A review of NECO

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by ucbsowarrior, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    The following is a candid assessment of NECO to help potential students in assessing this institution as a potential optometry school. It is open to rebuttals and welcomes additions. Most of the information is a compilation of true life stories and experience of current students and alumni (all names to remain confidential). These people have insight into the school; more than mere impressions.

    The review will talk about Boston, the school and how it relates to students.

    City: Boston is a nice, small city with an ounce of charm.. I wish there was greater racial diversity in this city, but there is not too much diversity outside of the student population in the various colleges that surround the city. There are plenty of things to do in Boston and most are within walking distance or reachable by public transportation. The weather is great for 6 months, average for 3 months and down right sucks for 3 months (winter) - mind you I'm coming from the southern states. However, the cost of living in this city is fairly expensive, or I should say fairly outrageous for a student budget.

    Transportation: Public transportation is adequate, however the frequency of buses and the T (subway) is spotty when it is not rush hour. With a car you would think things would be a little faster, but only if you are willing to pay. Parking is a problem is this city, as there is a lack of it; metered parking is also spotty. If you are thinking about driving to school, you better arrange to rent a parking spot near the school (rent with one of the private residences, as the school has no parking spots for students), because metered parking is a bad idea (ticketing). A parking spot will run you in the neighborhood of $225-375 per month.

    Housing: If you are looking to walk about a mile / two or live farther than walking distance you should be able to land a room for about $700-850 and an a bachelor for maybe $1000. If you want to live in close proximtiy to the school you will have to shell out about $1000 for a room and $1700 for a bachelor. Mind you I'm talking about places that are livable. You should be able to find places for a little cheaper, but you'll have to put up with the slummy aspects of the place.

    Food / Meals: Plenty of colleges have food courts or amples restaurants located near by to accommodate students. NECO does not have this. The restaurants near the school typically do not fall within a students budget - but there are some that do. Budget 300-600 per month as this can vary greatly.

    School Program: The NECO program covers plenty of areas. The main areas of concern would be the first year and the clinic years. In the first year there is a large emphesis on Basic Sciences. It would be better if they focus more on optometry related subjects. The basic sciences (BS) should be covered in subjects taken by students during their pre-reqs. There is no point rehashing basic science in the od program. I think their purpose is to prepare students for part I boards - however at the rate they try to teach basic sciences, they might as well not bother teaching it at all. Students should be responsible for their pre-req subject and no college should be responsible for the lack of knowledge in these areas. Time spent of BS is time missed for optometry stuff. Courses that may be redundant and overkill are Human Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology - mind you some of these courses are 'difficult' for many students, not because of subject matter, but because of quantity of information in the amount of time provided and the quality of the instructor (I'll leave it at that). Bottom line, cut out the BS and add on the OD related subjects.

    Clinic is a hassel, because the clinics are geographically in different locations from the main campus. They are too close for driving and sometimes too far for walking (esp in the winter and rain). If you are at the main building and then need to travel to the clinics, this is a big bummer and strain. Some clinics are located over an hour away by public transit (e.g. clinic near Braintree station). Now I know that some of you are thinking, well I visited Boston once and it's a small place and I can walk it. Don't kid yourself. You'll be carrying bags of equipment, lugging it around in sometimes cold and wet / snowy weather. It's no fun.

    Partying: There are plenty of colleges in Boston and the party scene is pretty good. The only problem here is that in the first two years you'll be working so hard that many of you won't be able to jive with the party crew (and each and everyone of you should) and if you have the time, you best have money left over from your living expenses.

    Safety: Boston's crime index is about 75% higher than the National Average, but the school is located in a very nice part of the city and most parts of the city are fairly safe. Most of the crime in Boston happens in three areas. As long as you stay away from these areas (at night time) your chances of being a victim of a (violent) crime (assult, theft, rape) is pretty low. http://www.cityrating.com/citycrime.asp?city=Boston&state=MA

    Cost: Very expensive in most respects. Read above.

    Final Rating:

    City: B+:thumbup:
    Transportation Walking: B+:thumbup:
    Transportation Public Transit: B
    Transportation Car: C-:thumbdown:
    Housing: D+:thumbdown:
    Food: C+
    School Program: C:thumbdown:
    Partying: B
    Safety: B-
    Cost: D+:thumbdown:

    Overall rating: C-:thumbdown:



    :oops: If you are going to this school make the best out of it and have a good time partying when time permits - just bring plenty of cash and try to learn to ride a scooter to travel to clinics when the weather is okay; Cash and a good means of getting around will fix most of the negatives, except for some of the 'unnecessary' course that you are taught.

