adulthood”.
  • Even traveling experience (shows cultural awareness) as an adult is more noteworthy than say winning a basketball game in high school (less relevant to OT)
  • Tip: think about when you first were motivated to become an OT and start from there, not earlier.
  • Don’t use cliches or minimize them as much you can. Readers see this a lot and it does not make a big impact on their impression of you.
  • Don’t use slang/informal speech, e.g. “sticking with it” -> perseverance.
  • Don’t make jokes and be careful if you decide to use humor (what may be funny to you may not be to the reader). It’s safe to leave humor out and just get to the point.
  • Avoid being sarcastic.
  • Pay attention to your use of OT – it can be occupational therapy or occupational therapist, but personally, I get confused when people use “OT” interchangeably.
  • In my final submitted personal statement, I only abbreviated “MSOT” and “EMT” and did not “OT” once.
  • Example: I got accepted to shadow at [facility] and was observing observed patients do their rehab exercises.
  • Pay attention to these verbs in sentences that run longer. Consider shortening them to make it less tiring to read, avoiding avoid run-on sentences. (see what I did there?)
  • Don’t abbreviate or hyphenate too often or incorrectly . If you do it one way, be sure you are at least consistent throughout. e.g. evidence-based, not evidenced based.
  • O ccupational therapist is capitalized like this correctly.
  • However, an Occupational Therapist is not correct if capitalized like this.
  • This is the correct capitalization for an occupational therapist.
  • The same goes for the field of occupational therapy.
  • O ccupational therapy is capitalized correctly in this sentence.
  • Abbreviations are always capitalized, e.g. OT.
  • Don’t write anything negative about anyone, organization, place, etc .
  • Don’t write in a negative tone, be a “Debbie Downer”
  • “OTs make a lot of money.”
  • “I will be the best occupational therapist because…”
  • “I am the best candidate because”
  • “Since I am… , therefore”
  • “Unlike others”, or
  • “Other professions” talking down, avoid talking about other professions in general. No one profession is better than another, the same applies to OT. Think about why OT over other professions leading to your decision to become one).
  • Think about how someone in another profession, say a PT would feel after reading your personal statement. They should not feel offended after reading your personal statement, but instead think, “wow, such and such would make a great OT.” Not that OT is better than PT, that kind of thing.
  • When I become an occupational therapist. If I become an occupational therapist.
  • Don’t repeat yourself, you only need to say something once in its context. Of course, the bigger message can be repeated, e.g. intro and conclusion. Just don’t sound repetitive.
  • Don’t use the same phrases (especially close to each other), try using different words. That doesn’t mean you should just look up words in a thesaurus. Really think about what’s the point you are trying to make.
  • Don’t use profanity.
  • In everyday speech we say things like, “that’s crazy”. Someone with a mental illness who really is crazy could be offended. I had a teacher whose pet-peeve was people who said things were crazy . Remove crazy from your personal statement.
  • “He probably was abused since he was in a recovery program/”
  • I would avoid using “ normal” too. “Occupational therapists help patients get back to their normal.” This implies the patient was abnormal before. Better words: recover, improve, rehabilitate, strengthen, adapt, overcome, etc.
  • Other labels: retarded, slow, crippled, mental, insane
  • You can include a facility name, e.g. Standford hospital – as long as you don’t talk about it in a negative context.
  • “Standford hospital treats a lot of poor patients.” Standford hospital is a valuable asset to the community for the underserved.
  • Don’t include anything that can be seen as a weakness, e.g. low GPA, took a semester off, DUI, unexplained career changes.
  • This is your chance to “say” what you want to say and include your story that is not apparent in the other pre-requisites. All the other candidates likely have high GPAs and had to take the same pre-requisite courses, but they did not shadow at your facility with your patient , so here’s your chance to distinguish yourself.
  • What experience may be unique to you ?
  • For example, I included my experience of being an EMT to make myself stand out.
  • This could backfire and show your lack of research into how broad OT can be. Don’t forget about mental health too! OT’s study to be  generalists , not specialists.
  • While it’s okay to want to work with a specific population as a goal, don’t accidentally make it sound like you think OT’s only do one thing. Hope this one makes sense.


Question’s to address or reflect on

Reflect. Write. Take a break. Repeat.

  • What is your experience with other backgrounds and cultures in your pre-OT journey?
  • How did you realize that OT was for you? Why not PT? (Reflect, but don’t answer this directly.)
  • What or who were the influence(s) or influencers?
  • This is a rich opportunity to mention your specific OT shadowing experience at the stage in which you want to be an OT.
  • I would include at least 1 example from this, 2 is better, but not too much either.
  • Not just becoming an OT (graduating) but afterwards. e.g. 1 year post-grad, 5 years, where you see yourself 10 years out.
  • What challenges did you overcome in your pre-requisite pre-OT journey?
  • What sets you apart from other applicants? Why should I not pick person A or person B over you?
  • Tip: research the school’s website for their mission statement, OT program background, etc. to get familiar with the specifics. If you can include and relate to some of this, even better!
  • “My motivation to help others and my passion for occupational therapy will guide me to be successful in the [program].” or

Since [school] strives to “[OT program mission statement]”, I firmly believe that [school] will help me reach my goals of becoming a successful occupational therapist.


  • Talk about why you want to be an OT, but not just to “help” people. How? Which population/community/background? Conditions? Why? Tip: three major categories of OT are: mental health, pediatrics, and adults/older adults. Nurses help people too. How is OT different for you?
  • Hint: occupations ! meaningful, client-centered.
  • Check out the OTDUDE Podcast and other podcasts for ideas; Episode 1: What is OT
  • Reflection tip: other professions may be based on the medical model or helping people become healthy, but OT is different because…
  • Check out AOTA.org for some phrasing of the profession to inspire you.
  • If you are comfortable, use OT related terminology or phrases, but don’t go overboard, e.g. occupation, intervention, treatment, activities of daily living, evidence-based, collaborative, interdisciplinary, client-centered, holistic, functional. Plain English is fine, you don’t have to sound like a journal article.
  • As mentioned, highlight why you would be a valuable candidate (fit) to their program. Think about not only your experience but your character and quality traits . Examples: creativity, leadership, patient, resourceful, reliability? Teamwork and communication?
  • Show indirectly through your stories or experiences why you will be successful in the program and not “drop-out”. Perseverance.
  • Psychologically, readers tend to remember the beginnings and end more than the middle.
  • How will being an OT help you achieve your goals, career? Not just short-term, but think bigger. While this sounds cliche – OT is not just a job, it will become your life. A person’s job (and career) is a large part of their identity.
  • The reader should feel like they read about a person they would want to meet in the program and in real life, someone who can contribute something to the cohort, school, faculty, alumni – long term relationship. You will not only graduate as a student but a colleague in the field of occupational therapy to the faculty.

