Doctors of Optometry (O.D.s/optometrists) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.
- Doctors of Optometry prescribe medications, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and perform certain surgical procedures.
- Optometrists counsel their patients regarding surgical and non-surgical options that meet their visual needs related to their occupations, avocations, and lifestyle.
- An optometrist has completed pre-professional undergraduate education in a college or university and four years of professional education at a college of optometry, leading to the doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree. Some optometrists complete an optional residency in a specific area of practice.
- Optometrists are eye health care professionals state-licensed to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. (from AOA website)
WHAT ARE THE ACADEMIC PREREQUISITES?
In making decisions about admissions, optometry schools consider a range of factors that may vary from one school to another. All prerequisite courses usually need to be completed with a grade of C or above.
It is recommended, and often required, that you complete the following courses:*
|Biology||1 year w. lab (generally BIO 150 and BIO 227)
Human Anatomy and Physiology: Cells and Tissues & Human Anatomy and Physiology: Organs and Organ Systems (BIO 143 & BIO 243)
Microbiology (BIO 231)
Immunology (BIO 382) is recommended
|Chemistry||1 year Gen Chem w. lab (CHEM 125 & 126 or CH/BI 125 & 227 or CHEM 121, 123, and 126 or CHEM 122 & 126)
1 year organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 247 & 248)
Biochemistry w. lab (CHEM 379)
|Physics||1 year with lab (PHYS 124 & 125)|
|Math & Stats||Calculus (MATH 119 or 120)
Statistics – (STAT 212)
|English||Two composition courses recommended in additional to literature and public speaking|
Sample Course Timeline
The following timeline is an example of how you might wish to schedule your prerequisite courses. Timing of these courses may change due to major requirements, study abroad experiences, timing of the OAT/application, and admissions guidelines at graduate schools. In addition to these courses, each student will fit in any classes required by their major. All students must consult with their academic advisors regarding course selection.
Year 1: General Chemistry, MATH 119 or 120, PSYCH 125, BIO 150 (or year 2)
Year 2: CHEM 247 & 248, BIO 150 (or year 1), BIO 227, STAT 212
Year 3/4: CHEM 379, PHYS 124 & 125, BIO 143, BIO 243, BIO 231, BIO 382
Sample Prerequisite Course Requirements for Admission to Optometry School
- University of California Berkeley
- Ohio State University
- Illinois College of Optometry
- Indiana University
- Directory of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
- Prerequisite Course List for all OD Programs
*Please note, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they complete all prerequisite coursework in the time required for admission. Please consult each optometry school’s website for prerequisite requirements.
WHAT STANDARDIZED TEST WILL I NEED TO TAKE? Optometry Admission Test (OAT)
WHAT CENTRALIZED APPLICATION WILL I USE? Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS)
WHAT ARE THE EXPERIENTIAL PREREQUISITES?*
- Shadowing: It is generally recommended that you shadow a number of different optometrists in a variety of settings for 50-100+ hours.
- Volunteering: It is highly recommended that you volunteer in your community, starting as early as your first year at St. Olaf. Although your volunteer role can be in healthcare or outside of healthcare, we recommend that you aim to volunteer in both capacities. Optometry schools are looking for applicants with sustained and meaningful volunteer experience serving the underserved. They don’t want students who are simply checking the “volunteer box.”
- Internship(s): It is recommended that you gain experience in the field through interning or working at an optometry clinic, a department of health, a community clinic, etc. Internships outside of optometry are highly beneficial as well.
- Research: It is highly recommended that you complete at least one 10-week research experience. You do not have to find a research opportunity that is related to optometry, although this would be beneficial.
- Leadership: It is strongly recommended that you serve in a leadership capacity (president of an organization, academic tutor, service on an advisory board, etc.). Leaders can enhance their communication and organizational skills, as well as learn how to interact with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds
WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AT ST. OLAF?
WHO IS THE DESIGNATED ADVISING SPECIALIST?
Professor James Demas (Associate Professor of Biology and Physics)
Office: RNS 272 Phone: 507-786-3620 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Ultimately, it is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they complete all prerequisite coursework and experiential opportunities required for successful admission to optometry school.
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