A series of articles written by SCCO Student Ambassadors, here is Nicole Nuha. To learn more about Nicole, where she is from, and why she chose SCCO, find her bio here listed alphabetically.
How to Find the Right Optometry School For You, Even During a Pandemic
by SCCO Student Ambassador, Nicole Nuha
I applied to optometry school as an out-of-state student during the summer of 2020, right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I was unable to visit the optometry schools I applied to. However, I still managed to pick the school that fit me best and here’s how I did it!
First, I made a list of preferences of what I was looking for in an optometry school. These preferences ranged from location, curriculum, student resources, community outreach, National Board licensing test scores, residency programs, costs, etc. Making this list helped me understand what I wanted to gain out of my graduate education and helped guide my research of each optometry school. After deciding on a rough list of preferences, I set them aside to reference while I did a bit of research on each school.
To begin my research, I utilized a variety of online resources. Personally, I found the various schools’ websites and admissions teams the most helpful; however, there were many supporting sources that helped me make my decision as well. For instance, I emailed student ambassadors to gain a student’s perspective on the curriculum, housing options, and the surrounding area. Some other helpful resources include YouTube, social media, and blogs. I often scoured YouTube looking for optometry related vlogs or followed the school’s social media accounts (or associated accounts) to see what it was like to live a day in the life of an optometry student attending that specific school. In terms of touring the campus, many schools had pre-recorded virtual tours available on their websites. So even if you cannot be there in person, the virtual tours and pictures can help you imagine yourself on their campus. Each of these resources offered a unique perspective and using a variety of sources helped me gain a better idea of what school would be right for me.
Though it may seem unorthodox to apply to a school you have never visited before, there are more resources available than ever before to help you pick your ideal school. If you know a student that attends that school, ask them for a FaceTime tour, or if you know an optometrist who previously attended that school, ask about their experience. If you are interested in learning more about the surrounding area, research the city on Instagram or TikTok (using tagged posts) to learn about fun activities you can do in your free time and discover the best places to eat. The possibilities are endless!
After going through the process myself, the best tips I can offer those deciding on which optometry school is right for them is to 1) start early, and 2) reach out to as many people as possible. You will be spending the next four years at this school and entrusting them to train you for your future career, so take the time to research all they have to offer. Additionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to the admissions teams or student ambassadors. They are there for YOU and are MORE than happy to answer any questions you have!
As a first year attending SCCO, I can confidently say the research I did previously definitely paid off. Originally, I chose to attend SCCO because of the family feel the campus had. All the professors and staff want you to succeed and do everything they can to support you as a student. The care SCCO has for their students helped me feel at home even before I stepped foot on campus and is the reason I know I chose the right school for me. Though moving from Nevada to California was quite the change, I would not want to trade this experience for the world. Attending a new school in a new state only leaves more opportunities to be explored!
If you have any questions for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Categories: Student Ambassador Blog Articles