Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi everyone, I've been a casual observer for a while. However I am stuck in a dilemma and so I made this account to seek for advice.

Tomorrow marks the first day of my senior year as an undergrad. My target is to apply to the College of Optometry of the University of Houston for this current cycle. I have not started the application process, but I am planning to take the OAT in either late September or October. The dilemma I'm facing is that I goofed off during the summer and have barely started studying for it. This semester I will be taking 16 credit hours, which includes 2 BIOL lectures, 1 lab, and 3 non science lectures. My goal is to make a rather high OAT score (~350+) to accommodate for my not-so-stellar GPA. In addition, I plan to make all A's this semester to prove that I am capable. I firmly believe that I have the aptitude and that I can get straight A's. However, I don't believe I can do that while simultaneously grinding for a high OAT score.

I've worked for 3 years at the same optical/clinic. I love what I do and interacting with the patients. I have been heavily involved with POPS & volunteering as soon as I transferred from community college to my current university. That said, what's holding me back are my substandard GPA, and my propensity to "goof off".

Considering what I've said so far is it better for me to focus on classes, study for the OAT during winter break, and take it in early February? OR would it also be advisable if I take a gap year, take the OAT after graduation for the next cycle, and retake classes I didn't do too well on (i.e. made a C in biochem lab, B in Physics II)?

It's nice to attend optometry school the Fall after I graduate, but I am also fine with taking a gap year. If I do the latter, I would certainly use that opportunity to boost my pedigree, diversify my experience, and retake classes. If you have another idea on other courses of action I should take, please share :)

If I do not reply to you, thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:

WhyNeedAName

2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2017
208
94
I have no advice, but I noticed that you say you "goof off" a lot. I mean, as far as I see, a C in Biochem and a B in physics 2 doesn't show a "goof". You may be a funny person and, from what I read, you procrastinate things, but that does not define a "goof". Don't limit your thoughts to forever say you "goof off" a lot. You would believe it and think it's holding you back when I see you're doing well (I mean, you didn't show your GPA). You got this semester!
 
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OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
I have no advice, but I noticed that you say you "goof off" a lot. I mean, as far as I see, a C in Biochem and a B in physics 2 doesn't show a "goof". You may be a funny person and, from what I read, you procrastinate things, but that does not define a "goof". Don't limit your thoughts to forever say you "goof off" a lot. You would believe it and think it's holding you back when I see you're doing well (I mean, you didn't show your GPA). You got this semester!
I appreciate your positivity because I could sometimes use some haha. My definition of a "goof" is that of procrastination, along with other personal happenings that caused delay. Thank you for your reply :)
 
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Aug 5, 2017
94
47
Status
Pre-Optometry
I was in the same dilemma as you, and I decided to take a gap year cuz I couldn't balance the time between a full course load and studying for the OAT (I also have a substandard GPA). When winter break rolled around, 4 weeks just wasn't enough time to prepare for a high OAT score. I'm studying for it now and feel much less stressed since I have a lot more time to prepare. Everyone's different, but my advice would be to not rush! Good luck :)
 
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OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
I was in the same dilemma as you, and I decided to take a gap year cuz I couldn't balance the time between a full course load and studying for the OAT (I also have a substandard GPA). When winter break rolled around, 4 weeks just wasn't enough time to prepare for a high OAT score. I'm studying for it now and feel much less stressed since I have a lot more time to prepare. Everyone's different, but my advice would be to not rush! Good luck :)
Thank you for your insight. Out of curiosity, did you decide to take the gap year after your senior year of undergrad?
 
Aug 5, 2017
94
47
Status
Pre-Optometry
Thank you for your insight. Out of curiosity, did you decide to take the gap year after your senior year of undergrad?
Yup, graduated a couple months ago and my gap year just started
 
Last edited:
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Jul 25, 2017
17
9
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Pre-Optometry
Do you mind sharing what your GPA is so we can get a better idea of where you stand? Also planning to study for the OAT while taking a heavy course load is not advisable and you likely just won't have enough time to prepare well enough to get a high score (or your classes will suffer, bringing down your GPA). I recommend applying next cycle. Focus on your classes and making good grades this year, then study for the OAT next summer and apply early. That's just my advice though, good luck!
 
