Admissions

Introduction

Admission Policies, Criteria, and Procedures: Information for Applicants

 

Introduction

 

Congratulations on your choice to pursue a career in the exciting and rewarding field of optometry! Admission to Michigan College of Optometry, like many professional schools, is a competitive process. Many students will meet the minimum requirements, however, the Admissions Committee is charged with the responsibility to admit students who can excel in the rigorous curriculum and contribute the growth of the profession as students and as optometry alumni.

 

We hope this information will be helpful to you as you plan your career. If you have any further questions please contact the Michigan College of Optometry Office of Academic and Student Affairs at (231) 591-3703 or askmco@ferris.edu. We would be more than willing to assist you with questions about the admissions process. You may also refer to our website at www.ferris.edu/mco. Additionally, it may be helpful to request a meeting with one of our faculty members in order to learn more about our program and the admissions process.

The Michigan College of Optometry offers three admission options for traditional applicants. They are the following: 1) Regular Admission Program 2) Early Admissions Program, and 3) 3+4 Admissions Program. Non-traditional applicants such as transfer students from other ASCO Optometry Schools or graduates of international optometry programs must go through a slightly different process. All of the programs are described in detail below. Please read through each option to select the best fit for you.Please note that all candidates are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible in order to receive early consideration for acceptance.

Regular Admissions Program

For the Regular Admissions Program, the applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree prior to the start date at the Michigan College of Optometry. An application may be submitted while the individual is still obtaining the baccalaureate degree and fulfilling the minimum requirements. A baccalaureate degree is prefered, and about 75%-85% of MCO students are accepted under this program. For the MCO Regular Admissions Program, an applicant would apply for the program in April of 2014 for the class that starts in the fall of 2014. This applicant will have a baccalaureate degree by the start date of classes.

Pre-professional college/university courses must include completion of the pre-requisite courses listed below with a grade of C or better. Science courses should be courses designed for science majors or health professional students. As a guide, the appropriate Ferris State University course is provided in parentheses beside each requirement. Go to the on-line Ferris State University Catalog, type in the course ID number (example: BIOL 122) to obtain the course description. Additionally, individual college transfer guides are available for Michigan Community Colleges, Michigan Universities and State Colleges. Follow links at left under transfer information.

For applicants at other out-of-state institutions, this web page may assist you in determining the "equivalent" courses at your institution: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/fsucatlg/coursecatalog/courses.cfm.

Pre-requisite courses for the Regular Admissions Program:

  • General Biology one year with laboratory (BIOL 121, 122)
  • Inorganic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 121, 122)
  • Organic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 321, 322)
  • General Physics, one year with laboratory (PHYS 211, 212)
  • Microbiology one course with laboratory (BIOL 286)
  • Calculus, one course (MATH 220)
  • Statistics, one course (MATH 251 or STQM 260 or PSYC 210)
  • Speech, one course (COMM 121)
  • General psychology, one course (PSYC 150)

The following courses are strongly recommended but not required:

In order of importance:
Physiology (BIOL 205 or BIOL 321/322)
Biochemistry (CHEM 324 or CHEM 364)
Genetics (BIOL 375)
Cell Biology (BIOL 373)
Anatomy (BIOL 205)
Embryology/Developmental Biology(BIOL 370)
Business management or accounting (MGMT 310 or ACCT 201)

Process for the Regular Admissions Program

 

  • Complete and submit an OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service) Application by February 15 for application into the next class at MCO.
  • Request that your Optometry Admission Test (OAT) results be sent to MCO (if already taken). Please visit www.opted.org for OAT information.
  • Participate in a MCO Admissions Committee interview.
    • Enter into OptomCAS
      • Your optometric experience, employment, extracurricular activities, and honors/awards.
      • Your OAT test Scores.
      • Your Colleges and Universities attended.
      • Your Course work and grades – have your college transcripts available when accomplishing this.
    • Request through OptomCAS three letters of recommendation.
      • One letter must be submitted by a college professor,
      • a second letter from an optometrist and
      • a third letter from another individual of the applicant’s choice who is neither a professor, optometrist, nor relative (suggestions would be a high school teacher, high school counselor, athletic coach, clergy, work supervisor, etc.).
    • Complete the free supplemental application through OptomCAS. See supplemental questions below:
      • What score did you receive on your American College Testing (ACT) and/or your Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
      • How did you prepare for taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) exam?
      • If applicable, are you a member of your college’s pre-optometry club and do you hold a leadership role?
      • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
      • How many other optometry schools have you applied to?
      • What other professional schools have you applied to (such as medical school, dental school, etc.)?
      • What interests you about the Michigan College of Optometry?
      • Why did you decide to attend your undergraduate college/university?
    • Submit in OptomCAS an essay-limit 4,500 characters. The topic is "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."
    • Designate MCO as one of your schools that you are applying to.

