luvely

7+ Year Member
May 30, 2009
131
1
141
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi guys, I'm a undergraduate senior graduating this May '10 and I am planning on applying for optometry school for 2011.

I've been interested in becoming an optometrist since I was in high school but once I chose that path I had many hesitations and fears that I was not cut out for optometry school (my strong point was more English) that I basically second guessed myself, was wishy washy with school, and although I worked 'hard', I didn't work SMART. Basically not really keeping up with my schoolwork. Long story short, I've gotten science grades from C to B+, a lot of B-'s, B's and C/C+'s to be exact, although my overall GPA is about a 3.1

Now that I'm a senior I feel like I have my head on straight and I know for sure that I want to make my goal of becoming an optometrist come true, but I'm just scared as to whether I'm just fooling myself into thinking I can do it or not.

I shadowed at four optometry practices the summer of my junior year so that is when I got my confirmation I was in fact interested in being an optometrist because I found it very interesting and definitely a worthwhile cause.

I guess my question is, knowing my history of undergraduate science grades how would optometry school compare? I'm pretty sure the standards are much higher, but I would assume optometry schools are much more attentive of their students, not wanting to "weed" anyone out, but to help out those that may be struggling in some areas.

Is optometry school something that you CAN work at, can a 'regular joe' like me be able to make it through? (assuming of course that I get in and that I study hard!)

I have a job offer at an optometry office for my year off so I plan to get more exposure to the field in that sense and I have my Kaplan materials for the OAT, I just have to get started studying.

Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. The reason I want to try anyway, even if I may have to apply for grad school to show I would be able to get better grades at a more difficult level of schooling, is that this is something I've wanted for a longtime but a lot of personal reasons (low confidence for one), I've meandered from my goal.

Thanks for reading. :oops:
 
Last edited:

Mewcakes

SCO c/o 2014
Feb 10, 2010
421
4
41
Mewing at cakes
Status
Optometry Student
Advice...hm....My advice to you would be, if you have time/money, try retaking some of the courses you got C's in (and def C-'s, because most schools won't take them) and that you take the job at the office. It's going to seem like a lot of work, but I think it will be good practice for you in preparation for Optometry school. Also, start studying for your OATs as early as you can so that you can take them soon and apply as soon as applications open up.

If you think that you're a "regular joe", then so will the admissions committee. Do something that will set you apart or demonstrate that you're more than that. Going back to school to get better grades shows that you really want this and you're willing to do a lot of extra work to become a better candidate. Though you've worked at 4 offices, the total time spent doesn't total to too much just yet. But if you take the optometry job, you'll start building hours in no time.

My GPA was pretty low, but my OATs were competitive, I have extensive experience in the profession, and I'm a smooth talker, so that's what got me into school.

Be confident in yourself and proud of the accomplishments that you have achieved, otherwise your self-doubt will come through during interviews AND with your patients. Remember that becoming an optometrist isn't going to fix your confidence problems, that has to come from within. I can't stress that enough. Otherwise you're just going to end up as a doctor who isn't confident in his/herself and your patients will end up doubting you too. It kind of worries me that low confidence was a reason to become an optometrist.

Alright, the tone of my reply just took a 180 as I read the rest of the post, sorry. I don't mean to strike you down or anything, I just don't want you to think that becoming an optometrist is magically going to make you a more confident person. :-\
 

luvely

7+ Year Member
May 30, 2009
131
1
141
Status
Pre-Optometry
Advice...hm....My advice to you would be, if you have time/money, try retaking some of the courses you got C's in (and def C-'s, because most schools won't take them) and that you take the job at the office. It's going to seem like a lot of work, but I think it will be good practice for you in preparation for Optometry school. Also, start studying for your OATs as early as you can so that you can take them soon and apply as soon as applications open up.

If you think that you're a "regular joe", then so will the admissions committee. Do something that will set you apart or demonstrate that you're more than that. Going back to school to get better grades shows that you really want this and you're willing to do a lot of extra work to become a better candidate. Though you've worked at 4 offices, the total time spent doesn't total to too much just yet. But if you take the optometry job, you'll start building hours in no time.

My GPA was pretty low, but my OATs were competitive, I have extensive experience in the profession, and I'm a smooth talker, so that's what got me into school.

Be confident in yourself and proud of the accomplishments that you have achieved, otherwise your self-doubt will come through during interviews AND with your patients. Remember that becoming an optometrist isn't going to fix your confidence problems, that has to come from within. I can't stress that enough. Otherwise you're just going to end up as a doctor who isn't confident in his/herself and your patients will end up doubting you too. It kind of worries me that low confidence was a reason to become an optometrist.

