Optometry

A Doctor of Optometry is a primary health care professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vision problems and other abnormalities. Optometrists can prescribe optometric treatment such as corrective lenses, contact lenses or vision therapy that may be required to provide the patient with clear and efficient vision. Optometrists are different from (1) ophthalmologists, who are physicians specializing in eye surgery and the treatment of eye diseases, and (2) opticians, who fill lens prescriptions written by optometrists or ophthalmologists.

Academic Preparation

The minimum educational requirement for optometrists is 135 quarter units of pre-optometry study; however, the majority of successful applicants have completed four years of college work before entering optometry school. HPA recommends that pre-optometry students strive to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, although many optometry schools will have GPA averages above this minimum. There are many resources on campus to assist you in reaching this goal.

You can choose any major before applying to optometry schools, although you will need to complete the science pre-requisites regardless of your major. Please see our Optometry Advising Sheets to learn more about those requirements.

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Optometry Admissions Panel Discussion

UCDPH

Experience

It is highly recommended that you obtain experience in the field of optometry before applying. Practically speaking, you can mention your experiences to strengthen your application, and, more importantly, you can get a realistic idea of what an optometrist does on a day-to-day basis from this experience. One way to gain experience is through an internship with an optometrist. The quality of the clinical experience you get will be much more important than the quantity of your experiences. 

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendations are handled through the OptomCAS application. Your writer will use a special form that includes a rating of specific attributes and the letter itself. Refer to the OptomCAS Web site for specifics.

Supplemental Applications

Most schools will also require a supplemental application, including an additional essay. A supplemental fee is usually required and the cost will vary among schools. It is the responsibility of the applicant to check the requirements for each school to ensure all have been fulfilled. Failure to submit required materials by the each school's deadline may jeopardize the applicant's eligibility for admission consideration.

Map of Optometry Schools

map of optometry schools

Supplemental content

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

The ASCO is your go-to place when considering a career in optometry.

Ready to Apply?

OptomCAS

Applicants to any of the 20 optometry schools will use OptomCAS.

Questions? Call (617) 612-2888

Optomcasinfo@optomcas.org

OAT

The OAT is currently required by all colleges of optometry in the United States and is offered throughout the year. It is recommended that you take the OAT prior to applying to optometry school. The test covers the following 6 areas:  Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Quantitative Ability and Reading Comprehension

US Optometry Schools

Find a list of Optometry Schools in the US

Types of Interviews

Traditional Interviews

Traditional interviews consist of two to four one-on-one interviews. One of the two interviews will most likely be with a faculty. The other interview may be with a student of admissions officer. Questions can range from "Tell me about yourself" to in-depth questions about specific information in your application. Some traditional interviews are open (the interviewer has your full application), while some are closed (the interviewer knows nothing about you). Sometimes it is partial (parts of your application are missing, such as test scores/GPA). If you are going to a traditional interview, be sure to know your application VERY well.

MMI (Multiple Mini Interviews)

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) is an interview format that gauges an applicant’s potential to successfully interact with patients and colleagues. The MMI is designed to measure communication skills, specifically verbal and nonverbal skills that cannot be measured using standardized written exams or by reviewing coursework transcripts. The MMI typically consists of six to 10 very short interviews that revolve around a specific scenario.

• Scenarios involving interactions with an actor
• An essay writing station; this station may be take longer than the others
• A standard interview station
• A teamwork station where candidates must work together to complete a task
• An ethical scenario involving questions about social and policy implications
• A “rest” station to help students catch their breath and relax

Situational Judgement Tests

SJTs present hypothetical scenarios through a variety of formats, including text, video, or live standardized patients. They ask applicants how they would respond or behave in that situation. The scenarios are based on one or more competencies, and the test taker’s responses provide insight into his/her ability within each relevant competency. Many schools are employing standardized patients (paid actors trained to exhibit medical ailments) during interview days to test applicants' communication skills and ability to problem solve. There is little you can do to prepare other than be a strong communicator, be flexible and able to think on your feet.

Behavioral Interviewing

These interview questions aim to identify how you would behave or what decisions you would make in a given situation. They may catch you off guard, but if you answer honestly and thoughtfully, you will show them that you make informed, rational decisions based on strong ethics. Example questions might include:

  • Tell me about a time you led a team with members who did not agree with your decision-making. How did you resolve the situation?
  • Walk me through a difficult decision your recently made. What factors contributed to your decisions?
  • What has been your best idea so far?