Here is a template I created to get you started. This is of course not a magic template that works for everyone or neither was it created by any OT entity for students. Copy & paste this into your favorite word processing program and write away.

Paragraph 1

Sentence 1: Attention-grabbing sentence. Hook into your story.

Supporting sentences: Support the above story with specifics.

Concluding sentence: “Thesis statement” stating why you chose (or) may be a successful OT.

Body Paragraphs (2, 3, 4, 5, etc.)

Opening sentence: As a , I [did this, and that] at [place or company or school]

Supporting sentences: strengthen your narrative in the opening sentence. These sentences should not deviate from the opening sentence topic or story, otherwise start a new paragraph. Should answer a [ Question’s to address or reflect on] section (see above).

Concluding sentence(s): wrap everything in this story up, optionally include a transition sentence.

Concluding Paragraph

Opening sentence: restate why you will be a successful OT.

Supporting sentences: start wrapping things up. Big picture. If applying to a specific program, consider answering why this program (e.g. does its mission statement appeal to you?).

Final sentence: end strong stating that you want to be an OT. Mention because it is in your long-term goals.  Consider ending everything with the words “occupational therapist” (identity), e.g. “…be a successful occupational therapist” OR “occupational therapy”, e.g. “… to pursue a career in occupational therapy”.

Here are some examples. All identifying information and some facts were fabricated for example sake.

After graduation, I did a lot of soul searching in terms of the career I wanted to pursue. Did I want to appease my parents and pursue [career]? Should we expand [business name] and take it to the next level? I knew I wanted a career that could help people in my day-to-day, but none of those paths fulfilled that desire. After my [family member] injured her arm and was unable to return to work or help out around the house, I saw her frustration and loss of dignity. Our family took a significant financial toll. When my [family member] finally saw an occupational therapist, I motivated her to do the exercises from her care plan and she eventually regained upper arm function. My [family member’s] perseverance inspired me to become an occupational therapist to help people develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living, working, and leading active lifestyles .

  • This excerpt, although really did happen, sounds cliche with phrases like soul searching, take it to the next level.
  • While the reflection part and figuring out what to do may seem important, it can be shortened to and still get the message across.
  • Using the family member is a good example especially since it related to a story with an occupational therapist.
  • The last two sentences highlight that I know what OT is (and why I want to become one) but can be cleaned up.

I was inspired by a personal experience with an occupational therapist when my [family member] suffered a rotator cuff tear and was unable to perform her activities of daily living . My [family member] became discouraged and did not do the recommended home exercises , but I saw the value in them and helped my [family member] complete them daily to recover. I learned the value of occupational therapy and how important it is to take a holistic approach by involving caregivers .

  • Mentioning ADL’s shows I know what OT’s do.
  • Shows my direct involvement with OT intervention.
  • Shows my understanding of OT’s holistic approach.
  • Words like “value” are strong. The word caregiver is often used in OT documentation.

I was hired as a EMT at [employer] in [city] for a small business that reminded me of our own [business name]. My role as a EMT at [employer] involved caring and treating for the sick and injured that involved tasks such as CPR or patient comfort and advocacy. As an EMT I again found that I was a valuable asset to the company having known how to speak some Spanish. Patients and staff members challenged me and tested my patience. My contact with patients out in the field was a unique experience that exposed me to the reality of what a healthcare profession involved. Due to the physical demands of the job and the high stress environment, many EMTs “burned out” and quit. I admit that I have thought about quitting, but I found the interactions with my patients far more rewarding and continued to work close to two years as an EMT. Working closely with these patients taught me to be sensitive to each person and their unique experiences. As an EMT, I developed my critical thinking skills to adapt the environment to my patients in order to safely transfer care, as well as educate patients on how to minimize hazards and prevent further injuries. Hearing my patients personally thank me for my care and education reassured me that I was pursuing the right career in helping patients resume their activities of daily living and accomplish their own goals.

  • How would you improve this example?
  • Lots of specifics can be taken out like employer name, city.
  • Role as EMT is well-known, better to include more significant things such as experience, outcome, or relevance to OT.
  • Being bilingual is nice, but more for a resume than a personal statement as it does not add to the story.
  • Leave out specific thought process of thinking about quitting (weaknesses). Perseverance was also already shared in a previous example – talk about another quality instead, e.g. stress management, working with diverse population, fast-paced environment, patient education as an EMT and how it translates to OT.
  • Reflect on how one story can share multiple strengths you have not mentioned so far in previous examples.
  • The example does not translate or relate back to OT in a clear manner, but alludes to the qualities of one. This can be written to be more obvious because EMT and OT have very similar qualities that are needed to be good practitioners.

As an EMT, I developed my critical thinking skills with my patients in order to safely transfer care and educate patients on how to prevent further injuries. Hearing my patients personally thank me for my care and education reassures me that I am pursuing the right career by helping patients resume their activities of daily living and accomplish their own goals .

Much shorter, to the point, and use of effective words that highlight what OT’s also do – educate, doing it safely, prevention of disease and injury, and meeting client’s goals.


FAQ and Self-Doubt

Addressing negative self-talk and negative beliefs about yourself.

“This is my 100th time applying…”

Maybe it will be your 101st that you get in. You see this all the time with graduates taking the board exam who fail X number of times. Don’t give up!

“I was never good at writing.”

Writing takes practice. I never liked writing in grade school. Now I enjoy writing about OT. So use your resources, e.g. spell-check, someone to proof-read, reading other examples. You CAN do it.

“My experience is not that special.”

Not everyone did CPR on their patient, observed a miraculous rehab recovery, etc. It’s what you make of the moments, how you interpret it, become inspired by it, how it changes you, and make you want to be an OT. It’s all from YOUR perspective. You can take 2 people who watch the same movie. One person could be moved by it and the other not be interested, right?

“The more I read this, the more I feel like it is not good enough.”