    :( If you do not have too much cash or do not want to borrow too, consider other schools if you have the option and you find a school that better suits your needs and wants.

    Look forward to receiving comments, opions and potentially :smuggrin: nasty messages.
     
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  3. Brown Eye Girl

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    Do you currently attend NECO? What other optometry programs have looked at? Do you have any views on ICO?
     
  4. l2en

    l2en Junior Member
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    Thanks for the review ucsbowarrior, it is very helpful and informative!
    I'm looking forward to hearing some responses from NECO students...there are, after all, two sides to every story.

    Also, does anyone have enough knowledge about SCCO to do a similar review like this? That would be greatly appreciated!
     
  5. odforme

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    I will just add my 2 cents about the crime factor: I lived in Boston for 4 years and Chicago for 9 years. My car was broken into in both cities, my apt was robbed in Southie (Boston) and I had a crazy stalker in Chicago. Almost everyone I know was pick-pocketed in Chicago on the train (sometimes more than once), my wallet was stolen at a bar in Boston (but i got it back later minus the cash of course). I never had any trouble on the bus/train in Boston. In BOTH cities people will fight you for a parking spot in the snow and will leave various items in "their" spot. Do not mess with these people, they are crazy...get yourself some cones and just play along. :) Big cities mean you will most likely experience some sort of crime. I never felt unsafe anywhere in Boston but definitely did in some parts of Chicago. Get some pepper spray and be smart, you will probably be fine. Oh and make sure you have renters insurance (homeowners) cuz when all your equiptment gets stolen from your car, your car insurance won't cover it but your renters will! :)
     
  6. rallthenamesgon

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    ucbsowarrior thanks for the review. I was considering applying to NECO, but I didn't have much information on it besides what the website offered and any threads on here that talked about it. Do you have any reviews or information on PCO or any other schools? I would appreciate it and it may also help others. Thanks once again:thumbup: .
     
  7. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    I am not a student at NECO, but know faculty, students and alumni. I'm pretty familar with Boston, because I travel there for the occassional business trip.

    I've compared and assessed about five of the colleges in detail. I will not be posting reviews of other schools at this time. Hopefully, others may be able to provide insight on other schools - I add my two cents also. I won't have the time in the next few months.

    All the best.
     
  8. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    I hope that others can add to this post, such as other students, alumni and faculty.

    I know faculty, students and alumni at SCCO - but have not requested a candid and indepth assessment of the school and surroundings. I will not be writing a review of SCCO at this time.
     
  9. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    I was lucky, so loser tried to smash my driver's side window to steal my car. Good thing my 4 siren alarm took over and the sucker took off. Damage was only about $1100.00 to replace the window and fix the door, better than having my car stolen.

    Don't fight for parking spots unless you drive a beater. You'll get keyed sooner or later, people have to vent.

    Pepper spray is a good idea, but I like to be on the safe side. Carry some Bear Spray and anyone or any group of individuals who try to bother you will get smoked. The range and dispersion pattern is better than pepper spray - however the legality of it's use on humans is a grey zone - use your own judgement. http://www.udap.com/testify.htm#testimonials
     
  10. TH Poon

    TH Poon NECO OD2008
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    Hello everyone. I am a OD2008 student at NECO and am looking to offer a different point of view than stated by ucbsowarrior. Many of the points ucbsowarrior has made are very valid however requires a little more explanation. For example, it is true we have a decentralized clinical system where our clinic is composed of all the different community health centers, hospitals, and private clinics in the greater Boston area. Sometimes these sites may require that you switch subways to get to them however the clinical experience that you gain from them will be very fulfilling. At Codman square community health center you will see mainly an African American population with high prevalence of glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy however if you are in downtown Boston you will see mainly professionals coming in for a new prescription change. By being at a different location each semester it allows you to get a feel for different populations and the health problems associated to that population. Although at times travelling maybe a hassle, it is definitely worth the experience you gain for the short 4 years that you will be spending in Optometry school.
    School program: It is true that initially the courses are focused on the basic sciences however they specifically focus on Optometry related topics. For example, the biochemistry course that is taught here mainly focuses on the biochemistry of diabetes and glaucoma. You are given a supplementary note package at the beginning of the course of the basic biochemistry that you should already know. The course actually starts off with the biochemistry of diabetes. With many of the schools it is difficult to not focus on basic sciences subjects when they are not prerequisite courses (ie. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology). It is true that not enough time is spent teaching these courses since it would take a full year to teach some of these courses however as professional students you should only need to be faced in the right direction. As for knowing this material in depth, in the end you will be bestowed upon the title of Doctor. This means that you are going to be expected that you know stuff. A person off the street will see this title and not discriminate that you are an Optometrist so you ONLY know about the eye. You are expected to have knowledge based on the respect that title holds therefore you are expected to know a little about the health science field as a whole which makes these courses important.

