blysssful

SUNY c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2007
817
8
NYC
Status
Optometry Student
Since prospective students will always have questions about the pros and cons of each school they are considering, we should have ONE thread that contains the bulk of that info for each school. Students or grads from each school can list their personal experiences. Don't let this become a grounds for bashing other schools mercilessly though.

The profile of the entering class of 2008 can be found here, and the prerequisites for each school can be found here.

Example questions
Name of school:
Why did you choose this school?
On a scale of 1-10, were your overall experiences at this school positive (please elaborate)?
How would you rate the didactic courses?
How would you rate the clinical experience?
How would you rate the professors/faculty?
How would you rate the social experience?
How would you rate the surrounding area?
Other comments:
 

WoodyJI

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2005
168
1
Ohio
Status
Optometrist
example questions
name of school:
OSU Optometry
why did you choose this school?
In-state tuition/same as undergrad.
on a scale of 1-10, were your overall experiences at this school positive (please elaborate)?
I won't go so far as to use the 1-10 scale, but I will say that I am very pleased with my experience at OSU. It's clear that my peers are all extremely hard-working and bright. It was one of the first things I noticed coming here. I think your experiences at other schools will be similar.
how would you rate the didactic courses?
I feel like I've been well-prepared for boards. Many of the people in the class ahead of me say that their class notes were gold for the test—and I've been finding the same thing to be true. They throw a lot at you the 1st year, but when you go back to look at it later, having that advanced info helps cement things in your mind/link them up.
how would you rate the clinical experience?
My clinical attendings have been great. I'm inspired to strive consistently for my best when I work with them. I feel like the approach they've taken is a very real-world/problem-solving approach. After we learned basic techniques in 2nd year, the final practical was to put together a complete exam on one of our classmates. I feel like this was a better approach than doing a final practical with stations for each exam element.
how would you rate the professors/faculty?
Some of our faculty are truly outstanding. You'll always have some professors which are better than others. I won't say anything negative about anybody.
how would you rate the social experience?
My class is great. Everybody gets along well—there's a fairly consistent undertone of mutual respect/professionalism. I would feel comfortable sitting down with and could relate to anyone in my class.
how would you rate the surrounding area?
I've been in c-bus for nearly 7 years now, so I'm pretty comfortable with the area. OSU is large, but if you come here for optometry, it'll feel like a small school. Having the football tickets is a huge plus!
other comments:
You'll be happy wherever you go. Choose your school based on cost, location, and then whatever sense of quality you can connect with through your interviews/tours. If you have more specific questions regarding OSU, feel free to PM me. Good luck everyone!
 

jymezg

SCO c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2008
302
0
Memphus, TN
Status
Optometry Student
great post. :thumbup:

we should def get this formatted like the "accepted" sticky thread.
 
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IndianaOD

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2007
1,148
3
Status
Optometrist
Name of school: Indiana University

Why did you choose this school? In state tuition, excellent reputation, strong research program, reasonable class sizes, I grew up a Hoosier fan!


On a scale of 1-10, were your overall experiences at this school positive (please elaborate)? 8 I would never give anything a 10. I do wish they would have talked more about business aspects and the real world of optometry.

How would you rate the didactic courses? Good, though I don't have anything to compare it to. You have your usual tough and worthwhile classes and some snoozers.


How would you rate the clinical experience? Good and Poor. Not quite enough patient traffic. Most attendings were great teachers others seemed to care less. The external 4 year rotations are very strong. The ones at the school are way too slow with not enough patients.

How would you rate the professors/faculty? Most are excellent and well known throughout the vision field. IU has been attracting some very impressive faculty.

How would you rate the social experience? Excellent.


How would you rate the surrounding area? Good for me, I don't like large cities. Lots of outdoors opportunities and IU is a beautiful campus.

Other comments: Great school overall. Major weakness is the slow school clinics. I think IU is constantly ranked one of the best. I would consider the public schools better than most of the private ones.
 

eyestrain

Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2005
865
2
South Dakota
Status
Optometrist
Major weakness is the slow school clinics.
I agree. This was my biggest beef about the clinical education at IU. It's especially slow when you get the rotation at school in the summer when all the kids are home. Nothing like spending 12 hours in the clinic and seeing 3 patients. It was awful.

