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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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I’m waitlisted . . . now what?

Liz


by Liz

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Prior to being admitted into the program, like several other applicants, I was waitlisted. After feeling as though I had tried my very best to look like a competitive applicant, it was definitely discouraging to know that I didn’t make the cut. Not to mention, being placed on the waitlist feels like you are waiting a lifetime. After religiously checking my email with the hopes of receiving some good news, a spot did not become available for me that year. So, that meant a whole year of “what now?!” I had just graduated from CSUF, quit my tutoring and campus bookstore jobs, and felt completely lost. I was supposed to get into grad school — that was the plan! After about a week of feeling upset and wondering what I was going to do, I decided to take a closer look at how I could improve and strengthen my application for the following cycle.

First, I decided to find a job. I looked into OT related jobs that would give me more experience. Working with kids was something I was interested in besides hand therapy, so I applied for a job as a behavior therapist. Although ABA is not the same as OT, I thought it would be a good way to get more comfortable working with kids and their families. My experience working for that company was amazing! I worked with kiddos 1:1, joined in on OT consults and was also able to lead a social skills group for children of different ages. Fortunately, I was also able to get a second job working as an occupational therapy aide for a hand therapy clinic. If you’ve read my previous blog posts you’ll know I have a personal connection to working with individuals with hand injuries. Getting some hands on experience (pun intended) by working at that hand clinic really solidified my passion for that area of practice! If I would have been admitted when I applied, I wouldn’t have had either experience. So, long story short — you never know what you’ll learn! You may discover a new passion within OT that you didn’t know was for you or a passion you already had can become that much stronger.

Another tip is to reach out to the admissions team and talk to them about your application. I personally didn’t reach out, mostly because I didn’t know it was a thing. As I’ve mentioned before my parents never pursued a higher education, so unfortunately they couldn’t provide much guidance there. However, my good friend Calvin, was able to get in touch with admissions when he was waitlisted himself. Feel free to connect with him to speak to him more about his experience with that.

Although you may be feeling a mix of emotions, don’t be discouraged! Take this as an opportunity to grow and keep working towards your goal. As cheesy as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. Another thing I should mention is that the first time I applied for the program I applied with one of my great friends from undergrad. We spent hours working on applications and our personal statements together. To my dismay I was waitlisted, but my friend was admitted. Although I was happy for her I couldn’t help but feel sad! However, what I later discovered was that there was a reason we didn’t get admitted together. There was a chance we would have felt comfortable with each other and closed off socializing with new people. Now that I have started my second year in the program I couldn’t be more grateful! I met some of my best friends from not being admitted the first time and I will be moving in with them this fall.

It’s important to note that everyone’s situation is different. Marilyn put together a wonderful video featuring two other students, one of them being Daniel Padilla — who is now our OTD student ambassador! Feel free to check out her video. And again, don’t hesitate to send me an email if you have any questions or would like to connect!