    When applying to Optometry schools I considered only two schools. One because of how cheap the tuition was and the second because of the excellent clinical program they offered. Needless to say I chose NECO. I will tell all candidates this same statement when looking at schools.

    You can learn everything technical about Optometry in a book on the weekends and the evenings but you can not just walk into any clinic and ask to dilate a patient's eye or take their IOPs. I wanted a school that will allow me to see patients in my first year and allow me to actually practice my techniques on people who are not going to be compliant (ie. your classmates). I have not looked back since.

    If you had any questions about Optometry or the application process please do not hesitate to contact me.
     
  11. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    How is the instructor for Human Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology?

    How are the labs for Human Anatomy, Neuroanatomy and Cell Biology?
     
  12. TH Poon

    TH Poon NECO OD2008
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    The professor that I had for anatomy was Dr.Freddo who is now the president of the University of Waterloo Optometry program. I have not had the current anatomy professor for any of my courses so far. Neuroanatomy is taught by the current acting Dean of Academics. He is very knowledgeable in Neuroanatomy, immunology and biochemistry. One of his research involves ACAIDS if you are familiar with that. Cell biology is taught by a professor well versed in histology. I personally do not enjoy histology however I understand the importance of the basics we are required to learn. The labs for the courses you mentioned take up a good chunk of time in your first year especially human anatomy. We have 3 cadavers cut in different ways to show different angles of anatomical structures. We also have plastic models that are used to illustrate organization of certain parts of the anatomy. Neuroanatomy is quite similar however not as much lab time is devoted to this course. Cell biology is mainly slides that are viewed using microscopes as well as projected on a screen. There is heavy emphasis on the histology of the eye.
     
  13. cunikki

    cunikki SCCO 2009
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    Hey guys since I am a second year at SCCO i thought i would attempt to answer any questions you had....

    City: the city of fullerton is basically a surburban orange county city. its a pretty nice city and its surrounded by nice middle-upperclass cities around it. the neighborhood right next to the school is basically 75% college students due to our school, cal state fullerton and a law school being within a block of each other. There is tons of stuff to do in orange county such as baseball games and hockey both about 10 min from campus... along with la being 45 min away (decent traffic) and san diego 1.5 hours away. the town has a pretty large hispanic population as well as asian but i would say its majority caucasian. the weather is amazing.... it gets a little hot in the summer but is about 60-70 in the winter... The cost of living is a little bit expensive, especially on a student budget, but its definitely doable.

    Transportation: you need a car. There is no other way around it. there was one kid in my class who did not have one and just rode a bike to school and i guess you could make it work but really it is a place where everyone has a car. Parking at the school is $30 a quarter, so its pretty cheap and most places have free parking so its not a big deal. I personally enjoy having my car and the flexibility to go wherever i want whenever i want.

    Housing: There are a ton of apartment complexes/condos/townhouses within walking distance of school. I would say at least 50% of students live within walking distance. It is not that expensive... $1200-1800 for a 2 bedroom place, some students drive from la or other parts of orange county, usually if they are married or already live somewhere else... Housing is pretty nice and lots of students live in the same apartment complexes so that is kinda nice because you can get a chance to hang out with kids in the other classes.

