Very low GPA applicants

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by J.opt, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. J.opt

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    I was just reading the profile for 2003 entering class at the ASCO website (http://www.opted.org/info_profile2.cfm). How?s that there were people accepted with GPAs in the 2.4 to 2.6 range?
     
  2. r_salis

    r_salis SDN Supa-Mod Emmetrope
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    I knew I should have lied on the survey. :D
     
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  3. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Yeah..that'ls a good point..I do want to know why either.. I think the lowest was like. 2.2gpa.. he/she who got in with that must have super high OAT score and/or lots of related work. Otherwise.. I"m quite curious myself.
     
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  4. gilann

    gilann Junior Member

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    I don't believe that everyone needs to have a kick ass gpa to get into optometry school. Probably a low gpa/hi OAT scores can get you into middle ground optometry schools in the US. Even though only a school as ridiculous as Waterloo requires the best and most intelligent applicants, having low gpa will never get you into Waterloo. U.S. opt schools will most likely look at the overall "pre-opt" student. Not everyone is going to whip thru undergrad with honors or distinction. Undergrad is no easy 4 year. Opt students who enter first year with low gpa's probably did their ultimate best to get into their last choice school, so what? As long as they graduate in the end...who is going to know whether they had a 2.4 to 2.6 range gpa in college?
     
  5. leviz

    leviz Junior Member

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    I've talked to a couple optometrists who have told me that there are usually a few seats in each class that are had by means which aren't exactly kosher (aka rich/influential daddy taking care of it.) That might have a little to do with it. I dunno. There are some schools that accept relatively low GPA's though, and if someone is really determined, has good credentials in other areas, and applies of a bunch of schools, they'll probably get in somewhere.
     
  6. J.opt

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    Yeah, I was also thinking on something along those lines :thumbdown:
     
  7. JG777

    JG777 Member
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    my undergrad gpa was between 2.4-2.7 and i got into scco (my top 2 choices). my oat scores 330/340. if you ask me why i got in with such scores (as deemed low by most) was because i had a lot of optometry related activities such as volunteering, working for an omd, research, non-health related volunteering. i really tried to show that my numbers did not reflect my enthuism to be in optometry so i brought it to the table when i was interviewed. sometimes numbers don't reflect the person and that's why you have students being accepted with low gpa's or test scores. sometimes the smartest person lacks street smarts and communication skills. there are other factors in a person's life that profoundly affect their performance academically. does that mean then that they have no chance at all to a higher education? no. if we are a equal and free society, we believe in the equal oppportunity of advancement for everyone of any class, gender, race.

    with that long response, i hope those who don't have a high gpa continue with determination that they can get somewhere in life if you put 110% effort. :) i am living proof.
     
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  8. jd4me

    jd4me Member
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    Well said. Just goes to show that marks aren't the only thing that optometry schools are looking for.
     
  9. Petec

    Petec Junior Member
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    I totally agree with your post, (they're looking for factors other than gpa in a qualified applicant). My point exactly. To be accepted into an optometry school should require you to have the total package (good grades, oat scores, good communication skills etc.). I like to think that I'm fairly qualified in most of those areas. I busted my --- to do well in school, and to see an applicant who gets in with a gpa of 2.2 is insulting don't you think? Yeah maybe you do have a passion in optometry, and if you do, great, you may make a great optometrist. However, gpa should gauge how well you can handle the academic rigors of optometry school. I'm not trying to be mean but a 2.2 in undergrad reflects extremely poor academic performance.
     
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  10. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Well, I think that if that person couldn't handle the academic load of optometry, then I think eventually he can't continue anyways. However, if he/she survived or even did well in OD school, that means he is academically suitable for it. GPA is important, but I dun think Optometry school weighs heavily on them.. (exceptiong to a few ofx) hehe...

    Although I do kinda wonder since entrance into OD school requires academic reference letters....reflecting on performance and grades.....so....how? :rolleyes:
     
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  11. gilann

    gilann Junior Member

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    Bravo JG777...I appreciate your straightforward answer. Personally, the next time I hear someone say, "is optometry easier to get into that dental/medical?" then I'm going to smack them upside, etc, etc. As far as talking about the 'passionate optometry student' or 'passionate dental student' or the bs 'passionate medical student' share several kinds of "faces" Some are the types who want to be doctors and the recognition. Some are the ones that just made it thru. Some are about safety nets. Now who's really the passionate so-and-so future doctor?



    Just wanted to make a note of Katalio's comment "Well, I think that if that person couldn't handle the academic load of optometry, then I think eventually he can't continue anyways."........Who made you dean of academic affairs?
     
