van

Nov 23, 2013
2
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hey everyone,

I'm 22, and wanting to become a OD. I am curious as to your opinions on getting in / accepted to the actual programs.

Basic info / background -

I have gotten my associates in marketing (scholarship) at a Junior college, and now I am still currently at the jr college starting up my pre reqs. I am decently close to having 75% of my pre reqs done for optometry, and it seems as if all the colleges Require a bachelors in SOMETHING, or a extremely low chance of not getting in without a bach. Theres a couple of courses I need to do left as in Bio chem, and Cal, physics.
I've got over 100hours LOL. supersenior status haha. But After my next semester I'll be transferring to Univ. of Southern Miss. To get some higher level classes and to start building credits there for my bachelors.
My current - Chem / O CHem teacher isnt the greatest, but he doesn't fail you. id say i got majority of the stuff in chem but O chem is just like WTF is going on? he touches 1 point and skips the rest. So I've gotten a B in chem 1, C in chem 2,
C in Ochem right now. and my math isnt that strong.
all of my Bio's 1/2/ + micro - all A's


A couple of questions
1. I've been reading on the forums about people saying the OAT is 30/30 chem / ochem, would it hurt me pretty bad for not having that great of a teacher?

2. Judging by those scores and my so so science grades and my math isnt THAT strong. Im sitting at a 3.33 GPA Cumulative. Do you think I would still be able to get in?

3. I am going for my bachelors in Biological Sciences as my 4 year degree.. Would this be okay?

4. Just curious too, who all has taken Organic Chemistry II? I am looking at pre reqs and it looks like they arent requiring us to do OChem2 for them?



the main colleges Im wanting to try to get into the program are: UOH, UAB, and Tennessee.
any and all help would be great!!

John
 
Last edited:
May 18, 2012
37
3
Status
Optometry Student
1. I've been reading on the forums about people saying the OAT is 30/30 chem / ochem, would it hurt me pretty bad for not having that great of a teacher?
It's a bit hard to tell off the grade alone. You could have worked your butt off and gotten a C, but mastered the more material than someone who got a B at a different school/instructor. The OAT is (arguably) the equalizer here. So the trick is to really crack the books... for several months... before you take the actual test. A better instructor that gave you a better foundation will give you a head start on your OAT studies, but if you dedicate yourself to studying for it I think you'll be OK. The C's will give some admissions folks pause, but that's up to you to justify.
2. Judging by those scores and my so so science grades and my math isnt THAT strong. I'm sitting at a 3.33 GPA Cumulative. Do you think I would still be able to get in?
How does that GPA stack up against the schools you are most interested in? If you don't already have this information, check this out: http://www.opted.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Profile-of-the-Entering-Class-2013.pdf. That gives you the stats for all schools. When I first started applying, my goal was to be at or above the average GPA/OAT for the schools of my choice. The three schools you listed range from 3.52-3.60 in average GPA. Is it possible you could get in with a 3.3? Sure, but that means you really have to kill the OAT and bolster your resume with other things (extracurriculars, shadowing, etc). This goes back to the "justifying" I mentioned in my response to #1. Even though I wasn't actually asked in my interviews, I wanted to have a good answer to the question, "Why should we allow you in to our program when your _____ is lower than that of our average matriculant?"
3. I am going for my bachelors in Biological Sciences as my 4 year degree.. Would this be okay?
I'm sure that's fine. The school I'm going to didn't really care. If you got to the Class Profile page for Illinois College of Optometry it actually shows you a breakdown of what their entering class earned their bachelor's degree in. A lot of biological sciences, but also chemistry and even business/other. I have a bachelor's degree in marketing and I feel that actually helps me. If you plan to go in to private practice you've got to juggle running a business with practicing your clinical skills. Don't look at your associates in marketing as a weakness (not that you did say that, but you get what I mean). Every doctor I shadowed in private practice told me they wish they had taken more business courses. But naturally, biological sciences is a wonderful degree. In fact, use that to bump up your science GPA since it's something you've shown an aptitude for.
4. Just curious too, who all has taken Organic Chemistry II? I am looking at pre reqs and it looks like they arent requiring us to do OChem2 for them?
I didn't take the second semester of Organic Chemistry. I don't regret it, but I also wasn't pushing for a 400 on that section. My justification was that it would probably result in 5 questions of that section and that just wasn't worth the extra hassle of a full semester of work AND it was nice to cut that part out of my studies. Furthermore, the scoring on the OChem section of the OAT is the most generous. You can miss quite a few and still get a solid score. Physics and Bio make you work but GenChem was pretty even keeled.

