Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hey everybody! This is my first post on this awesome forum! I've heard so many good things about it!

I'm interested in going into optometry, but I have a few questions. This is kind of my record in the run-down:

The Good:

-2000+ experience in an eye clinic, though its mostly with ophthalmologists than optometrists.

-Was a research coordinator involved with two big government studies. Was also sent to Chicago as a representative of the hospital to take notes on a new study.


The Bad:

-Total GPA is about 3.2, which is kind of low. Science GPA is teetering toward 3.0. I spent quite a bit of time repairing it with upper-division science courses and that shows an upper trend. I got A's in courses like genetics, biochemistry, anatomy & physiology (with human cadavers too), immunology and pharmacology.

The Plan (for now):

-Take the OAT.

-Shadow an optometrist.

-Get recommendation from optometrist.

-Take Calculus...somehow...since I never took that course.


Here are my questions:

-I live in California and would like to get into a California school. Would I qualify for all the Cali schools with my grades? I'm just wondering what GPA I should have (I graduated a few years ago from college) to be "safe."

-Would I qualify for other optometry schools as well, if I go into another state?

-What OAT score should I be shooting to be "safe?"

-Can my ophthalmology experience help with applications?

-How are the job prospects for optometrists in this day and age...as well as the future? I'm just wondering I see that pharmacy is getting over-saturated, which might bloat the career.

-To those who are already in optometry school, how important is Calculus in schooling? Is it something you encounter daily or is it just a requirement?


I might ask more questions as it pops in my head. However, thanks for replying to this thread!
 
Feb 10, 2019
5
4
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hey everybody! This is my first post on this awesome forum! I've heard so many good things about it!

I'm interested in going into optometry, but I have a few questions. This is kind of my record in the run-down:

The Good:

-2000+ experience in an eye clinic, though its mostly with ophthalmologists than optometrists.

-Was a research coordinator involved with two big government studies. Was also sent to Chicago as a representative of the hospital to take notes on a new study.


The Bad:

-Total GPA is about 3.2, which is kind of low. Science GPA is teetering toward 3.0. I spent quite a bit of time repairing it with upper-division science courses and that shows an upper trend. I got A's in courses like genetics, biochemistry, anatomy & physiology (with human cadavers too), immunology and pharmacology.

The Plan (for now):

-Take the OAT.

-Shadow an optometrist.

-Get recommendation from optometrist.

-Take Calculus...somehow...since I never took that course.


Here are my questions:

-I live in California and would like to get into a California school. Would I qualify for all the Cali schools with my grades? I'm just wondering what GPA I should have (I graduated a few years ago from college) to be "safe."

-Would I qualify for other optometry schools as well, if I go into another state?

-What OAT score should I be shooting to be "safe?"

-Can my ophthalmology experience help with applications?

-How are the job prospects for optometrists in this day and age...as well as the future? I'm just wondering I see that pharmacy is getting over-saturated, which might bloat the career.

-To those who are already in optometry school, how important is Calculus in schooling? Is it something you encounter daily or is it just a requirement?


I might ask more questions as it pops in my head. However, thanks for replying to this thread!
Hey ! I'll try to answer your questions best I can.

-I also live in California, and I'd say you initially would qualify for Western, since you're right around their average of ~3.2 overall GPA. However, optometry schools are generally really holistic (I know SCCO and Berkeley are), so honestly anything is possible, depending on your experience and OAT.

-I'd say to shoot for as high an OAT as possible to offset your GPA, just in case. Western's averages are 308 AA 301 TS, but if you want to be competitive for Berkeley or SCCO, a 330/340 at least would be good, I think.

-Ophthalmology can definitely help! It's still related to eyes, and it's still service (I volunteered at a hospital for half a year that had nothing to do with eyes, but it still helped me). I think you'll get the question "why didn't you want to do ophthalmology" in an interview though.

-I can't tell you for sure, since a lot of people are going into optometry these days, but I don't think oversaturation will be too huge of a problem. In general, our population in the US is aging, which means more visual issues, which means more patients and more demand for optometrists.

-I'm not in optometry school yet, but I don't think calculus will be too important. I took calculus in my first year but that was it: I've never seen anything like it in any of my classes, I've never used it, and I've honestly forgotten most of it lol. It's not on the OAT either, so it's probably just a requirement!

edit: accidentally replied twice and formatting was wonky lol
 
Apr 11, 2018
14
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11
I’m a recent grad, been practicing for 1.5yrs.

