Meeting Minutes 11/16/2021

Location: Zoom

Meeting Called by: Pre-Optometry Club

Duration: 1 hour

Guest Speaker: Melissa Cinciruk and Rebecca Heinz, Pennsylvania College of Optometry – Salus University (PCO) 


  • Salus means health and well-being in Latin
  • PCO mission: innovation and leadership in development of Optometrists 
  • PCO founded in 1919, many “firsts”in the college’s history. 
  • Program and Curriculum:
    • Interdisciplinary approach
    • Integrative primary eye care and early patient exposure
    • Advanced studies options (anterior segment, contact lens, binocular vision and vision therapy, neuro-ophthalmic disease)
    • Dual degree options (low vision rehab and biomedicine)
  • Small group learning settings, visual system and eye introduced immediately, increased focus on neuro and traumatic brain injury patients, etc 
  • Early clinical training: begins in the first week in the first year, includes a Clinical Program Solving Module (CPS) in the second year, and a total 70 hour clerkship during summer between first and second years.
  • Externship Program: one and a half years of full time clinical experience. Approx. 3000 patient encounters by graduation. Includes one rotation during 3rd year and 4 rotations during fourth year. TEI (eye institute) deals with ocular disease, contact lens, etc.
    Selection is collaborative with an externship director, not chosen based on a lottery system. 
  • The Eye Institute: approx. 43000 patient visits annually, and 85000 across all three locations (2 satellite locations in area). Composed of a diverse patient population and will provide a comprehensive clinical experience. 
  • Research: many opportunities, found on the research department website (
  • Admissions Process- Averages: 150 entering students from 900 applicants. Average GPA: 3.4, OAT: 304. Additional requirements (course hours, grades for prereqs, tests, etc) on the website. 3 letters of recommendation, at least 10 hours of shadowing/observation are required. Interview: traditional one-on-one (currently virtual)
  •  Accelerated Scholars Program: 3 years of study, same requirements but higher scores are encouraged (OAT, prereq grades, GPA). Also recommended 100 hours of experience in healthcare. Have an interview conducted by faculty instead of the admissions board. 
  • Application Evaluation: a holistic approach is taken: academic, personal and interview index are all considered. 
  • OLE: optometry learning experience, 2-3 day (virtual and on-campus) interactive event to experience campus and see faculty and staff presentations. Tour venues and observe clinical skills labs as well. Application includes a transcript, personal essay and biographical information. Email for more information. 
  • SEP: summer enrichment program, serves to improve rates of underrepresented applicants. 5 weeks long to introduce participants to the rigorous academic program. Classes mirror 1st year 1st semester curriculum, including hands on labs and clinical experiences.