My additional advice is use this time to make yourself an outstanding candidate for the schools you want to go to. My goal was to get a 4.0 in all pre-reqs and at least a 340 on the OAT. My bachelor's GPA was 3.23 so I felt I really needed to show them I could handle science coursework. Anyway, I got the 4.0 in all pre-reqs, but my OAT scores were well below my goal (300 AA, 290 TS). In anticipation of something like that happening I used the 2.5 years it took me to do all those pre-reqs to shadow and volunteer like crazy. Be proactive in getting letters of recommendation from professors with their PhD and that can speak to YOU candidly (not generically). Since the LOR's are closed, I have no idea what they said. I just assume it's positive. But your controllables are your GPA, OAT, shadowing and volunteering. My rule of thumb was that 3 out of those 4 need to be outstanding. I would have even retaken the OAT had I not gotten an interview/accepted so quickly (another thing... make sure you apply early. We're talking July-August of the year prior to when you want to start). Even with my 3.7 Science GPA (4.0 pre-reqs only) and resume I'm sure my OAT scores would have put me in the discard pile at some schools, perhaps even the ones you're looking at so make sure you use the stats from that link above when you map out your goals.

Next, I encourage you to call the admissions offices at UOH, UAB, and Tennessee and hash it out with them. I'm assuming you're in the Southeast based on those schools (but, of course, those are excellent programs that anyone should shoot for) so meet with them face-to-face if possible. There's something about going in, shaking their hand and saying, "Here's where I'm at now, what do YOU want to see from me in order to gain acceptance in to your program". They'll be incredibly frank with you and will undoubtedly give you better details than we can.

Finally, take everything I just said with a grain of salt. You'll probably get 10 responses to this post and 8 or 9 of them will be different. Work hard and show them you really want this and I bet you'll find yourself where you want to be. best of luck and sorry for the absolute novel!
 
OP
van

van

Nov 23, 2013
2
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
It's a bit hard to tell off the grade alone. You could have worked your butt off and gotten a C, but mastered the more material than someone who got a B at a different school/instructor. The OAT is (arguably) the equalizer here. So the trick is to really crack the books... for several months... before you take the actual test. A better instructor that gave you a better foundation will give you a head start on your OAT studies, but if you dedicate yourself to studying for it I think you'll be OK. The C's will give some admissions folks pause, but that's up to you to justify.

How does that GPA stack up against the schools you are most interested in? If you don't already have this information, check this out: http://www.opted.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Profile-of-the-Entering-Class-2013.pdf. That gives you the stats for all schools. When I first started applying, my goal was to be at or above the average GPA/OAT for the schools of my choice. The three schools you listed range from 3.52-3.60 in average GPA. Is it possible you could get in with a 3.3? Sure, but that means you really have to kill the OAT and bolster your resume with other things (extracurriculars, shadowing, etc). This goes back to the "justifying" I mentioned in my response to #1. Even though I wasn't actually asked in my interviews, I wanted to have a good answer to the question, "Why should we allow you in to our program when your _____ is lower than that of our average matriculant?"

I'm sure that's fine. The school I'm going to didn't really care. If you got to the Class Profile page for Illinois College of Optometry it actually shows you a breakdown of what their entering class earned their bachelor's degree in. A lot of biological sciences, but also chemistry and even business/other. I have a bachelor's degree in marketing and I feel that actually helps me. If you plan to go in to private practice you've got to juggle running a business with practicing your clinical skills. Don't look at your associates in marketing as a weakness (not that you did say that, but you get what I mean). Every doctor I shadowed in private practice told me they wish they had taken more business courses. But naturally, biological sciences is a wonderful degree. In fact, use that to bump up your science GPA since it's something you've shown an aptitude for.

