Meeting Minutes 03/02/2021

At today’s meeting we heard from our advisor, Shawn Gilbert, and two of our own members regarding the admission process for optometry school. We took extensive notes, so that you can reference back to these minutes during your own application process!

Shawn Gilbert:

Applying to optometry school:

Application Timeline
– During academic years 1-3, take prereqs and complete shadowing

May-june after your 3rd year, take the OAT

  • –  Finish finals and then go all out in OAT studying
  • –  4-6 weeks of studying
  • –  Do not cram! It will not work! You know this material already, but it’s a lot.

July between your 3rd and 4th year, you will want to apply/submit your application

  • –  July to ~ September is when you should submit your application because it is rollingadmission!
  • –  68 spots on July 1st, but when we get to February, likely the class is already half full. Atthis point, a lot of people are competing for fewer spots.
  • –  It will feel good to apply early, be accepted somewhere, and be able to enjoy your senioryear without that extra stress.
  • –  6-8 weeks to get a response back from OSU about an interview

Aim to interview in autumn of your 4th year

Navigating OptomCas:

  • –  Personal information (Standard things about yourself)
  • –  COVID-19 section (at least the next 4-6 years, probably).. What your institution wasdoing about COVID-19, how this affected your classes, etc.
  • –  OAT Pin (automatically uploads entry exam scores)
  • –  Academic history (different universities, high school community college, etc)
  • –  Will transfer into OptomCas transcript/GPA, but not Ohio State transcript/GPA
  • –  Must enter what courses you took in the transcript section and then also submit officialtranscripts to OptomCas (to verify everything you’ve typed is correct)… Can pay more to

    have it automatically entered (~$20)

  • –  AP courses will show up on your OSU transcript.
  • –  Standardized tests (OSU accepts OAT, GRE, etc.)
  • –  But OAT and GRE are the only ones that will automatically upload in OptomCas. If youtook another exam like MCAT, can upload as a secondary document or email them to Shawn
  • –  If English is not your first language, OSU requires TOEFL exam
  • –  Letters of Recommendation (3+)
  • –  Add profiles (add their contact info)
  • –  OptomCas sends them an email
  • –  Don’t have to upload them on your end
  • –  Reach out at least a month in advance, so they are expecting the email.
  • –  You can add a due date for them!
  • –  Experiences: Work/Volunteer/clubs/organizations
  • –  Shadowing, Employment, Optometric
  • –  Ex: Optometric Technician: can put under any of the above categories
  • –  Ex: IDOC: underrepresented minority program through OSU; Totally free! Can put thisunder experiences
  • –  If anyone is interested in applying for the IDOC program, here is the link to theapplication:
  • –  Ex: Interviewing an Optometrist; not super picky what category you put these in because Shawn looks at it all
  • –  Achievements: try to stick to stuff in undergrad!
  • –  They don’t include it in their review if it’s from before undergrad
  • –  Program Materials:
  • –  Essay question
  • –  Pin
  • –  When you’re taking test
  • –  Documents section: Options (CV/Resume, Observation Hours (honor system), other)
  • –  You can upload these if you want to, but you’ll probably add everything into activitiessection anyways
  • –  ‘Other’ is where you would upload other entry exams, not including the OATOnce OSU receives transcripts and application (and verify everything is correct), Shawn is then able to review and hopefully invite you for an interview!

    Applications: 600 Interviews: 130 Admitted Students: 85 Class Size: 68

Apply to other schools, even if you think you know where you want to go!

Interview Day Goals:

  • –  OSU wants to learn more about you
  • –  Evaluate your communication, leadership, and knowledge of optometry
  • –  Want to know things beyond what’s on your applicationThey try hard to be transparent on interview day!
  • –  Aren’t trying to create an intimidating or deceptive atmosphere
  • –  Want you to get to know the program! They realized you are going to have options.
  • –  It’s just as much you trying to sell yourself as OSU trying to sell themselves to you!Interview Preparation Videos:
  1. Financial Aid
  2. Interview day overview and tips
  3. Curriculum overview

Be sure to view all videos prior to your arrival!

