Is the UC Berkeley School of Optometry harder than other OD programs/schools?

Mar 31, 2020
16
10
Status
  1. Pre-Optometry
The more I look into UCB, the more I like the school. But, I was wondering if anyone had any information in terms of comparing the strenuousness between optometry schools/programs?
Are there links to view the first-year student drop out rates or classes failed in the past recent years? This would be nice to see between various schools but I can't find that information.
Any current UCB students in the OD program that (have possibly communicated with students at other optometry schools) can attest to it being more strenuous than other programs?

In ASCO under the "Characteristics of OD Program" for UC Berkeley it states:

"By requiring applicants to complete courses in human anatomy, human physiology, microbiology, immunology, organic chemistry and biochemistry prior to admission, Berkeley Optometry begins its instruction in optometry at a more advanced level than other programs... As a result of this accelerated preclinical training program, Berkeley Optometry students begin providing full vision care for their first patients in the Meredith W. Morgan University Eye Center during the first semester of the second year..."

Not sure if this is just stating that they start out at a more advanced level or that their program is more advanced overall.

Source: https://myasco.opted.org/admission/view/241/program

Thank you for any help!
 
Jun 19, 2019
18
7
Status
  1. Pre-Optometry
I'd ask their admissions officer this question. Consider their board pass rates. Not sure how they could be more advanced if SCO and MCO's pass rates were highest last year. Add the fact that the COL in Berkeley is way higher than most other schools, you'll have to weigh if the additional $60k over 4 years is worth the Berkeley brand.
 
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Mar 31, 2020
16
10
Status
  1. Pre-Optometry
I'd ask their admissions officer this question. Consider their board pass rates. Not sure how they could be more advanced if SCO and MCO's pass rates were highest last year. Add the fact that the COL in Berkeley is way higher than most other schools, you'll have to weigh if the additional $60k over 4 years is worth the Berkeley brand.

Yeah I plan ask admissions soon. Would prefer to ask in person.
I saw the board pass rates too. So do higher pass rates necessarily mean a harder/more prepared program? COL is really high. I believe at a ~500 on a 100 scale avg across cities in the nation
 
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Jun 19, 2019
18
7
Status
  1. Pre-Optometry
Not necessarily, this all depends on individual performance. But it is an indicator, and an important metric to me, when trying to differentiate between programs that basically look identical. With the exception of maybe Puerto Rico and WUHS, you'll get hired as an optometrist after passing boards from any of these schools. Ask any of these admissions officers and you always get the same answer- we have the best faculty, yada yada. But still worthwhile of course for you to find out yourself. Youll likely gain insight beyond my comment.

There's an $85k spread between the cheapest school (SCO, MCO) and the most expensive (UCB, SUNY, UH). Gotta think about what environment would you do best/be happy/ not be bitter broke and poor for decades after graduating.

Reminds me, I thought it was hilarious and sad when I asked a first year at UCB why she chose the school when she is from the DC area in MD considering the high price tag. Her answer was that everyone is graduating with debt lolz. Obv had no concept of what real bills are, or how much is $200-300k in student loans.

I do think, however, that if you are aware of the costs but choose against economics for other intangible reasons that ultimately lead you to be happier, then that makes sense.
 
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AcademicEyes

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
199
77
Status
  1. Optometrist
Berkeley grad.
I think each school is so different, you can't really compare level of difficulty. There are too many factors like style of learning vs style of teaching, support system, environmental stressors, etc.
As a CA native, I chose Berkeley to be close to my family and SO and continue maintaining my network with ODs in the area for potential hire afterward.

The "advanced level" is referring to the fact that there is no review of material you should have learned in undergrad. I like this better, but the program is not unique in this. And as far as first-year dropout rate, I would say it's usually 1-2 people per year, but class size is usually <70. Most people who "dropout" don't drop out completely, but take a semester off and start over.

I personally feel board pass rates depend equally on the caliber of the students than the school. Highly motivated students will pass regardless of their program, though it can certainly help to have had good instruction. Schools with higher pass rates are definitely the way to go in my opinion.
 
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