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Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by cults, 03.26.12.


  1. Thanks to Crack the OAT
  1. cults

    cults

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    04.27.11
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    Hate to be another "chances" topic, but I guess I’m just hoping for some assurance since there are a few weaknesses in my application.

    I’m applying to NECO, ICO, and PCO (NECO is my top choice)…Most of the other schools require more classes than I have the time to take considering my non-science major and minor. Should I consider applying to more?

    My stats are as follows:
    Non-science major, 3.60 GPA (3.05 Science) …competitive university, if that matters.
    350 AA, 370 TS

    What I’m worried about:
    - I did not take any science courses other than the bare minimum required for admission, e.g. did not take Biochemistry and other courses that some schools recommend.
    - I got a C+, B-, and W for Bio I & II and a B and C for Chem I & II respectively.
    - My science LOR is probably just “okay” since I am not very well acquainted with the science departments at my university. Likewise with my LOR from an optometrist since I got it from someone I shadowed for a few days/hours. Nothing bad, but definitely not high praises.

    However…
    - I got B+’s in Ochem, Physiology, and Microbiology. Yay for upward trend?
    - Also have a very good recommendation from a social science professor. I could probably get another really good one from a lecturer, but I feel that might not be necessary.

    Should I try to take more science classes to boost up my GPA? Or will applying early kind of off-set the 3.0. I don’t see how it would help if they aren’t going to see those grades when I apply…

    Thanks so much in advance for your input(s)!
  2. Blondiechick919

    Blondiechick919

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    SDN 2+ Year Member
    Are you applying last minute for 2012 or early for 2013?
  3. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Status:
    Optometry Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I think you need to be showing that you can get A's in science courses.

    I was a social science major from a competitive university too, but my stats were kind of opposite yours - my overall GPA was much lower than my science GPA (mostly because I did those as post-bacc after being in the work force for a couple years and learned to appreciate studying harder :)). I also only took the bare minimum classes required for admission and got into every program I applied to - so don't worry about that part. And like you, my science professors that wrote recs were ones that I had had for one class each and I wasn't one to attend office hours. I asked a few questions after class a few times and that was really it. But I knew they were profs that write a lot of recs and would know how to write good ones. So again, I don't think that's a huge deal...especially if you can get at least one solid letter (like the one from an optometrist). Your social science one will certainly help in terms of vouching for your character, but that's iffy on whether they will weigh it much for academics since you're going to be in a science-based career.

    Basically I DO think you need to show them stronger science grades. The classes only get tougher on up beyond the intro, so I think you have to decide whether that's a good idea or not - will it be something you can tackle or will it be something that continues the B/C trend and just reinforces what is already there? If you can show them stronger science classes, then I think you will have a super strong application. One other thing to point out in any interviews is that while some of your grades in science classes might have been lower, you worked hard to study for the OAT and did very well on the sciences section there. Not that that score represents optometry school success in and of itself, but it shows that you can pull it together and really study hard in science material and that's very important.

    If you decide not to take more science classes, then make sure to really focus on your strengths in your personal statement. Play those up big time so that they can see what makes you unique and worth admitting, even with some lower grades from undergrad.
  4. cults

    cults

    Joined:
    04.27.11
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    @Blondiechick919: Early for 2013.

    @optoapp2012: Thanks for your thorough reply! Lots of good information to consider here :)
    Last edited: 03.26.12
  5. janedoe88

    janedoe88

    Joined:
    09.29.11
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    Status:
    Pre-Optometry
    I'm pretty sure biochemistry is required at most all schools. Just make sure you have all the required science classes physics, bio, ochem, micro, anatomy...etc. and you're fine. there are a lot of social science majors. I would go to Berkeley optometry's website and find your school under the articulations and then go by those requirements since they are the strictest.
  6. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

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    Berkeley, CA
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    They vary so much by school though. Berkeley does not require a microbiology lab like a lot of other schools do, but they will start requiring immunology in this next cycle, which I don't think any other school requires. I would compile a list from all the schools you are looking at and see which of those has the strictest. That way you aren't taking any classes you don't need for admissions.

    Also, look at those schools' list of recommended courses in case you do decide to take something above the required courses. If you take something off their recommended list and do well in it, that'll look better for you than just taking any old science class. But schools vary on those - one school told me I should definitely take a neuro science course, but another told me that was useless for opt school (I'm sure the truth falls somewhere in between :) because their curriculums will differ in what they teach or expect you to come in knowing).
  7. shannon804

    shannon804

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    Pre-Optometry
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I think by applying very, very early, you'll optimize your shot. If you want a GPA boost and to increase the number of schools you can apply to, you should look into taking Biochem this summer or in the fall (but you probably already knew that).
  8. Roffles

    Roffles OSU Class of 2015

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    08.04.11
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    Location:
    Dublin, OH
    Status:
    Optometry Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    If you apply early, which you ate, you'll have the best shot. Your science grades are low, but your OAT is fine so that at least shows them you know or can learn the material. That score will make up for some of the slack created by your grades.

    Depending on the schools, you won't need to worry. If in doubt, call and ask. Admissions offices are friendly and easy to work with.
  9. cults

    cults

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    Hm, I guess I (mostly likely) will be taking Biochem. Seems like a smart choice.
    How do calling Admin offices work, by the way? Would I just call, tell them my stats, and ask for feedback?

    Thanks again for everyone's contributions :)
  10. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Status:
    Optometry Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    You can try to call and ask admissions offices about that, but I think the standard answer that you will get is "We evaluate all of our applicants in a holistic way and factor in a number of things. Grades and OAT score are just a piece of the picture. Our averages for the last class were (blah blah blah)."

    But some schools do quite a bit of counseling. I would call them to ask who the person is that does admissions counseling for applicants in the next application cycle (so they don't think you need it last minute for this cycle). I know several schools DO have those people and you often set up an appointment to chat with them by phone or can email back and forth.

    Another thought is to call the admissions office and ask to get linked up with a current student. If you can chat with a few of them, you can get a good picture of those students' classmates. Students tend to talk a lot more openly about admissions criteria than the admission offices, just because they can and don't have to be careful about what they say. I've done that with a number of schools and gotten some really great insights into the programs (the good and the bad). While you can't ask to be set up with someone with a particular GPA, you can ask to get linked up with someone that was a non-science major. They usually have several students willing to talk to prospective applicants with non-science backgrounds because there are plenty of students coming in that way.

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