Oct 17, 2020
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  1. Pre-Optometry
So I'm stuck deciding between UIWRSO and ICO. I have 2 weeks to choose.

RSO has cheaper living expenses, cheaper tuition, and has offered me a modest scholarship. However it is 1300 miles away from home (Milwaukee) and clinical exposure doesn't begin until the second year.

What intrigues me about ICO is the strong clinical experience (exposure in the 1st year) and the Accelerated Clinical Program, which I would absolutely apply for. They claim it provides more patient encounters, second-year requirements can be completed early, and access to specialty rotations are offered in the third year. It's also close to home, which I value.

How much benefit do you feel ICO's ACP provides? Do you feel it's worth the extra ~$10,000 / year?
May 14, 2020
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  1. Pre-Optometry
Following this thread because I'm kind of in a similar situation! Some of the things that worry me about UIWRSO is past history of subpar first-time board pass rate for Part I and that its a newer school (I've been sensing some stigma against newer schools from certain optometrists but I'm sure when it comes to it, it shouldn't be too difficult finding a job of choice). Would love to hear some more input. Also, if you don't mind sharing - when did you interview for ICO and when did you hear back?


5+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2014
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  1. Optometry Student
I'm a recent RSO graduate maybe I could share some of own my experience. First, clinical experience, RSO starts official clinic at the end of 2nd year even though we did some school vision screening during 2nd year, I honestly don't think I gained anything substantial from it beside be very efficient with the DO (direct ophthalmoscopy) on moving children. We had to pass this huge proficiency at the end of 2nd year to enter clinic, you get 1 retake, if you don't pass, they make you go through some kind of remediation plan during the summer while your classmates enter clinic and you start clinic in the fall, don't be that person... Overall, I was happy with my time in clinic, San Antonio is a heavily populated area, but most of your patients are Hispanics so at times I felt like I kept seeing the same diseases (diabetic ret, hypertensive ret...) over and over again. Their low vision, VT/strab clinics are very well equipped, I actually really enjoyed it despite its being everyone's least favorite. We then go off to 2 external rotations during 4th year, I shared my sites with SCO and PCO students, not a single moment I felt inferior in term of clinical efficiency than my peers from other schools. I felt like RSO prepared me pretty well, but then again I did my externship during the last 2 semesters of school so I had an extra semester in house, that could be one of the reasons. Second, boards, I don't keep up with RSO after graduation but I heard their 1st time pass rate for part 1 is higher than national average for the class of 2020, I could be wrong but I think I saw it somewhere, maybe an alumni fb page. Personally, my close group of friends passed all 3 parts just fine but I also know some people had to retake their boards several times so it all depends on who you talk to . In term of employment, I was offered a full time job a few months before graduation giving i passed all my boards (I took part 3 very close to graduation, it was not smart) and all my of friends found employment or were matched into residencies just fine so I don't think graduating from a newer school is a problem as long as you pass boards.
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Jun 20, 2019
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  1. Pre-Optometry
One of my really great friends went to ICO and is now at UIWRSO. They really struggled with academic structure at ICO and fell behind to the point where they couldn't catch up. They came home (we live in San Antonio) and were able to get into UIWRSO. They seem to be doing much better with the course load and balancing life's agenda. I work next door to RSO at the ophthalmology practice that 4th year students do a rotation through and get to work with all 4th years. The majority of them enjoyed their experience at the school and have a great relationship with their professors. The only thing I consitently hear is that they feel as though they are not getting their money back. Being a private school, UIW is really expensive and the facilities are not the tip of the spear. I know a good amount of second and third years there who also feel the same. Three of which told me if they could go back they would not attend RSO and encouraged me to go to any other school. Hearing this really deterred me from the school, there's a lot of internal stuff going on there and their boards rates are not the most competitive. Overall, if you're motivated enough it doesn't really matter where you go. San Antonio is great, I love it here and have been here practically all of my life but I, personally, have found other aspects of other schools that I appreciate more than those of RSO. Feel free to message me to hear more about RSO!
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