Frequently Asked Questions
What degrees are awarded by ICO?
ICO awards the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD) and Bachelor of Science in Visual Science (BSVS).
What is the Bachelor of Science in Visual Science (BSVS) degree?
The BSVS degree is available only to those students who entered ICO without a bachelor’s degree. However, the BSVS Degree is not a terminal degree and does not connote graduation from the Illinois College of Optometry. The degree is only awarded with the Doctor of Optometry degree at Commencement, and it requires an application available from the Registrar’s Office. The BSVS degree includes humanities, social studies, and human-related biological sciences courses taken at the undergraduate level in combination with courses taken within the ICO curriculum. More details regarding eligibility are available on the application and within the Student Guide.
Does ICO have any dual degree programs with any undergraduate institution?
ICO has four articulation agreements (3+4 programs) with schools in the state: one with our neighbor, the Illinois Institute of Technology; one with Augustana College; one with Knox College; and one with Wisconsin Lutheran College. These programs are in place to assist students who know they want to go into optometry upon entering undergrad. Students must complete three years of rigorous coursework at these schools, as well as meet additional performance criteria, before starting at ICO.
Prospective students are encouraged to speak with IIT, Augustana, Knox, or Wisconsin Lutheran College about these programs. Applicants are required to complete the regular admissions process at ICO. In the event you do not qualify for the 3+4 Program, you may certainly still apply for general admission to ICO after either three or four years of undergraduate credits.
What are the functional standards for optometric education?
These standards were established by ASCO as a way to provide guidance to those considering optometry as a profession. Specifically, these require that students possess appropriate abilities in the following areas: observation; communication; sensory and motor coordination; intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; and behavioral and social attributes. The ability to meet these standards is necessary for admission.
What is ICO looking for in a candidate?
The admissions committee will evaluate your application from all aspects. Your overall GPA will be considered, as well as your science/math GPA. Please note that the admissions committee will also examine any patterns in your grades. Also considered in the process is your OAT score. There is not a particular weight assigned to GPA and OAT scores in the admissions process; both are considered and the committee attempts to understand how they relate to each other and what they indicate in terms of the candidate’s potential for success at ICO. In addition to the “numbers-side” of your application, the committee is also looking for applicants who have researched the field, are highly motivated, and confident that optometry is the career they want to pursue.
After I submit my OptomCAS application, when will I hear from the ICO Office of Admissions?
It takes approximately 3-4 weeks from the date we receive your entire OptomCAS Application (which includes your form, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) and ICO Supplemental Application (which includes your form, fee, and pre-optometry coursework sheet).
For comprehensive information on application requirements and deadlines, please check out this page.
How safe is the area surrounding the school?
ICO’s neighbor immediately to the west is IIT, so there are lots of students in the neighborhood. We have a College Security Force, which is staffed by professional officers with considerable experience in law enforcement who are on duty 24/7. Closed circuit TV monitors are used for surveillance of parking areas and the surrounding property. IIT also has security that patrols the area and there is a police station close by with which we have an excellent relationship.
Like any urban environment, everyone must make common sense decisions when living in a city. Please give us a call if this is something you would like to learn more about and we will send you a copy of our Campus Security Report.
When can I expect to receive housing information?
Admissions will email the class when the housing application becomes available (usually in early spring). Housing for first year students is guaranteed as long as the RC Contract is submitted by the deadline. If your email changes between now and then, please contact our office as soon as you have a new email address.
How do I notify the school of my religious observances?
Requests for accommodations due to religious observances should be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Academic Administration and Registrar within the first week of the Fall quarter of the first professional year. A letter must be provided by a religious leader (pastor, rabbi, priest, etc.) indicating your religious affiliation and describing your observance. ICO will make every effort to provide fair and equitable accommodations. As a health care educational institution that provides visual care for our patients seven days a week, it is inevitable that students should expect quarter(s) with weekend requirements, thus the need for this notification for such consideration well in advance.
What is the retention rate at ICO?
*Includes students who completed all graduation requirements in the same calendar year as the end of their fourth year.