Take a break, put it down, and come back to it. Have someone else read it and get their opinion. Sometimes, we get stuck in our own thoughts and they can trick us and lead us down a negative path of thinking.

“I have the opposite problem, I have too much to write about and not enough room.”

You can probably take our your younger experiences. Leave the “resume” stuff out. Try to pick the most “OT” related or healthcare moments. If you do not have these examples to draw from, choose ones that fit the characteristics of a good OT. Each example should not be a repeated theme of another and highlight something profound.

“Now I am not so sure what OT’s do anymore, after writing all this.”

Go on BLS.gov for OT’s, listen to OT podcasts (to become inspired), watch some YouTubers on OT.

“I am having doubts about OT vs. (other profession)”

Avoid reading forums, facebook groups, Reddit for OT. These are often skewed towards OTs who may be burned out (which could happen for any other profession on social media). Dig deep into why you wanted to be an OT in the first place! If still in doubt, maybe you should observe some more, talk to some more OT’s and listen to some OT podcasts (because they are positive about the profession usually). I would avoid YouTube as many who are burned out could make videos.

“No one can proofread my personal statement.”

Try writing workshops, a school or public library, or similar resources. A simple google search could help and you won’t necessarily need to pay. Avoid suspicious websites and  uploading  your work to avoid others from plagiarizing you. Use people or resources that you trust.

“This is my 100th draft, it’s not perfect yet”

Deadlines will often help with this. Don’t let them catch you off guard. Consider going back and making an outline and seeing if you covered everything you want to talk about. A timer may help. Get the approval of at least 2 readers to give you support for how awesome your personal statement is.

“I don’t know where to start in writing”

That’s okay, start writing about a story or experience you have in mind and build around it. Start in the middle as intros and conclusions can be very difficult to begin writing.

  • Read some other examples online, but don’t stress about it. If possible, have someone who may have been accepted to a graduate program send you theirs. You can use it as a template or for inspiration to the types of stores, tone, conclusion paragraph used, etc.
  • Set a timer (e.g. Pomodoro method) so you won’t stress out and remind yourself to take breaks, move-on, just get something out and fix it later. Exact grammar, spelling, and other “writing” can be fixed later – focus on content.
  • Get into a habit of writing, set a schedule …or do it randomly, no-schedule (whatever works for you ). Maybe it’s writing every other day in the morning, after a nap, after playing video games, after a meal, after walking your dog, or whatever sets you up for success.
  • Have at least 2 people read (and edit) your personal statement. Don’t take it personally and not all suggestions are necessarily correct.
  • In the earlier stages of writing, if deciding between two stories or segments in your writing, consider having two drafts and see which one your proof-readers prefer.
  • Read your personal statement out loud, spaced out, e.g. 1 week later (when it is no longer fresh and you forgot some of what you wrote). Make edits as needed.
  • Candidates come from all walks of life, have different personalities (e.g. type-A vs. B), extroverted vs. introverted, outspoken vs. quiet – so some of these tips (or your editor suggestions) may not appeal to you or seem unnatural, etc. This can be your strength. Follow your gut. It’s not like OT schools are only looking for outspoken, extroverted candidates. It’s how you use those qualities to better the world with OT. This is what makes you unique, special, and distinguished. Highlight those features!
  • Take care of yourself – eat well, exercise, manage your stress, breathe.

Thank you for reading this long guide. I wish you the best in your journey to becoming an occupational therapist (or whatever career). See you all in the field!


Student Good Guide

The best UK online resource for students

Occupational Therapy Personal Statement

Read our real example of Occupational Therapy personal statement to be able to work on your application for university.

Occupational Therapy Personal Statement Example

To me, occupational therapy’s guiding principles – above all, equipping individuals with the skills and confidence to lead full, rewarding lives – strike a chord as the best way to restore health. It would be a privilege and an enriching experience to be part of a profession based on these ideals that could improve the lives of others.

As a result of my diverse upbringing, I have excellent communication and empathy skills. After living in various countries throughout my childhood, my family and I finally settled in the United Kingdom. Living temporarily in several different places, often overcoming language barriers, has helped me to appreciate communication and to strive to improve it. I have also encountered people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds by living in such a diverse range of places.

My experience completing the first year of a BSc in Biomedical Sciences, which I believed did not suit my career goals or academic interests, demonstrated my aptitude for higher education and suitability to work as an occupational therapist. I left the course after feeling that course did not suit my interests or career goals. The position I held as a course representative required me to communicate effectively with fellow students and assist in formulating proposals that would improve the quality of the course for them. These skills are relevant to the work of occupational therapists, in my opinion. In addition, the experience of taking an unsuitable course has taught me not to make big decisions lightly and to pursue a career I am genuinely interested in. I feel confident that occupational therapy is the right course for me, and I look forward to completing it with full enthusiasm.

As a result of shadowing an occupational therapist, I have gained a deeper understanding of this fascinating field. The experience of eyeing the work of the therapist and seeing how the central goal of everything that they did was orchestrated at helping people to lead fulfilling lives, whether through coaching people on techniques to control problems such as anxiety or assisting individuals to develop plans for themselves, was inspirational. I was positively impressed with the therapist’s ability to understand people’s conditions through a combination of talking to them and keeping an eye on them as they went about their business, not to mention the importance that the therapist attached to assessing each individual thoroughly to ensure that the help that they offered would benefit the individual and their circumstances.

I recently spent four weeks volunteering at a local school, where I worked daily with the children. I spent a considerable amount of the time on the placement working with a disabled girl, in the form of helping her and keeping her company during breaks and lunchtimes. Being able to help children in this way was a great pleasure, and working with kids from a variety of backgrounds made me realise the significance of the role that occupational therapists can play in helping children who come from troubled families. Indeed, the rewarding experience of working with children has made me develop an interest in working as a paediatric occupational therapist one day. I was inspired to carry out this work experience through the sense of accomplishment I derived from helping to organise a Christmas party for a group of disabled children whilst I was at college. The experience made me realise that helping people was something that drives me to make the most of my skills and abilities. I believe that qualifying as an occupational therapist would be an ideal profession for me to be able to do this.

