May 15, 2020
8
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi currently optometry students or alumni! I was wondering if the school "brand" affects job opportunities? Or is it true that any school (as long as you pass boards and perform well in school) will make you an equally competitive candidate?
 
Last edited:

UnicornOpt

2+ Year Member
Jan 7, 2018
45
36
The "brand" of school you pick certainly matters. Some "brands" have a better reputation and legacy, and objectively have better applicant statistics than other "brands", which speak volumes to the aptitude of their "brand's" student body.

Just think laws of attraction: if you saw two tinder profiles that were the exact same, but one listed their "brand" of education as Harvard and one listed their "brand" of education as Borchmore, would they both be equally competitive candidates for your attraction?

Brands are important.
 

percyeye

7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2011
241
284
Status
Optometrist
In Optometry school Brand in my opinion doesn't matter at all. Did you pass boards? Does it take you 1 hour to see one patient?
In Optometry the cream rises to the top. The best clinicians and business people will do the best.

I was never asked once where I went to school when looking for a job. Didn't seem like it mattered. And now when I would be looking to hire someone I don't think I'd care where they went to school.

Also now some "Legacy" schools like Salus are doing poorly on Board exams where some newer schools like AZCOPT are crushing it.
 
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Jun 2, 2019
54
29
Status
Optometrist
I agree with both of the comments listed above.
Truly, pedigree follows you everywhere. I have several friends who went to different OPT schools who wish they would've chosen a better one now that they've graduated. Working in a hospital setting, so many physicians ask where each of us went to school. Those who went to private or less-prestigious institutions are absolutely fighting a stigma...even though we have the same job. Simply put, you cannot escape the reputation your institution has.

If you're working in corporate or rural private practice, does that matter? Probably not. No one who is getting an eye exam at Walmart is asking if you went to Harvard; however, if you are looking at working in a competitive work environment, prestige absolutely matters.

As for history, yes, Salus has historically been a well-respected institution. However, recent Board score outcomes, faculty, and administrative changes have absolutely tarnished the reputation at present. In the end, you have to ask yourself if your institution is more interested in the bottom line (money) or academic excellence.

That judgement call is yours to make!
 
Jun 15, 2020
8
2
I agree with both of the comments listed above.
Truly, pedigree follows you everywhere. I have several friends who went to different OPT schools who wish they would've chosen a better one now that they've graduated. Working in a hospital setting, so many physicians ask where each of us went to school. Those who went to private or less-prestigious institutions are absolutely fighting a stigma...even though we have the same job. Simply put, you cannot escape the reputation your institution has.

If you're working in corporate or rural private practice, does that matter? Probably not. No one who is getting an eye exam at Walmart is asking if you went to Harvard; however, if you are looking at working in a competitive work environment, prestige absolutely matters.

As for history, yes, Salus has historically been a well-respected institution. However, recent Board score outcomes, faculty, and administrative changes have absolutely tarnished the reputation at present. In the end, you have to ask yourself if your institution is more interested in the bottom line (money) or academic excellence.

That judgement call is yours to make!
What is it about private schools that makes them less prestigious? Hadn't come across that notion until now (new to looking at programs).
 
Jun 2, 2019
54
29
Status
Optometrist
Let me make a disclaimer that I am NOT saying private schools are not high-performing academic institutions.

From my experience, private schools are generally not recognized by other physicians. I was on a rotation during my fourth year, and when the MD asked where we were from, some students said Indiana University, and some said NECO. The doc literally paused and asked, “What’s NECO?”

Any OD would argue NECO is a high-performing school, but MDs don’t understand the title of non-medical schools.

Other private schools like NOVA have an established academic and medical reputation, and docs recognize the title and prestige.



I had a friend who was on rotation with a student from UMSL who had the same experience. A surgeon asked, “Did you go to University of Missouri, too?” And the student said she went to Arizona College of Optometry. The doc had no idea what that was, and when she clarified it was Midwestern, he still didn’t know what it was.



Moreover, private schools often have the reputation that “money talks.” They have to fill 100 or 150 spots with students. So at the end of the day, it’s a money game.



Public schools (and some private schools) that are state-funded or receive money from the NIH, are held on a state and national level to be producing credible research and top-tier docs. If a public school were to have a large class fail national boards, it would cause the state university and potentially state legislation to step in because that reflects poorly on the institution and looks like a waste of taxpayer dollars. Therefore, state schools care less about the money and more about who will reflect as a higher-caliber student.



Does that make sense?

A list of NIH-funded schools can be found here. https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools/most-research-money-rankings



NIH funded schools include (but are not limited to) IU, NOVA, OSU, UAB, UMSL, SUNY, UCB, etc.
 
Mar 21, 2019
26
10
I think the above comment is not fully accuarate and is a very subjective opinion on this topic. It can be summarized as saying go to what you think is the best school for you and do the best you can while at said school.
Because a lot of what is said above is just personal experience. Sure, not all MDs may be familiar with Arizona College of Optometry, but they have some of the highest board passage rates in the country.
And not all private schools have large class sizes. Chicago College of Optometry has ~60 students per class, while the “NIH funded” Nova has ~120 students per class.
 

Laradd

Probationary Status
2+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2018
346
155
Sometimes it is. Employers sometimes look at the educational attainment and then take a look at the school that you've been in and then make a quick decision to hire you or not. This also applicable in general.
 
Jun 2, 2019
54
29
Status
Optometrist
I think the above comment is not fully accuarate and is a very subjective opinion on this topic. It can be summarized as saying go to what you think is the best school for you and do the best you can while at said school.
Because a lot of what is said above is just personal experience. Sure, not all MDs may be familiar with Arizona College of Optometry, but they have some of the highest board passage rates in the country.
And not all private schools have large class sizes. Chicago College of Optometry has ~60 students per class, while the “NIH funded” Nova has ~120 students per class.
I agree with you. My experiences are absolutely biased solely on personal interactions and second-hand stories with close friends.

I will argue, however, that if money wasn’t the only factor for a private school education, then why would Midwestern open a second school? Do they not feel like they took the best student for AZCO? In the end, it is hard to deny that their end goal is financially-motivated. That’s why they’ve added MPH, osteopathic medicine, and others. The university continues to add programs when their current ones (like PA, vet med, etc) are not even close to be highly-ranked nationally.

The education and training may be great, but the intentions may not be.
 
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
Status
Pre-Optometry
to add my 2 cents with this segwayed chain of private schools, In my experience, the private schools seemed to be "easier" to get into (lower gpa and oat scores accepted). And now, after reading through DoctorOD's comment, I think the reason may be true if they are looking to fill the seats. The cycle for most schools end in Feb/early March, but private schools wait till up to May to fill their seats, like MCPHS. However, i'm not necessarily saying its the whole truth or that private is worse that public at all of course...just that they will select students with good scores obv, but also may select the some students with less.

Moreover, as being from the east coast, i've always heard of NECO being one of the best...

After every school, everyone will get an OD degree. Just make the right choice in what is most convenient to you and what you think would be worth the most investment.

This is weird because growing up, going to a private highschool seems very good compared to a public. But for opt schools, in my opinion, the more competitive and higher board rates rn are the public schools like SUNY, Houston, and Berkeley.
 
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