These videos allow you to concentrate on developing questions, so you don’t have to memorize material. You will have access to these resources after your interview.

If in-person: loved ones can join you for the afternoon after your interview, lunch, can ask questions.

Interview Day Agenda:

8:30am – Arrive, housekeeping items
9:00am – Interviews begin
12:00pm – Lunch with current students (family/loved ones can go to lunch with faculty) 1:00pm – Tour of College
1:30pm – What separates OSU from the rest
3:30pm – Conclusion

Each interviewee has 30-35 minute spot (~8 students interviewing each day) – Pretty much free time unless you are actively interviewing

2-3 interview committee members and you (two rooms going at once: one with 2 interviewers, the other with 3)

  • –  Try to keep majority of questions you have for group setting (especially if you think it’ll be beneficial for everyone)
  • –  Open file interviews: interviewers have reviewed your file ahead of time
  • –  There will be no trick questions!
  • –  You will receive prep materials ahead of time.Abi Hilvers.8 and Becca Roffe.6

1. How did you prepare for the OAT? Becca: signed up in December; set it for May

  • –  Utilized email service (daily questions; question a day for 5 months)
  • –  Kaplan course
  • –  Supposed to take it in May, but covid → july
  • –  Get results right away! Take a pic and send them to Shawn!
  • –  On OAT’s instagram account they have daily questions as well!
  • –  Applied in late july; heard back in august; interviewed in october
  • –  Interview was very lowkey! Interviewed with 2 of classmates going into next year
  • –  OSU doesn’t ask you anything you’re not expecting
  • –  Shawn called the next week

Best way to prep: Kaplan, a couple of months (books, flashcards)

  • –  Studied the morning of in the car, which was helpful
  • –  Going over notes from classAbi: Signed up during spring break to take the exam; Took exam july 31st
    • –  Kaplan 2 week course
    • –  Reach out to kaplan customer service before your exam for discount codes
    • –  Kaplan flashcards!
    • –  Applied in August, and had an interview in October
    • –  OSU classes prepare you well for the exam

2. How to register for OAT?

  • –  Apply for pin
  • –  They give you step-by-step instructions to apply to take the test!
  • –  Test usually available most days of the week if you schedule ahead of time

3. How many hours/week did you study for the OAT?

  • –  Becca: At the beginning, about an hour. As the exam got closer, around 3-4 hours
  • –  Abi: 3-4 hours a week.. Took sunday off.. Allowed free time to adjust to life/giveyourself free time!
  • –  Beyond 3-4 hours, can get overwhelming

4. Interview Prep:


  • –  Videos OSU sent
  • –  Took notes; wrote questions along the way
  • –  Asked others what they think may be asked by interviewers
  • –  Came prepared with some questions (do your research on the program!)
  • –  Only ~30 minutes; spent mostly on talking about you and your accomplishment
  • –  Felt like talking to friends
  • –  Lunch with students; ask them about their experience
  • –  “What class do you wish you would’ve taken?”.. The students said Immunology
  • –  Most of afternoon spent learning about OSUAbi:
  • –  Talked about mutual people (professionals in the field she’s worked for)
  • –  OSU made you feel welcome and not overwhelmed
  • –  Schedule other interviews first to take the stress off.. Can be a confidence boost
  • –  Write out the top ~5 things you want to make sure you mention in your interview (as areference)

5. How long did it take for OAT scores to come back?

  • –  Right away! Official paper in the mail 2-3 weeks later
  • –  If you’re wearing a mask, try to avoid wearing glasses because of fog 🙁

6. Did you apply right when the application opened? How long did it take you to complete the application?

  • –  Took a few weeks to complete, but could probably complete in a few hours if you really wanted.
  • –  Transcript entry is the hardest part!
  • –  Ask for transcripts in advance! Especially if they’re a smaller college/university.. Mighttake a little bit longer

7. If you haven’t taken all of the pre-requisite classes by the time you apply, is there a place to include those on the application or what is the process for that?

  • –  Yes, there is a section for classes you plan to take, but haven’t yet
  • –  Helpful for Shawn if he knows when you plan on taking these courses!

