Throughout this article we’ll feature a few of our second-year students whose mentors or parents have a connection to ICO. If you haven't seen the White Coat livestream and are interested, you can rewatch on our YouTube channel.
As you know, it takes a lot to become an OD. Sometimes even the first step can be challenging. There are so many questions incoming students have.
As you also may know, recruiting students in the current environment has become ever-more challenging. The number of students applying to optometry schools has not significantly increased over the decades, but several new optometry schools have opened. This has led to a glut of schools with few students to fill the seats.
One strategy is to provide more scholarships, but we believe there is another more personal element that will help connect students to ICO. And that’s you.
2nd year student, Rachel Lee, being coated by her mentor Erica Ittner, OD '09
Last year we began surveying students who interviewed with us and a full 63% asked for guidance from an ICO Alum when deciding to interview at ICO. Choosing to commit to ICO and optometry is a momentous decision, and many students need guidance to make sure it is the right decision for them.
2nd year student, Amani Khan, being coated by her parents Ghazala Ali, OD '94 and Ayaz Khan, OD '94.
We have long known that alumni play an elemental role in attracting new students. These are supported by our latest class’ testimonies as well. They committed because “most of my mentors (went) here.” or “After working with multiple ICO graduates, I knew this was the school for me. Hearing about their experiences solidified my decision. . .”
We want to make sure that even more students hear from our phenomenal alumni.
2nd year student, Dayne Crouch, being coated by both his father, Craig Crouch, OD ’90 and grandfather, Don Crouch, OD ’63.
During the past recruitment cycle we implemented a new outreach strategy. We committed to having every student begin their academic career at ICO with an alumni mentor.
This is part of admissions' larger outreach strategy. Every incoming student will have heard from 3-4 ambassadors (faculty, students, and alumni) before entering ICO. By providing an array of perspectives, ICO empowers students to begin their optometric journey with an understanding of why it’s worth pursuing a degree in optometry and why specifically ICO is a good choice for them.
Your perspective matters. We've already seen a positive change in enrollment numbers because of this new strategy. As one current first year said: “When I saw that ICO reached out to me the most out of the other schools (I knew ICO was right for me.)”
2nd year student, Paul DeLakis, being coated by his father Paul DeLakis, OD '88.
Choosing the right optometry school remains one of the most important decisions a prospective student can make. ICO remains a top choice for incoming optometry students. Our student body is becoming more diverse and they want to be able to connect with Alumni who share similar stories to their own. To do that, we also need a diverse alumni ambassador base. These new students want to hear from you and to learn what life is like as an optometrist. The field is expanding at an exciting rate, and we look forward to connecting incoming students with you.
Alumni make our students’ experience so much richer, and we thank each of you who have already participated and we look forward to working with so many more!
For those who haven't yet joined our ambassador program, you can fill out an application here.