Alright, the tone of my reply just took a 180 as I read the rest of the post, sorry. I don't mean to strike you down or anything, I just don't want you to think that becoming an optometrist is magically going to make you a more confident person. :-\
as far as retaking the courses, money in fact would be the issue because it would be a lot of classes to retake: a sad truth =/ if anything i feel any classes i would take it'd be best to be graduate school because if anything i will have extra bit of schooling for other opportunities in case optometry doesn't work out for me.

i don't know how you quite picked up on how i expected to become confident upon being accepted into optometry school, but i think deep down i did kind of thing that that kind of accomplishment would just help me 'grow into' the role or rather rising up to the occasion if put in such a situation.

i can only hope that over time i can become more confident, optometry school itself may not be it, but my low confidence is something i would like to face/battle with/overcome in order to be an optometrist-- that's something i would be very much honored to do for a living.

thank you for your input, i will seriously have to consider showing i'm capable of boosting my science grades, although I do wonder if high enough OAT's scores would be enough?
 

Mewcakes

SCO c/o 2014
Feb 10, 2010
421
4
41
Mewing at cakes
Status
Optometry Student
Sorry, perhaps I misinterpreted. I thought you meant that you had pursued optometry for a long time for many personal reasons including low confidence. But that isn't exactly what you said and probably not what you meant. Sorry if I seemed out of line :p
 
Jul 14, 2009
26
0
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Well hello there luvelyyyy!

I totally get what you mean about not feeling "cut out" for optometry. You are only cut out for optometry if you know you are! This is something I learned just this year and totally felt the same way you feel now. But you gotta appreciate your strengths. You have shadowed at optometry practices, you've been wanting to do this since high school, your GPA is not that awful, but can be boosted via easy summer classes and/or even repeating some of those classes you got C's in. See, your on the right track. Have confidence and faith in yourself, first and foremost! It sounds like you are pretty sincere about your efforts and your dream to become an optometrist, so don't give up. Almost everything is possible, but you gotta make it happen.

Also, I recommend to work super extra hard on your OAT's to make up for a lower GPA (relative to the avg. GPA's of optometry schools). Make the OAT your highest priority this year and score super high like between 360-400, something real high like that. Make sure you score reallyyy high in all the science sections too in order to balance out the lower grades that you got in those courses. Show them that you are/can be strong academically in the sciences. For instance, I personally got a C in O-chem...but I made up for it with a 350 on that section and schools will recognize that, and if they don't, at least you will be able to explain in your interviews or personal statement that even tho you got low grades in those science courses, you still worked hard and scored uber high on the OAT sections, thus showing your dedication and commitment to getting into opto school and also to the field, blah blah blah this is where your BS skills come in. So that's what I did to make up for my C's in o-chem...that dreaded class.

Oh! Also, with your year off, get involved in the optometry organizations if you can! Ask your optometrists if you can go to their Continuing Education meetings/lectures/seminars with them. Keep up with the latest news in optometry! Work at an opt office, but also shadow ophthalmologists and different types of optometry practices (corporate, private practice, military, VA hospital, etc). Do some thorough research on optometry! Don't forget the business aspect is also important. Do some volunteer/charity work related to optometry, cuz when you interview, they might ask you what kinds of volunteer work you've done in the past year, and you want to be able to tell them something lol! Working with Lions Club and collecting glasses is a good start. Dedicate this year to really getting to know more about optometry and scoring high on the OAT. Research where you wanna go, visit their websites and go to the schools if you can. Really do your homework about the field and get involved since you will have the time to! So jealous! I wish I had taken a year off... :smack:

I imagine opt school is gonna be prettyyy tough. The course load is ridiculous and the first year is pretty much your basic sciences. ALL science classes. It's tough, but do-able if you set your mind to it. I think you're capable! At this point, nothing is really holding you back from getting into opt school, except you feeling like you aren't cut out. It's all in your head! Just keep at it and don't give up!

I hope this helps! PM me if I can help in any other way!

