The Personal Potential Index (PPI) measures an applicant's potential success in graduate school by evaluating a number of key personal attributes.  References evaluate the applicant on six personal attributes and ETS generates a report based on the evaluations and comments provided.  Graduate administrators and faculty have identified the following characteristics for successful graduate study:

Knowledge and Creativity

  • Has a broad perspective on the field
  • Is among the brightest persons I know
  • Produces novel ideas
  • Is intensely curious about the field

Communication Skills

  • Speaks in a clear, organized and logical manner
  • Writes with precision and style
  • Speaks in a way that is interesting
  • Organizes writing well


  • Supports the efforts of others
  • Behaves in an open and friendly manner
  • Works well in group settings
  • Gives criticism/feedback to others in a helpful way


  • Accepts feedback without getting defensive
  • Works well under stress
  • Can overcome challenges and setbacks
  • Works extremely hard

Planning and Organization

  • Sets realistic goals
  • Organizes work and time effectively
  • Meets deadlines
  • Makes plans and sticks to them

Ethics and Integrity

  • Is among the most honest people I know
  • Maintains high ethical standards
  • Is worthy of trust from others
  • Demonstrates sincerity

The program requires a minimum of three (3) references.  PPI permits up to five (5) references and applicants may seek the maximum, if they so choose, however three (3) is the requirement.  All references must be submitted to ETS by December 1.  This ensures processed references will reach the OT program by the program's application deadline.

Applicants are not restricted in seeking references.  While the program does not dictate from whom references should come, we do have recommendations.  Individuals likely to serve as desirable references include:

- A professor or instructor
- A healthcare professional
- Someone for whom you have worked
- Someone for whom you volunteered

Applicants are advised to refrain from seeking references from family and friends.

Individuals for whom the applicant has job shadowed are eligible to serve as references.

For further information regarding the PPI, or to begin the PPI process, please visit the ETS website.


ets ppi