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Ileen

10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
37
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I hope there isnt a thread already comparing these two schools...What are your opinions on which school is better to go to...ICO or PCO? Tough decision between the two because they are almost equal...From what I experienced...this is what I can gather from the two schools:

Pros to ICO:
Convenience of residential complex
Easy Public Transportation
The city
Very good vibe from Students and Faculty members during the interview.

Cons to ICO:
Clinicals do not start as early as PCO

Pros to PCO:
Good Vibe from students and faculty members
Starts clinicals early in the program

Cons to PCO:
Probably need a car for transportation
Have to look for housing independently away from the school.

Thoughts would be appreciated!
 

omistheone

omistheone
10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
18
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I don't know much about PCO but I can definitely share my input about ICO and even more the city of Chicago. Like you have already mentioned that it will be very convenient to have the RC complex across the school and the clinic. I think ICO is surrounded in an environment where as a student we will have one of the best clinical education possible. I have lived in Chicago for a long time and its very easy to go from point A to B without a car. It is very diverse and making the point again for a very good clinical education. The only problem I feel with ICO might be the large graduating class and maybe the neighborhood. It is surely being gentrified but still wouldn't feel safe walking around at 10 P.M. However, everything is close by... so overall, if you want one the best clinical education, then I would go with ICO!
 

Ileen

10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
37
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Thanks Omistheone...the night before my interview I took the L train from the downtown area to the RC complex at night...it was a bit sketchy but not enough to base my decision on that...anymore input on either ICO or PCO from others? =)
 
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yanksfan422

10+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2008
16
0
Liverpool, NY
Status
Pre-Optometry
I am not familiar with ICO at all. But PCO is one of the schools I applied to. One thing about PCO that stands out from most other schools are their externship opportunities. Most schools have you do a years worth of externships (2 or 3 sites). PCO has you start out with a six month externship your 2nd semester junior year and then continue with 4 or 5 other externships that are 3-5 months long after. I also heard they offer a wide variety of externship locations. Just another thing to think about.
 

Noemimi

10+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2007
60
0
Bay Area, CA
usfca.facebook.com
Status
Pre-Dental
I am in a similar situation with the OP... I am stuck between the two. I've already decided on my other 4 schools. However, I cannot rule out either PCO or ICO... from what I researched they both have pros and cons...

my questions are:
1: I got word from a past ICO grad (a long time ago) that they only see a few pts a day. He said it is so bad that they run every test in the book and spend 2-3hrs on one pt because of this. Is this still the case?

2: I was told that ICO is safer than PCO. Chicago may be scary at night but if you live in the housing provided by the school, you should be ok. I was told that in PCO, by a past grad (many yrs ago) that his apt got broken into ALL the time. It got so bad he left his doors unlocked so they wouldn't break the door anymore. Is the PCO area really that bad? I thought it was in the suburbs?

3: Finally, the housing in ICO (or PCO-if the school offers housing), can u have your own place-like a little studio- with your own bathroom? I know some schools offer graduate housing which is diff than undergrad housing--which means it is an apt as supposed to dorms. I am a bit OCD and would rather have my own little studio and my own bathroom....and since I am not from the area, it would help to live near/on the school my first year.

Thanks for your help...
 
Last edited:

Ileen

10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
37
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
only a few patients a day? I would like to know if thats true. I chose ICO.
 

DrRobs

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2008
164
0
Status
Optometry Student
PCO gives you a lot of insite with clinical experience...as well as may other perks...having to drive is not that big of a deal and if you can't bring your car here...just live in wyncote house or colonnade and hitch a ride with people to clinic...theres pleanty of people to drive you. Trust me PCO, you will not regret your decision...I can't say the same for ICO only because I don't go there.
 

DrRobs

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2008
164
0
Status
Optometry Student
ok so if you want to know what solidified me on PCO, besides their excellent program, it was the clinical experience...and it lives to that name...you probably get the most clinical experience out of any other school here, and even when it sucks...it will benefit you more than anything else...getting preceptors watching your every move and making sure you dont make recording errors early on will serve you well...esp when you get to boards. Plus, our profs are heavilly on the board committee...so when they lecture they heavily highlight the things to know for board exams.
 

DrRobs

10+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2008
164
0
Status
Optometry Student
2: I was told that ICO is safer than PCO. Chicago may be scary at night but if you live in the housing provided by the school, you should be ok. I was told that in PCO, by a past grad (many yrs ago) that his apt got broken into ALL the time. It got so bad he left his doors unlocked so they wouldn't break the door anymore. Is the PCO area really that bad? I thought it was in the suburbs?
quote]

it is in the suburbs, the clinic is in a less-safe area, however, so unless you live by clinic you have no need to worrry. Not to say that things don't happen, but things happen by any city you live near, esp when the economy is poor...and thats just a fact of life.