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OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
Do you mind sharing what your GPA is so we can get a better idea of where you stand? Also planning to study for the OAT while taking a heavy course load is not advisable and you likely just won't have enough time to prepare well enough to get a high score (or your classes will suffer, bringing down your GPA). I recommend applying next cycle. Focus on your classes and making good grades this year, then study for the OAT next summer and apply early. That's just my advice though, good luck!
Thank you for your insight. As it stands my GPA is 3.11. I'm leaning closer towards taking a gap year, but I'm just worried that I'd be disappointing my doctor, employer, and parents since I told them all that my test will be this semester.
 
May 24, 2017
9
9
Status
Pre-Optometry
Honestly your last worry should be disappointing other people. This decision is about you and your future - there's no harm in taking your time! I've decided to take a gap year to improve my application by the time I apply (I also have a 3.1). I don't think you have anything to lose by taking a gap year, it looks like it will only help. Best of luck to you!
 
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OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
Honestly your last worry should be disappointing other people. This decision is about you and your future - there's no harm in taking your time! I've decided to take a gap year to improve my application by the time I apply (I also have a 3.1). I don't think you have anything to lose by taking a gap year, it looks like it will only help. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for your reply. How far along are you into your gap year? And if you don't mind me asking what are the ways you're improving your application?
 

Ojos14

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
144
52
Status
Optometrist
Everyone's different. I chose to work full-time the summer I was supposed to take my OAT, and I ended up taking a gap year.

If it would make you feel better to take a year off between undergrad and grad, do it. It can be a good experience.
 
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May 24, 2017
9
9
Status
Pre-Optometry
Thanks for your reply. How far along are you into your gap year? And if you don't mind me asking what are the ways you're improving your application?
Sorry for the late reply!

I'm just starting my senior year of undergrad, so technically I haven't started my gap year. In terms of my application - I'm hoping to bring my GPA up, I have more time now to get more solid letters of rec (mainly from professors), and now I have another entire year to get more shadowing/work/volunteer hours. Before I had plans for a gap year I intended on studying this past summer for the OAT and taking it around August. Summer came up so fast and I found myself a couple weeks into summer with no OAT prep materials, let alone a plan. Now I know I need to start figuring that out well before summer so I'm ready to go when school gets out. So hopefully this will lead to a better OAT score than what I would've gotten without a gap year.
 
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rah123456789

5+ Year Member
Jul 4, 2013
19
1
Status
Pre-Optometry
I'm in the exact same boat. I was planning on studying for the oat during the summer and taking it in August but I ended up working/taking classes during the summer so I'm taking the OAT 10/30 :/ I will submit my application late October as well but I feel like it will be too late so I'm terrified. I really do not want to take a gap year because my parents will be disappointed as well so I understand what you're saying.
 
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OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
Sorry for the late reply!

I'm just starting my senior year of undergrad, so technically I haven't started my gap year. In terms of my application - I'm hoping to bring my GPA up, I have more time now to get more solid letters of rec (mainly from professors), and now I have another entire year to get more shadowing/work/volunteer hours. Before I had plans for a gap year I intended on studying this past summer for the OAT and taking it around August. Summer came up so fast and I found myself a couple weeks into summer with no OAT prep materials, let alone a plan. Now I know I need to start figuring that out well before summer so I'm ready to go when school gets out. So hopefully this will lead to a better OAT score than what I would've gotten without a gap year.
It's no problem at all! It looks like our situation is almost identical. My semester has shifted gears, especially with midterms coming up, and I TRIED to do some OAT prep, but to no avail. So yeah, gap year maybe confirmed. Best of luck to us!
 
OP
N
Aug 20, 2017
17
2
Status
Pre-Optometry
I'm in the exact same boat. I was planning on studying for the oat during the summer and taking it in August but I ended up working/taking classes during the summer so I'm taking the OAT 10/30 :/ I will submit my application late October as well but I feel like it will be too late so I'm terrified. I really do not want to take a gap year because my parents will be disappointed as well so I understand what you're saying.
I totally feel you on this one. The only thing holding me back from taking a gap year is the disappointment I'll get not only from my parents, but from my peers and doctors who I work for.

Are you taking classes right now? Also based on anecdotes, submitting your application in October shouldn't be too late. Good luck when you take your test :)
 

SKP957

2+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2016
91
18
Hey,

I know this must have been asked a lot but does anyone have the OAT score chart 2017?