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Top Optometry school

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by eyesbright, 09.29.09.


  1. Thanks to Crack the OAT
  1. eyesbright

    eyesbright

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    Reading about new Optometry schools made me think...if everyone is so concerned about low quality of new schools education, and their unestablished reputation, then.... what is the top Optometry school, currently? is it Berkley? SUNY? PCO? How (and where) are Optometry schools rated? And does it really matter which school you went to after you graduate and become a brand new OD, looking for a job?
  2. Arctic

    Arctic PCO Class of 2014

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    There is significant parity amongst the established optometry schools; there are definitely differences between the schools but it would not be a smart idea to try and rank order the schools; nothing good will come of this thread (just going to result in nasty little arguments) so I would suggest it be closed.
  3. NatashaColorado

    NatashaColorado NatashaColorado

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    I wondered myself about which Optometry school is the "best", but I guess this issue is touchy, and the ranking is opinion based.....? So, let us all get along, future Optometrists, and learn as much as we can in the schools of our choosing :love:
  4. Commando303

    Commando303

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    I don't think anything good will come of this thread, but I don't see it turning into flame-world, either (all right: I could be wrong).
  5. blysssful

    blysssful SUNY c/o 2013

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    SUNY, duh. :love:

    The schools are NOT officially ranked, and every school will say they are the top for some reason or another.

    I'm sure there are other criteria, but this is what I gather most people use to attempt to objectively "rank" the schools for themselves:

    • FIRST TIME Passing Board Rates: Obviously high board rates are important because without passing the boards, you won't be able to practice. You want a school that will prepare you well. (Disclaimer: Several schools have information on their websites or brochures that is misleading because they report their OVERALL passing board rate, rather than the first attempt. Many other schools don't advertise their scores at all, or are very shifty about disclosing them.)
    • Clinical Experiences: For those who want to become practitioners, it's crucial to have a well rounded clinical program. This is clearly one of the more subjective aspects.
    • Externship Sites: During the fourth year rotations, many future ODs build relationships through their externship sites. If the school has a large list of externship locations, there is a much better chance that you'll be placed in a location/mode of practice that is of interest to you.
    • Entering Statistics: This is the "quick and dirty" way most people seem to judge which school is on top... but it's not really a fair assessment. To an extent, it indicates the caliber of an entering class, however it doesn't say much about the caliber of graduates. It's also misleading because "average" is NOT the same as "median", and the various class sizes will skew the stats (larger classes tend to have lower stats, and vice versa).

    How medical schools are ranked (by US News):
    "Each year, U.S. News ranks professional-school programs in business, education, engineering, law, and medicine. These rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research, and students."
  6. Siltera

    Siltera

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    You get paid pretty much the same regardless of where you graduate from.
  7. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member

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    Students should focus on which school suits them best and which environment allows them to party to their maximum potential.

    Being a good well rounded student is more important then going to the top schools.

    There are however a couple of dog schools out there, but I'll refrain from talking about that. Don't want to be too disrespectful.
  8. Arctic

    Arctic PCO Class of 2014

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    That really isn't the case Siltera; for example, if you specialize in the right thing you can make a lot more. Also, your externship relations, as blysssful said, are immensely important for getting you matched into the "right" mode of practice for you. If you think all you need is a degree and can just magically make a killing by working corporate; be aware it is vastly more complicated than that.
  9. Commando303

    Commando303

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    It's funny, to cite just this one school, Ferris State tells you more or less all the reasons for which not to attend their school, in the section of their Web site in which they ask for donations to build a new campus — lol.

    *No, I'm not knocking Ferris (hell, they are the only optometry college I know of that, prior to OptomCAS, had a free on-line application); I'm just pointing out something I think is worthy of maybe half a chuckle.
    Last edited: 10.01.09
  10. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    I'd pick the big three as IU, Berkley and Ohio State. :thumbup:
  11. Framecontrol

    Framecontrol

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    From what I have heard, seen and experienced IMO SUNY is the best Optometry school.

