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.

Growing Up as a Child of Immigrants Fueled My Passion for Optometry by SCCO Student Ambassador Ahmed Fayad

Growing up in the cultural melting pot of Southern California, I found comfort in my cultural and ethnic identity because it helped me define myself.  As a child of Egyptian immigrants with agricultural roots, hard work and resilience were core values that enriched my environment through multiple outlets that contributed to my overall development.

How Double Majoring in Dance and Biology Made Me A Competitive Applicant for Optometry School by SCCO Student Ambassador Emily Coan

Why did I choose to major in dance in undergrad if I planned on pursuing a career in optometry?  What was I hoping to gain?  Was I wasting my time?

These are questions I asked myself as I plowed through hours of homework, studying, and rehearsals while majoring in both dance and biological sciences at UC Irvine.  Since high school, I was set on being an optometrist