Ever since I was young, I wanted to become an optometrist. It has always been a dream of mine. However, it takes a lot of planning and preparation before you can even think about applying to optometry school.
For a little background information it takes four years of undergrad studies and four years of actual optometry school. One thing that is pretty crazy about getting into optometry school is that it does not really matter where you went to undergrad, just as long as you completed the necessary requirements. I can remember when I was in high school, I was so stressed about where to go to college and if I was making the right choice by attending a commonwealth campus over the main campus of Penn State. However, when I came to college I found out that it really did not make a difference
The next big thing that I have been doing to prepare for applying to optometry school is that I have almost 500 hours of experience. While it is only required by most schools to have 10 hours to apply, schools really want to make sure that you know what you are getting into and even have a good amount of knowledge surrounding the profession. I have been working at both a private practice and a clinical practice for four summers now.
Next, I have been preparing for my admissions tests like crazy! The Optometry Admissions Test, or the OATs, is a 5 hour exam that covers Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physis, Quantitative Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. It is scored out of 400 and the average is a 300 overall, however anything above a 320 is recommended for most schools. I have been studying here and there for this exam for about 1 year. I have been seriously studying for this exam for about one month now. They recommend about 30 hours a week for 3 months, so I have been trying to start that as I am about 3 months away from taking my exam.
Finally, one of the easier things that I have to do is get a letter of recommendation. I have to get one from a professor, one from an optometrist, and one from a person from my choosing. For me, this was one of the easier steps, as I have been trying to build strong relationships with all my professors, as well as, all of my employers. These letters can really make or break your application. Strong words, from a well respected person can really help show off your skills and what you have done in the past. They can show how great of an employee or a student you were, which is something that all schools are looking for.
No matter your school, or even the profession you are planning to apply to, it is important to always be prepared and do your reserch. Apply early, but apply smart. Study, work hard and alway strive for greatness.