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Deciding Where to Apply

All optometry schools are unique. They vary in mission, location, size, and countless other variables. Before applying, students should consider their interests, preferred program format, preferred location, and estimated financial aid among many other factors. Deciding which schools to apply to is a very personal decision based on your goals and interests, but there are resources available to help you narrow down your options.

How many schools should I apply to, and what will it cost?

You can apply to as many or as few schools as you’d like, but over the last several years, optometry school aspirants have sent applications to an average of 7 schools through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS). OptomCAS fees are subject to change and can be found on the OptomCAS website. There will be additional costs associated with secondary applications and traveling to your interviews, so it’s a good idea to apply only to schools you would seriously consider attending.

Where to apply

For a list of optometry schools visit the ASCO Member Schools and Colleges.

Out-of-state students

The Regional Contract Program (RCP) is a tuition-savings program offered by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) especially for students in the health professions. It enables qualified students to pursue a first-professional health degree at selected out-of-state institutions, yet pay in-state tuition and fees at public institutions, and reduced tuition at private institutions. Students who are residents of any one of several states that do not have an optometry school may find that their state provides seats at a school in another state for an in-state price. For example, the legislature has provided two (as of this writing) in-state seats at for Georgia residents at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The number of seats may vary as funds are allocated from year to year by the legislature. These seats may be given to the first eligible Georgia residents with completed application, OAT, and interview. Other scholarships seats available at many schools tend to be awarded early in the process as eligible students are accepted for the class. Understanding this process should underscore the importance of an early application.