    Food/Meals: If you do live within walking distance you can definitely walk home for lunch (that is what I do) or also there is about 20 different types of restaurants within 5 min from school... from del taco to subway to chipotle to pick up stix (chinese) and lots of little places too. There are some great, cheap sushi places and also pho which lots of students are into (big asian population). There is also a grocery store just down the street from the school. The school has no cafeteria so you have to bring your own lunch or go find some somewhere... usually not a big problem

    School Program: Our program is great. It has its highs and lows but they try to cover everything. Some basic sciences such as microbio, biochem and anatamy the first year but you are also doing clinical methods 1, opthalmic optics and other clinic related classes that year as well, and much more second year. The school also emphasizes practice management with lots of classes involving how to start a practice, billing and coding, etc. Most of the teachers are fabulous and really excited about what they are teaching.. and the school is constantly making small alterations to the program to make it better.

    Clinic: You are in the clinic 1st quarter of first year doing observations, and second quarter you have a clinic class that is mainly analyzing cases and trying to diagnose. Second year you see your first patients (you bring them in, no students allowed) during spring quarter and that summer you are in clinic for 1/2 of the summer seeing patients full time. They try to emphasize clinic right away as much as they can, and also using electronic medical records (EMR) right away and integrating that with written records. The clinic is brand new and amazing. It is on the campus of the school and has different sections, when you are in clinic you are assigned to a department (Primary care, CL, low vision, ocular disease, vision therapy, peds, etc) and you only see that type of patient that day, which maximizes the ability to see all sorts of different things. The clinic also has pretty much every type of new equipment that you can think of. You have a locker in the building across from it and you can keep your own equipment in there so you dont have to lug it from home everyday.

    Partying: of course there is definitely partying, take advantage especially your first quarter; its a great way to make friends! Especially the first 2 weeks of the quarter when you dont have any tests that is the time to go to la or out to a club in beach towns. downtown fullerton also has lots of fun places including a dueling piano bar that is super awesome! There is always someone in your class celebrating a birthday so definitely enjoy it. Second year it gets a lot harder to go out but you should still try to have some fun when you can. Its important to realize that a big part of the experience is to make lifelong friends and enjoy hanging out with your cool classmates! :)

    Safety: The town of fullerton is a really really safe town. It is in the middle of suburbia, there is probably the same amount of crime as anywhere else, just know where is safe to go in the middle of the night and where it isnt. I routinely walk home (about a block) after dark from school and i never feel scared.

    Cost: It is about average.. definitely not the cheapest place to live but not nearly as expensive as living in a big city like la or new york.

    Final Rating:
    City: B+
    Transportation Walking: A
    Transportation Public Transit: D
    Transportation Car: B
    Housing: B
    Food: A
    School Program: A-
    Partying: A+
    Safety: B+
    Cost: B

    Overall rating: B+
     
  14. l2en

    l2en Junior Member
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    thanks cunikki, that was just what i was looking for! So it appears that SCCO>>NECO? Anyone care to dispute that statement? :) I know this is just based on the opinion of two people, but i've been stuck between SCCO and NECO for a long time, and on paper, SCCO always won out, but I am just drawn to the city of Boston! But now it seems that the advantages SCCO has over NECO are starting to outweigh that desire to live in a bustling city like Boston. (this is the part where NECO students are supposed to step in and defend their school!)
     
  15. cunikki

    cunikki SCCO 2009
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    honestly my decision was pretty much between these two school too. i really fell in love with the building that the school in boston is in and also love the city... ultimately it came down to me picking scco for several reasons, including the face that it is a wiche school, the weather, the CLINIC (major major reason) and such things as that. i have never regretted it. honestly i know about 5 other kids in my class who were torn between the two schools as well but im really glad that i came to scco just because i have met soo many amazing friends here and have had a wonderful time so far. one other plus that i forgot to mention is the face that we have one of the top prosthetics fitters in the country; which is a major plus because i am not sure how many other schools you get exposed to as many prosthetics cases as we do.. i fyou are at all interested in that.
    i am sure wherever you end up you will love your friends and your school :)
     
  16. TH Poon

    TH Poon NECO OD2008
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    l2en,
    Hehe. Looks like there is a friendly debate on school characteristics. I would love to make a gentle retort however I do not know specifically what you are looking for in a school. What American and Canadian students look for in a Post Secondary institute vary greatly. When looking for a school I only took into account program as oppose to ''the college experience'' I frequently hear about. I am lucky to have stumbled upon that aspect here in Boston. Being the largest intellectual hub of the world with over 100 different colleges in the area, there is ample opportunity to meet many people persuing studies such as yourself.

