During our first meeting of the 2019-2020 school year, we had the pleasure of listening to Sunnie Ewing, the Director of Student Recruitment at Southern College of Optometry. Thank you for coming to speak to us and providing so much great advice Sunnie!
Southern College of Optometry, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is a private school dedicated to the profession of Optometry. They admit class sizes of 136 annually and have a diverse base of students from all over the U.S. and world. All of the educators are optometrists, so they have a lot to offer students in terms of experience and knowledge in the field. SCO also offers research opportunities, such as a research program during the summer after your first year. Additionally, as a student you will be seeing a lot of patients at The Eye Center at SCO, and in your fourth year as a student, there is a broad selection of extern sites to choose from as well. Therefore, during your time at SCO you will be encountering a diverse range of patients. SCO also has 2 “MobilEyes” units that go out into the community to provide care and give back to the community. They have two exam lanes dedicated to students to practice and prepare for national boards. Furthermore, SCO has had a 0% default rate for 22 consecutive years as SCO graduates find jobs and are able to pay back loans. There is plenty of parking and options for living arrangements very close to campus too.
When it comes to applying, Sunnie suggests applying as early as possible so that you can give yourself the highest chance possible of being accepted. Also, the sooner you apply, the more scholarships you have an opportunity to receive. Admissions run from July 1 – March 1. The average OAT score last year was 336 with a mean GPA of 3.61. AP credit is accepted, as well as any major. They recommend taking anatomy and physiology, although they are not required courses. Sunnie also recommends that if you get selected for an interview, you should always book the interview before the flight. The day of the interview usually lasts 4.5 hours and is a blind interview. You will also have a chance to tour the school and ask questions. Sunnie advises that applying early, taking the OAT early, being committed to service, and having diverse experience in the optometry field are all good examples of ways to be competitive.
Thank you Sunnie! We appreciate all of the information you shared with us in your presentation.