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College of Arts & Sciences

Optometry (Pre)

Why choose pre-optometry at North Central College?

Admission to optometry schools is very competitive. Only one in three applicants is accepted. Your well-rounded liberal arts education and bachelor’s degree from North Central College can make the difference to gain admission to the school of your choice.

Optometrists must be good communicators to work with patients, and at North Central you’ll gain the writing and communication skills you’ll need to be prepared for graduate school and as a doctor of eye care. You’ll have opportunities to job shadow alumni who are doctors of optometry. You’ll personally get to know professors who will write letters of recommendation for you when you apply to graduate schools, and you’ll gain a solid understanding of biology, chemistry and other areas of study.

You can also:

  • Conduct research on your own, with peers or a faculty member during North Central’s Summer Undergraduate Research Colloquium and present your findings at the Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research or the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
  • Pursue research interests anywhere in the world by applying for a Richter Grant.
  • Network with alumni and peers through North Central’s student-run Pre-Health Organization.
  • Work with North Central’s dedicated pre-health advisor.

Pre-Optometry Opportunities

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Graduate Schools

Graduates have been accepted at:

  • Illinois College of Optometry
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • University of Missouri at St. Louis


Graduates include:

  • Optometrist, Malbar Vision Centers, Omaha, NE
  • Optometrist, Danada Vision Center, Wheaton, IL
  • Optometrist, Advanced Eyecare and Laser Center, Wheaton, IL

What major should I choose at North Central College?
A degree in Biology or Biochemistry is recommended unless you have a strong interest in another major.  Regardless of your major, optometry programs require a set of prerequisite courses (see list below).  

Will I need graduate education?
Yes, after earning your bachelor’s degree at North Central becoming an optometrist requires an additional four years of optometry school that focuses on biomedical sciences, high-level ophthalmic studies, and clinical education leading to the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. The average GPA for students accepted to optometry school is about 3.4 or higher.

What prerequisite courses do optometry schools require?
Minimum course requirements for optometry school admission are:

  • General Biology with lab 
  • General Chemistry with lab 
  • Organic Chemistry with lab 
  • Physics with lab
  • Microbiology
  • Calculus
  • Psychology 

Many optometry schools also require or recommend:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

What else should I consider?
While a student at North Central, you will participate in activities that will help you develop into a competitive applicant for optometry school. These include: observing in the optometry field to demonstrate that you realize how an optometrist works and are comfortable in a clinical environment; research experience to understand how new knowledge is generated; leadership activities like lab assistant, serving as an officer in a student organization, or tutoring; and, a commitment to others demonstrated through volunteer service. The Pre-Professional Health Program Coordinator will guide you in these activities, connect you with alum that have pursued this path, and advise you throughout the application process to optometry schools.

Invest in your future

Choosing the right college is a big decision. Don’t make it alone. North Central’s admission and financial aid team is here to help you design a financial aid solution that works best for you and your family.

Merit scholarships, grants, loans, campus employment - these are just some of the resources available to you. Over 95 percent of students and 100 percent of all eligible students receive aid. Let our team partner with you in finding the best value for your education.

Learn more about financial aid and costs for North Central College

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