  12. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Whoa.. Gilann..
    In no way I'm trying to mock a person here.. IM' just saying that GPA in undergrad isn't going to entirely reflect a person academic scholarship in Optometry school. Please don't get me wrong... I just put that comment in becoz I"m one of the "lower" gpa candidate planning to apply for Optometry school. What i meant is basically ... someone who did bad academically in highschool doesn't mean he/she'll do bad in colleges..

    that's all..

    peace.
     
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  13. gilann

    gilann Junior Member

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    katalio, no harm done...perhaps I was jumping into conclusion about your comment about low gpa's entering Optometry schools. This is how I see it, not everyone is going to achieve a 4.0 in college. Anyone could be a 2.5 gpa in Biochemistry vs. the psych student with a 4.0? Who is the more qualified student? The guy with the 2.5 in biochem...heading into opt school.

    What if you completely blew it in first year but then managed re-taking higher level courses? I think pre-professional programs are going to look at your entire transcript, from the first day you entered to the last day you graduate from undergrad/college. There sure is a darn good reason for each course you take and the grade that you earn. Like i said before, college is no easy 4-years. Low gpa's are expected
     
  14. TPMOH

    TPMOH Senior Member
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    Remember, Optometry School is HARD! There are people that did very well in undergrad that can't hack it. As far as low GPA goes, if someone was in the 2.5 range because they blew of class and didn't try very hard, they could still be ok in opt school if they put in the effort. However, if someone gets a 2.5 in undergrad and goes to all classes and studies their butt off, they will have a hard time making it in opt school.
     
  15. r_salis

    r_salis SDN Supa-Mod Emmetrope
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    There's another category of low-GPA student -- many non-trad students have low GPAs from their first time around in undergrad, and then get a great post-bacc GPA. The total reported GPA ends up being pretty low since the majority of credits come from the "bad GPA".

    Not that this in any way represents my situation.

    (my GPA wasn't *that* low)
     
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  16. samwY

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    I heard Optometry school isn't as hard as undergrad (organic chem, chem, microbiology, etc.).

    :idea: ?
     
  17. Simisn

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    All my friends in optometry school tell me that they only thought they were busy in undergrad, but once you get into optometry school you'll really find out what "busy" is.
     
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  18. sammyiu

    sammyiu Junior Member
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    Optometry school is in my opinion 100X harder and more time consuming than undergrad. You go from 15 hours average in undergrad to 22-24 hours a semester in optometry school. A lot of classes are small hours so you end up taking 10 classes with labs and the time component is huge! Especially for my second year we had 2-3 tests a week the entire year along with preparations for competency. Don't be fooled, optometry school is HARD but well worth the effort. Third year for us got much better and fourth year is all rotations. Get through 2 years of hell and it gets much smoother.

    :)
     
  19. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!!
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    i never took a semseter in optometry school with less than 20 hours of credit. I've never been that busy in my entire life. But, being a fourth year now after all that is so worth it !! :D :D
     
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  20. r_salis

    r_salis SDN Supa-Mod Emmetrope
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    The science classes you get in optometry school aren't as rigorous as undergrad because there just isn't time to delve as deeply into any one topic -- but what more than makes up for it is the *volume* of material you're given to learn. I think this is true for all professional schools. Doing well in optometry school is as much about time management and organizational skills (which are important "real-world" skills) as it is about being "smart".
     
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  21. christie

    christie Senior Member
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    samwY,

    College is a piece of cake compared to optometry school! My anterior seg class this semseter is 12 credits and thats just one class! Plus, I have clinic 2-3X a week(~9 hours/day)

    Our new curriculum is very intense, b/c we start rotations 3rd year.
     
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  22. stompy

    stompy Senior Member
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    I'm curious as to where everyone attend/attended their undergrad. I'm sure that matters as to how hard they feel opt school is to them now.
     
  23. docvisionX

    docvisionX SCCO
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    As important as gpa and test scores may seem, they're not a reflection of how you perform in the real world. My gpa is not low by any means and my overall test score is average. There are plenty of people out there with sky-high gpa's and test scores, but they can't deal with patients for s&!t. Personally, I'd rather visit a doctor, in any field, who is going to provide an enjoyable visit than a bookworm who thought that a 4.0 and 99 percentile test scores are what make a doctor.
     
  24. maribell

    maribell Junior Member
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    Just wanna say that reading all these posts are really helpful info and advise. I'm in that boat rt now of applying to schools, studying for the OAT (oct 16th...scary :scared: ), and just preparing myself to get into a school for next fall. And I too had all these concerns about GPA's b/c my ain't no 4.0 or even 3.0, but pretty close to that. And I know I suck at these standized test (like the OAT). But I do have opt related background such as research internships at opt and working at Lens Crafters. So I'm ganna have really great letters of rec's. And I do feel like I can kick ass at the interview cuz the "passion" is there. Anyways, I can only keep trying and see whats happens.

