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PCO or ICO???

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by vc84, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. vc84

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    I'm deciding between PCO and ICO and I was just wondering if theres anyone that's deciding between these 2 schools or is planning on attending or is currently attending one of these schools and has any input on these schools, what made u choose one or the other? I know they're both good schools. PCO is known for their 1 1/2 yrs of clinical education but do employers really look at that when u graduate, or should that be a big deciding factor when choosing schools???
    Please any help would be appreicated :oops:

    Thanks!
     
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  3. vc84

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    Also ive taken into account board pass rates..both have approx the same rates ~80% (someone correct me if im wrong), and tutuion is pretty much the same as well ICO is 27,649 and PCO is 27,500 (so only a $149 difference which is not a big deal)
     
  4. optogirl21

    optogirl21 Senior Member

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    I'm in a similar situation but between ICO and NECO. Sorry I won't be able to help with PCO but as far as ICO, I've looked at several factors other than how "good" the schools are. In my opinion, you will get a great optometric education no matter where you go so you really have to base your decision on where you feel you will be the happiest and have the best experience.

    The factors I took into my decision were 1) Clinical Education & Location (ICO has their primary institute right on campus vs 15 min off campus at NECO); 2) Transportation (I wouldn't be doing much travelling at ICO because the rez and clinic are both on campus and downtown is a short train ride away); 3) Living costs (ICO is much cheaper in comparison to NECO and they have a rez buidling which is very convenient); 4) Travelling home (I live in Canada, there are no direct flights to Boston where as Chicago is a direct 3.5hr flight); 4) I fell in love with the big city feel of Chicago vs the small, historic feel of Boston

    My advice would be to go through these types of factors and also talk to people who are currently enrolled in these schools to give you their viewpoint. I know people at both schools so I was able to get a good idea of their experiences. The only thing I know about PCO is that it is located outside of the city so its a little more difficult to be going into the city often. Hope this helps! :)
     
  5. DrSpontaneouz83

    DrSpontaneouz83 Junior Member

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    I too had a very tough decision choosing between ICO and PCO. I live in Maryland/DC so PCO was a lot more convenient. PCO also has a contract state with Maryland, which would esentially save me close to $8000/yr. However, I was not that impressed with PCO's facilities and the location of the school. Although many doctors spoke well of PCO and ICO, I didn't feel that vibe with the students and faculty of PCO as I did with those at ICO. I heard many great things about the clinical education at both schools, but the beautiful city of Chicago tipped the decision off in compariaon to Philadelphia. I was offered a scholarship at ICO as well, so it balanced out the contract tuition assistance offered. Anyway, either school is great just go to the interviews and see where you feel comfortable because it is going to be a long 4 years.
     
  6. vc84

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    Thanks guys for your info and help I really appreciate it :)
    I have definitley taken into account the RC and the convenience of the clinic being on campus. And since I'm coming from California both schools are far, chicago obviously a few states closer than Pennsylvania, but not a bid difference.
    I like Chicago as a city than Philadelphia, but PCO's extra 6 months of clinical makes me think maybe they'll prepare me more as a clinician b/c ill have more experience. I think the extra clinical education is the only thing that is keeping me from chosing between the 2 schools, but I dont know if its really worth it. Jeez I never thought it would be so hard :scared:

    anyone choose PCO over ICO?
    Or anyone know if employers really care that u had an extra 6 months?

    Thanks!
     
  7. LV2RIDE

    LV2RIDE PCO Class 2010

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    I was in the same situation last year, but my decision factor was much easier. My home state has contract seats with PCO and nothing With ICO saving me ~ $12,000 per year at PCO. Although I do believe PCO and ICO are both great schools and provide a comparable education. I am very happy with my decision to go to PCO. Chi town is great, but that is about all there is within many miles. Philly has so much more to do and so many different places to visit within a couple of hours. NYC is only 2-2.5 hours bus or train ride for $20-34 max round trip. DC is only about 2.5-3 hours prices similar; Atlantic City is 1.5 hour drive. Trains into Philly are safe and cheap. Boston 4 hours drive. The Pocono’s are only 1.5 hours drive to ski and snowboard. Lots to do and see with in a day’s trip of Philly.

    At first the area PCO is in takes some getting used to, but it really isn’t bad once you know your way around. I personally think ICO would have been worse than PCO considering the two living situations. Although it is cool to be that close to the city, it is nice to be close, but not right in it as we are at PCO. I felt that ICO was very confined to the big city and had more of a difficult access to the comfortable (personal opinion) conveniences of the suburbs. PCO’s location is kind of in the middle. ICO people please don’t take offence to anything I say about Chi town, I am only speaking from my 3 day experience there. I know it is a great city.

    As far as the clinic situations go….. I think both schools are going to give you great clinical experience due to the location of each. Large city and low income areas, sad to say, but = a lot more disease and interesting conditions that you may never see anywhere else. I do think that the most useful learning experiences occur in the clinic. Everything you learn in school is important at some level or another, but clinic is what you will do the next 30-50 years and there are some things you just can’t do justice in the class room. I don’t think either is going to have any huge impact on employers unless they are looking for overall clinical experience.

    Best of luck and hope this insight has helped some.
     
  8. vc84

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    Thanks for the helpful information, I really appreciate it!
    I was also wondering how is the testing schedule at PCO??:confused: Like I know for ICO u have 2-3 tests per week.
     
  9. ML1983

    ML1983 PCO Class of 2010

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    I was in the EXACT same situation as you last yr. PCO vs. ICO. Had many friends (including my roommate) who went to ICO. But I found PCO was for me. I love the clinical experience. The 1 1/2yrs is not necessarily for employers. It's for YOU to feel comfortable with patients. The 2nd yrs right now are running clinic. Also PCO's board rates are higher than 80%. We got the top 2 highest scores on boards apparently, and ever since the new curriculum, the scores have been hovering around 90%. Call the schools and find out. Also PCO is in a good location. You won't get your car broken into at school and you can feel safe walking around this area. Also the people here are wonderful, and the staff. Plus PCO is semestered, not quarters which makes things go waaaay faster. However, clinic wise, from what I found with my 2nd yr ICO friend, we move at a faster pace. Good luck with your choice.
     

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