    3 factors
    -biggest clinic
    -best staff
    -best board rates
  12. bigdumy

    bigdumy

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    Could someone provide a link that lists each school's rates? My searching skills have failed me.
  13. JeffChou

    JeffChou Your mom goes to college

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    It's hard to say which school is best since it is subjective. Everyone will tell you that you need to do your research on each school to decide what appeals to you. Where your degree is from won't make a difference on your paycheck. You will be paid what is appropriate for the practice location and work (cost of living, hours, production bonuses, etc). Doctors will hire the best applicant who can bring the most income into a practice whether by charming demeanor or added specialty services. Also, knowledge of a specialty or residency experience may help you get the job, but do not be fooled into thinking that they will bring you much, if ANY, increase in starting salary. A wide array of externship sites to choose from is fine and dandy, but you shouldn't rely on that to place you into a practice. You may find that there are locations hiring in the area your externship is in, but you don't want to be floundering around in your fourth year hoping for someone to hand you a job. There are many other sources that are equally helpful in finding a job such as the alumni network of the school (larger school=larger network!) or personal contacts you have made throughout school. You will determine your practice mode (private, corporate, academic, research).
    To really maximize earning potential, ownership is what you should strive for.

    Typically, I'd look at the board pass rates, clinic, and location:

    Board pass rates, while not the end all, be all, are a good indication of how prepared a school's class is for the board exams. It is, ultimately down to the test-taker to pass the test so small differences aren't really a big deal (and they also may depend on the number of students in a class. The smaller the class size, the more % drop 1 nonpassing student will make.

    The school's clinic is one of the bigger draws for me. I was looking for a large clinic that had a wide patient base. Since actually seeing patients is the most important part of optometry school, it made sense for me to go to a school where the clinic would receive many patients with medical problems. You need to focus on quality and quantity. Seeing young college students all day will make you a refracting god, but you want to get a wide variety of experiences from fitting contact lenses to treating and managing glaucoma, etc. You will need to research school websites and query students/alumni to find out more about the clinic.

    Location is also important to me because I want to live in a place that has things to do outside of school. Although free time is limited in optometry school, it still is nice to be able escape if only for the weekend. Another consideration is the scope of practice in the state. Maybe someone who knows can weigh in on how treatment and drugs are handled in the curriculum if they are out of the scope of the state. The local area will also determine the types of patients that you will be seeing in clinic. Some schools are near low income areas (see more advanced disease) while others have satellite clinics in many different locales (see different risk factor groups).

    The best school for you will depend on your needs and wants. If you want to specialize in something, it will be for your own benefit because you want to or think that you can bring that service to your own community. Do not forget one of the biggest factors: cost. If you can't afford to pay off your loans, it doesn't really matter if you went to the school with the best everything. Likewise, if one school is giving you a fat ride, take it!


    plug: ICOs latest 1st time board pass rates (http://www.ico.edu/admissions/faq/#passrate).
    ICOs clinic also sees many low income patients with state aid and also many patients with eye conditions of various stages.
  14. JeffChou

    JeffChou Your mom goes to college

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    admittedly subjective.
  15. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013

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    Your search skills are probably fine... There is no site/page/thread/ect that has all of the schools NEBO rates. Some schools post em on their respective sites others don't.
  16. JMU07

    JMU07

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    Also - some schools don't post their first-time passing rates, they post the overall passing rates. If you're interested, call the schools you're looking at and see if they'll tell you their first-time rates. :thumbup:
  17. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member

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    Couldn't disagree anymore with you on this, often time its those that have a special interest in some "specialized" area of optometry that actually end of making less. Fact is, there just isn't much money and or volume in anything other than vision and medical billing. Everything else is pretty hard to get people to give you their money for!

    Some people make it work, yes, but really there is a reason there aren't more optometric "specialists" out there beyond the wall of the institutions.
  18. Arctic

    Arctic PCO Class of 2014

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    Well, one optometrist I shadowed has done VERY well for himself out of his specialty, but fine that's just one anecdote; I guess I can't say any more on that.
  19. OD4eyes

    OD4eyes PCO c/o 2014

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    I told my boss who is an OD that I wanted to specialize in low visions or vision therapy and his response was that specializing in optometry is the one time in which you won't make more money. I probably will specialize but I too was surprised.
  20. Arctic

    Arctic PCO Class of 2014

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    Yeah it is a little surprising to me too, but the low volume argument does seem to make sense to me, in that not many optometrists could make a big success out of a specialty due to highly limited patient populations. Anyone else on here have any experiences with specializing?
  21. JeffChou

    JeffChou Your mom goes to college

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    It's not that specializing can't be an avenue to great success, it's that specializing won't bring you a fatter paycheck when you graduate. The doctors that are specializing are successful as a result of proper marketing and practice management. In that regard, anyone, whether he is a primary eyecare Dr or glaucoma specialist can be successful given the right circumstances. Optometry is vastly different from Medicine (MD/DO) where there are a few glorified medical specialties that demand 200-300k starting incomes.

