This page contains statistical information and other data provided to me by optometry schools and a variety of other sources to be used in advising pre-optometry students. Although every attempt has been made to be factual, the accuracy of all data contained on this page cannot be guaranteed. It is provided here for students to consider as they plan their pre-optometry studies at SBU. Also, toward the end of the page is an exhaustive list of Internet Resources for Pre-Optometry Students.
Undergraduate Courses Usually Required For Admission
Additional Undergraduate Courses Usually Recommended
Average Undergraduate GPA of Successful Applicants
Admissions TestT Required
OAT Scores Required For Admission
Typical Optometry School Admission Fees
Approximate Tuition Costs Per Year
Length of Time to Obtain Degree
Average Indebtedness Upon Graduation
A Typical Timetable For Pre-Optometry Admissions Applications
SBU Acceptance Rates
Miscellaneous Items of Interest
Interent Resources for Pre-Optometry Students
Doctors of optometry (O.D.s) are primary health care providers who diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system as regulated by law. (Ophthalmologists (M.D.s or D.O.s) are specialists in eye surgery.) There are nineteen schools or colleges of optometry in North America. Of these, sixteen are in the mainland U.S., one is in Puerto Rico and two are in Canada. A doctor of optometry is trained through a four-year program at one of these schools to examine, diagnose and treat conditions of the vision system. He or she also detect diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and other diseases of the body such as glaucoma, cataracts and serious vein problems that require referral to other health care practitioners for treatment. The following information is pertinent to students wishing to pursue optometry as a career (O.D.s).
|English (ENG 1113, 2213)||6 hrs.|
|Biology (BIO 1004, 2134, 2234)||8 hrs.|
|General Chemistry (CHE 1115, 1125)||10 hrs.|
|Organic Chemistry (CHE 3304, 3314)||8 hrs.|
|Physics (PHY 1114, 1124)||8 hrs.|
|Microbiology (BIO 3314)||4 hrs.|
|Calculus I and II (MAT 1195, 2255)||9 hrs.|
|Statistics (PSY 3243 or MAT 3343)||3-4 hrs.|
|General Psychology (PSY 1013)and Psychology Elective||6 hrs.|
|Sociology (SOC 1003) and Sociology Elective||6 hrs.|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2204, 3304) or Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (BIO 3335)||5-8 hrs.|
|Introduction to Immunology (BIO 3322)||8 hrs.|
|Vertebrate Physiology (BIO 3344)||4 hrs.|
|Histology (BIO 3384)||4 hrs.|
|Vertebrate Embryology (BIO 4444)||4 hrs.|
|Biochemistry (BIO 3364/CHE 3364)||4 hrs.|
|Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 4224)||4 hrs.|
3.32, with a low of 2.32 and a high of 4.0; varies for different schools. For the University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry (Missouri's only school of optometry) the 2000 entering class of 44 students had an average GPA of 3.20. For selected regional optometry schools, here are recent GPA data:
|University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry (1998)||3.20|
|Southern College of Optometry (2001)||3.28|
|Illinois College of Optometry (1998)||3.26|
|Indiana School of Optometry (1998)||3.45|
|Northeastern State College of Optometry (1998)||3.39|
Approximately 89% of successful applicants have bachelor's degrees or better. Although the undergraduate major is not particularly important, most applicants will have biology majors. Preference is given to those who have completed a bachelor's degree. For Missouri and selected regional schools:
|Optometry School||% of Entering Students With Bachelor's Degree|
|University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry (1998)||99%|
|Southern College of Optometry (2001)||96%|
|Illinois College of Optometry (1998)||96%|
|Indiana School of Optometry (1998)||81%|
|Northeastern State University College of Optometry (1998)||88%|
Optometry schools generally do not care about the undergraduate major of a given student. The critical factors are OAT score, GPA and letter of recommendation. If a student scores well on the OAT and has a solid background in the sciences, the major choice is irrelevant.
