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Whats so bad about NOVA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by Pre Opt Student, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Pre Opt Student

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    NOVA is the only school I've been accepted to so far. I thought that after being accepted to an Optometry school, my stress would be over for once and I could relax and be happy. But I dont feel that way at ALL. Its been more like ever since I've gotten accepted there I have to constantly defend the school and its reputation to family and friends. Is the school really that bad that for the next four years I have to defend its legitimacy? Am I going to be a BAD Optometrist or looked down upon if I go there? After hearing people on this forum, family, and friends negative opinions about this school Im SO disheartened about going there. What if this is the only school I get into...should I still go..or in this situation should I wait and apply to other schools again next year? I know you shouldnt listen to what other people say and base your opinion on other peoples judgments..but in the end, other peoples judgments DO affect you and it does play a role in how you feel about going to a particular school...I just dont want to feel that way for the next four years and maybe even after that.

    I Know this is really contraversial to some people and I personally do not have any negative opinions about NOVA because honestly I dont know that much about the different optometry schools and their "rankings". But I was just wondering what everyone's opinion on this is? Is a NOVA graduate looked down upon in the Optometrist community and what would YOU do in this situation?
     
  2. oceanblue392

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    I'm not a NOVA student, so I cant really give you a first hand account of what it's like. I'm actually going to be there next week for an interview (yay).

    But my cousin went there, class of 2005 and I have talked to her extensively about her experiences there. This is what she said:

    Most importantly, in my mind, she said that NOVA did not prepare her at all for the national boards. While preparing for applying, I even shadowed a classmate of hers and asked if NOVA prepared her for nationals, and she answered the same-that NOVA didnt prepare her "at all" to take the boards and she did most of her studying on her own. That said, both her and my cousin are licensed, practicing optometrists in CA. She said NOVA (at the time) focused their curriculum on the Florida boards, rather than national. From what I gathered from reading these forums, things have changed and NOVA's board rates seem pretty good the past couple of years.

    Second, my cousin loved having a full cadaver lab. Another cousin is at PCO and had to ask her how to tell the difference between a vein and an artery because he apparently only study slides at PCO. The cadaver lab seemed to help her in understanding anatomy and physiology better, and I'm sure it contributed to her having a strong background in physiology.

    Third, she did mention that optometry students share some classes during the first year with dental students. She didnt have anything bad to say about it, and she didnt learn any irrelevent material.

    Overall, she enjoyed NOVA very much. It is close to the beach (shes not a beach person), and there were some students that become overly distracted by the beach and had to repeat a year. She liked the faculty, and enjoyed the clinics in miami. In my opinion she is a pretty good optometrist, so its not like NOVA wont train you to succeed. Like I said, the only downside to her experience was NOVA not preparing her for the national boards, but that has changed recently (?).

    I hope that helps. I'll be there next week for an interview, so I'll have a chance to gather my own impressions.
     
  3. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    I did not attend NOVA, nor do I know anyone who did. Therefore, I can not speak personally to the quality of their program.

    However, there are a couple of issues here that concern me.

    1) Looking at entering GPAs of students at NOVA and comparing them to other schools, NOVAs ranks among the lower tier.

    2) The national boards are not particularly difficult. They are not easy, and certainly require some studying but for students to be making the claim that they felt that their school did not prepare them AT ALL is a serious red flag in my book. I would definately research that a little bit more.
     
  4. Pre Opt Student

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    I do agree that it is a red flag. However at the interview I did ask the dean and he said the pass rates were above the national average. It seems that people are passing them and practicing optometry despite the school. Secondly, it is lower tier for average entrance gpas...but its the same as neco, pco, and ico..which are all fair game schools.

    But my question is, once I am graduated and pass the boards...later on in life is being a nova graduate going to affect my career in the long run?
     
  5. oceanblue392

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    No, it wont.
     
