FAQ

Admissions

What is your class size? 38 (range in class size nationally for optometry is “28-169”)

When can I start applying and what is the application deadline? You can submit your application anytime after June 28th. Application files must be completed by February 15th of the year which admission is being sought.  (Does not apply to MCO's Early Admission Program)
 
Would it be beneficial to apply early before the February 15 deadline? Yes; MCO has a “rolling admissions program”, which means that seats will be offered throughout the admissions cycle.

What is considered "a complete application"?
See OPTOM CAS Website

How soon will I receive a response to my submitted application? The MCO Associate Dean's office will send a confirmation letter or email two weeks after we receive the application from OPTOM CAS. A checklist of documents needed to complete the application file will also be included.

What is the application fee? See OPTOM CAS Website

Are there any other fees involved?  Yes. We require a $500 refundable deposit until May 1. This is applied to your tuition once you begin classes in August. Refund Schedule

If I am already a Ferris student, do I need to fill out the OPTOM CAS online application?  Yes.

How many applications are received for each available seat?  For the entering class of 2012, there were approximately 10 applications for each accepted student.

I heard that I could finish my bachelors degree while in optometry. Is that true?  If accepted without a Bachelor of Science degree you would be eligible for the Bachelor of Science in Vision Science after completion of the first year of the optometry curriculum, and an advanced English composition course.

What is the MCO Early Admission Program, and where can I get more information about it?   The Early Admission Program is intended to identify and acknowledge qualified candidates who early in their college education are committed to optometry as their chosen profession and to attending MCO as their chosen professional school.  MCO will offer to any applicant who meets the published requirements, an opportunity to complete their application and participate in the interview process in the year prior to the regular admission cycle.  Although most of the positions within any given class will be filled as a result of the regular admission process, a limited number of positions will be offered in advance as a result of being chosen in this early admission process. Complete information is available here MCO Early Admissions.

What is the lowest grade you will accept for a pre-optometry course?   C (2.0)

Is there a penalty for repeating classes?   There is no penalty for repeating classes; however, if invited for an interview, you will be asked to explain the reason for repeating the class.
 
Can Advanced Placement (AP) credits be applied to meet the pre-optometry admission requirements? MCO accepts AP credits for non-science courses and math, general biology and general chemistry courses.

If I am not a Ferris student, how can I obtain information about academic courses at other institutions that will meet the pre-optometry admission requirements?  Visit the Transfer Guides on our webpages ( Colleges and Universities, Community Colleges).  Schedule an appointment with our MCO faculty advisors to discuss course equivalencies.  Or, write to Colleen Olson at askmco@ferris.edu.

Do you look at grades from other courses besides the Pre-Optometry required courses?  Yes.   We consider both overall GPA and Pre-Opt GPA.

What part or parts of the application do you place the most emphasis on?  All parts contribute to the admission committee's ability to evaluate the applicant's clinical and academic potential.  The committee balances the strength of the applicants overall GPA, Pre-Opt GPA and OAT results with the qualitative merit of the letters of recommendation, the applicants letter of intent and the applicant's communication and discussion skills as demonstrated during the Admissions interview.

What advice do you normally give students to strengthen their applications if they do not get accepted?  Make an appointment with an MCO Pre-Optometry advisor (call Colleen Olson at 231-591-3703) to evaluate strengths and concerns, and discuss your potential for admission in the future

Will a positive response to the misconduct disclosure questions on the application automatically result in denial of my application?  No; however, if you answer yes to a misconduct or disclosure question on the OPTM CAS MCO application, you will need to provide an explanation.

When will the applicant learn if they are on the alternate or “waitlist”?  Each year we rank applicants and assign each one a priority alternate number.  The applicants on the alternate or waitlist are notified as soon as possible after the initial class is accepted by the end of May. The alternate list remains active until just before classes begin near the end of August as some successful applicants have personal reasons for declining admission even up to the first day of classes.

When will the applicant learn that they are accepted?  MCO has a “rolling admissions process”, which means that seats are offered throughout the admissions cycle. So some applicants may learn within three weeks of their interview, and others not until the end of May.

Are there restrictions on how many non-Michigan applicants you admit?  No, there are not restrictions on non-Michigan applicants.  Numerous students from across the United States, Canada, and other countries chose to come to MCO because of the many advantages it has to offer.

What is your tuition for Michigan residents and non Michigan Residents?  The annual average rate for the 2010-2011 year is $23,844 for residents and $35,766 average annual rate for non-resident students. The program is 10 semesters in length.

What is the policy at FSU for establishing residency for non-Michigan residents?  Information regarding residency rules and policies can be found on the Residency Requirements for Tuition Purposes webpage. Specific questions may be addressed to Elise Gramza at the Office of Admissions and Records, Ferris State University, Phone 231-591-2805; E-mail gramzae@ferris.edu

Are there restrictions on how many non-Ferris applicants you will take?  No, in the past five years, MCO has accepted individuals from 44 different colleges and universities across the United States, Canada, and from other countries across the world.