Unfortunately, if you live your life in fear... you will get no where. Now on campus, where you will spend most of your time you should have no problems, the biggest thing that happens on campus is a car getting broken into and stuff that is in plain site (change, expensive equipment, ect) gets stolen, but there u go, don't leave anything in plain site in your car...but that can probably be said for any city!

Where ever you may live, make sure your building is safe...key access to the building is great...some aparments have it some don't...some have security guards that dont pay attention, some don't...but ill tell you if you live in jenkintown or realatively in a nice area (scope out the area before you rent) then you will be fine...just as fine as any other area.

Either way, to me personally, I do not think you should get worried about how "scarey" an area seems, its about being smart about how you live and where you live...base your decision on the program and what you want personally.
 

Pre Opt Student

10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2008
230
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I dont kno who see's more patients. ICO's clinic is on campus though, which is alot more convenient than PCO's clinic that is a 15 min drive from the campus (and in a really really crappy area). I just think the overall lifestyle and ICO would be better, being in a great city like Chicago. It also has a really strong program..I know their board pass rates are really high. I just think it'd be a better experience overall.

Both ICO and PCO have large class sizes..I dont know what you are comparing their sizes to..but the other schools are around 100 students so its not that big of a difference.
 

Noemimi

10+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2007
60
0
Bay Area, CA
usfca.facebook.com
Status
Pre-Dental
sorry perhaps I did not word my question correctly. I was comparing ICO, as well as the other schools that have roughly 100 students, to schools like Berkeley or SUNY that have 60-70 students. However, I was not necessarily trying to compare schools to each other since there is no way to compare (since each person goes to one opt school-so they wont know which is better).

My main goal was to see if people got the attention, help, and enough clinical/practice time despite having a large class size (those that are in the larger schools). I come from a private University where our largest class is 80, and that is RARE. I just wanted to get a feel for 100+ students in a class and how people find time to get the help, etc. I had asked an opt student from a large school if they felt it affected them and they said yes, however, there were some issues with the admin at the time and it was a while ago. Therefore, I am trying to get info from students that are in school now.
 

SarahNC

10+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2007
187
1
Philadelphia, PA
Status
Optometry Student
Yes, we have a large class size but you will only spend time with around 30 people. For everything except for lecture (which maybe only sees 50 regulars anyway), you are divided into groups, so you feel like you are in a small class most of the time. Sadly, there are many people in my class whom I have no idea who they are though. You can always get a tutor if you need help or meet with the teacher. They are ALL willing to help if you need it. If you go to class, the professors will know you by name and where you are from, etc. The clinic is around 7 minutes from school (its only 3 miles), yes it not in the best area, but jeez where else are you going to see all that pathology!? You can not practice in Beverly Hills and see the same type of patients. Its really about the experience there. Philadelphia is actually a great city, I don't know how living in Chicago is, but I think its pretty nice here. I really enjoy the suburbs and the proximity of the city.
 

Commando303

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2009
911
19
Status
I just want to revive this thread to say I'm finding it useful as I, myself, fight to decide between P.C.O. and I.C.O.
 

yyk

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2009
89
0
Status
Optometrist
I chose ICO over PCO because when I visited ICO, I felt that it was the perfect environment for me to focus on my studies. I didn't want to have to deal with getting a car or carpooling all the time. Secondly, more externships = more money spent over time in commuting and moving.. curriculum possibly too crammed at the beginning of the program also.. And I loved the Eyepod at ICO! :love:
 

Commando303

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2009
911
19
Status
Just to give people who might try to help an idea of my mentality, here's how I feel:

I.C.O.

Pros:
1. Farther from home (it'll be less tempting for me to "run back" — :cool:).
2. Perhaps this is meaningless, but their clinic seems simply to look "nicer" (as of 2010, it's a reasonably new building).
3. The college is near Lake Michigan, which, I suppose, might be pleasant.
4. Shopping (food, etc.) may be easier.

Cons:
1. Housing in the neighborhood seems to be mediocre (according to my research on http://www.apartmentratings.com). I don't want to stay in the Residential Complex (R.C.) if its atmosphere is "dorm-like."
2. It's farther from home, so back-and-forth will be too costly (I know: this contradicts Pro #1; I'm a self-contradictory person).

P.C.O.

Pros:
1. The main campus is beautiful, as is the workout facility.
2. The location is not urban. I'm from a pretty mighty metropolis, and I think I'm in the mood for change, at least for a time.
3. Some of the housing options seem reasonable.

Cons:
1. The non-urban environment might require adjustment (there's that self-contradiction, again).
2. The clinic is on the older end of the spectrum. I don't know if this matters, because the clinical program seems to be fine (i.e., it'll prepare me for the profession, I believe, as well as will I.C.O.'s), only the site, itself, isn't so "glamorous."

Thanks to any who try to sort through my twisted, wicked brain.
 
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