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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Personal Statements: What Helps? ⟩
November 21, 2017, by Linah

Admissions Life Hacks

One of the most stressful things that comes along with applying to undergraduate and graduate programs is writing a personal statement. The rules aren’t that clear when it comes to these things, and everyone has a different perspective on what a personal statement ought to be. I have been working on my own PhD personal statement for the past few weeks and it has been a challenge. Mainly because at this point of the semester my energy levels have been dwindled to a speck, and we still have about 3 more weeks to push through.

Since this is very important to me, I find myself being highly critical of everything I produce. This does not help at all with my time constraints, because I keep throwing out every rough draft I come up with. A feeling that might be familiar to many and counter-productive to all. In an effort to gain better perspective, I ventured on to ask fellow friends and faculty about helpful elements to incorporate in a personal statement. Here are some of the advice I received:

Find A Way To Highlight A Unique Point
For starters, many think it is helpful to separate myself from the rest by highlighting something unique about myself or background or past experience. It helps to try to see things from the admission committee’s perspective, being an international student offers a lot to draw from. A friend recommended to use past work experiences to showcase my own abilities and skills, how well I performed something or highlight skills I mastered during that time. It will not be enough to just state where I worked before, because that information is attainable through the CV attached with the personal statement. No need to be redundant. It would make more sense to talk about with whom I worked and what were my responsibilities during that time, and then mention how that particular experience has shaped me into the occupational therapist I am today.

Describe How The Program Will Help You Achieve Your Goals
A colleague suggested that by talking about my own experiences, I can transition into talking about what the program itself offers to further build on it. This way I am able to specify which courses I am interested in and maybe even professors I am eager to work with. It would also be helpful to write about my own plans for myself in the future and perhaps explain how the program would help me achieve them. This would be a good opportunity to explain why I chose this specific program, because that is an important part of any personal statement.

Make It Personal, But Make Sure To Address The Prompt
I reached out to some of the faculty for advice, and the main piece of advice I got was to view the personal statement as a way to tell the admissions committee who I am. In other words, it is important to demonstrate my personality. To prevent myself from making the statement too personal, I try to always reel back to the prompt provided. This way, I can stay on topic. It is also another point that was mentioned by one of the faculty members here in USC; to make sure I address the prompt.

Have It Reviewed By Friends & Family
In order to make sure I review my personal statement properly, I asked fellow friends or family members to proofread it for me. Their feedback is crucial because from there I can tell whether or not I was able to communicate my thoughts well. It is also an effective way to weed out any spelling or grammatical errors, which can really dampen a personal statement if not attended to.

Lastly, the gist of the advice I got was to make a good case for myself as to why I should be accepted. This means writing compelling arguments and making sure to back them up with evidence from my resume or recommendation letters. In other words, a personal statement is what ties the entire application together, so better make it worth it.


Telling People About OT: One of my Favorite Occupations! ⟩
November 9, 2017, by Caroline

Admissions What are OS/OT?

I must apologize for my long delay in blogging, but I promise I have a good excuse! My favorite part of being a Student Ambassador is speaking with prospective students about Occupational Therapy and our programs at USC. These past few weeks, I’ve been all over the greater LA area presenting at various universities and speaking with prospective students about OT and our programs. When someone asks me about OT, my immediate response is “do you have 2 minutes or 2 hours?” OT is one of my favorite topics of conversation, so the fact that I get to spread the word about OT as my job is simply the best! Believe it or not, when I was applying to OT programs my senior year of college, I didn’t know a single other person interested in or applying to OT. I managed to navigate the process by myself, but I’ve had so much fun visiting Pre-OT clubs and other student organizations at various universities and connecting with students who are as passionate about OT as I am!

In addition to traveling around to different universities to give presentations, I’ve also started giving virtual presentations to groups and universities that are a little farther away geographically, but are interested in learning more about OT at USC. I was able to connect with and present to students from my undergrad in North Carolina (Wake Forest University — Go Deacs!) which was particularly exciting for me! Technology is the best! If you’re reading this and would like to set up a virtual presentation for a group of students at your college or university, feel free to reach out to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) — I would love to make that happen!

