• Advice You're Thankful for Contest

    Now that it's getting close to Thanksgiving, we're running a contest to hear advice you've received that you're most thankful for! This can be any type of advice and the advice with the most reactions will win!




  • NECO

    Votes: 5 55.6%
  • SCCO

    Votes: 4 44.4%

  • Total voters


New Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2017
  1. Pre-Optometry
    Hi everyone, I was recently accepted to SCCO and have been holding a seat at NECO since November. I wanted to see if anyone had any advice or insight into each of these schools. I'm originally from the East Coast so NECO is closer to home, but that isn't a huge factor for me. The tuition is approximately the same (SCCO costs ~41k/year vs NECO costs ~40k/year) and the cost of living is also more or less the same. Some of my notes/points of difference (especially for anyone who may also be making similar decisions):

    • Boards:
      • Ultimate Board Pass rate is good at 96% based on data from 2014; no breakdown of pass rates for first time test takers on parts 1-3
      • To prep students they offer KMK classes, a very lightened course load during your third year, and I believe you have 3 weeks totally off from classes before boards to study
    • Class size: 100 (per last year's entering class)
      • I heard a lot of the students are local and for the most part commute from home. They typically don't linger on campus or generally really live near it either. Considering I'd be out of state I got the impression that campus might be a bit lonely. When I went to my interview, it was a Saturday and the campus was super dead. Granted there also was a big event the night before so people may have just been dead and hungover, but even my mom was surprised at its emptiness.
      • I read (but don't personally remember) that they don't have a cafeteria which further emphasizes the commuter feeling
    • Location:
      • Pros: Great weather, lots to do, rent and general cost of living is cheaper than in Boston
      • Cons: Will 100% need a car, everything is in driving distance; not much is available in walking distance, school doesn't seem to be able to accommodate students without cars very well (I discussed this with with my interviewer and admissions), additional cost of gas and car maintenance, the closest apartment that has units with more than 1 bedroom is a 10 min walk away
    • Clinic experience:
      • The clinic is down the street a ~20 min drive from the school. I'd like to live close to the school and be able to walk to school so I'd have the full drive ahead of me.
      • Students spend their first year shadowing and then begin seeing patients during the 2nd quarter of the 2nd year
      • 80 outreach sites, abroad locations located on military bases
      • They have 1 satellite clinic in LA, but it's not very utilized
      • When I went during my interview they were having midterms and some of the equipment in the teaching labs was broken and students had to sign up for time slots to use the equipment and practice. I was told the sign-ups aren't normal throughout the year, but my student tour guide said that some of the equipment hadn't been fixed from well before midterms
    • Curriculum:
      • Practice management classes/resources
      • One lab course on laser
      • First summer is completely off
      • Interprofessional education classes/approach
    • School/Misc
      • The school itself is actually a campus with a central green
      • Ample parking for people who drive to school although some lots are further than others
      • Student facilities like the gym are located on campus
      • They recently acquired VR tech to help students learn their clinical skills
      • They are no longer exclusively an optometry school and have added a pharmacy school in addition to their optometry and PA schools. I asked if this was affecting optometry in any way and if they would continue to expand but my interviewer and admissions said no to both

    • Boards
      • No data regarding their ultimate board pass rate was online but their board pass rates for parts 1-3 for first time test takers were above the average first time pass rate for each part
      • To prepare students they also offer KMK classes and a lightened course load during third year
    • Class size: 119 (per last year's entering class)
      • My interview was on a Monday so the campus was super lively. I saw the cafe downstairs and the cafeteria/lounge eating area which was nice albeit a bit small.
      • I have also read some complaints about a commuter school feeling from NECO as well, but the impression I got was better since I did visit campus during a busy school day.
    • Location:
      • Pros: Boston is a beautiful city; lots to do; great culture, food, and public transportation; very walkable and everything seemed easily accessible
      • Cons: Can't/shouldn't bring a car, very minimal parking, since it's NE they do get all 4 seasons so it'll be cold and snowy (I'm not a huge fan, but I grew up with 4 season weather), the cost of living is more expensive
    • Clinic experience:
      • The main clinic is also ~20 min away from the school. I would still like to live near and walk to the school, so I'd still have the full trip to clinic ahead of me
      • Students begin shadowing in their first year, but by the end of the first term they are able to independently perform vision screenings and actually do things in clinic
      • Over 50 outreach sites
      • They have abroad locations that are not just military bases
      • Multiple satellite clinics located in Boston that are utilized and students do get rotated through them
      • The practice labs on campus are a bit small, but they built new ones at the bottom of New England Eye which I believe are going to be ready by Fall 2017. Not sure if they are keeping the on campus practice labs or not.
    • Curriculum:
      • No courses on laser
      • Practice management classes/resources
      • No interprofessional education. I asked if they would trend towards this or make any changes and my interviewer said that they are keeping it in mind and will move towards it. They will most likely -if anything- make small changes rather than overwhelm students with large ones, but for now they are focusing solely on clinical education.
      • They have available concentrations in pediatrics and contact lenses which you apply to in your first year. It gives you additional exposure to those areas although it's no substitute for a residency
      • I believe for part of your first summer you are taking classes for half of it
    • School/Misc:
      • The school campus is one large building
      • No parking
      • No VR
      • There are no student facilities on campus (example: the gym is a student YMCA membership)
      • Solely an optometry school

    Sorry for the long post, folks. I know both schools have good programs (and they essentially cost more or less the same), but they do have their nuances and take different approaches to providing an OD education. I'd love to hear additional insight into each school and any current/former students' experiences regarding their education, regrets, problems, pros, cons, etc. Thanks for all your help!
    • Like
    Reactions: 1 user


    Full Member
    2+ Year Member
    Nov 6, 2014
    1. Optometry Student
      I'm a second year student at SCCO and am from out of state! I, along with a lot of my class, commute to school from short distances! I live about 10 minutes away. The school can definitely be busy on the weekends, it just depends when you come. Beginning of the quarter we don't have a lot of homework and skills to practice so you'll find less people on campus at off peak hours. When we get busy, I'll frequently see 30+ people on campus practicing. These are the instances when we'll occasionally have sign ups for practice. It's not because there isn't enough room for people to practice, but it's to keep us from all coming at one time. I've never had an issue getting adequate practice time in! If you have any other questions, let me know!
      About the Ads
      This thread is more than 4 years old.

      Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

      1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
      2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
      3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
      4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
      5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
      6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
      7. This thread is locked.