Optometry - Applying

Where to Apply ~ When to Apply ~ How to Apply ~ Tips and Procedures ~ What Happens Next

Where to Apply

Optometry School Statistics

There are 20 optometry institutions in the United States. When choosing where to apply, you should:

When to Apply

Applications become available in July. The deadline for submission varies from school to school, but the majority fall in February. It is recommended, however, that you submit your applications early (late summer/early fall) to give you the best chances for admission and financial aid.

How to Apply

All 20 U.S. schools and colleges of optometry participate in OptomCAS – Optometry’s Centralized Application Service. 

When you apply, materials you will send to OptomCAS are:

  • OptomCAS Web Application
  • OptomCAS Application Fee
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation

Material you will send directly to the school(s):

  • OAT scores

NOTE: Unlike many pre-health school applications, the OptomCAS does not require essays. It will, however, require that your write about your:

  • Work experience
  • Optometric experience – name description, hours, time span
  • Extracurriculars
  • Honors, scholarships, awards

Tips and Procedures

Coursework: All schools have slightly different coursework requirements for admittance so be sure to check them for each school to which you apply. If you are missing any courses, you can plan to take them during your application year.

Letters of Recommendation: You need a minimum of three, maximum of five, letters of recommendation. Ideally, they will come from:

  • An optometrist with whom you have worked or volunteered
  • A professor from a science course who knows you well
  • Individuals such as employers, advisors, and professors from other disciplines

Make sure you ask you evaluators to write your letters in advance and provide them with a deadline for when you would like to have your letter written. You should give your evaluators a minimum of four weeks.

How the process works: OptomCAS uses a letter service called "eLOR". eLOR stands for electronic Letters of Recommendation. It lets evaluators complete the evaluation process over the internet. When you fill out your OptomCAS application, you will go to the "Evaluators" section of the application and register a minimum of three and a maximum of five evaluators. After you enter your evaluators' information into the spaces provided, the evaluators will then receive an email requesting them to log into the secure eLOR service and complete your evaluation at their leisure. - Let your evaluators know to expect this email! Evaluators have the option of denying your request.

You are allowed to submit your application before your evaluators have submitted their letters. Just make sure that your evaluators submit their letters in a timely fashion (and, of course, before the application deadline). You should monitor the status of your evaluations (i.e. whether or not they have been completed), by logging into your application and visiting the eLOR section. This can be done even after you have submitted your application.

If a letter has not been submitted and you think it should have been, follow-up with your evaluator and make sure he or she has not forgotten.

Personal Statement: The Admissions Committee members who read your essay are looking for individuals who are motivated, academically prepared, articulate, socially conscious, and knowledgeable about the profession. Write about your experiences and qualities that will make you stand out. For tips, visit our Personal Statements/Essays page.

What Happens Next

Some schools will request that you submit a supplemental application. This is done through individual schools, not OptomCAS and it may require essays.

After this, you may be requested for an interview, though not all schools conduct interviews. Visit our Interviews page for tips and advice.

Please inform us if you are interviewed or accepted to a health professions program/school. We track all of this data to better inform future applicants of where our students have had success.