Recommended reading:

  • How to Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out
  • How to Write a Personal Statement for a PhD
  • UCAS Personal Statement: A Writing Guide And Tips For Success
  • Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for the University
  • UCAS Reference Letter: Ultimate Writing Guide

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Write an Awesome Personal Statement for OT School

So you want to be an occupational therapist, but you still have to jump through the many hoops of applying for grad programs. One mandatory part of the process is writing a great personal statement specifically for occupational therapy school, which can be pretty intimidating when it’s time to put pen to paper.

Well, I’m here to help!

I personally spent quite a bit of time crafting the best possible personal statement I could for OT school, and have since read and edited many, many personal statements from pre-OT applicants. (Want me to edit yours? Sign up here !)

These are my top tips for you to craft a great occupational therapy personal statement that will help you stand out from the large crowd of pre-OT applicants. 

First, the Do’s and Dont’s of Statement Writing


  • Do start early: Give yourself enough time to brainstorm, write, and revise your personal statement well before the deadline. This will really reduce your feelings of stress and being rushed.
  • Do show sincerity in your writing. It’s encouraged to let your positive emotions and enthusiasm shine through. 
  • Do talk about why you want to be an occupational therapist. You want the programs to see that you are serious about this decision. You are not just applying because you can’t think of anything else to do for a career.
  • Do in one way or another demonstrate through your writing that you know what OT is and why it’s important.
  • Do showcase why you’ll make a great addition to their program, adding unique qualities that will differentiate you from the other applicants. 
  • Do talk about your shadowing experience, volunteering and work experience that is relevant to the field of OT. Make sure you keep patient information confidential if you discuss certain cases you observed.
  • Do feel free to use the language of OT if you know it and are familiar with it (i.e. interventions, treatments, occupations, goals, evidence-based, functional treatments, etc.)
  • Do tie your personal statement together. If you make several different points, try to piece them together for the reader to show that you’ve really thought through the big picture.
  • Do have at least two people (but the more the better) read and proofread the final draft of your statement. Ask friends, family members, and someone at your school’s writing center. This can help spark ideas and ensure your application is completely free of typos or grammatical errors. The last thing you want is admissions to immediately notice any glaring spelling mistakes that you may have missed.
  • Do keep the length to 1-2 pages max. You want it to be short and sweet. If any sentence or paragraph looks unnecessary after you do a final read-through, get rid of it. As a general rule, personal statements run on average 600-800 words.


personal statement dont

  • Don’t start your essay with clichés. In fact, leave them out of your statement altogether. An example of this is “I’ve always wanted to help people” (they see this all the time).
  • Don’t plagiarize. There are a lot of personal statement examples on the internet that you can absolutely use to guide your writing process. Do not use them word for word. Programs can find out and will exclude your application.  U se the examples as templates of what kind of content you’ll cover in your statement.
  • Don’t try to be humorous in your personal statement. Even if you’re hilarious, this is not the time to show this. 
  • Don’t just talk about your childhood. Focus on college and post college achievements unless something in your childhood or adolescence is what drove you to a career in occupational therapy. Remember that this isn’t an autobiography, it’s a statement on why you’ll be a great OT.
  • Don’t guess what you think the reader wants you to say. Be honest and don’t write in a way that is out of line with who you really are. Don’t just write something to try to impress people.
  • Don’t be a downer. Avoid going into detail about your dislikes, negative views, or problems in your life. If you have a low GPA or lack of experience, don’t mention it unless you can put a positive spin on it. Listing excuses for your low GPA or GRE score isn’t a good idea either, unless you really feel the need to tie in why your GPA is lower but how you’ll be an awesome therapist despite this.
  • Don’t mention specific programs in your statement if you’re using OTCAS . It will be sent to every school you apply to and therefore won’t make sense. If you apply to an individual school (not on OTCAS) then absolutely mention the school and why you’re passionate about their program.

Check out the How Get Into OT School Guide! It’s the most comprehensive resource that covers everything you need to know.

Ask yourself this question:.

A bonus tip I found while perusing the Student Doctor Network Forums while researching this topic, which is to ask yourself this question:

“Can you replace your personal statement with a degree other than OT?  If not, it’s solid. If you can, then try to revise to make it only relevant to OT.”

And that’s a wrap!

If you have any other tips or tricks you’ve discovered while writing your personal statement for OT school, please feel free to add them in the comments section. I wish you the best of luck with your statement writing and your overall OT school application process!

Be sure to check out these other helpful resources:

Writing the Personal Statement (Purdue OWL)

Start Your Grad School Personal Statement in Just 1 Hour! (The Muse)

Writing a Personal Statement (Emory Pre-Health Advising)

5 Big Mistakes I Made When Applying to OT School (My OT Spot)

This post was last updated on May 12, 2023.

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As I’m working on my application essay this week, your article is very helpful! Thank you.

I’m so glad it was helpful for you 🙂 Best of luck with your applications!

Thank you for this article! I just wanted to know, do you offer services proof reading other people’s personal statements? That would be really helpful for me!

Hi May, I do offer personal statement reviewing that you can set up here . Instead of the traditional coaching call that’s linked, it will instead entail personal statement edits and feedback via email 🙂

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  • Personal Statements
  • Occupational Therapy personal statement

Occupational Therapy Personal Statement Example

Sample statement.

Occupational Therapy is a highly rewarding career that allows you to meet a range of people from different backgrounds and get real job satisfaction. If you’re planning on applying to study Occupational Therapy at university, and you’re struggling with your personal statement, here is an example to help you out:

I have been interested in a career within the care industry for a long time and after completing various work experience placements I have decided that Occupational Therapy is the correct career path for me.

At school I spent time at a paediatric ward as part of my work experience placement and was able to shadow various members of staff, including the paediatric occupational therapists.

I got to see first-hand how different therapy techniques, such as art therapy, can be combined with an individual’s care plan to give them as normal a life as possible. This placement gave me a valuable insight into the daily life of an occupational therapist and convinced me that I was making the right career choice.

During my time at college I was employed part time in a care home for the elderly as a kitchen assistant. This allowed me to become familiar with one of the environments that an occupational therapist could find themself in. My time at the care home also allowed me to see how different kinds of specialist equipment and therapy can be used to make a real difference to a patient’s life.

My time at school and college, as well as my part time work, has helped me to develop my communication and teamwork skills. I enjoy interacting with other people and meeting new people. I also enjoy learning about how the human brain works, which is why I studied Psychology and Sociology at A Level.

I hope that my time at university will enable to me to further understand how people interact with each other and develop the vital skills I need to become a good occupational therapist. I look forward to the new challenges life at university will bring.