ALL U.S. and Canadian schools and colleges of optometry require the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). The OAT is a standardized, multiple choice exam designed to measure general scientific ability and comprehension of scientific information. The exam is sponsored by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). The cost of the exam is $95.00 (2000 applicants), which covers the exam and sending test scores to 5 optometry schools. There is a $5.00 fee for each additional school. For more information on the OAT contact the Optometry Admission Testing Program, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Suite 1840, Chicago, IL, 60611-2678, 1-312-440-2693.
The OAT includes sections covering the following subject material:
|SECTION||NUMBER OF QUESTIONS||TIME IN MINUTES|
|Survey of Natural Sciences||100||90|
|Reading Comprehension Test||50||50|
|Quantitative Reasoning Test||50||45|
The Survey of Natural Sciences includes subsections of biology (40 questions), general chemistry (30 questions) and organic chemistry (30 questions). Each section or subsection of the OAT is scored on a 200-400 scale, with 300 signifying an "average" (46-55%) score. Scores of 320 or better are typical of successful applicants. Scores from the Physics Test and the Survey of Natural Sciences are combined for a Total Science Score. All six section/subsection scores are averaged to get an Academic Average.
Nationally, for the 1995-1996 examinees, the scores were as follows:
|Acad Avg||Quan Res||Read Comp||Phy||Biol||Gen Chem||Org Chem||Total Sci|
For selected regional schools:
|Optometry SCHOOL||OAT SCORE|
|Illinois College of Optometry (1998)||330|
|Indiana Univ. School of Optom. (1998)||331|
|Northeaster State Univ. College of Optom. (1998)||312|
|Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optom. (1998)||324|
Applications are made directly to the schools of optometry.
The tuition and fees vary dramatically among schools. For example, in 2000, tuition at private schools was $5,150-$22,856 (resident) and $12,540-$29,628 (nonresident). Here is tuition data for selected Missouri and regional schools: class of 2000.
|Optometry SCHOOL||RESIDENT TUITION||NONRESIDENT TUITION|
|Indiana School of |
|Illinois College of |
|Northeastern State Univ. |
College of Optom. (1999)
|Southern College |
of Optometry (1999)
|University of Missouri-St. Louis |
School of Optometry (1999)
It is always best to contact the financial aid officers at specific schools for detailed information.
4 years--residency is not required but is available for those wishing to specialize.
According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry, the 1992 graduating class had an average indebtedness of $51,021. Most of the debt will be financed by student loans. Note, however, that according to Optometric Economics, the mean net income of optometrists in 1994 was $88,690. Optometry is rated in the top 10 income-earning professions ( USA Today, Gates).
For students wishing to complete their bachelor's degree at SBU, application is normally begun in the spring of their junior year. If early admission is desired before completion of the bachelor's, application is begun in the spring of the sophomore year.
Beginning in FEBRUARY of the SOPHOMORE/JUNIOR YEAR:
- FEBRUARY--Begin a systematic preparation for the OAT. Obtain study materials from the OAT Program or other sources and commit a minimum of 2-4 hours per week in study and preparation. Periodically reviewing old exams from completed science and mathematics courses is a useful supplement to this preparation.
- FEBRUARY--Start a file with the SBU Pre-Health Committee by completing the Pre-Health Committee forms. When your file is established with the Pre-Health Committee, evaluation forms will be sent to all science faculty and any non-science faculty selected by the student.
- MARCH-APRIL--Schedule and complete an interview with the SBU Pre-Health Committee. It takes the Pre-Health Committee approximately 4-6 weeks to circulate evaluation forms, interview the student, and prepare a letter of recommendation. DO NOT wait until September to obtain a letter of recommendation or you will not be able to meet the deadlines set by the schools of optometry.
- AUGUST--Register to take the OAT.