When should letters of recommendation be received?   See OPTOM CAS Website

Are committee letters of recommendation accepted by MCO?  Yes, follow instructions provided by OPTOM CAS.

Must all required pre-optometry academic courses be completed as of the date I apply?  No.  You do not need to have completed all academic requirements for admission at the time of application. However, all academic pre-optometry requirements for admission must be successfully completed prior to entrance into the program.

Do I need a bachelor's degree before I go to optometry school?  No, but a bachelor's degree is strongly recommended and preferred.

Does it matter what my major is?  No.

Is there any preference for FSU pre-optometry applicants?  No; however, at FSU you will have many resources available to you including the Honors Program, convenient pre-optometry advising from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Michigan College of Optometry, and an active Pre-Optometry Club.

Is there a minimum required OAT score or grade point average?  No; however, we recommend applicants score at least 300 average on the OAT and have an overall GPA of at least a 3.0. To see the academic profile of the recent entering class, click here at 2012 Profile.

How long are the OAT scores valid?  Only OAT scores reported within the last two years are acceptable.

How many times can I take the OAT? Unlimited.  An applicant must wait at least 90 days to be eligible to apply to retake the OAT. 

What non-required courses are most recommended for Pre-Optometry students?  Genetics, Cell Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Embryology, Biochemistry and Accounting and Management.

How important is “job shadowing” of optometrists?  The best opportunity to learn about optometry and the day-to-day life of those in the field is to “job shadow” several optometrists.   MCO encourages all prospective students to contact and spend time with a Doctor of Optometry practicing in their area.  This may be possible in the form of observation, volunteer work, internships, or employment.  This experience will help you decide whether you can see yourself as an optometrist in the future.

MCO does not require applicants to log a specific number of shadowing or observation hours unless you are applying for the MCO Early Admission Program.  The primary goal is to guarantee that you are confident in your career choice and to assure the Admissions Committee that you are making an informed decision.

  MCO Admittance Interview

Is an interview required for acceptance into the class? Yes.

What is the interview day like? Arrange your schedule so that you can spend a half day at MCO. As part of the interview process, you will 1) meet with the Associate Dean, 2) receive a tour of MCO, 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. The tours will be provided by current students of MCO.

Do you have any advice for my interview preparation? Don't over prepare. Be prepared to explain exactly why optometry is your profession of choice, and be ready to explain any low grades, or low section scores of your OAT score, if applicable. Most importantly try to relax, smile, and be yourself!!!

Housing

What is the housing situation like in the first three professional years at the Ferris State University campus?  Students may live on campus in student housing, or they may secure their own off-campus housing.

Who can I contact to arrange housing with other incoming MCO students? Colleen Olson, Secretary to the Associate Dean. Office of Academic &Student Affairs.
Phone: (231) 591-3703
E-mail: askmco@ferris.edu

MCO General Information

Do you offer a Web based optometry program? No, but many of our courses are enhanced with internet tools and resources.

Do I need a computer?  A computer is strongly recommended but not required. A lot of assignments are given through Ferris State University's Ferris Connect program, and there will also be quizzes given online.   There is a computer lab in our facility that the students can use, and many student computers are available in FLITE (Ferris Library for Information and Technology).

Does MCO have a dress code?  A dress code is required when the student is in clinic. Students must use professional judgment and discretion as to what they wear to class.

Does MCO have a gym?  MCO does not have its own gym, but every FSU student has access to the FSU Student Recreation Center, which has an extensive fitness center, weight room, aerobics courses, swimming pool, rock climbing area, tennis courts, and much more.

Does MCO "weed-out" students? No.

MCO Scheduling

How is the class schedule set up?  The class schedule is established by the Associate Dean's Office. Each of the 38 MCO students will be in the same classroom throughout each day, and there will be 2 different lab sections in which there are 20/18 students in each section. 

When do we start seeing patients?  Second semester of your second professional year. Students provide care to primary care patients in their second and third years as well as specialty care patients in their third year.