    That said, you shouldn't be discouraged from specializing in any particular path, just don't rush success. From what I know, it takes a couple years to establish a successful specialty practice. That, however, is for another thread at another time. :)
    Last edited: 10.06.09
  22. Arctic

    Arctic PCO Class of 2014

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    Thanks for the informative reply :thumbup:
  23. Jrock001

    Jrock001

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    I am having trouble considering what optometry schools to apply to. At first was I just considering appling to the schools i thought would be the easiest schools to get into. After reading many post I have concluded that it is a bad approach. My question is if i were to attend the Inter Amercan In Purto Rico, because they are the easiest to get into does that neccessarily mean that they would not prepare you as well for the board exam? Besides the passing rate how does one rate the schools?
  24. OD4eyes

    OD4eyes PCO c/o 2014

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    I applied to Inter American In Puerto Rico because I too believe it is easier to get into than all other school; "safety school." I have met 2 doctors from PR and they both had trouble passing their boards. Does that necessarily mean you will have trouble passing... perhaps not... I feel a school should be based on three factors; curriculum, clinical experience, and location. Do some research and apply to a few schools. You might want to consider all your options and keep an open mind.
    Good Luck!
  25. SonofanOpt

    SonofanOpt

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    Side Note to what you said:
    Maybe my mom is just a little harsh, but she owns her own Optometry practice, so I can at least gather some knowledge regarding private practice/profession. When I began asking her about state-side schools and eventually Puerto Rico her response was a quick "I would never consider an applicant from Puerto Rico for a position in my practice."

    Might be mean on her part... but it is still something to think about.
  26. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013

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    heard the same thing from the OD's I shadowed about the new schools.
  27. Commando303

    Commando303

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    I think a reason people in the business might frown upon graduates of Puerto Rico's college of optometry, is awareness it is applied to by many who view it as a "safety net" — they don't want people who just crawled across the finish-line and had little self-confidence at the starting-. That said, if you want to start your own practice, I think all you might have to do is pass the exam, and, if Puerto Rico can adequately prepare you to do so, who gives a damn about the rest?
  28. JMU07

    JMU07

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    You guys need to PM Hambre. He was a student there and absolutely hated it. This is a quote from him from an old thread (2007):

    "Our class of 2009 just recieved their board scores. 2 people out of 48 passed."

    So, take that as you will.
  29. blysssful

    blysssful SUNY c/o 2013

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    That's probably one of the reasons why, but I think the main reason is because the Boards are indicative of the standardized minimum knowledge required to be able to practice optometry. When a school habitually has people fail to reach this minimum, it speaks volumes about the curriculum. From what I understand, those students from Puerto Rico who DO pass often have to teach themselves a lot of material. So, its kind of a double whammy... many of those students wouldn't have gotten in elsewhere to begin with and on top of it they have a less than stellar preparation.
  30. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member

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    bump! after a few yrs :)
  31. jn10

    jn10

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    people always try to ask this question, and there is no answer. you're going to get a lot of biased opinions, that's all.

    I have said, that no matter what school you choose, you will be a doctor at the end of the four years. that's not to say that your entire optometric education hinges on what school you choose, because we all continue to learn even after years of practicing. you do have the opportunity to choose how you want to get there, whether it's based on the city, boards pass rates, clinical program - that's up to you

    I don't think anyone who attends one school of optometry can say theirs is better than any others since they didn't go to that second school.. hope that makes sense. I suppose if you attended one school, then started teaching at another.. that might give you more weight on your opinion.
  32. jn10

    jn10

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    it's probably especially hard for us to decide since a lot of pre-optom folks have scientific/logical minds, but I think you'll find the best thing to do is just go to your interviews, talk to current students, gather information. and your instincts or your gut will make the decision for you. and if there's anything you should of learned in undergrad with years of standardized multiple choice testing, it is: you should always go with your gut!! ...(or the answer is C)....
  33. dontlikephysics

    dontlikephysics

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    Do you mind if I ask why she would never consider an applicant from PR or the new optometry schools? Don't all OD's applying for a position at her practice have to have passed the same state board exam?

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