Alright guys, this forum was incredibly helpful to me when I was preparing for my applications and OAT and everything, I thought I could write a couple paragraphs about my experience to give back. The support I received here and the encouragement did more for me than any advisor...infact I'd definitely say this forum was my best advisor by far. Anyway, my journey began back in high school. I decided in 9th grade that I wanted to be an optometric physician. I felt privileged throughout high school because I was one of the few people that knew what they wanted to do. It's not that it's my EXTREME passion or anything. I am not obsessed with eye research, nor does the prospect of "is this better, or this, how about this" appeal to me a ton. I DO however love helping people, love the clinical environment, and....love the money haha. What really inspired me most was my own optometrist. As a high myopic patient (-12.00D each eye) with dry eyes, I spent a lot of time with my optometrist. He is an amazing guy, and really showed me how the career would suit me. So in high school, I started to spend time studying with him and shadowing him. I got good grades in high school, I believe I finished 15th in my class of 300, I was in the advanced classes and was very active in EC's, particularly band (drum major/jazz band) and other societies (national honor society VP and other things). I also taught gymnastics since I was 13. I wrote my application letter to the University of Pittsburgh about how I wanted to be an optometrist, and I got into their pre-allied health program. At Pitt, right away I realized a few things. I don't particularly love science classes, but I do still have the passion to be an optometric physician, so I had to stick it out. I took all the prerecs, but I wanted something to offset all the sciences classes I had taken. After taking an introductory sociology course, I made that my major and never regretted it. I loved the classes, and I was able to correlate projects in sociology to my science classes (I published a paper on the overmedicalization of childhood). The problem was that I wasn't particularly good at science classes. I actually got C's in almost all of them. My overall GPA was a 3.01, not very good for optometry school. I panicked and stressed a lot, staying in the library all night trying to cram for tests to boost my GPA. Also, in freshman year, I got a job on the retail floor at a Lenscrafters that was 40 min from my school. I worked there on weekends and 40 hours per week in the summers for all 4 years. THAT was the key to my success I think, and what kept me motivated to continue to stay on the career path. I loved the patients, and environment, everything about it (except helping people pick out glasses....that could be a nightmare haha). More on that later. The summer before my senior year, I planned to study for the OAT every day because my GPA was so low. I knew i had to do well on it. I also took Biochem that summer. Bad plan. I spent all my time studying for biochem, and none for the OAT. Come August, when everyone else was already applying, i was still putting off taking the OAT. I scheduled it in September. Canceled and rescheduled in October. Thats when I finally took it. I didn't even do particularly well, got a 300AA, 300 TS, bio 280, o chem 320, stuff like that. Not good, though all I used to study was a Kaplan OAT practice book I got on amazon. SO i was discouraged even more. The time came to apply, and I applied to the 5 closest schools to me. I didn't want to travel far, I have a girlfriend in Pittsburgh and my whole family is there. I applied to PCO, OSU, NECO, SUNY, and ICO. I applied in November, but various problems with my application prevented it form being submitted until JANUARY (since they are closed for most of December it seems). Everyone on this site said not to give up, even though they were all already accepted. Every day I stressed about it. It hurt my relationship even. I knew it was what I wanted, I knew I'd be good at it, but I knew my grades were pretty low and everyone told me I was going to have to reapply. February came and I still didn't hear form anyone, so I applied to 3 more schools. Nova, Midwestern, and SCO. Around that time the rejection letters started coming. I began to plan my life around the fact that I was going to have to reapply, retake the OAT, and work full time for the year. I began to make preparations to move to Philly with my GF, hopefully making ties with people at Salus and transferring to a Lenscrafters there. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. Then, in mid March, I got an email from Nova Southeastern University saying they were interested in interviewing me. I never bought a plane ticket so fast! I went down April 1st for my interview by myself. When I got there, everyone was saying that it was extremely late in the cycle, that we applied too late, that the class was full/almost full. I didn't care. I was given a chance to shine, and I wasn't going to take it for granted. In my interview, I was asked why optometry? I told them my story, told them everything that motivated me. Told them about my love for kids and their pediatric program, that is still in its infancy. That was nice, because one of my interviewers happened to be the director of it. Told them about my years at Lenscrafters, mentioned my knowledge of the changing technology (corneal topographers and stuff) and how that is my major concern for the profession in the next 10 years. Also, one of them was from Pittsburgh, so we got to chat about that. Mainly, I went in with the attitude of, "This is my only chance. Be yourself, because that's all they will need to see to let you in." Two weeks later, I got my acceptance letter. Every other school saw my lower GPA and rejected me. NSU gave me the chance I needed, probably just to fill slots that late in the application cycle. Whatever reason they did, I'm glad they did. Im in my third week of optometry school now, and it's everything I ever hoped it would be. I go to the beach on weekends, study by the most beautiful pool in the world at the graduate housing, and have met some people I'm sure will be lifelong friends. The staff and administration are amazing, and this week we have our white coat ceremony. I also spent $3000 on diagnostic equipment and things like that sadly! This isn't supposed to be a brag-fest. This was just meant to share my story, share my GPA, my ECs, my experience, so that others like me can feel a sigh of relief, and hope. I know I needed it at this time last year. I'll be happy to answer any questions you have, and if anyone wants to come down and tour the place,message me and I can show you around and give you the REAL tour! I only have good things to say about the school. But I also can help you with the applications, prereqs, and tell you what other people here have as well. Good luck to everyone, and I hope to see you here next year! Edit: Wow this is long. Hope it was worth your read!