    In evaluating the two schools I must admit that I know little about SCCO. The didactical and clinical program there seem similar to what we have here at NECO with the exception that we have a decentralized clinical system. We go on pre-school vision screenings starting the second week we start 1st year. In my 2nd year 1st semester I was performing a dry (non-dialating) eye exam including refraction and external exam, completely on my own without an attending in the exam room. Many of the techniques I employed were learned in class weeks before. In order to do this you must be comfortable with performing an eye exam on your own and your attending doctor must be comfortable with your abilities as well. We are not pushed into performing clinical procedures however we are encouraged to take initiative.

    Despite what many believe that you have to carry around a whole eye clinic where ever you go, most of our clinical sites are equiped with all the equipment you need as well has advanced technologies such as Optos, GDX and HRT. Because our clinical system is decentralized we have experts in every field of Eye care to learn from depending on the site you have been assigned. This is one of the main reasons I chose this school. The text book Clinical Procedures for Ocular Examination was written by two of the professors at our college. Many colleges use this book as reference for the techniques you will use in the exam room.

    I would write a review for NECO however it would be biased and there is a review made already whether it may be impartial or not. If you had any further questions or concerns please do not hesistate to contact me or repost comments. I will check this forum hopefully once a day.
     
  17. Bizzau

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    Hey all!

    I'm also a current second year student at NECO. I think that the first thing I would say is that it seems as though most of the things being said in this forum is based on the opinions of various people. I would caution people to read what anyone says about another school with a grain of salt. This includes what I will say as well. It is ultimately the individuals decision as to where they will go to school and I urge each person to make that decision for themselves.

    There are many things I would like to comment on, but I will only write about two of them at this time. First of all, housing in Boston. The prices quoted in previous posts can be correct if you're looking for a place to live by yourself. Most of the students at NECO choose to live with roommates though which helps lower the cost significantly. For example, I have a 2 bedroom apartment in Brookline that runs me appoximately $700 a month including utilities. Brookline is a great area that is about 2 miles from school and 4-5 miles from the middle of downtown. If you're taking the subway, this makes for about a 10-15 minute commute to school or 15-20 minutes to downtown. Not bad at all. I actually ride my bike to school about 9 months out of the year and it only takes me 10 minutes. A great way to get some excercise too. I also have friends that live nearby that pay approximately $600 per month with utilities for a 4 bedroom apartment. Furthermore, I have a good friend that lives within a 5 minute walk from school that pays $550 per month with utilities in a 5 bedroom apartment. All of these places are very nice and safe as well. The best advice I have for someone looking for a place in Boston is not to rush your search. If you are able to spend some time looking for a place you'll find a great one in the right spot for you. The cheaper apartments are there, but people won't just hand them to you. The more time you spend looking, the more likely you'll find a good one.

    As far as the clinical system goes, I think that TH described it fairly well. I would like to emphasize the point of our decentralized clinical system though. The whole point of the system is to provide the students with the most diverse clinical experience possible. In a school that has only one clinic, you have only one area to draw patients from. Therefore, your experience is going to be very predictable based on who lives in the area. Think about it, are patients living somewhere else going to come to this clinic to be examined by students. Probably not. Therefore, it is advantagous for a student's clinical experience to be the one who travels. As a result of my clinical experience so far, I've been to clinics that have patients with very different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, I've seen several ocular conditions that are more prevalent in different populations. This is priceless as a second year student. Add on to that that I've already seen patients from the beginning to the end of the exam and I think you have a pretty unique experience. Just last week I was the one to make the correct diagnosis on a patient who came in for a regular exam but had uncontrolled hypertension and some sort of macuopathy! How many second year students have had a chance to do this?!

    You have to remember that it is the clinical experience of the school that will prepare you once you're done. Every school is going to teach you the same material in a general. Everyone has to pass the boards after all. After your 4 years though you no longer have anyone making sure you have the right diagnosis or treatment. I know that I wanted to be sure that I had the most diverse clinical experience possible so that I would be prepared to see a diverse patient population once I graduated. Thus NECO was my choice and I have not regretted my decision at all!!

    Best of luck to anyone trying to decide on optometry as a profession or an optometry school!:luck:
     
  18. millieelaine

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  19. Stats

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    I'd like to know as well. Thanks in advance.
     
  20. anchan

    anchan Member
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  21. millieelaine

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    anchan, thanks for your help. do you know where the clinic is in Braintree, Ma?
     

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