Apr 26, 2013
3
4
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi guys,
I'm actually a "silent reader". I've only posted once, earlier this year when I was literally panicking because I realized my GPA was so so so bad, and I thought my optometry dreams were over...hahhh You guys actually helped me gain a bit more confidence, so I thank you for that!
I'm really just writing this because I had a hard time finding people like myself on the forums. Everyone, cheer up! Because if I got into optometry school, I'm sure you can as well.

I get really discouraged when someone says your GPA is a definite reflection of your intelligence. Guys, it's really not. Especially when you go to a "tough school". Yes, those exist, and those of you guys who say that 3.0 at one school is NOT different from a 3.0 at another school, please wake up. Some schools ARE harder than other schools, and honestly, I think optometry schools know that too.

I currently attend one of the top 15 university in the US, and here are my stats:
Overall GPA: 3.08
Science GPA: 2.9 (I received Cs in most of my sciences classes...)
Overal OAT: 360
Science OAT: 350
Extracurricular: President of 2 organizations, treasurer for one of them in a previous year, founder of a pre-optometry society, part of various service-related clubs, etc.
Shadowing - shadowed an optometrist for 3+ years, shadowed another optometrist, and shadowed 2 ophthalmologists, went abroad on a optometry/opthalmology related volunteer trip for a month.

I am currently trying to decide between NECO and PCO. Yes. For PCO, they notified me of my acceptance 2 days after my interview o_O

Did you see my stats? look at that low gpa. I seriously saw no hope when Optomcas calculated my science GPA...but I was surprised to get 4 interviews out of the 5 schools I applied to, and accepted into all 4 (MCPHS, ICO, NECO and PCO)
How? I have no effing idea. I think all my interviews went REALLY well. I prepared all my answers, but made sure it did not sound so rehearsed, breezed through all the interviews very casually and they were quite fun actually! I think I was lucky to have interviewers who were very very friendly and fun to talk to, and it felt like I was talking to a colleague rather than an interview.

So what I'm trying to say is, I guess, even if you have a super low GPA like mine, I think if you REALLY make sure that the rest of your application shows that you really want to pursue optometry, the schools will offer you an interview. Then you go to the interview, and REALLY SHOW THEM that you are a very friendly individual who is very determined to become an optometry. And honestly, the interviews were so fun for me, and I think everyone should have enjoy them!

On a side note,
If anyone is reading this, can y'all help me choose between NECO and PCO? I felt like both schools repeated each other's pros in their presentations, like "oh, WE start clinical REALLY early, unlike other schools"... Obviously, NECO is such a beautiful school, so my heart is more for NECO, but my brain is telling me that PCO will teach me more? I don't know. I'm so lost...
 
Last edited:

Loptometriste

5+ Year Member
Sep 12, 2012
298
24
Status
Optometrist
Science GPA: 2.9 (I received Cs in most of my sciences classes...)
You must have gotten your share of A's or B's to have almost a B average.

Congrats on being accepted! I think I'd pick Boston, but that is just my two cents.
 
Dec 14, 2013
1
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Congratulations! As a pre-optometry student gauging my chances, I'm curious which school the 5th one was?
 
Dec 15, 2013
3
0
Indiana
Status
Pre-Optometry
I agree with everything jjl123 has to say! Most admission offices DO care where you get your undergrad degree. They care about the rigour of the program, and if you went to a tough school they WILL give you a break on your GPA to a certain extent.

My school was recently ranked the #8 hardest school in the nation to get an A. My overall GPA was a 3.35 at the beginning of my senior year when I applied. I thought I had NO CHANCE at all, but I ended up getting accepted after all 3 of my interviews (at Indiana, Ohio State and ICO)!

Remember, your GPA is just one part of your application. If you're not happy with it, rock your OAT, get involved in something impressive, write a sweet personal statement or have a dazzling personality in your interview. There are a lot of ways to overcome a below "average" GPA!
 
Aug 3, 2013
30
4
Status
Optometry Student
I was accepted at one of the 4 schools I interviewed at with a 3.0 GPA. There is still hope!!!
 

Toadesque

10+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2007
423
56
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I think it's more so that you overestimated how difficult it is to get into optometry school. People definitely get in with your GPA if they have a strong OAT score to make up for it
 
Aug 3, 2013
30
4
Status
Optometry Student
Ya definitely score higher on the OAT to compensate for a lower GPA and vice versa
 
Apr 16, 2014
9
2
Status
Optometry Student
Similar experience here! But with even LOWER stats than original poster.

Got an interview at ICO, NECO, IAUPR, accepted at IAUPR, and ICO (most likely attending, already submitted deposit). Still waiting to hear back from NECO but I'm confident, since the interview went really well. Still waiting to hear back from WesternU.

In response to the post above me, that wasn't the case for me. I had low OAT scores AND low GPA - actually a few F's, D's, and C's, W's (I won't explain myself, but hopefully some of you won't be too quick to judge). Everything else on my application + LOR's + a chance to shine during my interview compensated for me lol. If anyone is curious, you can check out my stats on the C/O 2018 Acceptances thread.

