Well, I haven’t really posted much in a very long time. I have been working on putting some stuff together for a mock interview day that we are going to be having with our Pre-Optometry Club after Spring Break, so I thought I would put it up here for anyone who is interested. Most of the questions just came from various websites, but some I remember them asking in my own interview. I also put some tips at the end to hopefully help some people out. Good luck to any of you who will be starting the exciting process of getting into optometry school soon! I know that with the semester’s end coming up much faster than most of us planned, the daunting OAT is coming up fast for some of you!
Mock Interview Sample Questions
- What got you interested in optometry?
- What is your overall goal with optometry?
- How did you prepare for the OAT?
- How do you connect with the mission statement of our school?
- What is something you have learned during your time at Missouri State?
- Why do you want to be an optometrist?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are some of your strengths?
- What are some areas you would like to improve on?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Tell me about some of your volunteer experiences. What would you say impacted you the most?
- Tell me about some of your extra-curricular involvement.
- What are some of you hobbies/stress-relievers?
- Who is the most influential person in your life?
- What course did you find to be the most challenging in your undergraduate career?
- What do you think being an optometrist entails, outside of just seeing patients?
- What makes a good optometrist?
- What optometry procedures have you seen in your shadowing experience?
- What did you like/dislike about some of the places that you shadowed?
- What kind of learning style do you have and how can you use that to be successful in optometry school?
- What do you think is the most pressing issue in optometry today?
- What are the responsibilities of an optometrist to his or her patients?
- What do you think of the current state of healthcare in the United States?
Tips for a Successful Interview
- Do your research. Look at any material you have from the school, check out their website, and talk to anyone you might know who goes there. This will help you get a feel for the school, as well as give you some things to talk about when they ask you why you want to go there. See what classes are going to interest you in their curriculum so that you can talk about that if they ask. If you can get any information on the people you will be interviewing with that can be helpful too because it will help you connect with them.
- Look over sample questions and think about how you would answer them in advance. Don’t try to wing the interview because this is the time when the school gets a real first impression of you. An optometrist doesn’t just need to be smart, they need to be personable as well.
- Dress appropriately. Guys usually wear suits or at least slacks and a tie. Girls should wear something modest and professional.
- Be yourself. It’s normal to have anxiety, but try not to stress out so much that you aren’t able to share your real personality with the interviewers. They want to see that you are going to be a pleasant student and that you are going to fit in well with their staff and student body.
- Make sure you have some questions to ask the interviewers as well. They will most likely give you a few minutes at the end to ask them any questions that you might have. This could be really awkward if you don’t have anything to ask. This is where knowing a little bit about the school and interviewers can really come in handy. Maybe you saw a certain class or organization that you are interested and can ask how to get involved with it. Maybe there’s another school you’re looking into that offers something not advertised by this school and you want to know if they have it too. Even if it’s just a little question, it shows the interviewers that you have done your research and really are interested in their school.
6. Follow up. Whether it’s sending a thank you card to your interviewers for the opportunity, or just emailing someone who works in student services, make sure they remember who you are and know that you are still interested in the school after the tour/interview experience.
Also, here’s a handy notes form I found that you can use to think of some of your own questions for the interviewers: Interview notes form
I have some exciting news: I GOT ACCEPTED INTO OPTOMETRY SCHOOL!!! I had my interview at the University of Missouri St. Louis on Friday, and I got an email offering me admittance the same day. I am so excited to embark on this journey! I still can’t believe that this is finally happening. I have been preparing for so long. The interview process was actually really fun too. We got to meet current students and throw all of our billions of questions about optometry school, UMSL, St. Louis, and themselves at them. They were all so friendly and welcoming, and they were more than happy to share all of their experience and knowledge with us. The interview was pretty relaxed too. It was just a really natural conversation about myself and why I wanted to be an optometrist really. Anyways, I’m just really excited to start school next year!
So the OptomCAS for the 2015-2016 application cycle opened up July 1st and I’ve been working on it for the past two weeks or so. I just wanted to make a quick post with some tips while they were fresh in my mind. It’s a pretty lengthy process, but I did a few things that saved me a lot of hassle.