 

Your application to MCO through OptomCAS must be submitted by February 15. Applicants, who are selected for an interview, will be contacted by telephone to schedule that interview. Any applicant who is not chosen for or who fails to complete the Regular Admission Program is encouraged to participate in the Regular Admission Program the next year.

 

Early Admissions Program

 

The Early Admissions Program allows students to apply one year early to the Michigan College of Optometry. The applicant will know one year in advance that they have a seat reserved for them at MCO. For example, an applicant would apply for Early Admission Program in April of 2014 for the class that starts in the fall of 2015. The applicant would be notified 16 months prior to the class start date in the fall of 2015 that they have a seat in that class. About 5%-10% of MCO students are accepted under this program. Students that use this option for admissions will still need to accomplish an OptomCAS application for the year that they enter optometry school (2014-2015).

Pre-requisite Courses and Other Requirements for Early Admission

  • Commit to Optometry as the chosen profession.
  • Commit to the Michigan College of Optometry as the chosen professional school.
  • Spend at least a total of 20 hours working, visiting or volunteering in the office of an optometrist. (one or more)
  • Complete 32 semester credit hours of the required math/science pre-professional courses and 12 semester credit hours of the non-math/science pre-professional courses. Below are the required pre-professional courses:
  • General Biology one year with laboratory (BIOL 121, 122)
  • Inorganic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 121, 122)
  • Organic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 321, 322)
  • General Physics, one year with laboratory (PHYS 211, 212)
  • Microbiology one course with laboratory (BIOL 286)
  • Calculus, one course (MATH 220)
  • Statistics, one course (MATH 251 or STQM 260 or PSYC 210)
  • Speech, one course (COMM 121)
  • General psychology, one course (PSYC 150)
  • English/Composition, one year (ENGL 150, ENGL 250)
  • Humanities, 9 semester hours (Humanities includes: Cultural Enrichment , Art, Drama, Foreign Language, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Theology) http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/courses.html
  • Behavioral Science, 6 semester hours in addition to the general psychology course above. Courses can be located at: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/courses.html (Behavioral Sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sociology)
    • Possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.
    • Complete Optometry Admission Test (OAT) by April 1.
    • Obtain OAT composite (Academic Average) score of at least 320.

 

Process for Early Admission Program

 

  • Complete and submit an Early Admission Application to MCO by April 1 of the year prior to the year for which you are seeking admission.
  • Request that your OAT results be sent to MCO (if already taken). Please visit www.opted.org for OAT information.
  • Submit official college transcripts from each institution attended. Request that your Registrar’s office send all official college transcripts directly to Michigan College of Optometry, Office of Admissions, 1124 S. State Street, Room 236, Big Rapids, MI 49307.
  • Submit official high school transcripts. Request that your high school send the official high school transcript directly to Michigan College of Optometry, Office of Admissions, 1124 S. State Street, Room 236, Big Rapids, MI 49307.
  • Request three letters of recommendation. One letter must be submitted by a college professor, a second from an optometrist and a third from another individual of the applicant’s choice who is neither a professor, optometrist, nor relative. Suggestions would be a high school teacher, high school counselor, athletic coach, clergy, or work supervisor, etc. The three letters of recommendation should be submitted on official letterhead and mailed directly to MCO.
  • Submit an essay. The topic is "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 essay should be no longer than 4,500 characters.
  • Participate in an MCO Admissions Committee interview.