There's hope, don't be discouraged. I'm not saying it will be a breeze and easy for you if you have low stats. But you really have to work REALLY HARD to make everything else count. Again, I have detailed info on my experiences on the on the C/O 2018 Acceptances thread. Just try your absolute best and make yourself stand out and shine. PM me if you have any questions!
 

Nrp103

EyeLoveit
Feb 19, 2014
10
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
I too was accepted with a subpar gpa. (3.10,2.85) I only got a 330 on my OAT and had far fewer extracurriculars. I got interviews at every school I applied to, and decided to attend UIWRSO.
Hello, I'm in a similar situation that you are in! I was wondering if I could possibly get your email and ask some advice from you?

Thank you!
 

championOD

Emily Champion
Oct 16, 2014
11
5
27
Tennessee
Status
Pre-Optometry
I wanted to add my college experience because I wish I had seen posts like this sooner!

In high school I was a straight A student, super involved, and never really had to study for more than an hour before a test. I started out majoring in PR/Advertising and later switched my major a few times again before finally ending up in Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology, or BCMB for short. I wasn't one of the lucky ones who found what they love at 18 years old.

I love science, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I have to work my butt of for C's, and I definitely wasn't used to regularly seeing barely passing test scores. On top of that, the prereqs upon prereqs that science majors require slowed me down, so I'm taking a victory lap. Add that to a respectable, but not highly competitive OAT, and I thought optometry school was completely out of reach. Talk about taking some blows to my academic ego...

However, two years ago I landed a job as a tech, and the hands-on experience has been priceless. My job has 150% confirmed that this is the career for me, and after changing majors so many times, I know in my heart of hearts that this is what I'm meant to do. This, along with my shadowing experience, my leadership positions and involvement with my sorority, my LORs, as well as my personal statement really helped my application.

I had honestly convinced myself that I wasn't going to be invited to interview ANYWHERE, but much to my surprise I was invited by ICO before I had even taken the OAT, then soon after by Nova, UMSL, and NECO. I interviewed with all but NECO, and was accepted to them. I couldn't be more thrilled, and it was the boost of confidence that I wish I had had a year ago. Getting accepted to those schools really showed me that it's not JUST about grades. If you're passionate, have the drive, and can portray that to them, you're golden. I personally think it's better to be well-rounded and personable with not the most competitive GPA than to have a solid 4.0 throughout undergrad but have no passion for optometry and unable to carry a conversation.

Now I'm not saying it's okay to slack off if you're super charismatic, but just know that it's not the end of your optometry career if you made a C in biochem. Hell, most of my upper level sciences are Cs, but as far as interviews and acceptances go, I'm batting 1000.

With all that said, best of luck to those still in the application process! I'll be attending ICO in the fall and I'm ecstatic. Stay positive and work hard- you got this!
 
Apr 7, 2015
73
1
Similar experience here! But with even LOWER stats than original poster.

Got an interview at ICO, NECO, IAUPR, accepted at IAUPR, and ICO (most likely attending, already submitted deposit). Still waiting to hear back from NECO but I'm confident, since the interview went really well. Still waiting to hear back from WesternU.

In response to the post above me, that wasn't the case for me. I had low OAT scores AND low GPA - actually a few F's, D's, and C's, W's (I won't explain myself, but hopefully some of you won't be too quick to judge). Everything else on my application + LOR's + a chance to shine during my interview compensated for me lol. If anyone is curious, you can check out my stats on the C/O 2018 Acceptances thread.

There's hope, don't be discouraged. I'm not saying it will be a breeze and easy for you if you have low stats. But you really have to work REALLY HARD to make everything else count. Again, I have detailed info on my experiences on the on the C/O 2018 Acceptances thread. Just try your absolute best and make yourself stand out and shine. PM me if you have any questions!
hey, I'm applying soon! just wondering what your stats were? thanks for sharing your story! really gave me confidence.
 
Apr 7, 2015
73
1
I wanted to add my college experience because I wish I had seen posts like this sooner!

In high school I was a straight A student, super involved, and never really had to study for more than an hour before a test. I started out majoring in PR/Advertising and later switched my major a few times again before finally ending up in Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology, or BCMB for short. I wasn't one of the lucky ones who found what they love at 18 years old.

I love science, but it doesn't come naturally to me. I have to work my butt of for C's, and I definitely wasn't used to regularly seeing barely passing test scores. On top of that, the prereqs upon prereqs that science majors require slowed me down, so I'm taking a victory lap. Add that to a respectable, but not highly competitive OAT, and I thought optometry school was completely out of reach. Talk about taking some blows to my academic ego...

However, two years ago I landed a job as a tech, and the hands-on experience has been priceless. My job has 150% confirmed that this is the career for me, and after changing majors so many times, I know in my heart of hearts that this is what I'm meant to do. This, along with my shadowing experience, my leadership positions and involvement with my sorority, my LORs, as well as my personal statement really helped my application.