-Definitely Western is likely your best bet for California school. But you will also have a better chance with other schools with bigger class sizes. It depends on how you do on the OAT.

-Ophthalmology experience certainly helps but be sure know how it links to Optometry.

-I got several job offers right after graduation. YMMV - depending on your location. I live in a suburb area, got offer for full time private and corporate jobs.

-Calculus is useless for optometry school and after graduation.
 
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OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
I’m a recent grad, been practicing for 1.5yrs.

-Definitely Western is likely your best bet for California school. But you will also have a better chance with other schools with bigger class sizes. It depends on how you do on the OAT.

-Ophthalmology experience certainly helps but be sure know how it links to Optometry.

-I got several job offers right after graduation. YMMV - depending on your location. I live in a suburb area, got offer for full time private and corporate jobs.

-Calculus is useless for optometry school and after graduation.
Okay! Thank you very much.

If its not too personal, what school did you attend?

I'm just concerned the job might go the way of pharmacy since I know some of my friends who are worried about job prospects there.

Also, do you know if region does affect what jobs you could get in the future...or is it like medicine - the process is so standardized that you can train on the East Coast and practice on the West Coast (sort of mentality)?
 
Apr 11, 2018
14
9
11
Okay! Thank you very much.

If its not too personal, what school did you attend?

I'm just concerned the job might go the way of pharmacy since I know some of my friends who are worried about job prospects there.

Also, do you know if region does affect what jobs you could get in the future...or is it like medicine - the process is so standardized that you can train on the East Coast and practice on the West Coast (sort of mentality)?
-ICO (I’m not practicing in IL now).
-it’s standardized, doesn’t matter where to practice after graduation. As long as you can graduate with the OD degree, pass national boards, and state boards....you’re good.
 
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OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
-ICO (I’m not practicing in IL now).
-it’s standardized, doesn’t matter where to practice after graduation. As long as you can graduate with the OD degree, pass national boards, and state boards....you’re good.
Oh! That is definitely nice.

That standard board mentality is nice to avoid the law trap since attending a law school in a state that you don't intend to practice in could be a death sentence job-wise.

Thanks for your advice! I do enjoy my work I do at the eye clinic, so I was looking at avenues to keep doing it. My grades, however, are kind of weak for medicine...
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
127
46
61
Status
Optometry Student
- can definitely shoot for California schools with a decent OAT score and good LOR. Western would be easiest, as others have said.
- can definitely apply to other schools as well
- I would shoot for an OAT score 340 or greater to be competitive with your GPA. I believe SCCO automatically interviews at science GPA >3.0 and OAT >300 in each subsection, though of course you want to be more competitive than that.
- your OMD experience can help, especially if you're making the argument for why you chose OD over OMD
- job prospects are highly dependent on where you intend to practice. There is saturation in big cities, since everyone wants to work there. Central valley has lots of opportunities.
- calculus is useless.
 
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OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
- can definitely shoot for California schools with a decent OAT score and good LOR. Western would be easiest, as others have said.
- can definitely apply to other schools as well
- I would shoot for an OAT score 340 or greater to be competitive with your GPA. I believe SCCO automatically interviews at science GPA >3.0 and OAT >300 in each subsection, though of course you want to be more competitive than that.
- your OMD experience can help, especially if you're making the argument for why you chose OD over OMD
- job prospects are highly dependent on where you intend to practice. There is saturation in big cities, since everyone wants to work there. Central valley has lots of opportunities.
- calculus is useless.
I see that the last few people here say that calculus is useless. Is calculus just used then to fill a requirement - nothing more, nothing less?
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
127
46
61
Status
Optometry Student
I see that the last few people here say that calculus is useless. Is calculus just used then to fill a requirement - nothing more, nothing less?
Yup! Never had to more than like.. trigonometry maybe. And even then it was specific to optics.
 
OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Yup! Never had to more than like.. trigonometry maybe. And even then it was specific to optics.
That definitely gives me a sigh of relief.
Just to play devil's advocate, what schools should I apply for if I score average on the OAT...with my current GPA?
Thanks!
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
127
46
61
Status
Optometry Student
That definitely gives me a sigh of relief.
Just to play devil's advocate, what schools should I apply for if I score average on the OAT...with my current GPA?
Thanks!
I would still apply to all the California schools, ICO, maybe NECO or other programs you're interested in. Though your chance of getting in may be lower for some programs, it never hurts to apply. The worse that will happen is you'll get rejected, which is what would happen if you didn't apply anyway.
 
OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
I would still apply to all the California schools, ICO, maybe NECO or other programs you're interested in. Though your chance of getting in may be lower for some programs, it never hurts to apply. The worse that will happen is you'll get rejected, which is what would happen if you didn't apply anyway.
Should I just apply to all schools? I'm planning on taking the OAT later this year.

So I can even net schools with a 3.2? My GPA took a beating science-wise, but I tried to improve it as much as I could with a butt-load of science courses. I wasn't a science major in college after all, so there was a glut of science courses that I could take.
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
127
46
61
Status
Optometry Student
Should I just apply to all schools? I'm planning on taking the OAT later this year.

So I can even net schools with a 3.2? My GPA took a beating science-wise, but I tried to improve it as much as I could with a butt-load of science courses. I wasn't a science major in college after all, so there was a glut of science courses that I could take.
I would still give it a shot! Some of my classmates had similar or worse GPAs, but strong OAT/extracurriculars/letters of rec. I feel that many schools look at your application as a whole, so it's always worth trying.
 
OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hello! I'm going to revive this thread for a few more questions:

-If I take my OAT in August, could I still be on time for submitting my application for this year?

-I'm planning on taking an online Calculus course. If I do take an online Calculus course, do I have to be done with the course before the application is finalized or could I just indicate an in-progress hyphen in my record for the schools?

I'm mainly concerned that my GPA is shabby, which could hurt my chances of getting into optometry school this coming year.\

-How competitive overall is optometry school? I know that medicine and dentistry are dog-eat-dog in terms of competitive nature. Even nursing is pretty dog-eat-dog these days. I'm wondering if optometry is part of the same pack.

-To those who know somebody in Western / are attending Western, how is the overall quality of schooling at the institution? I saw that the pass rate for the boards is pretty scarily low. UC Berkeley had one of the highest (and I would love to get there), but that will take me pulling really good numbers overall.

Thanks.
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
127
46
61
Status
Optometry Student
OAT in August is good, especially if you plan to submit shortly after.

For calculus you can have it be pending - each school has its own limit for how many unfinished requirements you can have.

I feel that the competition may vary by school. In general my classmates aren’t competitive in personality, although they are high achieving so you have to stay on top of it if you don’t want to fall behind.

My friend who went to western said they’re changing the curriculum and pass rates are going up. Not sure how much better prepared the students will be now.
 
OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
OAT in August is good, especially if you plan to submit shortly after.

For calculus you can have it be pending - each school has its own limit for how many unfinished requirements you can have.

I feel that the competition may vary by school. In general my classmates aren’t competitive in personality, although they are high achieving so you have to stay on top of it if you don’t want to fall behind.

My friend who went to western said they’re changing the curriculum and pass rates are going up. Not sure how much better prepared the students will be now.
Okay. I expected competitiveness among the students since it is a doctorate degree.

I'm just wondering who might vs me since my GPA is on the lower end :confused:
 
Mar 3, 2018
68
17
61
Status
Pre-Optometry
I honestly think your gpa is fine. Berkely is pretty competitive tho so you would really have to kill it on your oat. I think August is a good time to take it. You would still be very early
 
OP
I
Feb 22, 2019
17
0
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
I honestly think your gpa is fine. Berkely is pretty competitive tho so you would really have to kill it on your oat. I think August is a good time to take it. You would still be very early
Would 350-ish OAT still be effective for Berkeley? How about Ketchum as well? I recall that is also a respected institution for optometry.
 
Mar 3, 2018
68
17
61
Status
Pre-Optometry
Would 350-ish OAT still be effective for Berkeley? How about Ketchum as well? I recall that is also a respected institution for optometry.
I honestly don't know since I didn't apply. 350 is a great score tho and it's totally doable! Keep in mind you are more than just a GPA and OAT. They also look at your experience, volunteering/research, letters of rec, grade trend

Here is a link for the average OAT and GPA for each school. You can also check the school's website to see their class profile for the entering class