I had a student reach out to me recently with a 3.1 GPA, and she was worried how that would affect her chances of getting into optometry school.
I understand her concern, and maybe you are feeling the same way. I think it is super common to wish your GPA was better. So I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic.
1. Don’t spend your time worrying, spend your time improving your application // I know this is easier said than done. But what’s done is done. If you have more time in school, try to boost your GPA. If you haven’t taken the OAT yet, put all your energy into CRUSHING it. But at the end of the day, what’s in YOUR control is to do your best going forward.
2. Crush the OAT // In my interview with him, one of the Dean’s called the OAT “the great equalizer.”And you’ve got to see it from the school’s perspective. GPA’s can vary from school to school. But the OAT is standardized across all applicants. I firmly believe that a solid OAT score “overrules” a “weaker” GPA. If you put 2-3 months of solid effort into it, I strongly believe it is possible for most people to score 320+ on the OAT, which I think would get you an interview at quite a few schools.
3. Focus on your top 5 schools // If you look at the statistics on the most recent entering class, you’ll see that GPA and OAT overages vary widely across the different optometry schools. Focus on the top 5 schools you’re going for, and try to get yourself to at least average for those schools (not for every school under the sun). Also, you’ve got to remember, AVERAGE means they do accept a solid chunk of students BELOW these numbers. Of course, you want to give yourself the best chance, but don’t rule yourself out because one of your numbers isn’t where you would like it to be.
In my experience interviewing, your GPA, but more importantly, your OAT score, are thresholds that schools look at for who they’re going to take for an interview. HOWEVER, Once you’re there, personality, confidence, desire to work hard, and maturity matter way more.
You are way more than any number could describe. Don’t be guided by fear of rejection, but by your passion to learn, grow, and one day help patients. There will most certainly be bumps, but everything else will follow 🙂