Applying to optometry school

Applying to optometry school can be complicated, but we are here to help! Advisors at the Health Professions and Prelaw Center can help you develop your best strategy and troubleshoot problems you encounter in your application. Make sure to attend one of our Personal Statement Writing Workshops so you can get started early on your application essay.

Consult the information below for helpful advice.

OPTOMCAS application #

Applicants apply to optometry schools through an electronic, centralized application administered by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry called OptomCAS. Once you complete your OptomCAS application, it will be processed and sent to all the optometry schools you select to receive it. All schools and colleges of optometry in the United States participate in OptomCAS.

For the OptomCAS application you will create your own User Name and Password that will allow you to create your electronic application. You can log in, fill out part of the application, and save your changes before logging out. Once you are satisfied that everything is accurate and complete, you submit it electronically and it is sent to OptomCAS for processing.

Coursework section #

On the OptomCAS application, you will fill out information regarding every college course you have taken, so you will need to refer to transcripts from every college or university you have attended. You will also need to order official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended to be sent to the application service. At IU Bloomington, you can order your transcript from Student Central.

OptomCAS will not process your application without all of your transcripts. You can check the status of your online application to see if your transcripts have been received.

OptomCAS will verify that you have entered your coursework correctly on the application by matching your application against the transcripts from the colleges and universities you have attended. After OptomCAS processes your application, they will send it to the schools you have selected to receive it.

Experiences and achievements #

The OptomCAS application includes a section where you can provide information on experiences and achievements such as employment, extracurricular activities, optometric experience, shadowing, volunteering, awards and honors. Shadowing of optometrists should also be listed here.
For further information, please refer to the application instructions on the OptomCAS website.

Supplemental program materials and personal essay #

The “Program Materials” section of the OptomCAS application will ask you to submit supplemental materials for each individual optometry school where you are applying.

In the “Program Materials” section, individual optometry schools will ask that you submit an essay. Most of the schools ask that you write an essay no more than 4500 characters (including spaces) responding to this prompt: “Please describe what inspires your decision for becoming an optometrist, including your preparation for training in this profession, your aptitude and motivation, the basis for your interest in optometry, and your future career goals.”

The admissions committee will read your essay to learn why you want to become an optometrist. An effective approach is to write about the series of events in your life that have led you to optometry. What started you on the path toward the goal of becoming an optometrist, and what kept you on that path once you started, even at times when it wasn’t easy? Drawing material from your prehealth journal can provide useful insights and help bring your writing to life.

Make sure to attend one of the Personal Statement Writing Workshops offered by the Health Professions and Prelaw Center to help you begin a draft of your essay. Schedule an appointment with a HPPLC advisor for feedback on a draft of your essay.

Letters of recommendation #

Optometry schools require that you submit letters of recommendation written by others on your behalf along with your application.  Letters of recommendation can provide admissions committees insight into your personal qualities. Recommendation letters can tell them about your communication and interpersonal skills, and your readiness for optometry school.

Developing relationships with your professors is an important part of your intellectual growth and will help you obtain strong letters of recommendation.

Optometry schools vary in their requirements for letters of recommendation. Most optometry schools will require a minimum of three letters of recommendation. The Indiana University School of Optometry requires three letters of recommendation. At least one should be from a science professor.

Consult the individual optometry school websites for information on the recommendations each school requires or go to: https://www.optomcas.org/information-about-schools-colleges/letters-of-recommendation.

Letters of recommendation are sent to optometry schools directly from the recommenders through the OptomCAS application system.  For more information please consult the instructions on the OptomCAS website.