 

Application files must be completed and received with the above required items by April 1. Applicants who are chosen for Early Admission will be notified by May 1st. If accepted, they will then be required to sign a "letter of intent" to be a member of the specified MCO class. The following year, they will be required to complete an application through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS). Students accepted into the Eary Admissions Program will then be required to maintain at least a 3.5 GPA while in their undergraduate program as they complete all remaining pre-requisites with a grade of C or better. Any applicant who is not chosen for or who fails to complete the Early Admission Program is still encouraged to participate in the 3+4 Admissions Program or the Regular Admissions Program without penalty.

 

MCO 3 + 4 Admissions Program

The Michigan College of Optometry offers a 3+4 option that allows students to complete 3 years of undergraduate school and then 4 years of graduate optometry school. The 3+4 option allows the student to be accepted into MCO after completing only three years of undergraduate college or university courses. The applicant must complete a minimum of three years (90 semester hours or 135 quarter term hours) of college or university education. These applicants normally do not have a baccalaureate degree. However, an earned baccalaureate degree is preferred. About 10%-15% of MCO students are accepted under this program. An application to the 3+4 Program may be submitted while the minimum requirements are being completed. An applicant must apply for the 3+4 Admission Program by February 15 of 2014 for the class that starts in the fall of 2014. To clarify, this applicant is not required to earn a baccalaureate degree by the fall of 2014.

Pre-professional college/university courses must include completion of the pre-requisite courses listed below with a grade of C or better. Science courses should be courses designed for science majors or health professional students. As a guide, the appropriate Ferris State University course is provided in parentheses beside each requirement. Go to the on-line Ferris State University Catalog, type in the course ID number (example: BIOL 122) to obtain the course description. Additionally, individual college transfer guides are available for Michigan Community Colleges, Michigan Universities and State Colleges. Follow links at left under transfer information.

For applicants at other out-of-state institutions, this web page may assist you in determining the "equivalent" courses at your institution: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/fsucatlg/coursecatalog/courses.cfm.

Pre-requisite Courses and Other Requirements for 3+4 Admissions Program:

  • General Biology one year with laboratory (BIOL 121, 122)
  • Inorganic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 121, 122)
  • Organic Chemistry, one year with laboratory (CHEM 321, 322)
  • General Physics, one year with laboratory (PHYS 211, 212)
  • Microbiology one course with laboratory (BIOL 286)
  • Calculus, one course (MATH 220)
  • Statistics, one course (MATH 251 or STQM 260 or PSYC 210)
  • Speech, one course (COMM 121)
  • General psychology, one course (PSYC 150)
  • English/Composition, one year (ENGL 150, ENGL 250)
  • Humanities, 9 semester hours (Humanities includes: Cultural Enrichment , Art, Drama, Foreign Language, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Theology) http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/courses.html
  • Behavioral Science, 6 semester hours in addition to the general psychology course above. Courses can be located at: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/courses.html (Behavioral Sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sociology)
  • In addition to the general pre-optometry admission requirements, those lacking a bachelor's degree but wishing to seek the B.S. in Vision Science degree offered by MCO as an interim degree will be required to complete an Advanced English / Writing course http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/bscomm.html and a 200 level or higher course as a part of the 6 semester hours in behavioral science http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/academics/gened/soccourses.html.

Additional the following courses are strongly recommended but not required:

In order of importance:
Physiology (BIOL 205 or BIOL 321/322)
Biochemistry (CHEM 324 or CHEM 364)
Genetics (BIOL 375)
Cell Biology (BIOL 373)
Anatomy (BIOL 205)
Embryology/Developmental Biology(BIOL 370)
Business management or accounting (MGMT 310 or ACCT 201)

Process for 3+4 Admissions Program

 