Good luck,
Priyal
 
Jul 14, 2009
26
0
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
To answer your question, I'm not sure what you mean by "regular joe". But I don't think that just anyone can become an optometrist and be good at it. There is a certain level of intelligence that is required, as well as other qualities, like communication skills, critical thinking, hospitality, kindness, etc. Optometry school is really intense academically, as is any professional graduate program. So no, not any (uneducated) "regular joe" can become an optometrist or will be able to get thru opt school. But, a "regular joe" who is capable and who knows he wants to be an optometrist and is enthusiastic and committed and willing to work extra hard to becoming an optometrist CAN get thru the schooling and become a great doctor! And I think this is the category you fall in. Although I do agree with mewcakes that you want to do something that makes you unique, that makes you not so "regular". And you may even already have qualities that will set you apart from other candidates. So reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and your opportunities!

I must emphasize that opt school should not be an easy way out. lol I've seen the syllabi, these programs aren't easy. We gotta take a lot of the same basic classes that med school students do. So it's not easy, but it's do-able.

Anyway, hope this helps!

Gooooood night!
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,324
312
281
Status
Optometrist
I guess my question is, knowing my history of undergraduate science grades how would optometry school compare? I'm pretty sure the standards are much higher, but I would assume optometry schools are much more attentive of their students, not wanting to "weed" anyone out, but to help out those that may be struggling in some areas.

Is optometry school something that you CAN work at, can a 'regular joe' like me be able to make it through? (assuming of course that I get in and that I study hard!)

I have a job offer at an optometry office for my year off so I plan to get more exposure to the field in that sense and I have my Kaplan materials for the OAT, I just have to get started studying.

Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated. The reason I want to try anyway, even if I may have to apply for grad school to show I would be able to get better grades at a more difficult level of schooling, is that this is something I've wanted for a longtime but a lot of personal reasons (low confidence for one), I've meandered from my goal.

Thanks for reading. :oops:
As far as your grades go, the best advice is to contact the schools you are considering applying to and asking THEM what the best course of action is. Relying on advice here from a bunch of pre-optometry students who suggest things like "just retake a class at a community college to get a high grade" is probably unwise. That advice MAY be just fine but before you sign up at the local CC, talk to the schools and make sure that THEY would be satisfied with your plan.

Regarding your comment about "regular joe" I"m not sure what you mean by that but many people want to get into health disciplines because the pay is generally good, and people have a strong desire to “help people” but I would submit that that’s not enough. You need to have good critical thinking skills and a genuine sense of scientific curiosity to be a good clinician.

If your science grades are mediocre because you aren't passionate about inorganic chemistry, that's one thing. If they're mediocre because you don't really care for scientific thought processes and the scientific method, I would respectfully submit that you would make a poor clinician in ANY clinical discipline and that a career in health care may not be right for you.

So you gotta be real honest with yourself as to why you are the way you are. Saying things like "I have low confidence" is not helpful. If that's the case, see a therapist and try to work out WHY that's the case because otherwise you're gonna have trouble.
 

luvely

7+ Year Member
May 30, 2009
131
1
141
Status
Pre-Optometry
Mewcake - You didn't seem out of line at all, I appreciate your input! thank you :)

eyepdesai - Thank you so much for the encourgement and the advice! It's a great reminder that even though I'm going to be working at an optometry office next year, there are more experiences to be had. Instead of retaking courses, I'm going to be takins some course that a few schools require, such as Anatomy and also Microbio lab, I think I will have enough on my plate then~ I just have to focus on studying for the OAT's from now on, and to conjure up letters of recommendation. Whew! :)


Regarding your comment about "regular joe" I"m not sure what you mean by that but many people want to get into health disciplines because the pay is generally good, and people have a strong desire to “help people” but I would submit that that’s not enough. You need to have good critical thinking skills and a genuine sense of scientific curiosity to be a good clinician.

If your science grades are mediocre because you aren't passionate about inorganic chemistry, that's one thing. If they're mediocre because you don't really care for scientific thought processes and the scientific method, I would respectfully submit that you would make a poor clinician in ANY clinical discipline and that a career in health care may not be right for you.

So you gotta be real honest with yourself as to why you are the way you are. Saying things like "I have low confidence" is not helpful. If that's the case, see a therapist and try to work out WHY that's the case because otherwise you're gonna have trouble.
KHE - Once again, I really appreciate the advice, I think I will in fact ask the specific schools whether it's okay if I don't retake courses if I do well on those sections on the OAT.

When you said from the quote above really gets to me, I do hope that I can improve on my critical thinkings skills, I do wonder if it's something that can be improved on in optometry school, or it something you either have or don't? I'm hoping that by studying sincerely for the OAT's, and depending on how I do on say, anatomy and microbiology lab, I'll be able to tell if I can commit to science classes 100%. Thank you~