“Do I need to be a science major to apply?” This is a frequently asked question among prospective optometry students. The good news is: a major in science is not required to apply to SCCO. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and complete all the optometry prerequisites, you can have any undergraduate major. Many of the students here have non-science degrees. I think the diversity in our backgrounds helps us to learn from each other’s strengths and will ultimately help us be more effective and successful optometrists in the future.
I majored in psychology for my bachelor’s degree, and I am so glad that I did! I truly enjoyed my undergraduate classes and learned so much about human nature. My major gave me opportunities to conduct research about fun topics like juror decision making and learning with auditory distractions. I think that having a background in psychology gave me a perspective that will help me relate to my patients and understand their needs. I know I will apply the knowledge I gained as a psychology major into my patient care.
Some people may wonder how prepared a non-science major would be for the rigors of optometry school. With half of the first quarter under my belt, I feel we are on a completely level playing field. I took a rigorous course load as an undergraduate student, which prepared me for the fast pace of optometry school and taught me valuable time management skills. Also, taking the prerequisite courses gave me a solid base of scientific knowledge to build upon at SCCO. As long as you are dedicated to your studies, you can be successful in optometry school with any undergraduate major.
The most important aspect of choosing a major is to find something you are passionate about, whether that’s music, art, business, English, science, or anything else. Following your passion is an important part of achieving balance in your life, which is essential for success in optometry school and in optometric practice. There are so many factors beyond the core science curriculum that determine success as a patient care provider. Having a well-rounded and diverse pool of colleagues can only strengthen our profession and improve optometric care as a whole.
Good luck in your studies, and keep up the hard work! It’s definitely worth it in the end, and you’ll be done before you know it. We look forward to meeting you at SCCO!
Michelle Cruz, SCCO Class of 2016
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