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ACR Homes Launches Graduate School Mentorship Program

Direct Care Professional gains experience administering medications in preparation for graduate school or medical school application

Gaining entry into a healthcare focused graduate school or medical school program is hard. There was only a 33.9% acceptance rate for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Minnesota in 2020. Only 17% of graduate school applications were accepted for the master’s degree level programs for occupational therapy students in 2017, according to The American Occupational Therapy Association. Furthermore, even the medical school program with the highest acceptance rate only accepts 17.9% of applicants. Many applicants even have high GPA’s, and so they wonder what they’ll have to do to gain entry into the program of their choice.

ACR Homes is a group home provider for people with disabilities in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area of Minnesota. People from all backgrounds, including college students enrolled in universities across the Twin Cities metro area, work in the group homes as Direct Care Professionals, Residential Supervisors, and Nurses. With over 40 homes, and an average of 4 people with disabilities living in each home, there’s ample opportunity for students studying at colleges in Minnesota to gain the healthcare skills, direct patient contact hours, critical thinking, and compassion they need to be not only be accepted to the graduate programs of their choice, but to become a great healthcare providers in the future.

Minnesota college student who was accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School program using a piece of medical equipment at ACR Homes following her white coat ceremony.
Direct Care Professional providing personalized and high quality direct patient care. Using a piece of medical equipment.
Minnesota college students working as Direct Care Professionals with ACR Homes enjoy time doing graduate school mentorship program requirements while talking with a man with disabilities who lives at ACR Homes.

ACR Homes Internship Program

Sometimes it takes more than just good grades and patient contact hours to be accepted to a graduate school program. ACR Homes has always understood that, and in 2012 they developed a Research & Project Based Internship Program. The main purpose is to help student employees improve the quality of life for the people with disabilities living in group homes at ACR Homes. Secondary to that, it's to help student employees gain as much healthcare experience so that they can use their Direct Care Professional job at ACR Homes as a stepping stone toward their future career in healthcare.

“We’ve watched countless student employees enter programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, med-school, and PA school on their first try throughout the years. Many of those students come back and tell us that they almost exclusively talked about their direct patient care experience as a Direct Care Professional, and their research experience as a healthcare intern during their interviews," said Brianna Palkki, Sr. Recruiting Supervisor & Marketing Manager for ACR Homes.

Not only has the internship program helped student employees working as Direct Care Professionals, but it has aided in the company mission of providing personalized and high quality direct patient care for the people with disabilities living in their homes.

ACR Homes Graduate School Mentorship Program

Because of the success of the program, ACR Homes launched their Grad School Mentorship Program in January, 2023 under the direction of Jon Moe, Intern Supervisor

The purpose of this program is to further empower the employees of ACR Homes to make a greater difference in the lives of people with disabilities within their care, and to guide them toward successful careers in healthcare. When asked what he was most excited about, Jon said,

“I’m excited about the supportive community and the mentoring this program will provide.”

Having gone through the experience of applying for graduate school in the past, he felt the support of a friend going through the same process made the grueling experience of applying a little bit easier to bear. Not only that, but he felt that recent college students have been having a hard time seeing the light at the end of tunnel due to the Covid-19 pandemic interrupting their academic progress. “I feel this program will help them see past the limitations they’ve experience”, he said.

What does the ACR Homes Graduate School Mentorship Program entail?

  1. A supportive community of people who either have applied or are currently applying to healthcare graduate programs or doctoral programs.
  2. Group mentoring sessions with ACR Homes alumni who are either in a program or working in their healthcare career. – The hope is to offer one-on-one mentorship and expand our network of healthcare professionals providing the mentorship in the future.
  3. Assistance with personal statement writing
  4. Tips for building a competitive graduate school application
  5. Informative panels about healthcare graduate school and medical school programs
  6. Graduate school and medical school interview preparation
  7. As the program expands, they hope to offer financial assistance to employees for study materials or application fees.
graduate school mentorship program session example

ACR Homes Graduate School Mentorship Program Requirements

  1. Be an employee of ACR Homes
  2. Work to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
  3. Work the required part-time direct care hours as specified by ACR Homes

ACR Homes Graduate School Mentorship Program Length

The Graduate School Mentorship Program will last 4 months and will have continuous enrollment so that students may join in subsequent program cycles.





For more information about the ACR Homes Graduate School Mentorship Program, please contact Jon Moe, Intern Supervisor at