8. Do any optometry schools have secondary essays?

  • –  Some, not all. If they do, they’re easy questions, for the most part.
  • –  Some schools have multiple interviews

9. How many letters of recommendation? – About 3-4

10. Did you do anything in undergrad that you found helpful when applying?

  • –  Volunteering
  • –  Pre-Optometry Club (may be recognized/created meaningful relationships with people inthe school/in the field)
  • –  Extracurriculars you enjoy!! You’ll have way more to talk about/sound passionate aboutduring an interview.
  • –  Asked about any interest in specialization. If you shadow under a specialty, this is a greatopportunity to get more diverse encounters

11. How many schools did you apply to/how many would you recommend?

  • –  At least 3; have some back ups just in case
  • –  Apply early in case you need to apply to your back ups!12. How did you decide which schools to apply to?

– Look into their programs! (What do they focus on? Clinical, research, etc.)

13. How do people working in admissions perceive a gap year?
– As long as you’re doing something to make you a better student, applicant, and/or optometrist, you’re fine!

Meeting Minutes 02/16/2021

Today we heard from Melissa with Salus/PCO! We also concluded our Valentine’s Day Fundraiser Competition against the Pre-Dentistry Club, in which we both were competing to see who could raise the most money in a week for Remote Area Medical. We were able to raise $353 and win the competition! Together we were able to raise over $600 for RAM, which is amazing!

Here are the meeting minutes:


  • Latin for Health and Wellbeing
  • Only graduate classes
  • Founded in 1919 as PCO, 2008 as Salus
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Early clinical experience (first week of first year)
  • 5 externship rotations starting in 3rd year
  • Advanced Studies
    • Anterior Seg
    • CLs
    • Binocular Vision
    • VT
    • Neuro-Opth. Disease
  • Dual Degree Options
    • Low Vision Rehab (MS)
    • Biomedicine (MSc/PhD)
  • Curriculum reflecting an evolving profession
  • Early Clinical Training
    • Clinical Problem Solving in second year
    • 70 hr clerkship during summer between first and second years
    • Community Vision Screenings
  • Externship Programs
    • 5 years
    • One rotation during third year- Primary Care
    • Four 4th year quarters
      • Ocular disease
      • CL
      • Hospital
      • Collaborative care
      • One must be at TEI (The Eye Institute)
    • 400 Active Sites
      • 100 in PA
      • 3 in Canada
      • Military international
    • The Eye Institute (TEI)
      • Philly
      • Satellite locations
    • Research Opportunities
      • Peds
      • Binocular vision
      • DM and Retina
      • Brain Injury
    • Admissions
      • 836 apply
      • Class size 150
      • GPA: 3.3
      • OAT: 304 (AA), 291 (TS)
        • Will take highest score from each section
      • Rolling Admissions
      • Prereq grades of C or higher
      • 3 letters of rec
      • 25 hours of shadowing
      • Do accept GRE
      • CASPer test: non-cognitive attributes (empathy and ethics)
    • Accelerated Scholars Program
      • Indicate interest on OptomCAS
      • OAT: 330+
      • Require bachelors degree
      • Same pre-req
      • GPA of 3.5
      • 100 hours of experience
      • MMI interview: Multiple Mini Interview (give you different scenarios to respond to)
      • July start date
      • 3 year program
    • Pre-Reqs
      • Bio 1 year w lab
      • Chem 1 year w lab
      • OChem 1 year w lab
      • Physics 1 year w lab
      • Microbio .5 year w lab
      • English 1 year
      • Math 1 year
      • Psych .5 year
      • Stats .5 year
      • RECOMMEND:
        • Biohem
        • Anatomy and Phys
        • Neurology
        • Cell Bio
        • Genetics
        • Histology
      • Eval
        • Academics
        • Personal
        • Interview
      • Tuition:
        • $42,150 for traditional
        • $115,000 in scholarships
      • Student Orgs
        • National Honor Societies
        • SVOSH
        • Student Council
        • IM sports
      • No on campus housing
        • Cost for 1 bedroom $900-1000
      • Most go on to private practice
      • OLE: Optometry Learning Experience
        • 2-3 day event to experience Salus
      • Summer Enrichment Program
        • Aimed towards underrepresented populations
        • Introduce participants to PCO
      • Admissions Contact:

Meeting Minutes 02/02/2021

Attached are the minutes from our first meeting of the semester! We had the chance to hear from Jen Walker, and her experience with being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. She now runs the Columbus chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness, which you can learn more about here.

