Competitive applicants to occupational therapy schools are well rounded and have pursued a wide range of experiences to develop not only their scientific background and skills, but also interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills, and professionalism.
Most OT schools require students to observe occupational therapists in a variety of settings and with a variety of patient populations: inpatient and outpatient, pediatrics to geriatrics. A minimum of 40 observations hours specifically with OTs is recommended by the time of application, but requirements vary by program. The Smith Career Center and HPAC maintain a contact list of Peoria area occupational and physical therapy clinics where students may observe.
Volunteering and community service, whether or not it is in a healthcare setting, demonstrates your commitment to serving others, as you will as a future physical therapist.
Becoming a leader in a student organization, job, etc. gives you experience working with teams, communicating, and working together to share responsibility for accomplishing shared goals. Consider joining organizations such as HSO, Alpha Epsilon Delta honor society, Wags for Mags, or Best Buddies and working your way toward an executive board or other leadership role.