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MSc Occupational Therapy

Why choose this course.

This programme prepares you to work with people who, through illness, disability, trauma or personal circumstances, have complex personal health and social challenges to overcome.

You will learn to appreciate the importance of occupation to the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities and understand how occupational performance is influenced by environmental factors. There will be opportunity to think creatively, solve problems, analyse complex situations effectively to develop tailored and innovative interventions in order to facilitate therapeutic change and transformation. It is important to develop a sense of self-efficacy, enhanced personal and professional insight and the ability to empower and facilitate others to make choices, to take control and responsibility over their lives and aspirations.

Aligned with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists four Pillars of Practice (RCOT, 2017), this programme will provide a combination of theory based and practical experience supported by academic and practice educators with relevant expertise who will support your development as confident, compassionate and skilled Occupational Therapist.

What happens on the course?

Inter-professional learning (IPL) opportunities are embedded within both years of this programme with some modules being shared with other allied health professionals. Inter-professional learning is when students from different professional areas learn with, from and about each other to improve the quality of care. IPL is vital in supporting you to develop the knowledge, skills and insights necessary for employment within increasingly integrated and complex health and social care settings.

The course also benefits from a team committed to working to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists / World Federation of Occupational Therapists standards for their occupational therapy programmes. A focus on current public health priorities and the increasingly complex health needs of those using contemporary services. Service user involvement to ensure that the experiences of patients/service users and their carers/families are integrated into the programme.

Visiting and honorary lecturers / speakers from a wide range of health care and related fields who bring contemporary and real-world examples of practice into the classroom and links and knowledge from local, national and international research initiatives undertaken in the Institute of Health and the wider University research institutions. 

To support your application, please consider the below:

  • Draw out any links from your past degree to Occupational Therapy
  • Consider discussing and demonstrating your understanding of Occupational Therapy
  • Ensure that your application clearly reflects Occupational Therapist values and clear reasoning for wanting to be an Occupational Therapist
  • Demonstrate transferable skills from your current employment or experience to Occupational Therapy
  • Demonstrate understanding and insight in wanting to learn at a Masters level

Course Modules

Focusing on the key physical and psychological disorders you will commonly encounter, this module will equip you with the theoretical frameworks and core skills necessary for you to work as an Occupational Therapist. Focusing on experience of the service user, you will consider how occupational therapists help people to maintain and improve independence and satisfaction in life in a variety of ways including ways to improve self-care, activities of daily living, work skills and leisure activities. You will learn about the frames of reference and models that you will draw upon and utilise to ensure you have the patient/service user at the centre of your treatment regimes. You will apply your decision-making skills to select the appropriate approach, assessment and intervention to optimise the individual’s occupations. The module also outlines your wider responsibilities as an occupational therapist and looks at service provision in the context of local and national communities, as well as considering professional, regulatory and political influence. The module also outlines the expectations you need to achieve during your practice-based learning placement experience undertaken within the module.

Putting the service user at its centre, this module will provide you with the underpinning knowledge and skills in relation to occupational therapy. You will gain an understanding of occupation, occupational performance and the occupational nature of human beings and the interaction between occupation, performance and the environment.

This module will provide you with knowledge of the key aspects of human development from birth to end of life. You will gain an understanding of the physical, psychological and social changes that occur through each of the key life stages, and, utilising the biopsychosocial model, you will study the corresponding biological, psychological, social and environmental theories. Building on your knowledge of lifespan development, the module will also explore the impact of dysfunction on the biopsychosocial development of humans throughout their lifespan.

Preparing you with the essentials for practice-based learning, this module will provide you with the underpinning knowledge and skills in relation to professional healthcare practice. You will gain an understanding of what it means to be a healthcare professional through consideration of the legal and ethical frameworks that health professionals are bound by and you will be aware of your professional responsibilities in your chosen profession. Through the analysis of your own interpersonal proficiency and the exploration of different models of communication you will understand the importance of your influence and impact on others to develop effective therapeutic and professional relationships with patients/service users and within the teams in which you work. The module also explores the context of different health and social care services and how patients / service users might access and progress through these services. You will utilise the skills and knowledge gained in a practice-based learning placement undertaken in this module.

This module enables you to reflect upon the skills and knowledge you have gained from your study in Occupational Therapy to consolidate your ability to apply the occupational therapy process to individuals. You will consider your future professional development needs and areas of potential employment that are open to you upon completion of your course. You will consider your ongoing professional and regulatory continuing professional development requirements as an Occupational Therapist and identify how these requirements might be achieved as you progress in your career.

Occupational therapists help people to reach their optimal potential and recognise that performance is based upon the relationship between the person, the occupation and the environment. This module will look at these relationships in more depth, exploring how environmental, social and cultural factors influence occupational performance and how these will change through the lifespan depending on personal life circumstances. The module will also explore how both physical and mental health conditions may modify occupational performance.

The development of high quality care within therapy services is dependent upon professional expertise, effective collaborative working and appropriate leadership and management to promote patient/service user safety and to improve service provision. This module will give you the opportunity to explore an area of your professional practice in some depth through the development of a research proposal, a service improvement project or a business plan, identifying how you would work collaboratively with others and apply your knowledge of relevant leadership and management theories to promote a change in professional practice. You will develop your knowledge of these areas within the taught element of the module, as well as considering your responsibilities as a qualified practitioner in relation to the delegation and support of others, such as students and unregulated staff. The topic area you choose to study must be of relevance to your profession although the exact nature of your choice of topic will be negotiated at the outset of the module with your module lead and / or your project supervisor.

Additional Information

Everything you need to know about this course!

What skills will you gain?

The MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) programme aims to:

  • Facilitate the development of autonomous, accountable, reflective occupational therapy practitioners committed to continuing professional development and life-long learning.
  • Develop compassionate practitioners with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, able to deliver high quality person-centred care.
  • Contribute to the health and wellbeing of our society through the rigorous and considered application of occupational science to individuals, groups and populations.
  • Enable students to develop as enquiring practitioners with excellent skills of clinical judgement, who are able to practice in a diversity of settings.
  • Provide students with high quality practice learning opportunities, working within inter-professional teams in a variety of health and social care settings.
  • Enable students to critically analyse the complexity of professional, ethical and legal frameworks and their impact on Occupational Therapy decision-making.
  • Support students to develop a wide range of transferable skills including the ability to investigate ,undertake and apply research evidence, leadership and management skills and information technology skills.
  • Analyse the wider political, cultural, economic and social context of current health and social care provision as an influence on occupational engagement.
  • Facilitate the development of practitioners as change agents, able to respond to a changing and dynamic practice environment, safely and effectively treating and managing patients/service users with a wide range of conditions.

