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MCO Early Admissions Program

The Michigan College of Optometry offers Ferris State University pre-optometry students pre-admission into the MCO doctoral program. This Early Admissions Program guarantees a seat in the class in which they are eligible to enter if the conditions listed below are met. Students that use this option for admissions will still need to accomplish an OptomCAS application for the year that they enter optometry school.

  • Students who have enrolled full-time or for more than one semester at Ferris State University beyond their high school graduation
  • Excludes students who prefer the MCO Regular Admissions Program or who prefer to follow the regular timeline for the 3+4 Admissions Program
  • Commit to the MCO 3+4 Admissions Program and maintain enrollment at Ferris State University in good standing
  • Possess and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5
  • Complete the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) achieving a composite score of at least 310 before July 1 of the year prior to your doctoral admissions date
  • Spend at least a total of 20 hours working, visiting or volunteering in the office of an optometrist prior to your doctoral admissions date
  • Pre-optometry students at other universities or completing prerequisites elsewhere, interested in the Early Admissions Program, please contact Dr. Jim Miller at 231-591-2191.

Pre-requisite Courses for Early Admissions

Complete the below 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 324 or 364)
    • 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 (no more than five semester hours can be in music, studio arts or theater activities). Choose three cultural enrichment courses, with at least one course at the 200-level or higher. (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. Choose two social awareness courses, in at least two different subject areas.  One of the courses must be at the 200-level or higher. (Behavioral Sciences include: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, 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 (ENGL 321) as well as a Speech course (COMM 121).

Process for the Early Admissions Program

Application files must be completed and received with the required items listed below by April 1 (excluding OAT results)

Submit the requested information below to [email protected] or by mail to:

Michigan College of Optometry
Office of Admissions
1124 S. State Street, Room 236
Big Rapids, MI  49307
  • First complete and submit an Early Admissions Application to the MCO by April 1 no earlier than after your first fall semester at FSU.  This initiates a file for the documents below.
  • If any coursework has been completed at another institution other than FSU, submit official college transcripts from each institution attended. Request that their Registrar’s office send all official college transcripts directly to the contact information above.
  • Submit official high school transcripts. Request that your high school send the official high school transcript directly to the contact information above.
  • Submit the report of your SAT and/or ACT scores.
  • 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.
  • Request that your OAT results be sent to the MCO before July 1 of the year prior to your doctoral admissions date. Please visit for OAT information.
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. They will also be required to complete an application through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) during the application cycle prior to matriculation at MCO. 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.