    Really liked that quote that I think Katalio has:
    "Everything will be fine in the end, if it is not, then it's not the end." --unknown

    Reading that has contined to keep up my drive and motivation to keep trying eventhough I have a low GPA and suck at test. No matter what happens, I'll keep trying.

    So good luck to those trying to get in and those already in (cuz I'm sure its not easy) :)
     
  25. tamathat

    tamathat Member
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    So how do students with below average gpa's convince instructors to give them nice evaluations?

    Anyone receive "neutral" evaluations and still get in?
     
  26. tamathat

    tamathat Member
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    Very well said... I am a non-trad student that has had to work full-time throughout undergrad.

    I am applying, with my fingers crossed, hoping that the admissions panel will be able to look at me as a complete applicant who balanced work and school so that she could afford to not work during opt school.

    My gpa is no 4.0 but I also think quality of undergrad and caliber of students at that school has a lot to do with it as well. Some would argue that individuals in small or private institutions tend to "earn" better grades than those in larger, public institutions.

    But admissions reps also realize that sometimes life happens and interfers with academics. Some students may have been battling poor health, loss of loved ones or any number of other reasons.
     
  27. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Is there really a difference between going to a private college or state/province univeristy in undergrad? whether it's community college or some famous univerisity are they rated by the admission committee the same way? I know on the application forms that it says regardless of where you went..but just wondering! =)
    :oops:
     
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  28. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    You can get in with classes from any school, but school reputation does play a role. If they teh application commity has an appliation from a student from Northshore CC and a 3.5, and a second from a guy who went to Cornell with a GPA of 3.1...They may lean to the Cornell grad. When I talked to a medical school prof, he said the same thing. They will look at the school if the application is on the boarder.
     
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  29. JennyW

    JennyW Senior Member
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    Alright. I wasn't going to jump into this since I signed an agreement that I wouldn't divulge admissions policies, but I was on the admissions commitee of an east coast school for 3 years, and I'll try to give you some insights into what I saw:

    Obviously, GPA matters. The number of applications to optometry schools is not in the thousands, so each application DID get a look. But if the GPA was painfully low, then the likelihood of the application getting more than a passing glance was low UNLESS:

    1: The student was from a well known school
    2: The student was in a difficult academic program that concentrated heavily on the sciences. Low GPA applications with excessive elective courses or with majors that did not have a reputation for being difficult were usually flushed quickly. (read: "communications" majors with GPAs of 2.6 needn't bother.)

    OAT scores probably mattered more than GPA since it's the one thing that all applicants have in common. If you don't score above 300, you should probably consider retaking it, even if your GPA is high.

    Recommendation letters from people other than ODs mattered little. Most of them were generic, with the students name just being inserted into a form letter. I recal that often times male pronouns were scattered through recommendation letters for female candidates and vice versa. What was always helpful was a letter from an OD who graduated from that school.

    Work experience in the field mattered a lot, even if you were the receptionist at a lenscrafters. Research didn't matter unless you were applying to the PhD program.

    The personal statement mattered a lot, but only if it reflected on why one wanted to be an optometrist, and gave a description as to the steps one took to reach that decision. No one cared about your brother who was killed in a car accident, or the fact that you played piano every week for the people at the old folks home.

    Sometimes there is also plain luck involved. I recall that one girl had an application with a modest GPA and only slightly above average OAT scores. However, in her application she mentioned that she had been in girl scouts all through high school and had attained her gold award, which is the girl scout equivalent of an eagle scout. (I only made my silver award. lol) Well, one of the other woman on the committee was ALSO a gold award recipient 15 years prior, and fought hard for this applicant, so she was admitted. (And actually was one of the top performing members of her class the following year.)

    One year, it was down to the final spot. It was narrowed down to two applicants that were virtually identical. No one could decide. Flipping a coin was ACTUALLY CONSIDERED! All of a sudden, the DEAN of admissions leaned forward and said "Wait a minute! Where is this one from?" Turns out the applicant was from a small town in southwestern Wisconsin, and the Dean grew up in the town 10 miles over. Guess which applicant was admitted?

    One thing that I noticed right away was that there was NO quota whatsoever wrt race, location, or gender. As the process went along, at no time did anyone say "we have too many women, or not enough minorities" or anything like that. So white men, take comfort.

    So, the best advice I can give you all is to do the best you can, and try to have ONE thing that makes your application stand out.

