Pre-Optometry Advisement Track

  • The Pre-Optometry concentration coursework provides a strong foundation for OAT preparation
  • The courses listed below satisfy the course requirements for admission at most optometry schools.
  • Additional elective courses are recommended but not required and can vary depending on the optometry school to which students intend to apply.
  • Students must consult SUNY Oneonta's current undergraduate catalog for descriptions of courses, course prerequisites, and time of year when courses are offered in order to plan properly in advance.
  • Students have the responsibility to check entrance requirements for schools to which they intend to apply.

Pre-Optometry Advising Meetings can be scheduled using the Bookings App

NOTE: four digit course numbers reflect the new course numbers, effective Fall 2022, as developed via the College-wide Course Renumbering Project

  • BIOL 133 / 1001: Investigative Biology Laboratory
  • BIOL 130 / 1002: Cellular Perspectives in Biology
  • BIOL 131 / 1004: Organismal Perspectives in Biology
  • BIOL 201 / 2000: Cell & Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 362 / 3106: Microbiology
  • CHEM 111 / 1111: General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 112 / 1121: General Chemistry II
  • Advanced Chemistry Sequence (choose 1 set of courses from below)
    • CHEM 221 / 2212: Organic Chemistry I & CHEM 322 / 2222: Organic Chemistry II (Preferred Adv. Chem. Sequence)
    • CHEM 221 / 2212: Organic Chemistry I & CHEM 330 / 3302: General Biochemistry
    • CHEM 226 / 2262: Essential Organic Chemistry & CHEM 330 / 3302: General Biochemistry
  • COMP 100 / 1000: Composition
  • One Literature course (broadly defined)
    • numerous course options available in ALS, ALIT, ELIT, LITR, SPAN, WLIT
    • courses must focus on reading & analyzing written works
  • MATH 223 / 2230: Calculus I
  • Two Physics Courses (choose 1 set of courses from below)
    • PHYS 103 / 1030 & PHYS 104 / 1040 (General Physics I & II - Non-Calculus)
    • PHYS 203 / 2030 & PHYS 204 / 2040 (General Physics I & II - Calculus-based)
      • note: MATH 223 / 2030 & 224 / 2040 (Calculus I & II) are pre-/co-requisites for PHYS 203 / 2030 & PHYS 204 / 2040)
  • PSYC 100 / 1000: Introductory Psychology or SOC 101 / 1001: Introduction to Sociology
  • STAT 101 / 1010: Introduction to Statistics

NOTE: Calculus-Based Physics is required at several Optometry Schools, including MCPHS, while many, including SUNY Optometry will accept algebra-based Physics or calculus-based Physics. Students should take this into consideration as they plan their prerequisite coursework and review prospective grad schools for Optometry. Many Optometry schools also recommend or require additional courses in Human Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology.

NOTE: Optometry education programs may change course prerequisites at any time and may have additional requirements, preferences, or policies that are not reflected in this advising track course list or on the ASCO Prerequisite course list. Programs may also allow applicants to substitute courses or choose different prerequisite tracks. Applicants should review the program-specific details and contact programs directly to determine whether a particular course will fulfill a prerequisite.

The timeline for applying to optometry school varies among students and is dependent on a variety of factors, including successful completion of prerequisite coursework, competitive OAT examination scores, and appropriate healthcare experience.

Many Pre-Optometry students are choosing to take at least one year after they graduate SUNY Oneonta to work in healthcare or pursue other academically or intellectually enriching experiences after they graduate.

In fact, across the United States many first-time applicants to optometry school apply after their senior year or later. Having a “Growth Year” between undergraduate studies and beginning optometry school is often beneficial for applicants and does not hurt your chances of admission as long as you continue to strengthen your application. It allows time to gain additional life experiences, continue volunteering or pursue non-academic interests.

If a student wishes to take a "growth year," or takes a different undergraduate path, students will need to adjust the course sequence plan accordingly, based on their personal planning needs. Individual student plans may vary depending on when the student hopes to enter optometry school and what major is chosen, therefore each student should work with their Primary Major Advisor and their Pre-Health Concentration Advisor to establish their own personalized schedule.

Students should regularly review the Optometry School Admission Requirements and the ASCO Resources for Applicants and ASCO's 15 Tips for Applying to Optometry School.

Applicants are evaluated on:

  • competencies for optometry school
  • letters of recommendation (committee letter preferred)
  • leadership skills (on and off campus)
  • GPA (BCPM & Overall)
  • OAT
  • healthcare experience (clinical & observational)

Application to optometry school is made via the centralized application OptomCas.

  • The 2024-2025 OptomCas Application Cycle opens in late June 2024

Applicant Guides are available from ASCO

Preparation for the OAT should begin once students choose the optometry career path.

OAT exams are ongoing throughout the year (FAQs)

Many optometry schools require two letters of recommendation

  • Optometrist
  • Professor (science)

Some optometry schools require a Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) letter in addition to the optometrist and professor recommendations; SUNY College of Optometry requires a composite letter, which necessitates full letters of recommendation from an Optometrist and Science Professor be included with the HPAC letter; therefore all Pre-Optometry Students applying for a HPAC interview must request full letters of recommendations from their evaluators to be submitted as part of the HPAC interview process.

  • 91% of SUNY Oneonta Pre-Optometry student applicants were accepted into Optometry programs (2015-2022 Advisor Report).
  • SUNY Oneonta alumni have been accepted to the following Optometry programs: MCPHS University School of Optometry, New England College of Optometry, NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry, State University of New York State College of Optometry.

Pre-Optometry questions should be directed to Tami LaPilusa, M.S., Program Coordinator, Pre-Health Professions

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