I still havent taken the OAT, I'm just starting to study for it. I plan on taking the exam mid August and to apply to schools by end of September/early Oct. Is that too late to apply? What is the latest I should apply by?
Also, I have a 3.06 overall gpa and I'm going to be graduating this Dec. I don't have experience working in an eye clinic but I have done research for developing contacts under some ophthalmologists. Should I even apply this year or should I take a gap year and maybe work on a postbacc degree? I'm really confused about what I should do.
Any advice would be super helpful! Thanks!
From reading the Pre-Optometry Forum at Pre-Optometry I saw that for fall 2020 admission, the application cycle typically starts either the end of June 2019 or the beginning of July. The application cycle usually closes about April 1st. Also, keep in mind a lot of schools do rolling admissions so the earlier you apply the better your chances might be. Those with a weaker academic record or lower OAT should apply before December.
I should think that your participation in eye research should be of value. From FAQs | ASCO: Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry:
Generally, colleges of optometry admit students who have demonstrated strong academic commitment and who exhibit the potential to excel in deductive reasoning, interpersonal communication, and empathy. Potential optometry students may be evaluated on the basis of grade point average, performance on the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), extracurricular and community activities, personal interview, professional potential, etc.
Optometry schools are looking for “well-rounded” candidates who have achieved not only in the classroom but also in other areas. Leadership ability, a disposition to serve others, and a work ethic characterized by dedication and persistence are just a few of the qualities that impress most admission committees.
Each institution has its own criteria; therefore, you should contact the school(s) or college(s) of your choice for specific application guidelines.