Apr 8, 2010
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I am wondering how optometry admissions compares to dental. In high school, I had been interested in both dentistry and optometry. I ended up pursuing dentistry, but have been rejected this past cycle.

I shadowed an optometrist, and the career seemed to match my temperament really well. Also, the optometrist that I shadowed said that the career is wonderful for women who may want to have kids later on.

I understand that the OAT is similar to the DAT, though having physics instead of PAT. I got an 18 on my DAT overall. I am not sure how the OAT would translate in comparison, but I am planning to study hard the next couple months and do the best that I can.

My science GPA is a 3.44, my overall a 3.68. I've been working as a dental assistant for the past two years, but plan to shadow more optometrists. Is my GPA good for applying? How long should I give myself to study for the OAT? Is optometry about the same in terms of difficulty in getting in as dentistry, or easier, harder?
 

Mewcakes

SCO c/o 2014
Feb 10, 2010
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Optometry Student
Hold on just a moment, Optometry shouldn't be a backup plan for Dentistry. A lot of people here will tell you that, and it's true. I'm very sorry you won't be going to Dental School in the fall, but don't you think you've worked so hard the past few years that you should try at least one more time? Those two professions are VERY different, so if you love dentistry, I caution you against going into optometry, you'll never be as happy. I'm not dissing on optometry, but if you had your heart set on being a fire fighter, how happy are you going to be if you're a corrections officer? (also not dissing on being a corrections officer, but get the gist..)

Why don't you sit down and think long and hard about your pursuit of Dentistry, and be honest with yourself. How much did you love dentistry? What about it did you like and not like? How much do you know about optometry? What don't you like/like about it? Are you really prepared to forfeit dentistry altogether after you've worked for it for so long? You can have kids doing either profession, so don't ride too much on what the optometrist said in terms of family life.

To be fair, I will answer your ACTUAL questions. :p Your GPA is average to strong for applying, but you would need much more optometric experience. You should give yourself as much time as possible to study for the OAT, of course. I can't say whether it's easier to get into one school or another (having never applied for dental), but I know there are ~57 dental schools and 20 optometry schools. So you can try to weigh your chances there I guess. What's the average for DAT scores? I'm not sure how an 18 ranks. The average score on the OAT is 300, so you want to score as high above that as possible, try not to score below.
 
Apr 8, 2010
16
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0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I knew me writing about the age-old "versus" question would not be well received. However, I have gone through the dental application process twice already (first time did not take the DAT in time, but paid the money). I will perhaps continue to pursue dentistry. But I want to know all of my options --this is something I should have done years ago...look into various portions of the health care field.

There are some cons to dental that I have concerns about...such as I don't know if I would enjoy working so intensely with my hands all day, with such small, intricate spaces. I have witnessed my boss perform the same procedures on a day to day basis, and everything must be soo precise and well coordinated with manual dexterity. Just don't know if I'd have the ongoing patience.

I appreciate you answering my questions...sorry if I am offending all of the die-hard optometry students out there. I am not taking any of this lightly, but the reason I'm using SDN is to find out as MUCH as I can from people living the experiences to make the wisest decision that I can. Once I make the decision of what to do, it will be because I found the field more fitting to my strengths and talents.
 

Mewcakes

SCO c/o 2014
Feb 10, 2010
421
4
41
Mewing at cakes
Status
Optometry Student
Sorry, I didn't mean to wail on you. But yeah, doing the research is definitely important. The thing about optometry though is that you spend your whole day mostly refracting and slit-lamping and trying to get CLs into patients' eyes who INSIST their eyes are open but they're squeezed tightly shut. :p So there's definitely repetition in optometry as well. You'll have to make the decision which one is personally less monotonous to you.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,324
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Optometrist
There are some cons to dental that I have concerns about...such as I don't know if I would enjoy working so intensely with my hands all day, with such small, intricate spaces. I have witnessed my boss perform the same procedures on a day to day basis, and everything must be soo precise and well coordinated with manual dexterity. Just don't know if I'd have the ongoing patience.
Anne,

Optometry also involves working with your hands in very small spaces. And eyeball isn't exactly the largest structure out there.

Optometry is also incredibly repetitive. I've been doing it for 10 years now and I've got the routine and the speeches down so well that I could literally do an exam while someone is continuously slapping me in the face and I would do just as good a job as if I were not being slapped.

I appreciate you answering my questions...sorry if I am offending all of the die-hard optometry students out there. I am not taking any of this lightly, but the reason I'm using SDN is to find out as MUCH as I can from people living the experiences to make the wisest decision that I can. Once I make the decision of what to do, it will be because I found the field more fitting to my strengths and talents.
Your best bet is try to shadow as many different ODs in as many different types of practice settings and ask them the standard question but also ask them this:

"What are three NEGATIVE things about your profession that you DID NOT EXPECT before you entered it?"
 