  6. BrownEyes2011

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    Nova is a great school. The clinic where the students practice is absolutely amazing. Friendly people. If you end up going here, congrats:)
     
  7. gochi

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    if you fail 1 course..yes 1 COURSE (probably the one which you will never need to use during practice), then you must repeat the whole year.






















    oh yea, thats ~60k wasted.
     
  8. Pre Opt Student

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    are u bitter with nova because u failed out or something? because you must have serious issues to go out of your way to bash the school so much - no one cares about your opinion because obviously there is something wrong with u!
     
  9. eheaps

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    Isn't it true that you get a chance to remediate the course? and if that is not sufficient, then you have to retake the entire year?
     
  10. fonziefonz

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    If you fail a course you're allowed to take a 'retake exam' that covers the entire course's material. If you can pass that with a 70% or above, you pass the course. Fail that however and you're goners.
     
  11. Framecontrol

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    This thread was pretty helpful...

    If anyone wants to keep adding info that would be awesome :thumbup:
     
  12. oceanblue392

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    To update some of the information in my first reply..
    When I went to the NOVA interview last month, someone had asked the assistant dean over lunch about their board pass rates. The assistant dean said that a couple of years ago, ~ 2005 or so, they changed their NBEO prep strategy. They hired an independent contractor to come in and do board prep classes, I believe. Since then, they have had much improved NBEO test scores and it seems like they generally do a better job in preparing their students.
     
  13. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    If that's the case, then I would ask the dean why you would even want to attend their school? Why not just hire the independent contractor privately to teach you what you need to know if the school isn't doing it?

    I mean seriously, any school that has to hire an outside agenecy to come and train their students to pass the NBEO exam is doing something seriously wrong there.

    If this is true, I would strongly urge students to consider schools other than NOVA.
     
  14. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013
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    Good point. Go to school at home. Learn at your own pace.

    Where do you think they hire these contractors...yellow pages?
     
  15. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    I honestly don't know, and I would hope that my suggestion of learning at home would have come off as the tongue in cheek response it was.

    However, the underlying point is the same. Any institution that has to hire outside contractors to train their students to pass the NBEO has something seriously wrong with it's curriculum, faculty, students or all of the above.

    That should NOT be needed and if it is, I would have serious reservations about attending that institution.
     
  16. eheaps

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    I feel like this is more of a review thing than anything, just to help make sure the students are prepared to take the exam. If it is such a big deal, than how do you feel about people who take courses to study for the OAT? I don't see how it is any different.
     
  17. optometristan

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    That sounds like an excellent point, eheaps!

    I'm sorry if I'm putting my nose where it doesn't belong, but this whole NOVA deal has been such a huge topic as of late. Let me get things straight...

    NOVA has a policy where if you fail a class, you fail the year (or something like that). A great number of people (I've observed from other posts) failed their first year, having to redo it the next. That would lead me to believe that the classes at NOVA are incredibly difficult and that the expectations for understanding the subject matter are incredibly high. This should lead to an extremely knowledgeable (yet VERY irritated and warn out) graduating class, leading to rather high marks on the boards.

    But this is not the case? I would believe that those students who fail the boards would fail the difficult classes before they have an opportunity to take them...

    All I could think is that NOVA must have really horrible teachers. Is that, in a nutshell, the case?
     
  18. Dwight Schrute

    Dwight Schrute Asst. Regional Manager
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    Don't assume that this is something that "teaches what you need to know" because the school isn't doing it. All it is is a review course. When you taught high school I'd be surprised if you and every other teacher from the school got together and organized an elaborate test prep course to help the students get at least a 1000 on their SAT. That's because you know that being a teacher already has enough responsibilities by itself so it's just easier to hire somebody that specializes in helping students review for big exams. Students will often hire a service to help them review what has been crammed into their heads for the past 3-4 years so they can maximize their score on an SAT, GRE, MCAT or whatever the test in question may be so I don't see why you think the NBEO is any different.
     
  19. Dwight Schrute

    Dwight Schrute Asst. Regional Manager
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    Let me ask you this: what do you think defines a "horrible teacher"?
     
