University of Nevada, Reno by 56s89rx

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									University of Nevada, Reno                                        Professional School Advising
                                                                      COLLEGE OF SCIENCE
                                                            411 Davidson Math & Science Center
                                                                                  775.784.4591
                                                                           www.unr.edu/science

                                DRAFT                DRAFT                  DRAFT

                      OPTOMETRY SCHOOL PREPARATION
Optometrists are the main providers of vision care. Doctors of Optometry (O.D’s) examine
peoples’ eyes to diagnose vision problems; test patients’ depth and color perception and ability to
focus; prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses; can detect general diseases of the human body that
have the potential capacity to affect vision, such as diabetes, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis.
Optometrist differ from ophthalmologists, who are physicians specializing in eye surgery and
treatment of eye diseases; and dispensing opticians, who fill lens prescriptions written by the
optometrist or ophthalmologist. For more information on a career in optometry, read the US
Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook’s website: www.bls/OCO/ocos073.htm

MAJOR: There is no one prescribed major for acceptance to optometry school. Students must
prepare themselves with a basic background in chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology as
well as the social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. Beyond this basic preparation,
you should choose a major that interests you.

Professional School Advising offers personal assistance with the professional school application
process, including program selection, academic guidance, seminars, the personal statement,
mock interviews, advise on getting letters of recommendation, admission testing and application
guidelines for students in the College of Science.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Specific course requirements may vary for each optometry
program. It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine the specific requirements of each
program to which they are applying. Each school’s requirements can be found in the
“Admissions Requirements for Schools and Colleges of Optometry” available at the Association
of Schools and Colleges of Optometry website: www.opted.org. In general, courses at UNR that
fulfill the basic requirements:
         English                    1 year (English 101 & 102)
         General Chemistry          1 year with lab (Chem. 121 & 122)
         Organic Chemistry          1 year with lab (Chem. 241/242/345 or 341/342/345)
         Biological Sciences        General (Biol. 190, 191 & 192)
                                    Anatomy Physiology (Biol. 223 & 224)
                                    Microbiology (Biol. 251)
         Physics                    1 year with lab (Physics 151, 152)
         Psychology                 General and Abnormal (Psych 101 & 441)
         Calculus                   Math 181, 182
         Biochemistry               General Biochemistry (Biochem. 400)
         Statistics                 Statistics 152

OPTOMETRY EDUCATION: The Doctor of Optometry degree is a 4 year program
completed at an accredited school of optometry. Some programs accept applicants who have
completed a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate study; however most programs prefer or will
require completion of an undergraduate degree prior to matriculation. For more information, go
to the website of the American Optometric Association at www.aoanet.org.
OPTOMETRY ADMISSION TEST (OAT):
The computer based OAT is required by all colleges of optometry and tests academic ability and
scientific comprehension. The test is offered throughout the year. It is recommended that you
take the OAT before applying to optometry school. The test covers Quantitative Ability,
Biology, General and Organic Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, and Physics. You can
register for the OAT at www.opted.org; a sample OAT is also available at this site.

EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: While academics are a very important part of being
accepted into an optometry school, the schools and colleges are not just looking for the 4.0
G.P.A students. They prefer to see well-rounded applicants who are involved in a variety of
extra-curricular activities while still doing well academically. In addition, volunteer or paid
experience with an optometrist is essential to your preparation for optometry school; the quality
of the clinical experience is more important than the quantity.

APPLICATION PROCESS: The application process for most optometry school starts
approximately 12-15 months prior to your matriculation date. All optometry schools belong to
the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) which allows you to apply through
one initial web-based application at www.optomcas.org Applicants are encouraged to apply
early and be aware that application deadlines vary for each school.

Supplemental Application: After submitting your initial application, most optometry schools
will require that you complete their application, often called the supplemental application. At this
time, you will be asked to also send the school a supplemental fee. It is the responsibility of the
applicant to check the requirements of each school to make sure they have been fulfilled.

Interviews are the final stage of the application process. If a school offers you an interview, it
means they are seriously considering you. All schools interview potential matriculates.

Beyond the satisfactory completion of minimum requirements, selection for admission is based
on many factors including undergraduate GPA, OAT scores, letters of recommendation,
extracurricular activities, personal statement, an interview, and awareness of and experience in
health related fields.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION:
Three to four letters of recommendation are required for application to optometry school. They
should be from a professor, from an optometrist who can evaluate your potential in the field, and
an employer or someone you have done volunteer work with (check each school’s literature for
specifics). OptomCAS offers a Letter of Reference service that allows up to 4 letters.

You may also consider storing your letters with a document delivery service such as Interfolio.
With the use of Interfolio your letters can be kept on file for up to 5 years and delivered to the
program you are applying to at your convenience. You can find more information on their
website: www.interfolio.com

Selection for admission is based on many factors including undergraduate GPA, test scores,
letters of recommendation, length and depth of optometry experience, extracurricular activities,
an interview, personal statement, research experience, and awareness of and experience in health
related fields.
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