Commando303

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2009
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Anne,

Optometry also involves working with your hands in very small spaces. And eyeball isn't exactly the largest structure out there.

Optometry is also incredibly repetitive. I've been doing it for 10 years now and I've got the routine and the speeches down so well that I could literally do an exam while someone is continuously slapping me in the face and I would do just as good a job as if I were not being slapped.



Your best bet is try to shadow as many different ODs in as many different types of practice settings and ask them the standard question but also ask them this:

"What are three NEGATIVE things about your profession that you DID NOT EXPECT before you entered it?"
I'll ask you, KHE, which three things you didn't expect have come to be negative aspects of your job?
 
Mar 12, 2010
25
0
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I am wondering how optometry admissions compares to dental. In high school, I had been interested in both dentistry and optometry. I ended up pursuing dentistry, but have been rejected this past cycle.

I shadowed an optometrist, and the career seemed to match my temperament really well. Also, the optometrist that I shadowed said that the career is wonderful for women who may want to have kids later on.

I understand that the OAT is similar to the DAT, though having physics instead of PAT. I got an 18 on my DAT overall. I am not sure how the OAT would translate in comparison, but I am planning to study hard the next couple months and do the best that I can.

My science GPA is a 3.44, my overall a 3.68. I've been working as a dental assistant for the past two years, but plan to shadow more optometrists. Is my GPA good for applying? How long should I give myself to study for the OAT? Is optometry about the same in terms of difficulty in getting in as dentistry, or easier, harder?
I agree with everyone above at that dentistry and optometry are two very different disciplines and you need to really think about which one you want to pursue for sure. They both require a big invvestment of time and money just for school.

Either professions can become boring if you don't evolve your habits and have a passion for it. While you look at open mouths all day as a dentist, you look at eyeballs and go "one or two" all day as an optometrist...but you can make it interesting and fresh if you want to....it all depends on your personal outlook and how you decide to live your professional life.

I may be biased but Optometry seems like a more fulfilling profession because you may be looking at the "eyeball" and prescribing glasses...but looking at the eye can give you a world of information about the health of the patient - diabetes/ htn...etc...it all shows up! So i think it would allow me to participate in the patients health more closely than say a dentist would.

But! Dentistry has wayyyyy more earning potential that Optometry (again depending on how much time. money you want to invest)

Your GPA is pretty competitive for OD school, as long as you do well on your OAT you should be ok. You can use the Kaplan MCAT book for the material or the Kaplan OAT guide (which is just practice tests). The OAT math is the same as the DAT math.

so there's my two...or ten cents.
 

IndianaOD

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2007
1,148
3
0
Status
Optometrist
I am wondering how optometry admissions compares to dental. In high school, I had been interested in both dentistry and optometry. I ended up pursuing dentistry, but have been rejected this past cycle.

I shadowed an optometrist, and the career seemed to match my temperament really well. Also, the optometrist that I shadowed said that the career is wonderful for women who may want to have kids later on.

I understand that the OAT is similar to the DAT, though having physics instead of PAT. I got an 18 on my DAT overall. I am not sure how the OAT would translate in comparison, but I am planning to study hard the next couple months and do the best that I can.

My science GPA is a 3.44, my overall a 3.68. I've been working as a dental assistant for the past two years, but plan to shadow more optometrists. Is my GPA good for applying? How long should I give myself to study for the OAT? Is optometry about the same in terms of difficulty in getting in as dentistry, or easier, harder?
Hopefully you applied to several dental schools? Your GPA is in line with many of the dental schools. Just like optometry schools I bet some dental schools have lower averages than others.

For 2009 the overall GPA average for the Indiana University School of Optometry was 3.50, the average for the Indiana Univ. School of Dentistry was 3.58. They usually run pretty close.

Tufts Dental for class of 2013 was 3.45 overall average GPA. Just one google picked up.
 
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IndianaOD

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2007
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Optometrist
2007 Howard Dental School average GPA 3.17. OP, I think you would be in no problem!
 

KHE

Senior Member
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Jun 14, 2005
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Optometrist
I'll ask you, KHE, which three things you didn't expect have come to be negative aspects of your job?
Just 3? lol

I would say the big ones would be these:

1) The extent to which managed care and managed vision care impact on not just your ability to be paid, but your ability to practice to the extent of your training.

2) The fact that optometry as a profession is not integrated well into the overall health care delivery system. We essentially operate on the periphery.

3) The fact that optometry as a profession is somewhat fractured in the sense that as a group, optometrists tend to have a very lone wolf type of mentality. Trying to get ODs to agree on issues facing the profession or what course of action to take is like trying to herd cats. (note: This issue was just as prevalent long before the whole great board certification debate)