Abstract

Recruitment of occupational therapy students requires both expansion and broadening of ethnic, cultural, age, sex, and geographic distribution. Information used to guide recruitment activities can be limited, quickly outdated, and regionally nonspecific. Applicants to all entry-level programs in the Northwest were surveyed to assess trends that could influence recruitment practices. One hundred thirty-five (82.8%) of the 163 applicants surveyed responded to a questionnaire that probed for sources of exposure to occupational therapy, career goals, and educational preferences. Applicants indicated having an initial interest in allied health or education fields, yet only 36% began college with occupational therapy education in mind. Volunteer or work experience in specific practice settings was identified by approximately 80% of the applicants as an influence in seeking an education in occupational therapy. Career influences, goals, and educational program preferences did not differ among applicants based on age, residential background, grades, or previous degree. An absence of applicants of ethnic minority allows limited application of findings to these targeted groups.

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