While the pre-optometry program at Calvin College is small, graduating 1 or 2 students a year, it is highly successful. In the past ten years 92% of pre-optometry graduates of Calvin have been accepted to optometry school. The biology department at Calvin enjoys a close relationship with the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI and with the Indiana University School of Optometry, which has an excellent eye research program.
High school students considering a career in optometry should have a strong background in mathematics and science, including high school physics.
Students wishing to become optometrists complete optometry prerequisites at Calvin before entering optometry school to complete four additional years of study culminating in the Doctor of Optometry (O. D.) degree. Requirements of the optometry schools vary, but all require the following:
8 semester hours general biology
4 semester hours microbiology
8 semester hours general chemistry
4-10 semester hours organic chemistry
8 semester hours physics
4 semester hours calculus
4 semester hours statistics
6 semester hours English
3-6 semester hours social science
Many schools also recommend physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, and a business or economics course. Most students complete these courses in the context of a biology or biochemistry major.
You should consult the website of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and work with the pre-optometry advisor, John Ubels, to plan a course of study that meets the requirements of the optometry schools to which they intend to apply. All applicants to optometry school are required to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), which is given on computer and may be taken at any time. Most students take the OAT after completion of the junior year of college. Application deadlines at the various optometry schools range from January 1 to April 1.