We’ve also started doing Admissions Information Sessions virtually as well. We tend to hold about two Information Sessions per month on our campus here in LA, but we want students to be able to get the same information even if they can’t travel out here. I know I would have appreciated that when I was a prospective student! We already have a Virtual Admissions Information Session scheduled for March 29, 2018, so mark your calendars and check out our website for information on how to register.

As always, feel free to reach out to any of the Student Ambassadors by email or leave a comment if you have any specific questions about our experiences or want to follow-up about something we talked about in our blog!

Jessica P.

Welcome Class of 2021! ⟩
August 17, 2017, by Jessica P.


This week has been an exciting one for our new Bachelor to Master’s Occupational Therapy freshmen. We are so happy to welcome 11 new Trojans into the family.

OT Convocation 2017

OT students at USC Convocation

BSMA Class of 2021

BS-MA Class of 2021 with their amazing academic advisor, Joanne Park

Class of 2021 fighting on

Class of 2021 (and Master’s Class of 2022) fighting on!

Jessica P.

Choosing USC ⟩
July 28, 2017, by Jessica P.

Admissions Community Living in LA

This summer I have been super busy giving tours and bragging all about our OT program to potential Trojan OTs. I have been loving talking to potential Bachelor to Master’s, Entry-Level Master’s, OTD, and PhD students. One of the most asked questions is why I picked USC. I could go on for hours about how much I love being a USC OT student and how grateful I am to be able study what I love, at the university I love. Here are my top reasons why I chose USC:

  1. Trojan Family
    You will often hear fellow Trojans discussing the Trojan Family or our extremely strong alumni, but I truly did not understand this concept until I became a student here myself. Being a member of the Trojan Family is so much more than just sharing the connection of going to one of the best universities in the world. The Trojan Family really is a family in that no matter where you go in the world, you can immediately connect with someone.
  2. USC OSOT’s Reputation
    As one of the top-ranking OT programs, USC has always been at the forefront of innovation and research in occupational therapy. Not only did USC develop occupational science, they also created the unique Lifestyle Redesign program.
  3. Location, Location, Location
    As Trojans we are lucky enough to live in sunny Los Angeles. USC’s campus is only a short drive from local beaches, shopping, and entertainment. Living in the city we also have a plethora of resources at our disposal, whether that is looking for an internship, place to study, or just things to do on the weekend. And of course, having 70 degree weather in December isn’t too shabby.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons is being a Trojan for life. I was born and raised a Trojan — growing up going to football games and yelling “Fight On!” at everyone I saw. After years of dreaming of attending USC, it is finally a reality.

Trojan baby photo

Jessica P.

Summer In Full Swing ⟩
July 5, 2017, by Jessica P.

Admissions Classes Fieldwork International

Summer is in full swing and we have been busy keeping up with all of the exciting things happening at Chan!

Just a few weeks ago we had the pleasure of officially welcoming our class of 2019 to the Trojan family! Our new Trojan OTs are busy this summer taking courses in kinesiology, neuroscience, foundations of occupation and creativity, craft, and activity analysis.

USC Orientation Week

USC Orientation Week

USC Orientation Welcome

USC Orientation Welcome

Summer CAs Fighting On

Summer CAs fighting on

Our continuing students have also been busy completing their Level II Fieldwork at various sites across the states.

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Ali

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Ali

One of our students, Ali, is completing her fieldwork at Coastside Pediatric Therapy Center. She loves learning about playing with a purpose and the science of development.

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Brynne and Kaitlyn

Summer Level 2 Fieldwork — Brynne and Kaitlyn

Two of our other students, Brynne and Kaitlyn, are completing their fieldwork at Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

As a student ambassador I have been having a blast meeting all of our new and prospective students. Our Information Sessions are a great way for us to meet students and for them to learn more about our program.

Info Session 2017

Info Session 2017

This past weekend we also had the pleasure of welcoming 50 international OTs and OT students for our Summer Occupational Therapy Immersion (SOTI) Program. The participants will spend the next four weeks learning about OT in the United States, attend seminars, visit various OT sites, and of course enjoy all of the fun that Los Angeles has to offer!

SOTI Welcome BBQ 2017

SOTI Welcome BBQ 2017

With summer half way over, we are excited to fight on and enjoy the next few weeks full of sunshine and OT fun!

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