It's important to gain experience working with optometrists and patients. Both the range and the depth of your experiences are important.
You can begin with your own optometrist or by searching for optometrists in the area, and arranging to interview them, asking them what they do, what they like about their jobs, what they don't like about their jobs, what advice they have for people interested in entering the profession, and making arrangements to shadow for a few days.
Most of our candidates gain more substantial experience by working as an assistant in a optometry office or optical dispensary. The University Career Center can help you put together a resume. Then, search for all the local offices. Introduce yourself, and leave a resume that they can keep on file. Check back every semester or so, to update your resume, and let them know you're still interested in a position.Introduce yourself, and leave a resume that they can keep on file. The Pre-Optometry Club has also been a very helpful network for learning about job opportunities.
To find out more about local volunteer programs, you can contact:
- KU Center for Community Outreach
- KU Center for Civic and Social Responsibility
- Volunteer Douglas County
In addition to optometry experiences, some schools emphasize a demonstrated commitment to social service. Many of our pre-optometry students, for example, volunteer as readers for the Audio-Reader Program.
Optometry is an applied science, and it's helpful to know how this knowledge is developed. Working on a research project is also a good way to earn a substantial recommendation letter from a faculty member who knows you well. Most students volunteer their help, some earn directed study credit, and a very few are paid for their assistance. To get involved, you can start at the Center for Undergraduate Research.
When you apply, it will be important to fully describe your activities. So, I suggest keeping a log of your hours, activities and thoughts about the profession!