I also agree that they don't do nearly enough practice management stuff, although I doubt any school does. Interestingly, it felt like they went though independent contracting about a million times.
 

KHE

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,345
345
Status
Optometrist
Name of school:
SUNY

Why did you choose this school?
Wanted to attend school in a large city since I grew up in a small town. Was impressed with their facilities and the patient traffic at their clinic. Dr. Johnstron seemed pretty laid back and inviting.

On a scale of 1-10, were your overall experiences at this school positive (please elaborate)?
Probably a 9. Instructors were excellent, almost to a man. Patient traffic was high, and cases were interesting.

How would you rate the didactic courses?
Good didactic courses....mostly interesting and relevant. Of course, there's always a few that you can do without and some things in retrospect seemed needlessly overemphasises while others seemed underemphasised. But on the whole, I felt well prepared to enter the working world.

How would you rate the clinical experience?
Very positive. Patient encounters were high. Large number of interesting cases owing to a large urban population. External rotations also excllent.

How would you rate the professors/faculty?
Very good. Virtually every one of them seemed genuinely concerned about my academic and clinical development. Very few "malignant" instructors.

How would you rate the social experience?
Very positive. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of all of my classmates. Many of them are great friends to this day.

How would you rate the surrounding area?
Other comments:
New York is New York. Not much more to say about that. I had a great experience and I wouldn't change it for the world. That being said, I'm glad I don't live there anymore! lol
 

JMU07

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2006
1,152
2
34
VA
Status
Optometrist
Name of school: Southern College of Optometry

Why did you choose this school? Coming from VA I was considered out of state everywhere... SCO has the lowest out of state tuition and the cost of living is very low. Diverse patient base at the clinic, great professors, clinic and school are attached, the clinic is amazing!

On a scale of 1-10, were your overall experiences at this school positive (please elaborate)? 9... I've only completed one semester but I don't really have any complaints!

How would you rate the didactic courses? 8. Like someone else said, there are interesting ones and some boring ones!

How would you rate the clinical experience? Haven't worked in the clinic yet!

How would you rate the professors/faculty? 8. They're so helpful during class and in office hours!

How would you rate the social experience? Our class is already one big family. We all pretty much get along.. we help each other and hang out outside of class. Everyone is friends with people from other classes as well.

How would you rate the surrounding area? The immediate surrounding area isn't exactly the best, but there is security to make it safer for the students. Downtown and other parts of midtown are great, the suburbs are awesome, Mud Island is nice.
 

blysssful

SUNY c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2007
817
8
NYC
Status
Optometry Student
Thanks for all the replies :)

Another question I think can be important... does the school offer practice management/business related courses? If so, were they helpful once you got into the real world?
 

KHE

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,345
345
Status
Optometrist
Thanks for all the replies :)

Another question I think can be important... does the school offer practice management/business related courses? If so, were they helpful once you got into the real world?
My school did, but they were by and large unhelpful other than maybe giving you a couple of little things to keep in the back of your mind to think about later.

I found I had much better luck "learning" about that aspect of optometry by talking with my clinical instructors who also had private practices on the outside.

Questions to ask them:

1) How did you get started out?
2) What did you do right?
3) What did you do wrong, or wish you did differently?
4) If you were me, graduating today (instead of whatever year they did) what would you suggest?
 

WoodyJI

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2005
168
1
Ohio
Status
Optometrist
Thanks for all the replies :)

Another question I think can be important... does the school offer practice management/business related courses? If so, were they helpful once you got into the real world?
Yes, at OSU they sprinkle in business courses from the very first quarter. The initial one was taught by a professor from the college of business, and he was very helpful in terms of investing/debt/basic money management skills. We have a practice management series taught through the years by an OD who's a consultant for other docs on coding/billing/etc.
 

