Pre-Health career pathways

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Pre-Optometry pathway

Pre-Optometry PathwayPre-health advising

You are encouraged to meet with a pre-health advisor at least once a semester to discuss options for careers in medicine, opportunities to gain relevant experience, discussing best time to apply, Preparation for the MCAT, the AACOMAS application, and much more. For more information, schedule an appointment with your advisor.


Partnerships/Priority Consideration/Pipeline Programs

Four-year plan

College year 1


  • Maintain a strong GPA and focus on coursework. 
  • To be competitive, students typically maintain at least a 3.7 science and overall GPA. 
  • Make an appointment with a pre-health advisor to introduce yourself and attend the ASU Pre-Health Fair. 
  • Begin to get involved with clubs and student organizations. 
  • Begin volunteering and gaining clinical experience.



College year 2


  • While maintaining a high GPA, look into opportunities for research and clinical experience. 
  • Shadow and observe a practicing optometrist (OD), as a letter of reference from an optometrist will be needed during the application process.
  • Build relationships with professors and professionals as they may become letter writers (3 letters recommended).
  • Attend pre-health meetings, events, and ASU Pre-health Fair.
  • Begin to look into preparing for the OAT (Studying and Registration). 
  • Meet with your pre-health advisor.

Clinical experience

Leadership and community service 

Study abroad

Explore schools 

Grade point average   

  • OptomCAS GPA Guidelines
    • OptomCAS will calculate numerous GPAs.  There will be a running total GPA for each academic year that will add all coursework together for an overall total GPA.  The GPAs that will be calculated are undergraduate, overall, post baccalaureate, graduate, and GPAs by course subject.

Grade repeat policy at ASU

College year 3


  • Maintain a high GPA and stay involved with campus clubs/organizations, volunteer opportunities, and clinical experience.
  • Calculate your science and overall GPA to determine your competitiveness.
  • Begin an internship and start prepping for the OAT (take the OAT by spring of Junior year).
  • Apply through OptomCAS one year prior to when you plan to matriculate.
    • The application usually opens around the end of June.
    • Optometry schools will then send supplementary applications.
    • It is important that you are aware of deadlines and complete the supplemental in a timely matter.   



Prepare and register for the OAT exam.


Take the OAT exam, begin to gather letters of recommendation (can submit up to 4).


OptomCAS will open at the end of June for applicants to submit.


You may start receiving supplemental applications or be invited to interview during this time. Please be aware that schools will have individual deadlines.


Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

Test preparation


Personal statement

  • OptomCAS Guidelines
    • 4,500 characters long.
    • Draft by May of junior year (the year prior to matriculation into medical school).
    • Review of personal statement offered by Pre-Health Office.

Letters of recommendation (LOR)  

Identify people who know you well and can firmly comment on your ability as an optometry student and future optometrist. Optometry programs may favor having at least 1 letter of recommendation from a practicing optometrist (OD).  OptomCAS will allow for up to 4 letters of recommendation to be submitted. Ask in advance and give your letter writers sufficient time to complete and submit.  Also, remember to stay in touch with letter writers who you may also ask in the future!  

Types of letters

  • 1 STEM faculty
  • 1 Practicing OD
  • 1 Other (STEM faculty, non-STEM faculty, employer, advisor, supervisor, community mentor)

After you submit your OptomCAS

After optometry schools have received your primary AACOMAS application, they may invite you to complete a secondary or supplemental application.  It is important that you are aware of deadlines, complete and submit supplemental applications as soon as possible.

Mock interviews

  • Schedule a mock interview with the pre-health office your senior year

College year 4


  • Meet with your pre-health advisor to prepare for interviews. 
  • If waitlisted or rejected, explore post-baccalaureate options or consider taking a gap year.

Post-bac programs