  20. Pre Opt Student

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    It seems like whenever there is a remote chance to take a stab at bashing nova on this forum..everyone takes the chance and runs with it..which is really really immature..At my PCO interview, I learned from a friend attending the school that in her first year, around 10 students failed out of the class..and 6 came back to re-do the year..whereas the rest were kicked out for good. Therefore, the rumors that only nova has high drop out rates..is completely false..but people try to hide the fact the same thing happens at the other schools. Secondly, at PCO I also learned that the students also take a prep course to prepare them for the boards..which is exactly what nova does. All the schools do what they can to prepare their students, its not only nova that does this. So seriously, get your facts straight!!!!
     
  21. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    A review course? The earlier poster mentioned that NOVA specifically implemented that strategy using OUTSIDE CONTRACTORS because their board passing scores were not acceptable.

    See to me, the NBEO is not a test that needs "strategy" like the SAT or the MCAT etc. etc. and hence people might benefit from taking one of those silly Kaplan things or whatever. The NBEO is a comprehensive test, but the questions were almost all straight forward.

    Understand also that the NBEO, as a test for licensure in optometry is a test of MINIMUM competency. That is to say, it represents the MINIMUM knowledge needed.

    The schools should be able to prepare their students to almost universally pass that test with little more than a cursory review since it does represent the minimum. There should be NO NEED to hire outside contractors to perform the job that they should have been doing all along. So again, the fault lies with whom? The students? Instructors? Institution? All? None?

    That's the issue here.
     
  22. Dwight Schrute

    Dwight Schrute Asst. Regional Manager
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    Right, it's a review course, or series of preparatory sessions given by an outside source instead of the faculty. The poster never specified that the passing rate was unacceptable. Additionally, I think it would be important to know what the previous prep strategy was, if any.

    I don't see why anybody is at fault here nor do I see why having an outside source administer a test prep session is indicative of a school not doing their job. I can assure you they are and we all have the stacks of notebooks and the skills to prove it. Most professional students receive some form of formal review or preparation before they take their licensing exams. Whether or not the school is directly giving the review or an outside source is giving the review seem pretty irrelevant.
     
    #22 Dwight Schrute, Feb 23, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  23. eheaps

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    I think what is going on here is mostly speculation of what this "review course" might actually entail. Does anyone who goes to Nova know any specific details about this so we can put the speculation to rest?

    And as a comparison, I know the new program at Western has a board review course built into the curriculum (at least for now) in order to ensure that the students are ready for the test. I'm sure this is probably the case at MANY other schools as well.
     
  24. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    Dwight....This is the original posting I was referring to:

    That looks to me like NOVA recognized that their students were not doing well enough en masse with the NBEO test. The fact that they had to hire outside contractors to come in to get the group up to snuff is to me a red flag.

    When I was in optometry school, NOVA was regarded as "second-last-chance-U" after Puerto Rico. They had accreditation problems at the time. They had a reputation for admitting significant number of applicants who had scores and stats that would not even be considered at virtually any other school only to then flunk out significant numbers of them.

    Perhaps they have changed. I hope so. I have never attended so I can't speak for them, only to relay what the general optometric community's opinion has historically been.

    Reading a posting that says that as recently as 2005, the school had to bring in outside contractors to get their students to perform better on the board exam to me remains a significant red flag. There should be no need to revamp the "prep" strategy because there should be no need for any sort of real prep strategy other than a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum which should have been in place to begin with.
     
  25. eorion

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    Is is possible that Nova has this course in order to alleviate concerns rather than out of necessity? Also, I highly doubt a course like that would do much since we all know that the material takes a long time to learn in class over several years. I don't know the stats, but it would make a lot of sense if we could get the statistics on the board passage rates from each school. The statistics will tell me a lot more than guessing why someone has a board prep course, or saying a school is poor without real evidence. Plus, why not compare Nova's current stats to other schools? Does anyone know how to get those stats?
     