4Eyes

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2005
344
1
Status
Optometrist
Name of school:
UMSL

Why did you choose this school?
In-state tuition, closer to home (though there were a couple of others also within a decent driving distance), liked the small class size, was impressed with the ODs I'd met that graduated from UMSL, comfortable environment

How would you rate the didactic courses?
8 - Though my rating is likely outdated. I felt the courses were very well laid-out and relevant. My only beef was with the disease course series. All the information was there, and we all passed part II, part III, TMOD the first time...it was just presented in a less-than-organized way that made it more difficult than necessary to digest. However, things have changed a lot since then, and from what I hear it's a lot better. I felt the BV classes and contact lens classes were particularly excellent. There's a lot of BV, and it's all evidence-based, which I really appreciate. Those classes were detailed and tough, but looking back, I think that part of the program is a real asset to the school. As for the contact lens experience, I hear it's more detailed than some other places, but I don't really know enough about the other programs to compare for certain. Those were my favorite classes, and I really want to build the contact lens area of my practice, so I'm probably a little biased.

How would you rate the clinical experience?
8 - Though my experience was unusual. Sometimes people would complain that they didn't have much to do at the school clinic because there were so many no-shows. However, I was only at the school for one evening for half a semester before my 4th year. The rest of the time I was at one of the satellite clinics, which were apparently much much busier. For the most part, the patients were interesting as well. Enough "normal" to get the hang of a routine exam, but enough pathology to learn and keep things interesting. I like that we have six rotations during 4th year rotations, which is more than you get at many schools. You're generally required to do two of these at one of the school sites, but my experience at the school was great too (one at satellite clinics and one at school--contact lenses and pediatrics mostly, half a day of disease). The rest of 4th year is largely what you make of it. I'd say there are very few "duds" as far as places you can go.

How would you rate the professors/faculty?
9 - Though, again, my rating is outdated. One went to another school (he was great when he taught, but he was kind of bitter about life, so I don't really miss him), one left on his own (great clinical professor, was less than wonderful in lecture), one retired (great guy, boring class, but I think he probably made it as interesting as possible). Sooo. That leaves almost all fantastic professors. No one I'd say is below average. They are all very willing to help you if you have any questions outside of class. Very approachable. They really know their stuff, too.

How would you rate the social experience?
10 - It's a small enough class that you get very close very fast. But it's not too small. My class got along great. Not everyone is best friends with everyone, but everyone was friendly to one another. It was never a competitive environment. Everyone was really helpful when it came to coursework. People would get together on the weekends or sometimes for karaoke on a weekday evening. Some people put together ski trips, float trips, etc. There were parties for halloween, end of semester, random 80's parties, etc. etc.

How would you rate the surrounding area?
Immediately surrounding the school - 7
Like many of the optometry schools, it's not the safest part of town. However, it's not the scariest by any stretch. Rarely, we'd get an email about something that happened somewhere on campus or adjacent to the campus, but it was seldom that close to the optometry building. If you exercise good common sense, it's very unlikely you'll have a problem. You're rarely on the main part of campus, but it is a nice campus. And there are a few decent places to eat nearby.

St. Louis metro area - 9
It has a smaller feel since it's really a bunch of municipalities all clustered together. Which was fine with me since I didn't really care about the big city experience, though it is plenty big enough to have almost anything you'd want. For the practical side of things, there are several places to live within a reasonable drive to school that are safe, nice enough, and have reasonable rent. Groceries are affordable, and gas is lower than it is in a lot of places. For the fun side of things, there are LOTS of good restaurants, I guess there are good bars (I never go to bars or clubs...I'm a homebody), fun places to go for free or cheap, baseball is huge....

Does the school offer practice management/business related courses? If so, were they helpful once you got into the real world?
We had a series of four practice management courses. For me, honestly, they were useless. One is mostly a history of optometry class. One is a communications class (there might have been a few good tidbits in there, but most of it was cheese...you have to learn most of that just from experience, I think). One was a class about medicare, medicaid, law, etc. (good info, but lacking in the practical applications of this information...though I suppose it's changing all the time anyway). The last one was mostly writing up a business plan. It was kind of good I guess. There were some good discussions...I learned some things about the different business models, some money things, and I got some ideas about practice building. But since very few of us were going to start cold (few people practically can, in my opinion), a lot of it felt like a waste.

As for "other comments," I'll add 'em if I think of anything. :)
 
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