Loyola University Maryland

Pre-Health Program


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There are 16 schools of optometry in the United States. Optometry refers to the care and treatment of the eyes.

If you plan to apply to a school of optometry, you will need to do the following during your junior year: take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT), obtain strong letters of recommendation, write your personal essay and submit a separate application for each school you are applying to.

Admission Examination (OAT)

Optometry schools require applicants to take the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). It is offered via computer at various testing sites. The exam should be taken the year before beginning optometry school, typically in the junior year.

Letters of Recommendation

Optometry schools also require letters of recommendation. It is important to provide recommendations from both science and non-science professors who can address your ability to read, write, support your ideas, logically draw conclusions and organize your work.

Volunteer or Part-Time Work

It is recommended that you strengthen your application by listing any volunteer or part-time work. Some ideas are to observe an optometrist; volunteer at a hospital or medical clinic; participate in a community activity such as Habitat for Humanity or serve as a committee member on a local club or student organization. Participating in research during the summer is also great exposure and can help you gain valuable experience.


Most optometry schools will interview applicants. Characteristics that interviewers most commonly assess are evidence of extracurricular activities; communication skills; empathy and concern for others; social awareness and self-awareness; and judgment and problem-solving abilities. View information about how to prepare for the interview.