    Jenny
     
  30. JennyW

    JennyW Senior Member
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    Please tell me that I didn't see the word "commity" in this post. :eek:

    Jenny
     
  31. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Wow! Thanx for your confident booster! really learn lots of info on that one..especially about essay... I guess I should NAIL in on why I want to be an OD then! =)..Thank you very much for your advice! heeeeeee
    I wonder if my school is even known to the states! LOL
     
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  32. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Actually, what programs are consider "HARD"? and what are "easy"
    Majority of the people appling for OD program are usually BIology major isn't it? so what kind of programs are considered to be "harder" than biology?

    OAT in 3 weeks =)..Good luck ppl.
     
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  33. tamathat

    tamathat Member
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    Thanks Jenny that helped reassure me that my goal is still within reach!
     
  34. ArgyllRobertson

    ArgyllRobertson Junior Member

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    Engineering, chemistry, statistics, math, molecular biology (or genetics), computer science etc, are all, or should be, considered more difficult than general biology.

    IMHO of course. "Easy" majors (from personal observations only, mind you) would be education, communications, business, liberal arts, etc..
    That is not an insult just a generalization. I think most people would agree who have actually sampled courses from those disciplines.

    Your major doesn't make you what you are and doesn't define your intelligence, however. The OAT does. Just kidding, sorta.

    The OAT is the leveling factor. It is not an overly difficult test. (Speaking with fellow students it is interesting to see how students from exclusive, high reputation schools do similarly to or more poorly than the kids from State U. in many cases).

    Considering many graduates with those "tough" degrees can match or exceed earnings in optometry (in some cases) those folks should be highly motivated to get into optometry for the love of it and not the money.
     
  35. FutureEYEdoc09

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    Hey, first I want to say congradulations on your success.....I am a non-traditional applicant leaving a chiropractic program and going for optometry! I am curious what kind of things you did (in more detail)----especially the research and work with an OMD------what work did you do with an OD?
     
  36. JG777

    JG777 Member
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    THANKS! i did my research on retinoschisis. with the omd, i worked as a technician by taking patient history, scribing, assisting with procedures. very hands on. for the od, i just shadowed and volunteered for about 6 months or something.
     
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  37. Xalatan1

    Xalatan1 Member
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    Usually people will get in with a large range because of the extra-curriculars
     
  38. pre-ODsam

    pre-ODsam New Member

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    WOW......That sounds like the most realistic and honest thing I have ever read regarding admissions procedures........REALITY...because we live in a very subjective world.......Anyway, I am a very non-traditional applicant with strengths and weaknesses........quite a few W's scattered thru my academic record with an undergrad cumulative around a 3.2 or so....I am 31 and leaving a Professional school program with around a 2.6-2.7 GPA (Doctor of Chiropractic program) because I have decided that Optometry is what I want to do for the rest of my life! It is an awsome field and I loved all of the eye stuff in neuro...(Edinger-Westphal sounds like a luxury hotel!)....I did see on here a couple other ex Chiros who opted out of chiropractic (get it? opted...lol) to pursue optometry.....My GPA in Chiro school was only average with some A's and B's mixed in......I have a tremedous amount of anatomical knowledge and some experience with fundoscopy from my DC training......Is this going to help me to get in....? I know a 2.7 professional school GPA doesn't sound great but the material is in a different universe from undergrad-----how will this be looked at? And another thing------I will have an undergrad GPA of 3.2 and a professional school GPA of 2.7----how will this be looked at?

    Thanks

    Sam
     
  39. JennyW

    JennyW Senior Member
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    What did you get on the OAT?? If you got less than 300, you should retake it.

    Was your GPA science, or was it filled with numerous "electives?"

    The admissions committee will be interested in the following:

    1: WHy did you want to be a chiro?
    2: What was it that you made you decide you DON'T want to be chiro?
    3: Why do you want to be an optometrist?
    4: What steps have you taken to make sure that optometry is REALLY what you want to do?? How can you be sure that the same thing that happened to you in chiro school won't happen in optometry school??

    Jenny
     
  40. podarski

    podarski Member
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    I don't know why every one gets so defensive. The fact is med school IS harder to get into the optometry school. It's not someones opinion it is a statistacly suported fact. Does it mean that doctors are better than optometrists,NO . It just means than in order to be a doctor you have to have a higher gpa to be competitive. 3.5 GPA for optometry = a very competetive gpa. a 3.5 for an md program = drop to you knees and pray for a miracle. You need to do some exceptional things (volunteering, shadowing,etc...)to get in. So get a good grip on you pride, and stop being so insecure. Just because people say it's harder to get into med school dosen't diminish those who want to be optometrists in any way
     
  41. drbizzaro

    drbizzaro Varilux/Essilor Advocate
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    i disagree... i think it's 100X easier than undergrad, because undergrad has courses that are idiotic in nature
     
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