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UCIspopbot

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Feb 15, 2012
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So I was accepted to ICO, Western and NECO. I have already turned down NECO and basically am trying to decide on going to Western vs ICO. I know the majority of people will automatically start bashing on Western, and I don't want this to be a bash Western thread so please read on before coming to a conclusion. I talked to a newly graduated optometrist today who graduated from SCO in 08 and he shed his own perspective on going to ICO vs Western.

I am a native Californian and I know I want to practice back in Cali. I live about 10 minutes from Western but I was offered a scholarship at ICO which basically to me means money is going to be the same regardless of where I go, give or take a couple thousand. Now, what he said that going to SCO, although providing him with a great education, made it more difficult securing work back in California because of the lack of networking opportunities. He did say that the benefit of being a California resident in an out of state school is that you may have priority in choosing rotations in Cali, which is some of the best networking opportunities he was able to acquire. As a recent graduate he told me finding work directly out without knowing a large amount of people proved to be difficult and that having that solid network would have made things a little easier to not only find work but also to find an office that he would potentially want to buy and take over.

One of the biggest things against Western is the risk of unknown statistics, but at the same time a good number of their staff had come from SCCO and are great professors. After asking former SCCO students they can all vouche for that.

I know the education at ICO is amazing, especially the clinical aspect, but if I want to practice in California what would be the best path to choose?
 

Optomchick

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Mar 5, 2012
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So I was accepted to ICO, Western and NECO. I have already turned down NECO and basically am trying to decide on going to Western vs ICO. I know the majority of people will automatically start bashing on Western, and I don't want this to be a bash Western thread so please read on before coming to a conclusion. I talked to a newly graduated optometrist today who graduated from SCO in 08 and he shed his own perspective on going to ICO vs Western.

I am a native Californian and I know I want to practice back in Cali. I live about 10 minutes from Western but I was offered a scholarship at ICO which basically to me means money is going to be the same regardless of where I go, give or take a couple thousand. Now, what he said that going to SCO, although providing him with a great education, made it more difficult securing work back in California because of the lack of networking opportunities. He did say that the benefit of being a California resident in an out of state school is that you may have priority in choosing rotations in Cali, which is some of the best networking opportunities he was able to acquire. As a recent graduate he told me finding work directly out without knowing a large amount of people proved to be difficult and that having that solid network would have made things a little easier to not only find work but also to find an office that he would potentially want to buy and take over.

One of the biggest things against Western is the risk of unknown statistics, but at the same time a good number of their staff had come from SCCO and are great professors. After asking former SCCO students they can all vouche for that.

I know the education at ICO is amazing, especially the clinical aspect, but if I want to practice in California what would be the best path to choose?

I'm attending Western and I can tell you that I'm really excited for it! I love that there's other fields of medicine there, I'm even thinking of living with a Physical Therapy student. I feel like at schools where it's just Optometry you will feel kind of sick of seeing the same faces/personalities. If you decide to live at home, then there will be a ton of money saved that way as well. IDK about ICO but SCCO doesn't even have a cafeteria and their "lounge" is a pathetic small space. Western is a large school with lots of opportunities for jobs on campus and lots of things to do on campus. There's a ton of clubs with other students from other fields involved. Western has an amazing clinic right on campus and they have you travel to other doctors starting in your first year for extra experience in the field. Also, since you want to practice in CA, you will already know ODs in CA for networking. I really fell in love with it, and I was actually slightly torn between Western and SCCO. Hope this helps, feel free to PM me if you decide to attend Western :)
 

MBAeyes

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Nov 30, 2010
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I have been accepted to Western among other schools as well. One thing to check into is the cost of the health insurance at each school. At Western it is about $4,000 per person per year. I am married and have a little girl and that is way too expensive for me. I'll most likely be giving up my seat to go somewhere else.

Good luck!
 
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Optomchick

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Mar 5, 2012
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I have been accepted to Western among other schools as well. One thing to check into is the cost of the health insurance at each school. At Western it is about $4,000 per person per year. I am married and have a little girl and that is way too expensive for me. I'll most likely be giving up my seat to go somewhere else.

Good luck!

Most schools wave their health insurance if you already have your own. I would not use this as a factor lol.
 

UCIspopbot

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Feb 15, 2012
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financially they are both the same to me as far as loans to take out. i received a scholarship and work study at chicago bringing my total cost down to around westerns. i am extremely torn on what decision to make.
 

UCIspopbot

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Feb 15, 2012
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does anyone know how Western did on the boards? im trying to gather all the information I can relative to each school. would finding a job be more difficult graduating from western over ico due to the reputation or does proximity to where you want to practice play a part in a school choice?
 

KHE

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Jun 14, 2005
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  1. Optometrist
If you live 10 minutes from Western, I would encourage you to go to ICO and use these next 4 years to experience something different in your life because it is an opportunity that will not come along again. I disagree with the doctor about networking. While it probably IS "easier" I have to wonder what networking that person did while at SCO. You can network almost as well from far away as you can from close to home. Networking is about maintaining contacts which in this day and age is just about as easy from afar as from close.
 
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