I didn't take the second semester of Organic Chemistry. I don't regret it, but I also wasn't pushing for a 400 on that section. My justification was that it would probably result in 5 questions of that section and that just wasn't worth the extra hassle of a full semester of work AND it was nice to cut that part out of my studies. Furthermore, the scoring on the OChem section of the OAT is the most generous. You can miss quite a few and still get a solid score. Physics and Bio make you work but GenChem was pretty even keeled.

My additional advice is use this time to make yourself an outstanding candidate for the schools you want to go to. My goal was to get a 4.0 in all pre-reqs and at least a 340 on the OAT. My bachelor's GPA was 3.23 so I felt I really needed to show them I could handle science coursework. Anyway, I got the 4.0 in all pre-reqs, but my OAT scores were well below my goal (300 AA, 290 TS). In anticipation of something like that happening I used the 2.5 years it took me to do all those pre-reqs to shadow and volunteer like crazy. Be proactive in getting letters of recommendation from professors with their PhD and that can speak to YOU candidly (not generically). Since the LOR's are closed, I have no idea what they said. I just assume it's positive. But your controllables are your GPA, OAT, shadowing and volunteering. My rule of thumb was that 3 out of those 4 need to be outstanding. I would have even retaken the OAT had I not gotten an interview/accepted so quickly (another thing... make sure you apply early. We're talking July-August of the year prior to when you want to start). Even with my 3.7 Science GPA (4.0 pre-reqs only) and resume I'm sure my OAT scores would have put me in the discard pile at some schools, perhaps even the ones you're looking at so make sure you use the stats from that link above when you map out your goals.

Next, I encourage you to call the admissions offices at UOH, UAB, and Tennessee and hash it out with them. I'm assuming you're in the Southeast based on those schools (but, of course, those are excellent programs that anyone should shoot for) so meet with them face-to-face if possible. There's something about going in, shaking their hand and saying, "Here's where I'm at now, what do YOU want to see from me in order to gain acceptance in to your program". They'll be incredibly frank with you and will undoubtedly give you better details than we can.

Finally, take everything I just said with a grain of salt. You'll probably get 10 responses to this post and 8 or 9 of them will be different. Work hard and show them you really want this and I bet you'll find yourself where you want to be. best of luck and sorry for the absolute novel!
Wow... Thank you!
I was hoping of something along those answers of if i can study my ass off with the books for the OAT using those OAT guides would benefit me. I have not checked to compare my GPa to other schools around that iwanted to apply to, but I will definitely do that.. PRetty much anywhere I can get accepted is where ill be going lol.

-As far as degree's I noticed you say about the business/marketing degrees... Could I pursue into that field of bachelors and still have the same chances of getting accepted as someone with a science bachelors? The business side of things comes decently easy to me marketing and so forth.

-I will definitely be calling around to the schools to get more info around, but I figured Id ask here first to get some opinions from those who first hand know and what not.
 
May 18, 2012
37
3
Status
Optometry Student
For degrees - and you'd want to ask the schools when you call them - I've yet to see one of the schools specify a major. I know some of the school's websites say "Bachelor's of Science preferred, but Bachelor's of Arts is still ok"... and Business/Education/other programs ARE Bachelor's of Science programs. These programs typically have several science courses built in to the freshman/sophomore years, but aren't "science degrees". I'm a BSB/Marketing. Teachers are BSEd's. Others do mention that they prefer your major is in a science, but all other majors are still ok. Don't let the terminology trip you up. Also note that some schools don't even require the completion of your bachelor's degree... so there's that. Though your coursework in the first year qualifies you for a bachelor's degree somehow. I'm not quite sure how that works out since it wasn't something I was looking in to. Sorry.