“Retinitis Pigmentosa

  • Couldn’t see well at night and tripped a lot
  • Aged 14 diagnosed
  • Started noticing more symptoms after birth of daughter at age 26
    • Lost periphery
    • Started using a cane “turned in license and got the cane the same day”

Foundation Fighting Blindness

  • For inherited retinal diseases
  • Runs Cbus chapter
  • Funds lots of clinical trials
  • 41 chapters
  • Dining in the dark
    • Host dinner where people wear blindfolds and eat dinner
  • Vision walk
  • Have guide puppies at all events
  • Database of people with retinal diseases
  • Fund lots of grants
  • Legislation

Enjoyed going to the optometrist the most vs. retinal specialist (for example) because she was able to form a relationship with the optometrist and it felt like talking to a real person.”

Meeting Minutes 11/17/2020

In this meeting, we heard from Midwestern College of Optometry. Below you can find our meeting minutes and notes!

70:30 female:male

GPA: 3.34

Science GPA: 3.16

  • Midwestern: 1900 as American College of osteopathic medicine and surgery
  • Able to expand to AZ
  • All health professional degree programs
  • One Health holistic program
  • Wellness center, dorms, and apt complex (eligible at any year)
  • 24/7 security and free parking
  • New building as of 2017
  • Clinical Optometry Lab with overhead screens for teaching and observation
    • Private rooms for exams or proficiency
    • Similar to NC board exam room
  • Small class size (60)
  • Accessible faculty
  • Split into quarters
  • Year 1= basic science and core opt
  • Year 2= core opt
  • Year 3= opt and clinical
  • Year 4= clinical, 4 externships
  • First and third years are three quarters, third and fourth years are quarters
  • Capstone project
  • Business courses
  • Elective courses in third year such as sports vision and neuro-ophthalmology
  • Learn how to do lasers
  • VR Simulation Lab
  • OD/MPH Dual Degree Program
  • Specialties:
    • PCP
    • Ocular disease
    • Cl
    • Prosthetics
    • Peds/binocular vision
    • Low vision
    • Electro-diagnostics
    • Sportsvision
    • Tbi
  • Racially diverse patient population
  • See a lot of ocular disease
  • Professors speak many different languages such as Spanish, Chinese, polish, Greek, French, and more
  • Many university organizations, university-related and optometry-related
  • Everything through OptomCAS
    • No supplemental app
  • Closed file interview
  • Why optometry? Why our school?
  • Admissions Committee meets within 48 hours after interview to discuss
  • Should receive a notification in the same week
  • Requirements
    • GPA over 2.75 (cumulative and science)
    • Completion of bachelor’s degree
    • Competitive OAT (300+)
    • Two letters of rec
      • 1 opt ( no minimum hours of shadowing)
      • With COVID, interviewing an optometrist is okay
    • Prerequisite Courses
      • Biology with lab 8 semester hours
      • Anatomy 3 semester hours
      • Physiology 3 semester hours
      • General/Inorganic chem with lab 8 semester hours
      • Organic chem with lab with 4 semester hours
      • Biochemistry with 3 semester hours
      • Physics with 6 semester hours
      • Calculus with 3 semester hours
      • Microbiology with 3 semester hours
      • Stats with 3 semester hours
      • Psych with 3 semester hours
      • English with 6 semester hours
    • Accept different entrance tests as long as have good academic transcripts (GRE)
    • SEE at CCO to expose students to the Doctor or Optometry degree
    • Contact Info:

Meeting Minutes 10/06/2020

During this meeting, we heard a presentation from New England College of Optometry. Here are the notes from the meeting.

