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Undergraduate Preparation

Preparing for Optometry School

General Information

If you are considering a career in optometry, consult this career guide (PDF), and for complete information visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optomery (ASCO) website:

A complete listing of schools and contact information is also available online:

Academic Preparation

The requirements for admission to the schools and colleges of optometry vary, but students wishing to study optometry should be certain to take at least a year of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, and microbiology; English; college mathematics; and other social science and humanities courses. The science courses should be pre-professional level courses designed for science majors or health professional students and should offer laboratory experience.

A summary of prerequisites for schools affiliated with ASCO is available at

Personal Preparation

Good grades and test scores are essential factors in determining admissions, but are not the only determinants of success. Students must also demonstrate that they have a true interest in their chosen professions and the personal attributes that are highly desirable in a health professional. The applicant will need to articulate to an admissions committee why this career choice is right for them. All optometry schools expect applicants to have sought opportunities in the career in which they are interested, and many schools require one letter of recommendation to come from a optometrist.

  • Students should shadow an optometist.
  • Since the health careers are service-related professions, students should also explore activities in people-oriented environments.
  • Steady, long term involvement is preferable to short bursts of unrelated activities.

This type of experience not only demonstrates social responsibility, but also helps to builds communication skills and teaches how to deal with a diversity of people. The insight and experiences gained through these activities will help a student compose an application essay that will convince an admissions committee of the worthiness of the applicant. In addition, these activities provide opportunities to acquire meaningful letters of evaluation from non-academic sources that will strengthen the student's application.

Optometry School Admission Test (OAT)

The Optometry Admission Testing Program can be contacted by mail or telephone.

Optometry Admission Testing Program
211 East Chicago Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
(800) 232-2159

Only computerized tests are availalable. You need to register online at:

The OAT consists of four tests: Survey of the Natural Sciences (Biology, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry), Reading Comprehension, Physics and Quantitative Reasoning.

There is no centralized application service. You will need to apply to each school individually.