The admissions process can seem daunting. This article aims to help you understand SCCO’s admissions process a little better!
Rolling admissions means that applications are processed as they are received.
With rolling admissions, submitting your application early maximizes your chances for success because there are sure to be open seats early in the cycle. For SCCO, our admissions cycle opens July 1 and runs through April 1, so applying early would be “hitting submit” by mid-November.
Later in the cycle, applicants who interview successfully must be placed on the Alternate List when all of the original seat offers have gone out and then reserved with acceptance deposits. While applicants may be admitted off the Alternate List at any time, most acceptances off the Alternate List will take place between April and mid-May (because final non-refundable deposits are due from all accepted applicants by May 15 when seats are becoming available as they are being relinquished by those holding seats at multiple programs who are now forced to make their final choices).
In short, if you successfully interview early, there is an actual open seat in the class to offer you. If you successfully interview late, you will go on the Alternate List and only receive an offer if a space becomes available.
Once you have submitted your application, it can take up to 3-4 weeks for OptomCAS to get it fully verified and released/dispatched for secondary processing at the various optometry schools. It can even take longer should there be snafus in processing any of your application’s various elements. For example, information may have been erroneously entered and needs correction, transcripts must be successfully delivered to OptomCAS, and any other elements that other agents submit on your behalf—are all capable of generating hangups in OptomCAS’ processing time.
At SCCO, LORs Won’t Hold You Up:
For SCCO, LORs are highly recommended, but optional. Recommenders may be slow in submitting LORs on your behalf. For our process, and since LORs do not factor in until the interview round of our process, you may submit LORs any time. They will not hang up the processing of your application should your recommenders be lax in getting them submitted.
Apply Ahead of Taking the OAT and Other Standardized Tests:
It takes administrators of the OAT 2-3 weeks to release official OAT scores to OptomCAS. Since it can take OptomCAS 3-4 weeks to process and release your application, it is okay to submit your application before taking the OAT.
While the OAT is still the preferred test, we will accept other standardized tests.
Retaking the OAT? You Can Still Apply Before You’ve Done So:
If you are retaking the OAT, it is still okay to submit your application ahead of the retake. All OAT test scores and dates will be visible to admissions officers, meaning that you cannot pick and choose which test scores are part of your application. For SCCO, and should it be your plan, there is an option to state the date you will be retaking the OAT on your application.
Apply Ahead of Completing the Fall Term:
Want your fall term grades to be part of your application? You can do this by updating your application after it’s been submitted via an “Academic Update.” OptomCAS allows a window of time beginning December 1 to update your application with fall grades. If you apply ahead of fall term grades, you can submit an Academic Update. Applying ahead of fall term grades thus gives you the option to submit fall grades or not.
Your application is open and active throughout the admissions cycle, ready for updates. Think of it as a “living” document for the entire season. Various elements like retaken OAT scores, LORs submitted on your behalf, academic updates, and updates to your “Experiences” section, such as shadowing, employment, and volunteerism, may be added throughout the cycle.
A common misconception and deterrent to applying early is that you falsely assume that you will not be a competitive applicant because you have uncompleted prerequisite coursework. This is not true.
You have through the summer term that precedes fall matriculation into our program to finish unmet prerequisite requirements. It is not uncommon for applicants who are offered an interview to have a list of prerequisite requirements to finish. Before you interview, your plan to complete the prerequisite requirements is reviewed to ensure that your plan is realistic.Having unmet prerequisite requirements in progress does not affect your competitiveness as an applicant.
Avoid making assumptions about the process. Review this article “Your Application Through Its Stages”. If you have questions after reviewing the process, feel free to call us anytime at 714-992-7827.