New England College of Optometry:

  • 1894
  • 130 class size
  • Boston, MA
  • See pts starting in second year
  • Faculty wants you to succeed
  • First Year:
    • Classroom, lab, pt care
    • Vision screenings and clinics
    • Heavy lecture and lab
  • Second Year:
    • Assigned first clinical site
    • Still heavy lecture/lab
    • 1 day/week in clinic
    • Can perform entire exam at end of second year
  • Third Year:
    • Still have classes
    • Business course
    • More time in clinics
  • Fourth Year:
    • 4, 3 month long rotations
    • Some rotations available in Canada and China
  • Have specialty programs, electives, residency option
  • 10:1 student to faculty ratio
  • 20 exam lanes
  • 4 special lanes with new tech
  • Slit lamps with imagine systems for instand feedback
  • “Preparing today’s optometrists for tomorrow’s optometry”
  • Research:
    • Vision science
    • Biomed science
    • Clinical
    • Education
  • Combined MS/OD and PhD/OD program
    • Still grad in time
  • 15+ student orgs
  • Tutoring available
  • Assigned a faculty mentor
  • Rolling Admin: June 30-March 1
    • 1 letter of rec from optometrist
    • 1 letter of rec from a science professor
  • Average GPA: 3.4
  • Avg OAT: 320-300
  • Take GRE: 154/section, 4 on writing
  • Tuition:
    • $42,592
    • $19,800 living allowance
    • 90% receive aid
    • Scholarships awarded at time of acceptance
  • Questions:

Thank you to Emily DeRosa for presenting this information!

Meeting Minutes 10/20/2020

In today’s meeting, we had a presentation from Southern College of Optometry. Here are comprehensive notes about the school, taken by Becca Roffe.

SCO Meeting Notes

  • Stand alone private institution
  • Only optometry
  • Memphis, TN
  • 97% of entering students graduate
  • Clinically focused, though do have active research
  • Passing boards required to graduate
  • Non-Regional Tuition: about $38,292
  • Supportive, tight-knit community
  • Eye Center: clinic
    • Largest of its kind in US, second largest in world
  • External Clinic Sites
    • University of Memphis clinic
    • MobilEyes
  • All lectures recorded and provided to students
  • 20 student organizations and state clubs
  • Encourage advocacy and networking
  • Students from all over the country and internationally, many from Ohio
  • Average GPA: 3.61
  • Average OAT: 335
  • Apply 762/135 admitted
  • More than 100 scholarships or currently enrolled students
  • Entering Student scholarships: $1,000 to $20,000 a year (only offered to entering students and no application process)
  • Student loan repayment:
    • Average debt: $130,000
    • Offer financial support
    • Mandatory online financial literacy course (free before starting)
  • Mandatory Courses:
    • General Bio with lab (1 year)
    • General Chem with lab (1 year)
    • General physics with lab (1 year)
    • Micro with lab (1 course)
    • OChem with lab (1 course)
    • Biochem with lab (1 course)
    • Calc (1 course)
    • Stats (1 course)
    • Psych (1 course)
    • Social Studies (1 year)
    • English (1 year)
    • Recommend:
      • Anatomy and physiology
      • Cell Bio
      • OChem II
      • Immunology
      • Histology
    • Rolling admissions
      • July 1-March 1
      • OptomCAS
      • Essay
      • Transcript
      • Letters of Rec:
        • 1 OD and 1 pre-professional advisor or science professor
      • Supplemental App: $50 app fee
    • Require OAT/MCAT/GRE
    • Interview:
      • Fridays
      • Encourage exploration of Memphis
      • Blind interview: one on one. All they know are name and home state to ensure more relaxed and personal experience
    • Housing: no dorms but apartments close by
    • How to be competitive:
      • Apply early
      • Submit all docs
      • Take OAT early
      • Gain diverse exposure to opt
        • 30 hours at two different settings (preferably with two different modalities)
      • Have a commitment to service
      • Ask questions
    • Mike McKeever:

Additionally, here is a link to the recording of the meeting, in case you missed it!

Meeting Minutes 2/18/2020

At our meeting on February 18th, Jen Bennett, the director of Student Services from the College of Optometry at the Ohio State University, provided the club with many useful tips on how to excel in professional interviews. Thank you for taking the time to help us more effectively prepare for interviews Jen!

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