Course Fees and Finance

These fees relate to new entrants only for the academic year indicated for entry onto the course, any subsequent years study may be subject to an annual increase, usually in line with inflation.

You will need a good degree in a related subject (normally 2:1 or above) or hold a professional qualification such as teaching, nursing, social work or an allied health profession. Applicants with a 2:1 in a non-related subject will be considered on an individual basis.

We will consider applicants who have other qualifications or experience, equivalent to degree level. If you've got other qualifications or relevant experience, please contact The Gateway for further advice before applying.

You will need to supply evidence in the personal statement on the application form that demonstrates your suitability for the MSc Occupational Therapy programme and your reasons for wanting to study the course.

International Applicants

Your qualifications need to be deemed equivalent to the above entry requirements.

  • English Language requirements are normally IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each element. You will also need to obtain a certificate of good conduct/character and any other references from your home country, and this will be required to ensure you pass the UK police (DBS) checks that are a requirement of the course.
  • For further information relating to overseas qualification please use the following link https://www.wlv.ac.uk/international/our-locations/your-country/

Other Requirements

You will be required to provide a satisfactory personal statement and reference (academic or employer).

Successfully short listed applicants will be invited to attend a values-based interview.

Read further information regarding  interview preparation

Free Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Occupational Health Check :

Due to the professional nature of some of our courses you may also be required to complete a Declaration of Health and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check.  We will coordinate both of these non-academic conditions with you should your course require this and you receive an offer from us

There will be no cost for the DBS this is free to applicants who have secured an offer and have chosen to study at the University of Wolverhampton.

Entry to this programme requires a satisfactory occupational health assessment. You are required to complete a health questionnaire and meet occupational health requirements. If you are accepted onto the programme, all your vaccinations will need to be up to date before you attend placement and the University provides a vaccination programme to ensure that you are appropriately covered.

During the programme you will be required to attend placements, so it is essential that you are able and willing to travel to placement.

The University will make reasonable adjustments for any candidate who has a disability recognised under the Equality Act, 2010 but we ask that you contact the University in advance to enable us to make adjustments.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will be assessed in advance of your entry to the programme and will be considered in line with professional body standards and university regulations. If you have other qualifications or relevant experience, please contact The Gateway for further advice before applying.

If you have previously studied a professional programme at another University or College, we will require an academic reference from your previous higher education institution.

You will need to demonstrate that, on entry to the programme, you have capability for digital and technological literacy to meet course outcomes. Evidence of your digital literacy and technological literacy capability is linked to the online application process.

Who accredits this course?

"health and care professions council, the (hcpc)".

Approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the purpose of providing eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as an occupational therapist.

Tuition Fees Loan (Home Fee Status):

By studying an undergraduate or postgraduate pre-registration programme you are eligible for a Tuition Fee loan. of up to £9,250. The loan will support your studies and enable you to start a rewarding career in healthcare.

Changes for EU students:

EU citizens living in the UK with 'settled' status, and Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland, will still be classified as Home students, providing they meet the usual residency requirements, for more information about EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) click here.

All new and continuing nursing , midwifery and most allied health professionals’ students on pre-registration courses will also receive a grant of at least £5,000 per year that is not means-tested and will not have to be repaid.

An additional payment of up to £3,000 per academic year will be available to eligible students. Eligibility will include the following:

• £1,000 towards childcare costs • £1,000 if studying in a region that is struggling to recruit • £1,000 if studying a shortage specialism

Among others, the shortage specialisms have been confirmed to include:

• Mental health nursing

• Learning disability nursing

Additional funding:

The Learning Support Fund offers students additional support while studying for their degree. This includes:

• Dependants allowance of £1,000 per student per year

• Additional travel and accommodation costs to clinical placements over their normal daily travel costs

• An exceptional hardship fund of up to £3,000 per student per academic year

You can find more information on the University’s Funding, cost, fee and support pages.

01902 32 22 22

[email protected]

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msc occupational therapy personal statement

Occupational Therapy (MSc)

  • Duration: 18 months
  • Mode: Full time

msc occupational therapy personal statement

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day .

Why study this course

This course, for practicing occupational therapists, aims to develop your knowledge and essential skills to help you progress your career.

Learning community

You will benefit from learning alongside a diverse group who are studying at various points in their career.

Student support

You will have academic support and be assigned a designated personal tutor throughout your studies with us.

High-quality teaching

You will be taught by experienced educational and clinical staff with considerable local, national and international reputations.

Join a School ranked 1 st in the UK for Occupational Therapy (BSc) by the Complete University Guide 2021. Our programme has close links with the College of Occupational Therapists which means that your learning is both current and relevant. It provides a sound grounding in the theory and occupation-focused practice whilst also building on your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  You will develop the knowledge required to approach your practice innovatively, apply research and evidence to shape current and future practice in your home country and beyond.

This is a flexible course that allows you to tailor your own professional development to suit your needs, through a range of occupational therapy and interprofessional modules such as developing your skills in patient safety or transforming care systems and services through leadership. You will also cover core areas such as Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Theory and Application.

Your learning will be supported by experienced researchers and academics who are experts in their field. You will be designated a personal tutor who will support you throughout your studies.

In addition, you will be learning alongside a globally diverse group who are studying at various points in their career, sharing knowledge and gaining understanding of Occupational Therapy practice across the world.

Be part of something life-changing and take on a new challenge today.

Where you'll study

School of Healthcare Sciences

Our courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to embark on a professional healthcare career.

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  • Telephone +44(0) 29 2068 7538
  • Marker University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided.

With your online application you will need to provide:

  • A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:2 honours degree in Occupational Therapy (with or without post registration clinical experience), or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates. Or, a copy of your certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a Diploma in Occupational Therapy, or an equivalent international qualification, and a reference from your current employer to confirm that you have two years' practice experience. References should be signed, dated and less than six months old at the time you submit your application.
  •  A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS.
  • A personal statement which must address the following points:
  • Why have you selected this programme?
  • What interests you about this programme?
  • Any relevant experience related to the programme or module content.
  • How you plan to use the qualification in your career.
  • How you and your profession will benefit from your studies.
  • Why you feel you should be given a place on the programme.

