Do optometry schools frown upon those that tried for med first?

Jul 22, 2009
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I originally started out on the med school route,have a whole bunch of experience working in a hospital setting, took the mcats, and tried applying... but realized it wasn't for me so I took time off, weighed my options and came to realize I would be much happier pursuing optometry as a career...does anyone know if optometry schools look down on those for trying to get into med school first and are now applying for O.D. program?
 

mathcod

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I think it potentially could be harmful, but it could also be helpful depending how you convey your realization of seeking optometry. All the power to you for getting healtcare experience as that would really supplement an optometry school application.

I had a similar experience where I wanted to do graduate school in biochemistry before I decided to quickly switch gears into optometry mode two months before their application deadlines. (is it similar? you wanting to do MD and me wanting to do at least an MS? You actually applied, and I didn't)

The only thing I'm concerned about, and what you might really want to focus on, is your motivation for optometry. And you're going to want to really support your ambition to do optometry and that you are fully informed about the profession, and then show your dedication.

I think admissions might view people in similar situations as us as potential rogues. Why invest time and a wasted seat for a person who really has passions in something else and drops out, or in a person who is clearly capable of doing optometry work (like a med school student) but doesn't really care for it and may be likely to not care and drop out (like what happened to the other undergraduates in my research lab), or for a person who goes rogue, gains sentience, and launches nukes at the world and creates a war against humanity, just like Skynet.

I was asked in all my interviews why I quickly decided to do optometry when I could have done something I really would have been happy to pursue. And I gave a well-thought, sincere response backed with support with all the optometric experience I tried to acquire in a brief amount of time, and my interviewers really appreciated my candid response. I did, however, end up losing two of my three interviews to lack of optometric experience still though, according to feedback.


If I was totally off-topic and missed the point of the MD thingy, dammit. If my post is nonsensical rambling, sorry for the crappy advice and o well just ignore it. but i think you're fine but have some explaining to do. I wouldn't omit it because it would explain some gaps why you didn't get optometric experience earlier and would explain why you did the healthcare things you did, which is totally helpful in my opinion. im hungry.
 

JMU07

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I agree. We have a few students who wanted to do med school, dentistry (this is a popular one), pharmacy, etc. and ended up doing optometry instead. Just don't tell admissions something like "Um well, I couldn't get into med school so I did this instead!!" WRONG answer. As long as you have a good explanation and can back it up with some optometry experience and good reasons why you think it's right for you, you should be fine! :thumbup:
 

EyEnStein 07

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did it come up in the interview or something? Is it necessary to tell them unless they ask
 
OP
C
Jul 22, 2009
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it is necessary or you meant it's not?.....no it didn't come up in a interview or anything, i just heard a couple people say it before and when you're applying to take the OAT they ask if you had taken any other test such as DATS, MCATS, ect....but i wouldn't consider that to be valid source... but i can understand how it can make a person look indecisive if you're using it as a back up career from failing to get into med school.....but no, optometry is something i want to to and not something i'm falling back on
 

blysssful

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I believe you are required to list the other schools you have applied to (not just the other optometry schools, but any graduate/professional school), as well as if you were ever enrolled in one. Also, its pretty obvious that you were interested in something else if your application has general healthcare experience for 3 years, then all of a sudden you start getting optometry experience.

To answer the question, I don't think the schools expect you to come out of the womb knowing you want to be an optometrist. I even wrote a good portion of my personal statement talking about how I didn't know I wanted to be an optometrist... until I did, and then it all changed. Like JMU07 says, as long as you really show that you ARE passionate about optometry, and it IS what you really want, you will be fine. You probably will be asked about it, in at least one interview, so make sure you know how to give a meaningful response.
 

EyEnStein 07

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it is necessary or you meant it's not?.....no it didn't come up in a interview or anything, i just heard a couple people say it before and when you're applying to take the OAT they ask if you had taken any other test such as DATS, MCATS, ect....but i wouldn't consider that to be valid source... but i can understand how it can make a person look indecisive if you're using it as a back up career from failing to get into med school.....but no, optometry is something i want to to and not something i'm falling back on
Sorry i ment it probably is not necessary unless it comes up. Meaning even if optometry is something you want to do and not interested in medicine anymore...i personally, would not go and mention something like that. I would listen to what blysssful said right there. I mean i started out this year (freshman college) doing patient care..then quickly switched out to a eye clinic (even though they are all ophthalmologists atleast i get to see the PCA's do screens and see a variety of things even though i dont shadow the ophthalmologists) and i do general research (cardio) but again thats just for experience. So if you do something like that i would assume its fine.

Then again, if you shadowed MD's and did all patient work and volunteering at hospitals always around MD's (especially specific specialties) yeah that may raise a flag as to why you dedicated most of your time to those kinds of things.
 

blysssful

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Sorry i ment it probably is not necessary unless it comes up. Meaning even if optometry is something you want to do and not interested in medicine anymore...i personally, would not go and mention something like that.
Yeah, no need to go and advertise it. I think its quite natural for medicine to be the first inclination for many students because it is so popular. Optometry is obscure by comparison. I think it is quite the commitment to make to devote all one's energy to one organ-- especially when you consider that medical students don't even have to choose a specialty until several years in.
 

KHE

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I originally started out on the med school route,have a whole bunch of experience working in a hospital setting, took the mcats, and tried applying... but realized it wasn't for me so I took time off, weighed my options and came to realize I would be much happier pursuing optometry as a career...does anyone know if optometry schools look down on those for trying to get into med school first and are now applying for O.D. program?
No...that's a good thing. Realizing that you would rather do optometry is fine. The schools will likely be interested in the process that you used to arrive at that decision.

The key thing that schools will frown on is the whole "I couldn't get into medical school but I want to be some kind of doctor so this is good enough." That's no good.
 

qwopty99

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Honestly, I don't think they'll really care. Most ODs are pretty proud to be ODs, so I doubt anyone will make it a big issue.

If you're competing for the last place in the class and your GPA is 3.4, and the other person's GPA is 3.2, you'll get in.