- AUGUST-SEPTEMBER--Contact the school of optometry and request application forms. Complete the forms and submit them as early as possible. Transcripts from all schools attended and letters of recommendation will be required as a part of this application process. Deadlines for completion of the application vary. April 15 prior to admission is usually the latest deadline.
- OCTOBER--Take the OAT. The exam may be repeated, but the four (4) most recent scores will be sent to the school of optometry.
- NOVEMBER-APRIL--If your application file and OAT scores are acceptable, the school of optometry will contact you sometime shortly after they have received all the information.
- NOVEMBER-MAY--Interview at the school of optometry.
- JANUARY--Register to repeat the OAT if necessary.
- FEBRUARY--Repeat the OAT if necessary.
Based on information available to the S.B.U. Pre-Health Committee, from 1983 to 2002, only two SBU graduates who applied to an optometry school were denied admission.
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your nonacademic credentials:
- Do volunteer and/or paid work at a health facility.
- Participate in an externship program.
- Participate in campus activities (e.g., Student Association, sports, clubs, etc.).
- Participate in community activities (e.g., volunteer work).
- Participate in church activities.
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your academic credentials:
- Participate in undergraduate research and/or independent studies, especially those leading to a scholarly publication.
- Participate in the honors program.
- Enroll in writing-intensive courses to improve your communication skills.
Don't give up too easily if you are not admitted the first time you apply to optometry school. Recognize any academic or nonacademic deficiencies brought to light by your application and take steps to correct them. Make realistic contingency plans. Keep the doors open to do any additional graduate or undergraduate work needed to improved your qualifications for admission.
As a student selects a school for his undergraduate education, a basic question to be answered is "Why go to SBU and not someplace else?" There are a number of factors about SBU that should be considered in answering this question:
- SBU is committed to Christian, higher education. The primary purpose of the SBU faculty is academic excellence, with Christ as the focal point of all activities, both in and out of the classroom.
- SBU has a history of success. SBU graduates applying to optometry schools are accepted at a very high rate. Once in optometry school, the performance of SBU's graduates has been outstanding.
- Most upper-level classes at SBU are small (usually less than 20-25 students). This has a number of important results. Closer interactions between faculty and students will occur at SBU than at most other institutions. You will get to known everyone "up close and personal." Life-long friendships will be established with both the faculty and other students because you will have many of the same classes. Individualized, one-on-one attention, assistance, instruction and counseling are available from the SBU faculty. Students do not have to push through a maze of graduate students, teaching assistants and secretaries to meet with their professors.
- SBU has a Pre-Health Committee, consisting of faculty from the departments of biology and chemistry. This committee is dedicated to preparing and sending out those SBU students who wish to become optometrists. The SBU Pre-Health Committee provides a number of services to the pre-optometry students. Some of these services are:
- Information and assistance about optometry schools, optometry school catalogs, admissions policies, grade requirements, application procedures, OAT, preparing letters of recommendation, etc., are provided.
- Under the guidance of the SBU Pre-Health Committee, students can spend time observing and working with local optometrists (and ophthalmologists). The SBU Pre-Health Committee can connect students with Bolivar-area optometrists such that, free of charge, students may spend time with these health care professionals and educate themselves about their potential careers in optometry.
Selected Optometry School Websites
- Illinois College of Optometry
- Indiana University School of Optometry
- Northeastern State University College of Optometry
- Pacific University College of Optometry
- Southern College of Optometry
- University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry
- University of Houston College of Optometry
- The University of Missouri-St. Louis School of Optometry
Optometry Associations and Organizations
- American Academy of Ophthalmology
- American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
- American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
- Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- American Optometric Association
Other Internet Resources
- ASCO List of Accredited Schools and College of Optometry
- fastWEB - financial aid search through the web
- Financial Aid Information Page - contains links to other sites
- Frequently Asked Questions - from ASCO
- OAT - Optometry Admission Test
- Occupational Handbook Outlook - data for optometry
- Sallie Mae - financial aid information