Application Deadline

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of July but may close sooner if all places are filled. 

Selection process

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, including an assessment of suitability through the personal statement, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements .

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

The MSc Occupational Therapy programme is modular, and students must complete 120 credits in the taught component of the programme and a further 60 credits in the dissertation component. 90 credits are core modules and must be undertaken, and 30 credits are optional. Taught modules are arranged in block format and run throughout the semester.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

In Year One you will complete three core modules (90 credits) and one optional module (30 credits) which equates to 120 credits of the taught component of the programme.

In Year Two you will complete your dissertation from a choice of three options (60 Credits).

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will i be taught.

Teaching is mainly through discussions, lecturer-led sessions, student-led seminars, presentations and individual tutorials. There are also some lectures.

Self-directed study forms an important part of the course, and you will be guided in the areas for study.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through written assignments and oral presentations. This enables you to demonstrate your ability to analyse and evaluate situations and to use different ways to present your ideas and abilities. The research project is a culmination of the development of these skills.

How will I be supported?

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support you. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, crèche and day facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

This programme gives you the opportunity to share ideas with health professionals. As well as developing your own intellectual abilities, this sharing of ideas enables you to learn and benefit from the experiences of others. Opportunity is given for this sort of discussion and exchange of ideas through seminars and tutorials.

You are given a named personal tutor following registration onto the programme, who is able to assist with any pastoral care as well as advice on writing style, grammar and academic mentoring.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which students will find programme materials, links to related materials and assessment exemplars.

We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark.  You can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.

The University offers a wide range of services and activities designed to support you. These include a student counselling service, a student advisory service, day care facilities, sport and exercise facilities, as well as campus information, library and IT services.

Our student app allows you to access Cardiff University services and personalised information in one place in a simple and convenient way from a smartphone via the app store. 

Features include: 

  • Campus maps
  • Student library renewals, payments and available items
  • Student timetable
  • Find an available PC
  • Access to help and student support
  • Student news
  • Receive important notifications
  • Links to launch other University apps such as Outlook (for email) and Blackboard (for Learning Central).
  • Links to recommended apps such as Nextbike to help make the most of their student experience.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • Develop an analytical and problem-solving approach and show advanced skills in implementing the occupational therapy process.
  • Develop an in depth understanding of occupational therapy theory, the evidence behind it, and its application in practice.
  • Confidence in initiating change and advancing the occupational therapy profession through scholarship and leadership.

Intellectual Skills:

  • Evaluate practice and critically appraise advances or changes in professional practice.
  • Ability to reflect on own practice and therapeutic use of self.
  • Ability to engage in critical analysis, advanced scholarship, and research.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • Develop standards of practice based on reflective thinking and problem-solving.
  • Confidently link theory to practice.

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • Critical appraisal skills and ability to manage a research-based project.
  • Ability to initiate change and advance the profession through research and critical thinking.
  • Ability to communicate clear and concisely in both speech and writing, presenting well-considered arguments.
  • Ability to work to deadlines and prioritise workload.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Students from the eu, eea and switzerland.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees .

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man .

Fees for overseas status

More information about tuition fees and deposits , including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

Will i need any specific equipment to study this course/programme, living costs.

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff .

Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

The MSc Occupational Therapy offers an opportunity to develop your evaluative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and to increase your practical and theoretical knowledge of occupational therapy, so that you can apply these skills in the further advancement of your profession.

A professional postgraduate qualification can lead to opportunities to develop your career in a number of directions, from advanced practice in your clinical area, into management or leadership roles, or to positions in education. Postgraduate taught study is also an ideal stepping stone to undertaking further study or research.

Our graduates have gained roles including:

  • Occupational therapy positions
  • Occupational therapy management positions
  • Educational positions such as lecturer
  • Research Associate
  • PhD studentship

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.

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Personal Statement

I am applying for the masters in Occupational therapy. I am in my final year at York St John University, studying Drama: Education and Community and in my three years of studying this course, what I have enjoyed most is working with community groups and noticing the impact that drama and theatre can have on people’s lives. I have worked with various community groups, including but not limited to, people who have experienced mental health problems, children from ages ten to eighteen and women in prison. I currently hold three volunteering jobs and have also been a student ambassador for eighteen months. Having worked with these community groups, I have realised the importance of occupations as therapy.                  

This course is well suited to my style of working as it geared towards the ‘person-centred’ approach, of which I am very much in favour of. Having already seen the relationship between health, well-being, participation and occupation, more specifically in the field of drama and theatre, I am well attuned to the possibilities of occupational therapy. I am aware of the ever-changing systems put in place to facilitate those in care and am more than prepared to adapt and cater to whatever challenges may arise. At the end of this course, I wish to take up a career as an occupational therapist.

In the second year of my studies, myself and seven of my course colleagues carried out an eight-week drama club project at Park Grove Primary School for key stage two pupils. Our objectives were to encourage pupils to consider the challenges but also benefits of growing up and becoming independent. Drama was an effective tool to achieve these objectives as it created an osmosis between myself, my co-facilitators and the participants. The pupils became active in their learning and this created a dialogue between themselves and the facilitators. This project also became a turning point in my capability to adapt workshops according to ability, for example, one of the pupils in the group was not fully mobile. Therefore, we adapted games such as ‘stuck in the mud’, as instead of travelling between people’s legs to ‘free’ other participants, they passed under people’s arms. This is turn was no major alteration and it enabled full participation, which as a facilitator is crucial as it ensures that no one is targeted and the whole group can be involved.

I am currently a volunteer for two theatre companies based in York, named ‘In the Moment’ and ‘Out of Character’, which comprise of mental health service users. Having worked with Out of Character for two years and In the Moment for almost a year, I have heard of many negative experiences with the current mental health services. The main point being that in review meetings based on the patients, there has been situations where neither the patient nor their family have had an active role in helping to decide the best treatment, as matters had already been decided before they even entered the meetings. There has also been points where they have not been allowed in at all and this is turn has caused a negative view of those in health care. This is one of the most prominent reasons why I would like to pursue a career in occupational therapy, as a large part of its execution is participation and in doing that, the individual in question is involved in their care. To me, it makes sense that the person-centred approach is most appropriate, unless there are extreme circumstances that prevent that individual from being able to make rational decisions that are safe.

