Nov 14, 2013
1
0
Hi all :)

I have interviewed at both ICO and PCO. I need help deciding between the two. If anyone has interviewed at both and can offer their thoughts, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if anyone attending these schools would like to offer some feedback that would be great!

This is a big decision and I would like as much information as possible.

Thank you!
 
Oct 28, 2013
13
4
Status
Pre-Optometry
I interviewed at PCO and took a visit to ICO. PCO was unprofessional. ICO was in an area hard to find housing and comfort. They are both private. They both cost the same amount. ICO has more intramurals. ICO has a more comfortable clinic. PCO has other professional schools that you can interact with. ICO has video recorded lectures, but also has skype lectures. Both schools have Note Taking Service. PCO's inside looks more run down, but the outside looks really nice. PCO starts clinic first semester (shadowing basically ... which is useless). I can't tell you which is better, because I am going somewhere else. Think about how close to home you will be ... or where your externships will end up. If you know OD's that are affiliated with externships or residencies I suggest considering that school. If you basically are in a coin flip ... then flip a coin. Take care and good luck.
 

mathcod

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2008
282
44
Status
I went to ICO from 2009-2013 and I thought it was very comfortable. I liked everything about it, from classmates to instructors, library, cafeteria, dorms, location, services, etc. No negatives come to mind about the school except for the tuition. I never had a problem with the location of the school and I felt safe on campus and near IIT and the trains/buses nearby. I appreciated the curriculum and overall had a very positive academic and social experience. ICO gave me a great four years, a second chance, many friends and experiences in Chicago, and really was a comfortable place to be. Whether I was in the dorms or on campus, it felt like an extension of home.

I never visited PCO but I worked along a PCO extern and she seemed pretty solid.
 
Aug 21, 2013
13
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I interviewed at both schools and I personally liked ICO better. PCO was nice, but their equipment wasn't really up to date. Although PCO's clinic looks extremely nice now after they renovated it, it's about 3 miles from campus and not that convenient in my opinion.
ICO's students were all very genuine and open about their school. All of the students I talked to seemed happy to be going there. In my opinion, I liked ICO's campus a lot better than PCO.
 
Jan 16, 2013
55
13
31
Status
Optometrist
As a PCO student, I would recommend ICO. People are right, equipment here is not up-to-date, and the school has been sadly slipping quality-wise. There are a lot of disappointed students, and even some administrators and doctors who admit that things need to improve. The school says that it's going to get better, but as for now, I would look elsewhere.
 
Jul 22, 2013
84
12
Status
As a PCO student, I would recommend ICO. People are right, equipment here is not up-to-date, and the school has been sadly slipping quality-wise. There are a lot of disappointed students, and even some administrators and doctors who admit that things need to improve. The school says that it's going to get better, but as for now, I would look elsewhere.
PCO has a great alumni network for getting a job after graduation and a brand new clinic. My eye doc went there, and another doc I shadowed called it a "wonderful school." Expensive, yes. Oldest accredited school with a 95% board pass rating. Not too bad. I don't know anything about ICO, but don't let this one person control your thoughts as we've all seen the same message 31 times from Digitalized. Good luck!
 
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Jan 26, 2012
152
23
Chicago, IL
Status
Optometry Student
PCO has a great alumni network for getting a job after graduation and a brand new clinic. My eye doc went there, and another doc I shadowed called it a "wonderful school." Expensive, yes. Oldest accredited school with a 95% board pass rating. Not too bad. I don't know anything about ICO, but don't let this one person control your thoughts as we've all seen the same message 31 times from Digitalized. Good luck!
Just for comparison (not that I'm saying you should go to one or the other, just comparing)... ICO has a similarly large alumni network - should make sense, PCO and ICO are pretty much the two biggest, oldest optometry schools. ICO was started in 1872 as the Chicago College of Ophthalmology and Otology, while PCO started in 1919, I mean at that point who cares right? ICO's first time pass rate is a little more than 1% better than PCO's. Marginal pretty much. ICO's clinic and facilities are always in the process of being updated and renovated, I'd assume PCO would also have similar policy, though I'm not there.

It's always extremely difficult to objectively compare schools since few people ever attend multiple schools...
 
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Jul 22, 2013
84
12
Status
Agreed, both are great schools. I hear a lot of good comments about ICO. I guess just look at money and location because the education is pretty similar!
 
Aug 1, 2011
24
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi

I'm a student at PCO, and I personally do love the school. Yes this school has some flaws, but anywhere you go, there will be something that could be better perfected. The curriculum is challenging and profs are great. my advice is to research as much as possible before you make a decision. Definitely factor in cost in your ultimate decision. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about PCO in general.
 
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Reactions: love2beOD
Nov 4, 2013
69
34
Status
Optometry Student
PCO has a great alumni network for getting a job after graduation and a brand new clinic. My eye doc went there, and another doc I shadowed called it a "wonderful school." Expensive, yes. Oldest accredited school with a 95% board pass rating. Not too bad. I don't know anything about ICO, but don't let this one person control your thoughts as we've all seen the same message 31 times from Digitalized. Good luck!
In regard to boards, PCO is above the national average for the clinical portion and below the national average for the academic portion. The 95% statistic is after people have taken the test multiple times. Other schools also give their stats this way, but first-pass rates can make things look significantly less rosy. I think all schools should have to give a first-pass statistic along with the high 90s that they all like to give.
 
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