MCO Graduation Rates

Year MCO  Pass Rate (pass/class size)
2011 91.66% 33/36
2010 100.10% 38/36
2009 97.2% 35/36
2008 85.30% 29/34
2007 97.1% 33/34
2006 100% 34/34
2005 91.2% 31/34

National Board (NBEO) Results

Part I: Applied Basic Science - 2009 (Basic Science for previous years)
Year MCO  Pass Rate (pass/class size) National Pass Rate Difference
2011 88.88% (32/36) 72% 16.88%
2010 96.96% (32/33) 85.10% 11.86%
2009 94.6%   (35/37)     87.33%  7.36
2008 Not Administered      
2007  94.1%   (32/34)     74.8%  19.3%
2006  73.0% (21/29)   77.4%     -4.4%
2005 78.0% (26/33)    71.6%   6.4%
         
Part II: Patient Assessment and Management (PAM) - 2009 (Clinical Science for previous years)
Year MCO  Pass Rate (pass/class size) National Pass Rate Difference
         
2010 100.00% (33/33) 90.88% 9.12%
2009 97.37% (37/38) 90.61% 6.76%
2008 94.11% (32/34)   89.6%   4.51%
2007 92.9%  (27/29)    91.5%  1.4%
2006 88.0% (29/33)   88.7%  -0.7%
2005 93.9%  (31/33) 91.7%  2.2%
         
Part III: Patient Care
Year MCO  Pass Rate (pass/class size) National Pass Rate Difference
         
2010 100% (38/38) 95.90% 4.10%
2009 100%  (34/34)   94.0%   + 6.0%
2008 96.6%  (28/29)   91.28%  +5.32%
2007 100.0%  (33/33)  96.0%  +4.0%
2006 85.0% (28/34)  93.0% -8.0%
2005 100.0%   (31/31) 90.3%  +9.7%

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Do you offer financial aid to your students?  Yes.  You can find out more about what FSU has to offer by contacting the Financial Aid Office. The college does offer a number of scholarship opportunities throughout the four year program.  The awarding of the scholarships is based on academic GPA, demonstration of leadership in various areas and/or financial need.   Many scholarships are funded through the generous donations of corporations or individuals.

Is my parent's income counted when I apply for financial aid for graduate school?   No, however, you may need it if you apply for any specialty loans such as the health professions loan.

How can I get more information on alternative loans/financial aid once I am accepted into MCO?  Nancy Wencl is our financial aid specialist: E-mail: wencln@ferris.edu

What expenses are there besides tuition? For a current list of expenses, see Tuition, Equipment and Books.

Fourth Year Rotations

How long are the clinical rotations in the 4th professional year of the curriculum?   The rotations last an average of 15 weeks per rotation. A student must complete three rotations scheduled from May through April.

Where are the rotation sites located? We have affiliated rotations sites all around Michigan and several more in Florida, Alaska, Oklahoma, Ohio, Maryland and South Carolina. Externship Info


Can a rotation site be established outside of the MCO network of sites? Yes, but only a few per year are approved, and it is not guaranteed. It would be up to you to find a qualified site and an acceptable optometrist who is willing to be your preceptor.

Social Activities/Time Management

Does MCO sponsor social events?  MCO and its registered student organizations sponsor social events such as The Eyeball, (a semi-formal social dance for MCO students and faculty), the Optic Cup (a golf tournament), a “get to know your new classmates” orientation and luncheon at the beginning of the year, and many other things throughout the year. More information will be provided at your orientation. 

Is it difficult to be employed while going to optometry school? As an MCO student, your first obligation is to your academics. However, if a student can balance studies while maintaining part-time work, a student may want to work a few hours per week. During the week (Monday through Friday), a student's schedule is filled with lecture, lab and clinic assignments. In other words, it is somewhat difficult to maintain an off-campus job due to the academic course load. Most students who work part-time will utilize the Federal Work-Study Program, and MCO's campus employment program. This allows eligible students to be employed on campus (usually between 5 to 10 hours per week).

Will I have time for my family/personal life? Enrollment in the optometry program is a commitment. Students are usually on campus early morning through middle afternoon. So, one can compare it to a full-time job. MCO students do find time to participate in a variety of activities, and be with their families. Our students have to budget time wisely, but are able to thrive academically while enjoying their family/personal life.

What activities are available to students at MCO?  MCO students actively participate in the life of the College. Approximately 98% of the MCO students are active members in at least one student organization.

The FSU Student Government takes a leading role at the university by recommending policies and coordinating many of the academic, service, and social events on campus. The student government oversees an extensive intramural program open to all students, spouses, faculty and staff. Intramural sports include basketball, softball, golf, flag football, racquetball, volleyball, etc.

The following is a list of the registered student organizations at MCO:

  • OSG (Optometry Student Government)
  • AOSA (American Optometric Student Association)
  • MOSA (Michigan Optometric Student Association)
  • SVOSH (Student Volunteers for Optometric Services to Humanity)
  • FCO (Fellowship of Christian Optometrists)

MCO students may also join any FSU organizations that are not listed here.

International Applicants

Are courses from Canadian universities accepted?  Yes.

Are courses from other international universities accepted?  Applicants who have completed courses at an international university must submit their transcripts to the Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) for a “course by course” evaluation. Refer to Advanced Standing for Graduates.

If English is my second language, do I need to take the TOEFL? (Test of English as a Foreign Language)  Yes, or provide proof that you have completed a college level English course from a U.S. college or university.

Is financial aid available for International students?  No.