  • Complete and submit an OptomCAS (Optometry Centralized Application Service) Application by February 15 for application into the next class at MCO.
  • Request that your OAT results be sent to MCO (if already taken). Please visit www.opted.org for OAT information.
  • Participate in a MCO Admissions Committee interview.
    • Enter into OptomCAS
      • Your optometric experience, employment, extracurricular activities, and honors/awards.
      • Your OAT test Scores.
      • Your Colleges and Universities attended.
      • Your Course work and grades – have your college transcripts available when accomplishing this.
    • Request through OptomCAS three letters of recommendation.
      • One letter must be submitted by a college professor,
      • a second letter from an optometrist and
      • a third letter from another individual of the applicant’s choice who is neither a professor, optometrist, nor relative (suggestions would be a high school teacher, high school counselor, athletic coach, clergy, work supervisor, etc.).
    • Complete the free supplemental application through OptomCAS. . See supplemental questions below:
      • What score did you receive on your American College Testing (ACT) and/or your Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
      • How did you prepare for taking the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) exam?
      • If applicable, are you a member of your college’s pre-optometry club and do you hold a leadership role?
      • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
      • How many other optometry schools have you applied to?
      • What other professional schools have you applied to (such as medical school, dental school, etc.)?
      • What interests you about the Michigan College of Optometry?
      • Why did you decide to attend your undergraduate college/university?
    • Submit in OptomCAS an essay-limit 4,500 characters. The topic is "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."
    • Designate MCO as one of your schools that you are applying to.

 

Application through OptomCAS must be submitted by February 15. Applicants, who are selected for an interview, will be contacted by telephone to schedule that interview. All applicants must pass the prerequisites with a “C” grade or higher. Any applicant who is not chosen for or who fails to complete the 3+4 Admission Program is still encouraged to participate in the Regular Admission Program without penalty.

 

Transfer of Students From Other ASCO Optometry Schools

 

The Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University supports the Policy and Practices for Admission of Transfer Students as recommended by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).

 

Transfer students are defined as those students who have previously enrolled or are currently enrolled in a first professional degree program at an ASCO school or college and are seeking transfer to an optometry program at another ASCO school or college. While ASCO and Ferris State University recognize that it is typically in the best interest of the student to complete the optometry program at the initial institution of enrollment, provisions for transfer are provided for given individual circumstances and compelling conditions that may warrant the consideration for transfer. Request for transfer should be directed to the Associate Dean. Only students who are in good academic standing will be considered for transfer and only after a letter from the chief executive officer, or designee, at the home institution has been received indicating awareness on the part of that institution of the student's interest in transferring and providing the required certification of the transferee's academic and professional status. Additionally, only students who would have qualified for initial acceptance to the College of Optometry at Ferris State University will be considered for potential transfer.

 

To be considered for transfer, we require

  • a letter of request which details why you want to transfer,
  • a copy of your OptomCAS submission, if available,
  • a copy of your OAT scores,
  • a copy of your transcripts from your current optometry school,
  • a copy of your curriculum which includes course descriptions, and
  • a letter from your chief academic officer from your current school stating that you are in good academic standing.  

 

Additional Requirements and Recommendations for ALL APPLICANTS

While academics are very important for acceptance into the College of Optometry, MCO is not simply looking for academic performance alone. Admission into the entering class is based equally on academic potential and clinical potential. Items such as the applicant’s Grade Point Average (GPA), available ACT/SAT scores, and OAT scores can demonstrate academic potential. Clinical potential can be evidenced by the following examples:

  • letters of recommendation
  • the applicant's personal essay
  • a personal interview
  • overall evidence of motivation
  • demonstration of high ethical standards
  • overall potential for success within the Doctor of Optometry curriculum.

All applicants will be evaluated on the communication, writing and inter-personal skills that are necessary to practice optometry.

MCO prefers to accept well-rounded applicants who have been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities while continuing to perform well academically. Following is a list of some suggested extracurricular activities; however, this is not an all-inclusive list. One should choose those activities that are best suited to one's personality and interests. If there are extenuating circumstances that preclude significant involvement in such activities, the Admissions Committee will be understanding of those situations.

Sports

Volunteering

Debate/Forensics

Student Government

Campus Religious Groups

Tutoring

Pre-Optometry Club

Service Organizations

Fraternities/Sororities

 

All applicants need to be aware that the Admissions Committee views one's knowledge of the profession of optometry to be of vital importance. This is best achieved by visiting one or more optometrists on several occasions to observe patient care on a first-hand basis. Volunteering or working in an optometrist's office is a certain way to gain understanding of and appreciation for the profession.