  26. oceanblue392

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    lol, welcome to the boards eorion. read or reread my first response in this thread - to answer your question, its more out of necessity. Also, do a search in this forum for board passage rates. its been talked about extensively. in short, nova had poor board passage rates by most people's standards before 2005, and have improved in the past few years.
     
  27. fkajoshaj

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    "In 2008, NSU students achieved a 93% passage rate on their first attempt at taking Parts I and II of the NBEO examination. On Part III of the NBEO examination our students achieved a 98% passage rate. The Florida Optometry Board examination consists of both written and practical components and our students achieved a 91% passage rate while non-NSU graduates passed at a rate of 82.6%"


    This was given to me by the NSU admissions office the day of my interview. So for all of you asking for current STATS, there ya go!
     
  28. eheaps

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    FINALLY some statistics! Thank you! Those are solid numbers if you ask me!
     
  29. DrSpontaneouz83

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    I still feel that a schools board pass rates does not always reflect the school and curriculum, but rather the individuals taking the test. But at the same token, schools should accept students on the basis of academic accomplishment and likelihood to successfully complete their program....not because they need to fill X number of seats. It is not a surprise that some of the "harder" schools to get into have higher NBEO scores because their students are NATURALLY gifted in the sciences...not so much the program they are in. Lets be honest, most of the learning material is self-taught to a certain degree. It's time to give the individuals taking the tests the credit, whether good, bad, or indifferent.
     
  30. eyedoc22012

    eyedoc22012 eyedoc2009

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    First of all, I don't know why certain optometrists and pre-optometry students have decided to begin a thread specifically designed to encourage misleading comments about a single school. If this was not the original aim, then it surely has gotten out of hand. Many individuals are requesting a firsthand perspective from an actual Nova student, so I thought I'd comply. I'm really disappointed to see all the recent unwarranted bashing that has been going on about the school I'm extremely proud of and about to graduate from. Why anyone would say such hateful things about a school they never attended or even really know about is beyond me. It sounds like some people posting on this thread were personally insulted or harmed by this school--which is absurd.
    I currently belong to a class of 103 students. We had a Boards Part 1 first time passing rate well over 90% and over 98% on Part 2. We just completed part 3 and are awaiting our scores, however the previous graduating class had a 100% pass rate. As far as Nova's performance in previous years that may have circulated some rumors... a class that graduated a couple years before mine suffered an extremely tragic loss that resulted in lower test scores. It's not an excuse but simply a fact that a classmate of theirs was murdered and the whole student body was extremely devastated. This major event undeniably had some effect on testing that year.
    Also, an additional comment about NBEO preparation at Nova and the use of an independent study source...Nova is not the only school to use outside prep services. Many of the other schools use the same one as Nova or Kaplan type of services. The prep course was extremely helpful in organizing your study materials and really saved time, but it was not a substitute for your class notes or the knowledge you already attained. A Nova student in the class of 2010 was just recognized as having achieved the highest score on NBEO part 2 nationally. A student in the class above mine also achieved the highest score nationally on Part 1 by simply focusing only on their class notes. I simply state this because I want people to know that NBEO really is about what each person achieves according to their own potential and how seriously they apply themselves academically, --no matter what school you may attend. Honestly, almost all the schools share the same prep materials for the boards anyway.
    For those of you who got accepted to Nova, congratulations! It's a wonderful campus and my class is my family. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still pick Nova. I already have a job lined up after graduation and I feel confident and fully prepared to practice on my own soon. I had no idea that these posts were circulating...and I will be sure to let my classmates know so that they might post their own experiences too. That way, at least you will read opinions from actual Nova students. Wherever you go, you will learn and grow as long as you are passionate about optometry and love what you do. It is what you make it. Our focus as soon-to-be graduates is now about uniting optometrists nationwide and working together to grow as a profession, since optometry always has to be on the defensive. I really don't understand why optometrists would post comments on this site to put-down graduates from a certain optometry school or even discourage attendance to a school they do not know the facts about. Undoubtedly, some may have the urge to post additional negative comments after my reply...however, I hope you will choose the best school for you based on things that are sensible (cost, location, class size, recent test scores, etc.) If anyone is still unsure about Nova or requires additional help, clarification, or information I am happy to be of service. Please feel free to message me. :]
     
