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rkl_OD2be

UMSL class of 2010
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Oct 10, 2005
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St. Louis
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Optometry Student
I'll be interviewing at SCO and UMSL in the next few weeks. Would anyone who has interviewed at these schools care to give me a "preview of coming attractions" as to what to expect?

Thank you.
 

3eb4me

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Jul 22, 2005
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Can anyone answer him/her?
Then again, we're all competing for the same spots. Why give your competitor an advantage. :p
 

gsinccom

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Sep 19, 2005
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Wasatch Front
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Pharmacist
3eb4me said:
Can anyone answer him/her?
Then again, we're all competing for the same spots. Why give your competitor an advantage. :p
because we are all in this together and most likely the interview will only make or break you if you are borderline on getting into a particular school anyway. if you are a good candidate and apply early you'll get into one of the schools you apply to. I recommend applying to as many as five schools and two for sure:) I'll be applying to SCCO, SCO, and Pacific next year and am considering others.
 
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prettygreeneyes

Moderator Emeritus
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Aug 24, 2005
1,122
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Guarded by Ninjas
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Optometry Student
3eb4me said:
Can anyone answer him/her?
Then again, we're all competing for the same spots. Why give your competitor an advantage. :p
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: ... I've always had that in the back of my mind... luckily everyone else here is nice enough to share their secrets!!!
 

sco1styear

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Well I'm a second year so I'm not competing :)

SCO interviews are "blind" interviews. The person interviewing you knows nothing about you except your name and where you are from. This is good because they have not formed an opinion about you before they meet you but it also means that if you have strong points in certain areas, you have to make sure to tell them about it.
You are interviewed by one person and either before or after you are taken on a tour of the school.
My interview (2 years ago) consisted of questions like why did you choose optometry, do you have any experience, what was your favorite course in undergrad and why, did you apply to other schools, etc...
I didn't apply to other schools so I was asked why that was and what I would do if I did not get accepted.
I know someone else that interviewed that day got asked what the different types of practices there were. And my optometrist (who grad. from sco in '96) was asked about current issues or news in optometry.
The interview is mainly to #1 make sure you know what you are getting into and have adequate knowledge and exposure to the field and #2 to see that you can carry on a conversation.
You do not have to write an essay or anything like you do at some schools.
Before you go in for your interview, someone will meet with you and go over your files to see if there are other things you need to have turned in, ask if you have any questions, and tell you who is interviewing you.
!
 

PreOptMegs

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Jan 23, 2005
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rkl_OD2be said:
I'll be interviewing at SCO and UMSL in the next few weeks. Would anyone who has interviewed at these schools care to give me a "preview of coming attractions" as to what to expect?

Thank you.

I was accepted at UMSL for next year. I had my interview a month ago and it couldn't have been better. THey make you feel at home even though everyone knows the interview basically makes/breaks your chances of being accepted. They just want to know if you really, really want to be an Optometrist. Just be yourself and most importantly be honest and you will be fine. Dr. Bennett is an awesome guy who tries to make you feel right at home and as calm as possible. Let me know how it goes and good luck!
 

still_confused

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Sep 11, 2005
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westwood
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Optometry Student
sorry to semi hijack this thread, but for UMSL, how did you guys apply? it seems like the only way is to apply online, is there a paper version?

also excuse my ignorance, but is UMSL required by law to take state residents and contracting states ? im just wondering if i should spend the money applying there if my chances are slim (my stats are average).
 

rkl_OD2be

UMSL class of 2010
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2005
105
0
St. Louis
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Optometry Student
I just returned from the interview at SCO, so I'll answer my own question so that others may benefit from my experience...

First of all, since this was my first interview, I was extremely nervous. I was so nervous, in fact, that I convinced myself that skipping breakfast that morning would be a good idea. Let me be clear: Skipping breakfast on interview day is a BAD idea! I drove 550 miles the day before, and in the interest of making the fewest number of stops, I drank very little water the day before. Low blood sugar and partial dehydration could have been a recipe for disaster. During the tour of SCO, I recognized that my body was going through the progression that occurs whenever you "lock your knees" and stand at attention (and subsequently faint)...I politely asked the tour guides if I could sit down for a few minutes before continuing the tour. Luckily, the tour was conducted by two students, and they did an outstanding job of helping me regain my composure for the remainder of the tour. They suggested I have a coke & some cookies to help bring my blood sugar level back up. Their suggestion worked wonders when the time came for my interview after the tour.

I will repeat it again: Do NOT skip breakfast (or the meal just prior to your interview time) on your interview day!

Dr. Utech conducted my interview. The interviews at SCO are blind, meaning that all the interviewer knows going in is your name & where you are from. Since I'm a non-traditional student, (I currently work full-time in the I.T. shop at a large telecommunications company) I'm certain that the portion of our conversation dealing with "What are you currently doing--do you go to school fulltime?" question was different than most.

Dr. Utech asked me why I was changing careers, why I wanted to be an Optometrist, what were my plans after OD school, etc. Dr. Utech told me that he served as an optometrist in the United States Air Force. Since I'm planning on applying for an Army health professions scholarship, I asked him for his experience and opinions about optometry in the military, and that concluded the interview. He did a great job of conducting the interview, and there were no "trick" questions.

The whole experience is nothing to be nervous about. For me, the fear of the unknown was far worse than the unknown.
 

4Eyes

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Oct 30, 2005
344
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Optometrist
rkl_OD2be said:
I'll be interviewing at SCO and UMSL in the next few weeks. Would anyone who has interviewed at these schools care to give me a "preview of coming attractions" as to what to expect?

Thank you.
Okay, I'm an UMSL 2nd year, so I'll try to help. :)

Before your interview, Dr. Brown (nicest, most helpful lady ever) talks to you about your prerequisites, etc. She also tells you almost EVERYTHING you can expect in the interview (and how to answer), so pay close attention!

Then some students will take you on a tour and feed you pizza. :) I didn't sign up to be an ambassador this year, or it might have been me! All the students are really nice and very willing to answer any questions you may have from a student point of view.

Next comes your interview. Like PreOptMegs said, Dr. Bennett is the nicest guy around. He does everything he can to make you feel comfortable. IF you end up with Dr. Vengu (there are generally 2 people interviewing you), I hear he can be a little bit intimidating, but he's not really as bad as he likes to make people think. If you have any minor blemishes on your transcript, though, be prepared to answer a question about that. Especially if it's physics, since that's his thing. Other than that, the questions are pretty much what you'd expect. Why do you want to be an optometrist, how did you prepare for the OAT, what are the optometry specialties, what's the difference between an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, and an optician, etc.

Ultimately, they just want to know that (1) you are an effective communicator, (2) you're a reasonably nice human being, and (3) that you know what optometry is and that you for sure want to do it.

sorry to semi hijack this thread, but for UMSL, how did you guys apply? it seems like the only way is to apply online, is there a paper version?

also excuse my ignorance, but is UMSL required by law to take state residents and contracting states ? im just wondering if i should spend the money applying there if my chances are slim (my stats are average).
This is the first year that UMSL will only accept an online application. There's lots of information about it online, but you can PM me if you have any questions.

Most of the students are from Missouri or Kansas, but there are students from other states as well. If you apply soon, I would think you stand a reasonable chance.

I'd apply if you think you'd like to attend UMSL. If you aren't interested in UMSL in particular, maybe try other places instead. Bigger schools will have more openings if that's your concern.

Good luck everyone! :)
 
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