Candidates may be invited to the campus to explore Big Rapids and to see what MCO has to offer. During your visit, you will have plenty of opportunities to interact with the MCO family, including the staff, students, faculty, and administrators.   Arrange your schedule so that you can spend a half of a day at MCO. As part of the process, you will 1) meet with the Associate Dean, 2) receive a tour of MCO provided by current students, and 3) have a 45 minute interview with three members of the Admissions Committee, and 4) have an interview and informational session with a MCO Student Ambassador.

Applicants are also encouraged to view the Entering Class Profile of the most recent entering class in order to gain an understanding about the qualifications of the applicants who were successful in securing admission to the College. This can also be found on our website at www.ferris.edu/mco.

More About the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

All applicants to the Michigan College of Optometry are required to sit for the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), which is designed to measure general academic ability and scientific knowledge. OAT results are valid for a maximum of two years from the date of the examination. The OAT test is available in computerized version only. The computer version is given continuously on an individually arranged basis. The OAT must be taken by February 15.

For additional information on the OAT, contact them via the ASCO website (www.opted.org) or contact your college advisor or write:

Optometry Admission Test Program
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1846
Chicago, IL 60611-2678

The MCO Admissions Committee prefers scores of 300 or higher in each of the categories on the OAT examination, unless there are extenuating circumstances that apply to scores less than 300.  For example, it is possible that the examination will be taken prior to the time when all the courses related to examination are yet to be completed. The Admissions Committee takes that fact into consideration during their evaluation.

More About the Optometry Centralized Admission Service (OptomCAS)

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) launched the centralized application service for optometry (OptomCAS) in July 2009. OptomCAS offers applicants a convenient, web-based application that allows them to apply to more than one participating optometry school or college with one application. ALL twenty schools and colleges of optometry participate.

The OptomCAS website is available at www.optomcas.org. This website includes an FAQ section that may be helpful. In addition, the website has a directory of all the schools of optometry and their prerequisites.

Once a student has applied and paid the appropriate application fee, the OptomCAS will forward your applications to Ferris State University and the Michigan College of Optometry. Applicants pay a fee of $150 to enter the OptomCAS system and apply to one school or college. An additional $50 fee is charged for each additional program to which the student wishes to apply. No portion of the fee paid by the students to OptomCAS is transferred to the institutions to which the student is applying. However, Optometry schools may charge their applicants a supplemental fee in order to process additional information, i.e. high school transcripts, HS class rank, ACT, SAT, etc. Currently, MCO does require a supplemental application; however, there is no fee for that supplemental application.

The information collected on OptomCAS is very similar to the information collected for students applying to Ferris State University. Applicants will enter into OptomCAS the following information:

  1. Personal information, i.e. name, address, other demographics, etc.
  2. Optometric experience, employment, extracurricular activities, honors and awards.
  3. OAT test scores.
  4. Colleges and Universities attended.
  5. Course work including grades - have your college transcripts available.
  6. Three letters of recommendation: One letter must be submitted by a college professor, a second from an optometrist and a third from any other individual of the applicant's choice who is neither a professor, optometrist, nor relative (suggestions would be a high school teacher, high school counselor, athletic coach, clergy, work supervisor, etc.).
  7. Essay - Limited to 4,500 characters. The topic is "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”.
  8. School designations.

Candidates are encouraged to complete the application process as soon as possible in order to receive early consideration for acceptance.

Additional Questions/Contact Information

 

If additional questions arise which are not answered by this summary publication, please contact the Michigan College of Optometry Office of Academic and Student Affairs at (231) 591-3703 or askmco@ferris.edu or visit our website at www.ferris.edu/mco. We would be happy to assist you with the admissions processes.

 

Additional Websites

ASCO     www.opted.org
OAT       www.ada.org/oat/index.html (A link to register for the Optometry Admissions Test is found on the ASCO’s website)

Contact Information
Colleen Olson
Secretary to the Associate Dean
Office of Academic & Student Affairs
Michigan College of Optometry
1124 S. State Street, MCO 231
Big Rapids, MI 49307-2738
231-591-3703
E-mail askmco@ferris.edu

 

College Image