11 Tips For Pre-Optometry Students To Excel During Their Optometric Journey
Pre-optometry students have a lot of things to consider leading up to optometry school! In this video, I share my favorite tips for pre-optometry students to excel during their optometric journey.
I still remember how stressful it can be to prepare for optometry school! Rest assured, it doesn't have to be.
Below is a list of 11 tips for pre-optometry students to excel on their optometric journey.
1) Determine if optometry is the right profession for you
Becoming an optometrist is an investment. I strongly recommend that every pre-optometry student does a lot of research before applying to optometry school.
You're going to spend a lot of money on your education. Take the time to scour the internet for all the information you can find on optometry. See if you can shadow at an optometric clinic or volunteer for optometry organizations.
Personally, I feel the best way to learn more about optometry is by working at a local optometry practice. You'll learn so much and gain valuable insight doing so.
2) Are you a good candidate for optometry school?
Every optometry school candidate must meet a certain threshold of criteria when it comes to their grade point average, OAT scores, and extracurricular involvement.
Honestly, don't worry about this too much. It's most important that you're a well-rounded, balanced candidate.
For example, if your grades aren't ideal but you scored well on the OAT and you have strong extracurricular involvement, you should be a strong optometry school candidate.
3) Research optometry schools
Every optometry school is different. I recommend pre-optometry students review all the information available on each program. This can be done by reviewing their optometry school websites, student blogs, and social media accounts.
If you have the opportunity to visit a program in person, do it. Most schools have open houses and all of them allow you to schedule a visit.
Also, if you're a pre-optometric candidate that has a public optometry school in the state that you reside in, I strongly recommend that school be your number one choice.
Why? You'll save yourself a lot of money on in-state tuition.
4) Crunch the numbers
It's one thing to get into optometry school and it's another thing to really consider your return on investment.
Make sure that you crunch the numbers and take a look at what your tuition cost will be, including what it is going to cost you to live during four years of optometry school.
Also, consider your income potential as an optometrist and how can you pay back your student loans as quickly as possible.
5) Join your school’s pre-optometry group
Most undergraduate schools have a pre-optometry group (if they don't, start one).
Joining a pre-optometry group allows you to surround yourself with other students that are interested in optometry.
You can support each other on the journey and learn a lot from guest optometry school speakers. The latter is something I found to be extremely valuable during my pre-optometry experience.
6) Apply to optometry school early!
Start your optomCAS application as soon as you can. It's will take time to get all of the required documents and information together.
Don't apply to every school. Instead, only apply to schools that you are genuinely interested in interviewing and attending. This will save you a lot of time and money.
Also, most optometry schools work on a rolling admissions process. This means that they're admitting people as soon as applications open and qualified candidates are interviewed.
The longer you wait in the year, the more you're competing for the seats available.
7) Accept the best optometry school for you
So you've interviewed and been accepted to a number of optometry school programs. Now you have to figure out where you're going to go.
Personally, I recommend you base your decision on cost, scholarships, and your gut feeling when you interviewed at the school.
Go with your gut and you will not choose the wrong school.
8) Put together a budget
It never hurts to start thinking dollars and cents before you walk into optometry school. Most optometry students have to apply for a lot of financial aid.
Create a budget and include your projected tuition cost and living expenses. Don't forget to include a small "fun fund" and anticipate any unforeseen expenses.
9) Live close to campus
You're going to have a lot of options on where you can live during optometry school.
Personally, I recommend living close to campus because you're going to spend a ton of time in the classroom, lab, and clinic.
Plus, traffic can be unpredictable. You do not want to waste time commuting.
10) Connect with classmates before you arrive
Most optometry schools create class Facebook groups. Join your graduation year's group and you'll be able to connect with a lot of your classmates online.
Get to know each other before you arrive on campus. Figure out who you're going to room with and who has common interests outside of optometry.
Connect with your classmates before you arrive so you can hit the ground running when school starts.
11) Enjoy the time you have before optometry school begins
Trust me, I've been there and I know the feeling. Everyone wants to walk into optometry school completely prepared.
However, I strongly recommend that you do not stress about having all your ducks in a row before school starts. Enjoy the rest of undergrad and the summer before optometry school because summers like these are few and far between.
Hopefully, you feel better about the pre-optometry process. With the right preparation, hard work, and commitment, you will get into optometry school!
What questions do you have about the pre-optometry school process? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for my next video where we can reflect and grow stronger together.
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