Pre-Optometry Timeline of Activities

Freshman Year

  • Establish strong study skills. Academics must come first!
  • Become familiar with the university and all of the resources available to you.
  • Evaluate your interests and think about the major(s) that you may wish to consider. (Meeting with a Career Counselor may be helpful.)
  • Consider joining the Student Association for Pre-Professional Health Students (SAPP). See advisor for details.
  • Meet with the Pre-Optometry Advisor at least once per semester.
  • Stay focused. Poor performance during freshman year will come back to "haunt" you academically.
  • Consider health-related volunteer opportunities. Ask advisor about the Prevent Blindness Wisconsin Internship/Volunteer experience.
  • Read extensively in science and non-science areas.

Sophomore Year

  • Maintain academic focus.
  • Meet with the Pre-Optometry Advisor at least once per semester.
  • Participate in the UWM and Prevent Blindness Wisconsin program.
  • Continue involvement with volunteerism and/or SAPP.
  • Research the 17 schools of optometry to identify your schools of interest.
  • Narrow your choice of academic major.
  • Take the time to develop relationships with faculty members.
  • Continue to read extensively.

Junior Year

  • (First semester) Begin to study for the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) exam. The OAT exam is now offered as a traditional paper exam (October/February) and as an online exam that may be taken at any time during the year.
  • Develop and initiate your study plan for the OAT and/or enroll in a commercial OAT prep course if you feel that you would benefit from this experience.
  • (Second semester) Continue to study for the OAT exam.
  • If you have not already done so, begin to identify faculty from whom you will request letters of evaluation.
  • Take the OAT.

Summer between Junior and Senior Year

  • Try to visit optometry schools. Watch for Open House announcements.
  • Work on your personal statement.
  • Most optometry schools have applications for the next cycle available in August. Plan to apply early. Applications are often processed on a "rolling admissions" basis. Do not delay application even though deadlines may range from December 1st through March 15th.

Senior Year

  • After review of your initial application, some optometry schools require a secondary application.
  • Optometry schools will begin interviewing candidates for admission.
  • Finish undergraduate studies.
  • Inform your pre-optometry advisor of your plans for the future!