Random but ESSENTIAL opt. questions

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by itsallgood19, May 16, 2012.

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  1. itsallgood19

    itsallgood19 5+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    Hey guys:

    I have a few random questions about optometry that I would appreciate if anyone could answer:

    1) Does anyone know a book outlining admissions into optometry school? I have been looking in bookstores/online and have been finding books on entrance into all professional schools EXCEPT optometry school. If anyone could recommend a book just outlining everything for opt. school that would be great!

    2) In terms of optometry specialties, do they make more money than just a generic OD? I.e. pediatric OD - do they make money and is there a need for this speciality?

    3) What is the best way to land a position shadowing ODs, emailing or calling the office? I have not had success in finding an OD willing to take me as a shadow.

    4) I was wondering if hospital volunteering has any merit in ECs for optometry school? For awhile I thought about pre-med and figured some time in the hospital would help me out, and I do enjoy helping others in the various departments. I just don't know if adcoms would ask why i didn't go med/ask me why i volunteer in a hospital when i want to do eye care.

    5) Besides typical ECs, what would be good examples of "clinical" ECs for optometry. the only thing i could think of is OD shadowing...

    Like i said any info on any of these questions would be greatly appreciated!!
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  3. jcpwn2004

    jcpwn2004 2+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2011
    1. http://www.opted.org/files/public/ASCO_Admissions_Requirements_2011-2012.pdf
    2. No easy answer for this
    3. I went in person, I wouldn't rely on email for sure.
    4. I don't think so, but it will still look good on your app.
    5. Working in an office as a technician or something...
  4. Shnurek

    Shnurek Banned 2+ Year Member

    Apr 10, 2010
    Specialties don't really matter in optometry. Its all about your business/social skills. You can make $50,000 to $250,000 it really depends on how good you are at organizing your business.
  5. EyeLife2017


    Mar 17, 2011
    For me, I did a combination of searching/calling ODs in my area, made an organized list, and just went one by one asking if the OD in the office allowed students to shadow. All of them said yes (which won't always happen), and some require resumes, etc.

    It'd also be good to see if any offices are hiring/training Optometric Techs. That'll give you a good experience of working in the field, and seeing what the profession is like and how it is ran (especially if its a PP). I've shadowed a handful of OD's, but ever since I've been working as a tech, the experience has greatened for me. :)
  6. optoapp2012

    optoapp2012 2+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    1) There's no book per se, but you can find good admissions information on each school's website. That will tell you a lot about pre-req courses, how that particular school's admissions cycle works, etc. For more general information, this forum is a great source. Also, lots of those books will help you with questions like "How do I get a letter of recommendation from someone?" and "How do I prepare for an interview?" and "How do I write a personal statement?" Most of those are very similar regardless of what professional school you apply for. This forum has a really good Interview Feedback section that talks about particular interview questions people have been asked at different schools over the years. I used that a lot before each of my interviews.

    2) Nope. You actually can't list yourself as a "specialist" either. Optometry specialties are different from medical or dental specialties. For optometry, it's more like "extra practice in xyz". You are paid like you're a resident (like crap haha, but it's something! And no tuition). You get more experience in that area so that you can be more comfortable with your patients, whether they are contact lens fittings (being familiar with the materials, knowing how to do specialty fits like hybrid lenses for keratoconus or whatever) or pediatrics (more emphasis on binocular vision, etc). Then you can tailor your practice to that later, but you still can't claim to be a "contact specialist" or anything. You might spread the word to other OD's in the area that you are good at your residency thing and they might refer some tough cases your way. You can list the residency on your website or resume, but really that's it. Insurance companies do not pay you like a specialist - you are paid for routine eye exams by vision insurance companies and for therapeutic visits in states where applicable for medical visits (like conjunctivitus). Therapeutic visits are paid to you based on the level of severity of the case, not on what kind of specialty or doc you are.

    3) I think showing up dressed in business attire and with a resume and cover letter (stating that you want to shadow, your plans to attend opt school, etc) is the best way. Practices have to deal with HIPAA regulations, and sometimes patient confidentiality is too big of a pain for them to risk with shadowing. Other times they don't feel comfortable asking their patient base to share the medical visit with someone shadowing. Eventually you will find someone happy to shadow. Contacting a state or local optometric association might also help you out. The optometrists most involved in those organizations are usually the ones who are happier to help someone interested in the profession. Always follow up too if you leave your information there, especially if you leave it with someone who isn't the doctor (often the result since docs might be with patients).

    4) Any EC involvement has merit. Hospital volunteering will be helpful, because you get exposure to a clinical setting and patient interactions. But I wouldn't say that your EC involvement necessarily has to revolve around a health setting. Lots of schools I interviewed at asked about other involvement - like sports or hobbies. They like you to be well-rounded. I would go after whatever you are passionate about and get really involved in that. They like to see depth of involvement in whatever you go after, but don't really prioritize any particular activities. You might get asked why you didn't go med, but just answer honestly why you didn't. I got that question a few times and I explained why optometry ended up appealing to me more. They always seemed satisfied with that!

    5) Again, ANY EC's will be helpful. But I would focus on depth rather than breadth - be an officer in something and show that you can be a leader. That says way more about you than if you were just a member who showed up to 10 different activities' meetings. My incoming classmates have been super involved in everything from dance to teaching to soccer. I think the biggest mistake an applicant can make is to try to fit into this image of what they THINK the ideal optometry school applicant looks like - bio major, president of optometry club, officer in pre-health club, and hospital volunteer. Those activities are all super wonderful, so kudos if you do them. But you can have other passions, and schools like to see diversity. You might do all those activities only because you think that's what they want to see, and give up your passion to play oboe in the local symphony (tried to pick the most random thing possible...). An activity like that shows community involvement, dedication to practicing your instrument, etc. So again, all EC's will be important if you can demonstrate a deep passion for whatever you did and a sense of leadership in them whenever possible.

    If you feel like you want the clinical things for more exposure, check and see if there are non-profits running vision screenings in your area. That's a great opportunity to get out in the community, often in low-income areas or in schools, and become a part of finding people who need vision correction. If you live in or close to a larger city, you're more likely to find something going on there. Once you get your feet wet, a great opportunity for leadership would be making an effort to extend that outreach to smaller communities. Just some thoughts!
  7. bkaDOC

    bkaDOC 2+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2011
    All valid ? and some good answer here. Another tip (depending where you live) in search for websites which focus on optometry jobs. I did so for toronto and with a little digging landed a great job for my year off working in a optometry office with two amazing drs.

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