First of all, have your unofficial transcript in front of you when you sit down to put all of your classes in. It makes it so much easier to glance down at a paper than to keep clicking back and forth on your computer and scrolling all around. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but it kind of took forever.
Secondly, write your personal statement before the application even opens. The prompt doesn’t really change much from year to year. Basically tell the schools you’re applying to why in the world you want to be an optometrist. Try to avoid being too cliche because they are reading hundreds and hundreds of these things and you want to stand out. I really hope this isn’t the first time that you’ve stopped to think about why you want to do this, so it shouldn’t be as intimidating as it sounds. Also, the essay is limited to 4,500 characters and spaces count! One of my biggest challenges has been cutting mine down because I am not a concise writer at all. I like long sentences with lots of words. It’s just the way I talk and write.
Finally, start identifying who you might ask for a letter of recommendation months before you start the application. It’s good to give them a head’s up because you can’t submit/finalize your application until all of them have been sent in. It also gives you an option to give them a deadline, which I found most of the people I asked to evaluate me wanted. It gave them some sort of timeline for when to have it done.
1. Use your unofficial transcript to fill in your classes.
2. Get that personal statement out of the way so you have plenty of time to edit it. (Also, shout out to everyone who has helped me cut mine down!!)
3. Figure out who you want to write those letters of rec and ask them early.
Hope this helps!
Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend a workshop at the University of Missouri St. Louis College of Optometry. It was so cool! They took us on a tour of the school, showed us the labs, and even talked to us about OptomCAS and financial aid. I didn’t expect to like the school as much as I did. I think what really made the difference for me was meeting the people there. They were all so nice and so passionate about optometry! We were able to speak to a panel of teachers there and they were all so funny and intelligent. It was a really warm, supportive atmosphere. I wasn’t really expecting to see that at a professional school.
St. Louis was also really cool! I was only there for two days, and my boyfriend came with me. We were able to do so much in such a short amount of time. After the workshop we went to dinner On The Hill, which is basically a tiny Italian neighborhood with a bunch of amazing food! After that we went and explored Forest Park for a while, which is just a huge park that is really beautiful.
The next day we went to the St. Louis Zoo, which is so cool and, bonus, it’s free! After that we were feeling adventurous so we went to Six Flags St. Louis and had a blast! We were exhausted after that day. We walked over 10 miles and didn’t even realize it because we were having so much fun!
It was such a great experience! UMSL wasn’t my first choice, but after our visit I think it won over the top spot. I still plan on visiting at least one other school, but it will have to be pretty incredible if it’s going to beat out UMSL. If you are trying to decide where to apply to, I highly recommend checking it out. They have workshops all throughout the year that are free to attend. Just check out their website (http://www.umsl.edu/~optomety/) or shoot them an email. They are always quick to respond and help out. Good luck on your search for the perfect school everyone!
I just wanted to send out a bit of a personal update tonight. I took my OAT this morning and did much better than I expected to. I am humbled by the amazing number of people who texted me, sent me encouragement on Facebook, and lifted me up in prayer. It’s so great to have the test over with and to feel good about my score.
That being said, here’s how I studied and what I would recommend. First of all I would like to remind you that there’s no one recipe for success. Each person is coming at the OAT with different background knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Find what works for YOU! I used some of the Kaplan resources and some of the Princeton Review resources. If you are a student who struggles a lot or who has a lot of test anxiety, then I think the online resources are the way to go. They are more interactive and since the real test is taken on a computer it prepares you for that experience a little better. Keep in mind though that these resources are very expensive. If you are a really strong student I don’t really think they’re worth the investment unless you can share with someone else. I found that the Kaplan flash cards were an excellent tool. I could have my friends and family quiz me every now and then and it helped break up the monotony of reading through countless reviews of information. The Princeton Review book came with some online Quick Reviews that were really helpful too.
Kaplan offers free practice tests and OAT bootcamps throughout the year too. Those are a great way to gauge where you’re at and learn a few tricks for free if money is tight. You can find all of the information for those at Kaptest.com.
One more small thing I did was buy a small dry erase board to practice on. I used that because on test day they give you marker boards instead of scratch paper and a pencil.
If any of you have questions on studying or OAT prep feel free to contact me or let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!