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+ Transportation Walking: B+ Transportation Public Transit: B Transportation Car: C- Housing: D+ Food: C+ School Program: C Partying: B Safety: B- Cost: D+ Overall rating: C- 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 nasty messages.