Finally, I have been a student ambassador for eighteen months and we have many different schools come to the university to learn more about higher education. Recently we had what we call an ‘aspirations day’, which is centred on getting younger people to think about university and we had a group of twenty-one year eight students who were visiting us for the day. At lunch time, there was one student who got upset because she had been told not to bring a packed lunch, despite the school knowing that she is not keen on certain foods. In this situation, there was an issue with the teacher who ended up treating this student like she was a problem, in addition to this, none of the students had met this teacher before so they were not comfortable interacting with her. This in turn meant that the student was refusing to speak and did not co-operate and some of the staff became concerned that she was not going to stay on task. However, as a student with a shorter age gap, I waited for an opportune moment to calmly interact with her and look for something else to talk about that might interest her, in this case, it was the fact that she was a twin. Within twenty-five minutes, I had her talking to me about her interests and she started to become more engaged with the day. For me, the most crucial aspects to this situation, was patience and understanding, there is no point in trying to fight a losing battle. In a person-centred setting, it is the individual in question who is the most important as at the end of the day, it is them whom we are caring for. As long as they are safe, we should cater to their interests and needs in order to help them progress. In addition to this, the more you know, the more able you are to prepare and plan for new situations because you already have an idea of what that individuals needs and wants are.

Having had experience in facilitating drama workshops, two of the most crucial elements are reflection and feedback. At NHS Peppermill Court, an acute mental health facility, myself and my colleague conduct half-hour workshops on Mondays called ‘games and movement’, intended to help improve basic tool handling, social interaction and self-esteem. Each week we are required to write up a reflection on the session, thinking about what went well, what could be improved and what we could do next time. These prove useful for both myself and my colleague and the occupational therapy staff at the facility as we are always looking to improve and adapt future workshops. Sometimes this proves a challenge as we have different participants each week with different abilities, but it allows us to consider how we may deliver those workshops. This has also strengthened my recording skills as each week we are required to keep a record of how effective these workshops are. As an occupational therapist, it is crucial to keep record of individual’s progress and my own progress, as it then allows me to critically analyse the quality of my work and how that can be developed.

I am also confident in communicating with others as in both my job as a student ambassador and as a retail assistant at Primark, I meet numerous amounts of people every day. I am confident in approaching people who need help or may just want to chat, and this can often create a more comfortable and positive atmosphere, therefore improving their experience. In occupational therapy this is vital as you really need to have the drive to speak to people and be confident in communicating with anyone who may walk through the door. The more confident and friendly you are, the more likely patients will feel they able to trust you with their care.

I am applying for the occupational therapy masters as I already some of the crucial skills that are required of an occupation therapist: the adaptability to work with the changing system, the understanding of the importance of participation and the ability to reflect and critically analyse crucial information. In this course, I hope to strengthen these skills even further and get a better academic understanding of occupational therapy and discover more about the scientific aspect of occupational therapy. After the two-year course, I hope to pursue a career in occupational therapy and help to improve many individuals’ quality of life.

Thank you for taking the time to read this personal statement, I hope to hear from you soon.

Chlöe Timson

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Occupational therapy personal statement example 4.

My life has been overshadowed with caring for people and a healthy living. Ever since I was a child my mother always instilled in me the importance of health and caring for my younger sisters and brothers.

From a very young age I wanted to go into health care, as that is the one profession where I always believed I would excel, owing to my love of caring for people and the satisfaction of being able to help those in need.

There are many health professions in this world. Why then did I choose occupational therapy? Well firstly I love the one to one contact that you have with your patients. Were you must understand their needs and find their talents and then help them in doing their hardest to make it grow.

My main reason however is that I believe that you can not reach your maximum in life, live life to the fullest if you do not know your talents. Some people's talents may be more dominant than others, but in the end if we look hard enough, we can all find that hidden power inside ourselves, the thing that makes us unique from the billons of people on this earth and gives us the power to reach our goals in life.

I had experience with teaching two children that both had varying cases of attention deficit disorder. I would sit and talk to them and then devised two different ways of teaching Arabic to both of them that I found very effective. I got far with them and both their families and I were very happy with their progress.

I have faced a lot of discrimination trying to find work experience in a health institution, owing to the fact that I am not a local. My spirits were never dampened, quite the contrary it made me want to fight harder to get what I wanted to do.

After much searching doctor Anwar Jehan kindly allowed me to shadow her in her gynecologist clinic. She let me watch and help while she looked after her patients. I loved to watch the patients of varying ages and think of ways that I could help or talk to the doctor after about there various complications.

I am also excited because I found work in the institution for Down syndrome children in Riyadh which they told me I will be able to start in a couple weeks time.

I am an independent student and self taught myself, biology, English, Islamic studies, chemistry and English literature, with slight help with the two latter a month before the exam, as having a tutor to help me through all these subjects was financially impossible.

I also did my igcse's on a part time basis owing that I was studying full time in Arabic school, which graduated from at the end of last year. I therefore have a year to dedicate to my A levels which I hope will be fruitful. I have also been chosen as the exemplary student of the year for my last four years in school, and helped to translate the school magazine from Arabic to English.

I have a great many hobbies that included playing badminton, cooking, swimming and reading classic stories and poems in both Arabic and English. I also love different languages and hope to learn many more in the next few years.

I always try to keep my life balanced between my studies and recreation, as I believe that a good mind needs a good body and that can only be enhanced through a good life and healthy living.

Your skills and hobbies are one of the things that puts all the beauty in life. We must balance that scale so that we can reach our full potential and then we will be able to help others as well as ourselves.

I hope that I have balanced my scale well enough to be able to help myself and if honored by being chosen to study in your university I will do all in my power to help balance out the people who put their well being into my hand. To make them see the power that they own, this beautiful picture that they have been put into, that becomes more colorful and detailed every day, their lives.

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This personal statement was written by ace_justncase for application in 2006.

Related Personal Statements

I think the word.

Thu, 27/11/2008 - 20:36

I think the word 'overshadowed' in the 1st sentance is inappropriate - suggests the person who wrote this was forced to do the caring...!

..and it should be 'sentence'

Thu, 27/11/2008 - 20:39

..and it should be 'sentence'..oops!

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