  31. eyedoc22012

    eyedoc22012 eyedoc2009

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    sorry...correction:
    A Nova 3rd yr student in the class of 2010 achieved the highest score on NBEO part 1 this year.

     
  32. tamathat

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    Here is a list of the schools that have hired the independent company to prep their students for boards (I left the session dates on the list just in case there was any doubt on current use or past use.)

    New England College of Optometry, October 30 - Nov 1st, Jan 9th-10th, 2010
    NSU College of Optometry, November 6th-9th, 2009
    University of Missouri - St. Louis, December 18-21, 2009
    NOVA College of Optometry, December 21-22, Feb 13-14, 2010
    Indiana University College of Optometry, January 2-5, 2010
    Michigan College of Optometry, January 8-10, 2010
    Southern California College of Optometry, January 15-18, 2010
    Pennsylvania College of Optometry, January 22-25, 2010*
    llinois College of Optometry, January 29th-Feb 1st, 2010*
    Pacific College of Optometry, February 5-8th, 2010



    I really believe this whole topic will be moot as soon as the new Tx, Az and Ca schools open. As for Nova, the class dynamic has shifted in the past 5-10years. The students that are coming out of the program now are top performers on national boards. The problems that have been brought up here time and time again are no longer issues that students, both current and entering, face. And I'd wager to say that once the new schools open one will read all the same complaints about them until they get all the bugs worked out.

    I wish people who have no direct experience with NOVA would just read the board and fight the urge to comment on things they do not know about. Prospective students, if you are trying to decide on a school, go directly to alumni and current students, stop listening to people who do not have first hand experiences with the program.
     
  33. eyedr2010

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    Nova is a great school. There were 11 total schools that used the same test preparations as we did for the NBEO Part 1. we are still awaiting the school's NBEO part 1 pass rate, but we DID have a student who has the highest score in the nation. On top of that, we still have 6 total students doing externships at Bascom Palmer, and a number of students on the national honor's society of BSK. so to cut down Nova, when you have no experience there yourself, is unwarranted. I think we fair well with the rest of the schools especially as of late.

    If anyone else is wondering about whether or not to attend nova, feel free to contact me as well! I love the class I'm apart of, and the students that are at this school. As well as the great faculty that we have, MOST Of which are Fellows for the Academy of Optometry. and often write in the all the publications that frequent our community.

    Optometry has enough competition with other professions, why do we need to start bashing on each other as schools and within our own peers?
     
  34. Pre Opt Student

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    Finally some current Nova students are clearing up some of my doubts about the program based on rumors. Thanks alot for all the great info and insight.
     
  35. Quin2012

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    At our practice, we have a couple doctors who went to Nova. One of them has been working with the company for several years and is one of the best doctors we have. He's especially good at detecting diseases. His refractions are awesome, and can fit just about anyone in contacts. The other doc just graduated about a year ago. Right out of school, he was great at detecting diseases as well, though his refractions were not so good. If he tried fitting a pt with contacts, it was a nightmare!
     
  36. Pre Opt Student

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    when you hire doctors to work in your practice, what factors do you look at to determine if you want to hire them or not?
     
  37. Quin2012

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    Honestly, I do not know what the owner looks for, as i'm just a tech. What I can tell you is what they are familiar with when they start: Detecting diseases, refractions obviously, and contact lenses (Contact lens knowledge doesn't have to be stellar, though it helps).
     
  38. KHE

    KHE Senior Member
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    We are in the process of hiring an associate and we are looking for someone to make money for the practice. That's the main factor we look for.
     

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