I had honestly convinced myself that I wasn't going to be invited to interview ANYWHERE, but much to my surprise I was invited by ICO before I had even taken the OAT, then soon after by Nova, UMSL, and NECO. I interviewed with all but NECO, and was accepted to them. I couldn't be more thrilled, and it was the boost of confidence that I wish I had had a year ago. Getting accepted to those schools really showed me that it's not JUST about grades. If you're passionate, have the drive, and can portray that to them, you're golden. I personally think it's better to be well-rounded and personable with not the most competitive GPA than to have a solid 4.0 throughout undergrad but have no passion for optometry and unable to carry a conversation.

Now I'm not saying it's okay to slack off if you're super charismatic, but just know that it's not the end of your optometry career if you made a C in biochem. Hell, most of my upper level sciences are Cs, but as far as interviews and acceptances go, I'm batting 1000.

With all that said, best of luck to those still in the application process! I'll be attending ICO in the fall and I'm ecstatic. Stay positive and work hard- you got this!
wow congrats! would you please share your stats? I'm taking the OAT next week and am super nervous! thanks.
 

championOD

Emily Champion
Oct 16, 2014
11
5
27
Tennessee
Status
Pre-Optometry
Wh

Thanks for the response. Was your oat 310 in all of the sections or 310 all together?
All together! I can't remember exactly what each section was, but I wanna say QR was a 290, reading 340, biology 310, gen chem 340, organic 290 (I would literally wake up seeing mechanisms in my head and then blanked on the OAT... cool), physics 300...? Hope that helps!
 
Apr 7, 2015
73
1
All together! I can't remember exactly what each section was, but I wanna say QR was a 290, reading 340, biology 310, gen chem 340, organic 290 (I would literally wake up seeing mechanisms in my head and then blanked on the OAT... cool), physics 300...? Hope that helps!
Haha right?! I totally know how that feels. Did you have a bachelors when you got accepted or were you an undergrad student? Thanks for your help I'm pretty much in the same exact boat you were in.
 
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RuffDay

2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2015
774
356
Status
Dental Student
Thank you! My OAT was a 310, and my overall GPA was a 3.1 (I'm not sure what my science GPA was). Good luck!
Your story is great! I am glad that everything worked out well for you. Your words are truly encouraging, even though I am not pre-optometry (that's when you know that I have been on SDN too much). I am sure that anyone can take your advice whether they are pre-med or pre-dent.

Would you say that your passion for optometry mainly grew from your work experience?
 
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championOD

Emily Champion
Oct 16, 2014
11
5
27
Tennessee
Status
Pre-Optometry
Haha right?! I totally know how that feels. Did you have a bachelors when you got accepted or were you an undergrad student? Thanks for your help I'm pretty much in the same exact boat you were in.
I didn't at the time of my acceptance, but I just graduated with my BS in May!
 

championOD

Emily Champion
Oct 16, 2014
11
5
27
Tennessee
Status
Pre-Optometry
Your story is great! I am glad that everything worked out well for you. Your words are truly encouraging, even though I am not pre-optometry (that's when you know that I have been on SDN too much). I am sure that anyone can take your advice whether they are pre-med or pre-dent.

Would you say that your passion for optometry mainly grew from your work experience?
Haha, thank you! I hope it helps and encourages people who may feel like there's no chance-- I certainly did. I've always thought eyes were just really intriguing. Optometry is a good mix of a rewarding medical career, good hours, relatively low stress, which also contributed to why I chose it. As soon as I started working as a tech, however, that's when I really realized how much I love the field. I would go home and research the weird cases we saw that day, and would geek out over everything-- particularly ocular disease, which is the area of optometry I'd like to stay in after graduation!
 
Nov 24, 2014
32
5
Status
Pre-Optometry
Haha, thank you! I hope it helps and encourages people who may feel like there's no chance-- I certainly did. I've always thought eyes were just really intriguing. Optometry is a good mix of a rewarding medical career, good hours, relatively low stress, which also contributed to why I chose it. As soon as I started working as a tech, however, that's when I really realized how much I love the field. I would go home and research the weird cases we saw that day, and would geek out over everything-- particularly ocular disease, which is the area of optometry I'd like to stay in after graduation!
When did you submit your application and take your OAT? I have a similar GPA and work experience and am interested in UMSL!
 

championOD

Emily Champion
Oct 16, 2014
11
5
27
Tennessee
Status
Pre-Optometry
When did you submit your application and take your OAT? I have a similar GPA and work experience and am interested in UMSL!
The OptomCAS opened July 1st, and I had mine submitted for verification within the week. I took my OAT early September!
 

Nhassan

5+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2014
2
0
Status
Pre-Optometry, Optometry Student, Optometrist
The OptomCAS opened July 1st, and I had mine submitted for verification within the week. I took my OAT early September!
Wow congrats!! And best of luck :) I am in a very similar position as you and am planning on applying for the following cycle. So I was wondering did you take your OAT after you sent in your application? I am taking the OAT late August and was going to apply early September because I want to use all the time I have now till then to study however after reading your story, I might have a change of plan!