Admissions FAQ

What undergraduate major do I need to have to apply for optometry school?
SUNY Optometry welcomes applicants from all majors. Our students will typically have graduated with a major in the biological or natural sciences, but that is not a requirement for admission. If you are pursuing a non-science major, you must have fulfilled SUNY Optometry's prerequisite course requirements before enrolling.

Do I need a bachelor’s degree in order to apply?
Although a 4-year baccalaureate degree is highly recommended, students may matriculate after successfully completing 3 years (90 credits from a 4-year college or university) of study.

What is the minimum OAT score for admission?
Although OAT scores play an important role in the admissions process at SUNY Optometry, we look at the applicant’s entire profile (GPA, letters of recommendation, knowledge of the profession, leadership experience, etc.) and do not set a minimum OAT score for admissions. Visit our Applicant Profile Page for more information on the average OAT scores of our first-year class.

Can I take the OAT more than once? Will taking it more than once make me less competitive for admission?
Yes, you can take the OAT more than once. Your highest scores will be taken into consideration.

How long are my OAT scores valid?
Scores older than 2 years by the beginning of the application cycle (July 1) will not be accepted.

Can I take prerequisite courses at community colleges?
Admissions preference is given to applicants who have completed prerequisite courses, especially in the sciences, at 4-year colleges/universities. Community College credit is only accepted for courses completed with a letter grade of B or better. The Admissions Committee encourages candidates who have taken prerequisite courses at 2-year colleges to take upper-division courses in the sciences in 4-year institutions.

Does SUNY accept prerequisite courses taken online?
Although SUNY Optometry accepts certain prerequisites taken online, the following restrictions apply:

  • Prerequisite science courses and lab requirements must be taken in a traditional in-class format.

  • Online prerequisite courses will only be considered from a regionally accredited college or university.

  • SUNY Optometry will only accept online prerequisite courses in the following subject areas: Psychology, Social Sciences and Humanities (one course only), Calculus and Statistics.

Is there a limit to the number of prerequisite courses that I can take at a community college?
SUNY Optometry does not limit the number of courses you can take at community colleges. We do recommend that most of your science prerequisites be taken at a 4-year college/university.

Is there a minimum to the number of hours I should shadow an optometrist?
There is no set amount of time required for your shadowing experience(s). We are more concerned with the quality of your experiences than with quantity. The Admissions Committee is interested in gauging your knowledge regarding the expectations of the profession, your exposure to the different modes of practice and exposure to the different specialties within the field of optometry. We want to make sure that you have done your homework in exploring the profession and that you are confident that optometry is a profession that you are passionate about.

I left school many years ago. Do I need to retake all prerequisite courses again?
No. We typically accept prerequisite courses from students who have graduated years ago. The Admissions Committee is interested in knowing what you have done since you graduated and if you have pursued any other advanced degrees. For those who have been out of school for extended periods of time, we recommend taking upper-level biological science courses again.

How do I know if a course I took counts towards SUNY Optometry's prerequisites?
For a list of commonly accepted substitutions, please visit the Course Requirements Page.  If the course you are referring to is not mentioned on the list, please email a brief course description along with credit hours and course title to admissions@sunyopt.edu.

Does SUNY Optometry accept international students?
SUNY Optometry welcomes applications from out-of-state residents and international students.

Are there special requirements for international students?
In addition to the application requirements for all incoming students, international students need to have their high school and college records evaluated by World Education Services (except applicants attending English-language Canadian universities).  More information is available at World Education Services.

If English is not your first language, you will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if you have been in this country for fewer than 3 years or if the Admissions Committee requires it of you. A score of 81 (iBT) or greater is required. For more information, please visit TOEFL.

Does SUNY Optometry accept Canadian students?
SUNY Optometry welcomes applications from out-of-state residents and international students. On average, 7% of the incoming class is comprised of Canadian students. 

I am a Canadian student and have not taken the SAT or ACT; do I need to take it?
Canadian students who have not taken the SAT or ACT in high school are not required to take it.

Do Canadian students qualify for financial aid?
SUNY Optometry does not offer financial aid for Canadian students. Canadian students applying for financial aid are required to contact the Canadian Student Loan Program directly for information and applications.

Life at SUNY FAQ

Is tutoring available?
The Office for Student Affairs administers a peer program to assist students in their academic studies through individual and group tutorials. Students are urged to seek tutoring as soon as the need is recognized, or if recommended by faculty to do so.

Is counseling available to students?
The Office for Student Affairs is available to all students for personal and academic counseling. An additional referral service is available for particular assistance in the New York City area.

Living in New York City

How will I get around?
Most students leave their cars behind and navigate the city on foot and with the help of hundreds of miles of subways and bus routes that connect every corner of the city. Eighteen of the City’s 24 subway lines are located within a few blocks of the College.

What’s housing like in New York?
SUNY Optometry offers incoming students all of the support they need to find affordable, safe and student-friendly housing. Although SUNY Optometry does not maintain housing facilities, a Student Housing Committee is created every year with the main goal of helping new incoming students with housing arrangements. The Student Housing Committee organizes Housing Day in June, when any student looking for housing is encouraged to visit the College to receive valuable information on how and where to look for housing in the New York City area. During Housing Day, students set their priorities regarding cost, space, distance and area, and the Student Housing Committee assists the students in locating and securing suitable housing to meet students’ specific needs.

Students are also encouraged to look for housing independently through the various private websites provided below:

  • Craigslist:  apartment listings; site popular with students
  • MLX.com: your choice of no-fee or broker-exclusive Manhattan apartments
  • NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center: the official NYC.gov site provides apartment hunting tips, rent regulations and links to help you in your search
  • Rent-Direct:  subscriber service that sends out email alerts and offers live telephone support

The average rent for a student living within walking distance of the College is approximately $1,250 per month. The average rent for a student commuting by subway is around $715 per month.

Is New York safe?
Yes! New York City ranks as one of the safest large cities in the country, and the neighborhoods around the College are some of the safest in the city. Times Square has become a pedestrian- and family-friendly area. A clean and efficient transit system is safe to ride virtually anywhere you want to go.

Are there community service opportunities at SUNY?
Absolutely. Community service is a core value at SUNY. Several student organizations exist to reach out to underserved populations throughout New York City and the world. Students involved in the student Lions Club (Leos) prepare donated lenses for reuse. The College chapter of VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) is active as well.

In 2013, the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists of SUNY organized a mission trip to Oaxaca, one of the poorest, most medically underserved areas in Mexico. The group of 9 students and 2 doctors saw more than 400 patients in the week they were there.

For more information on student organization, please visit Clubs and Student Organizations.