Author Archives

Jane Ann Munroe, OD, Assistant Dean of Admissions, SCCO

I wanted to be an optometrist when I was only 10 years old. Why? I had some kind of geeky fascination with eyeglass frames, and was obsessed with getting a pair of my own. In my situation, having perfect eyesight was a distinct disadvantage, so I had to hatch a plan.

After repeated intense squinting while looking at the blackboard, I approached my teacher and lied with conviction, complaining that I couldn’t see. This report got me first to the school nurse and then finally on to an optometrist for an eye exam, where I tried my best Mr. Magoo impression to no avail.
I would have to wait two more long years until the gods finally smiled on me when, by some miracle, I acquired enough astigmatism to warrant my first bona fide pair of prescription eyeglasses!
Along with my love of people and wanting to take care of them, subsequent visits to the optometrist and shadowing, I sealed the deal—optometry was now officially what I wanted to do with my life.

I made first contact with the Southern California College of Optometry when I was in 8th grade. My older sister had a newly minted driver’s license and so I coerced her into driving me all the way from our home in La Mirada to Los Angeles, SCCO’s then-home. After a master planning effort to plot out our route on a paper map folded in 8 places, we arrived at SCCO where my sister quickly surmised that I didn’t have an appointment with an admissions advisor. She called me a loser, drove me all the way back home and the next day, phoned to help make the requisite appointment.

I entered high school in the late 1960’s (ouch, that hurt) when young females wanted to be anything but what I’d chosen as my newly dedicated pursuit—a science geek. I wore thick horn-rimmed black eyeglass frames (told you I was serious) and hung around chemistry lab after class. This was at a time when women just did not pursue careers in science and being the tomboy that I was, that was fine with me. This trend continued right through into undergrad, attending many classes where I was the only female--bespectacled or not--in the class. At a recent high school reunion, many of my classmates still remember me as the science geek with the blinders on—many envious of my joy and passion for my future profession.

I graduated from SCCO in 1977. Looking back with 40 years of experience as an optometrist, I am awed to know that I chose this wonderful profession way-back-when and with only my juvenile perspective to inform me. In 1977 when I graduated from optometry school, the profession began a series of major changes to its practice scope: securing the rights to use diagnostic drugs (dilating drops), securing the rights to prescribe therapeutic drugs (huge change!), being recognized as physicians by the federal government and treating glaucoma. In some US states, optometry has made even bigger strides into minor surgery, use of lasers, hospital privileges...etc. If I had the opportunity to go back and make another choice and knowing what I do today about health care and my own hardwiring, I’d make the same choice for optometry--nobody loves this profession more than I do.

I grew up with optometry and now it’s your turn to inherit its future. That’s what this blog is about—getting you into optometry school and I am just the person to help you achieve this goal. We’re going to talk about the admissions process, how to prepare to take the OAT, how to be a competitive applicant, how to prepare to interview, to name a few. We’re going to talk about SCCO, student life and what it’s like to be an optometric intern. I am very persuasive, motivating and I am completely sold on optometry as the best profession in health care. I speak from experience!

Get ready to dialogue. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and please, chime in on discussions. I want to know what kind of help you need. You got this!

How I Got Back Into the Swing of Things After Taking 3 Gap Years by SCCO Student Ambassador, Christina Chapman

Before entering optometry school and after finishing undergrad, I took three years to “test out” optometry.

Deciding to attend optometry school can be a big decision to make, and I wanted to ensure that it was something I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to. I worked full time in private practice to gain some preliminary skills which had the bonus of giving me incredible insights into the field. I also wanted a reset after finishing my undergraduate education. This time allowed me to rediscover some old hobbies like reading and cooking, and also to do some traveling. However, getting back into the swing of school, specifically optometry school, with a rigorous schedule was initially daunting.

Getting Admitted Into Optometry School as a Career Changer by SCCO Student Ambassador, Jillian Hipsman

This one goes out to all the dreams I left behind…

I sometimes joke that I’m not on plan B or C, instead I am on to Roman Numerals. I never had a dream job when I was a kid, so I have tried a lot of things. I knew though what I didn’t want to be. I never wanted to be in the medical field. My dad was a RN in a hospital, and it did not sound good to me. and so I wrote the whole healthcare provider thing off. In college I accidently stumbled into a Spanish major and had some free time, so I added on art as a double major. When I graduated college, the U.S. was just heading into the recession, and ao I was happy to get ANY job.  Turns out I didn’t like that job, so I got different a job, and then a different job, and the list goes on. Then I had the job that turned out to change my life.  This job was so terrible that I went home after a practically bad day that involved stalking a dog and got up the nerve to take a job aptitude survey on the DOL website to find out what else I could do…Survey said:  doctor

Advice from Students Who Took Gap Years by SCCO Ambassadors Ally Tran & Karen Nguyen

Taking a gap year was the best decision I’ve made during my application process. Instead of rushing to fit a certain timeline, I decided to take a mental break from school and spend more time expanding my patient care experience. This extra time before optometry school helped me become a better prepared and more confident applicant when completing my applications.

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, unfortunately 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!

Immigrating to the States When I was 10 Years Old to Becoming a Doctor of Optometry by SCCO Student Ambassador, Supanat Sritapan

My name is Supanat Sritapan, but I also go by Soup. I am a first generation graduate school student who immigrated from Thailand to America when I was 10 years old. Although growing up on the other side of the globe affected how I navigated through the U.S. education system, I was still able to find my way here to SCCO. 

Took 2 Gap Years, Applied Late in the Cycle, and Still Got Into My Dream School by SCCO Student Ambassador Gavin Jaime

My path to optometry definitely wasn’t perfect.

During my final year of undergrad, I thought that I would pursue a career as either becoming a RN or PA. This intention continued even after I graduated from UCSB.  I became a licensed EMT during my senior year and decided this should be my first job out of college. This plan would give me a chance to receive clinical hours as well as get a feel for what patient care is like in the hospital setting. After about 3 months of working with long 12-hour shifts, I realized that this type of work was exhausting and unfortunately for me, not fulfilling. This experience forced me reconsider what I wanted to do for a career. 

My Journey Across the World to Attend Optometry School in the U.S. by SCCO Student Ambassador Collette Dsouza

I’m an international student so moving to foreign countries is second nature to me! Beginning a professional program is difficult and nerve wracking on its own.  It is even more overwhelming when you have to pack up your life and move across oceans to turn your dreams into reality.