Letters of Evaluation
The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (OptomCAS) allows for up to four letters of evaluation to be electronically submitted. You should familiarize yourself with the types of letters of evaluation each optometry school requires well before you head into the application cycle. If there are strong preferences of types of letters, it will be indicated. If the school does not give any guidance about the letters they expect, the "model" typically followed by our successful applicants is two hard science professors, one optometrist and another “professional” reference.
As of January 2016, the Pre-Health Advising Office will no longer serve as a repository/submission service for letters of evaluation to optometry school. The absence of a "committee" or "pre-opt" letter will not adversely affect your application.
Who should I ask for a letter?
Individual optometry schools are quite specific in the types of letters of evaluation they expect from applicants. Therefore, it is important for you to be selective in who you ask to submit letters on your behalf.
You will submit a maximum of four letters of evaluation. Two should come from faculty members that you have taken hard science courses with and one should come from an optometrist with whom you have shadowed or volunteered. The Pre-Health Advising Office also recommends that for the fourth letter, to choose someone you may have worked closely with (for instance, as part of your double major, minor, or certificate program), research mentor, other optometrists or healthcare professionals you have shadowed under, or supervisors from any jobs you have held while an undergraduate.
How should I ask for a letter?
When asking for a letter of evaluation, it is important to do so in person. Emailing
or calling to set up a meeting or appointment is acceptable but the request should
be face to face. Further, you should schedule an appointment with each of your evaluators
by early Spring (no later than May) of the year you wish to apply to optometry school.
Due to the size of UGA, it can be difficult to generate 2-3 strong letters from college faculty who know you very well and can offer significant insight into your character traits and capacity for entering the profession of optometry. Therefore, it is important to provide your evaluators with as much information as possible:
- Recent copy of your resume (with picture)
- Detailed instructions for how the letter should be submitted (OptomCAS)
- Brief statement of your educational goals
- Rough draft of your OptomCAS personal statement
- Guidelines for how to write a letter of evaluation
Note: Always waive your right to view your letters of evaluation.
How do I submit my letters of evaluation?
You will need to send your letter requests through the OptomCAS application service so that your evaluators will be able to directly upload their letters into the application system. When you submit the name and pertinent information of each of your evaluators into their OptomCAS application, the OptomCAS “Messenger” will send that evaluator an email to the email address provided by you giving a link into your application and a password. Keep in mind that OptomCAS application does not open until early July and will not keep your letters for the next application cycle.