MCO 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 the MCO. For example, an applicant would apply for Early Admissions Program in the spring by April 1, 2021 for the class that starts in the fall of 2022. The applicant would be notified 16 months prior to the class start date in the fall of 2022 that they have a seat in that class. About 5%-10% of the 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 (2021-2022).

Pre-requisite Courses and Other Requirements for Early Admissions

  • 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 course with laboratory (CHEM 321)
    • Biochemistry, one course (CHEM 364)   Note:  MCO does not accept Essential, Brief, or Fundamentals of Biochemistry courses.  Students should take a more advanced biochemistry course instead.  Please contact the MCO admissions office for guidance at 231-591-3703 or [email protected]"
    • 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)
    • General psychology, one course (PSYC 150)
    • English/Composition, one year (ENGL 150, ENGL 250)
    • Humanities/Cultural Enrichment, 9 semester hours (Humanities includes: Cultural Enrichment , Art, Drama, Foreign Language, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Theology)
    • Behavioral Science/Social Awareness, 6 semester hours in addition to the general psychology course above. (Behavioral Sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, and Sociology)
    • Those lacking a bachelor's degree may choose to complete the B.S. in Vision Science degree by successfully completing the first year of the OD curriculum at MCO.  In addition to the general pre-optometry admission requirements listed above, students seeking the BSVS are also required to complete an Advanced English / Writing course (ENG 321) as well as a Speech course (COM 121) and a 200 level or higher course as a part of the required semester hours in each of Humanities/Cultural Enrichment and Behavioral Science.
  • 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 Admissions Program

  • Complete and submit an Early Admissions Application to the 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 the MCO (if already taken). Please visit for OAT information.
  • Submit official college transcripts from each institution attended. Request that your Registrar’s office send all official college transcripts directly to the 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 the 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 the 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 a 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 Admissions 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 Early 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 Admissions Program is still encouraged to participate in the 3+4 Admissions Program or the Regular Admissions Program without penalty.