I am here to share a very very special and helpful post with you about interview’s for optometry school.
I was looking through some old files of mind and I found an interesting one. Back in undergrad at SUNY Albany myself and my friend Robert Register created the SUNY Albany Pre-Optometry club that was highly favored by Optometry Schools across the USA and of course by our members. We created a very unique club and generated lots of positive awareness about Optometry. I was very proud to be the vice president for all 3 years and it all kind of hit me when SUNY Albany asked Rob and I if they could interview us for the local papers.
Below is my answers to the questions that the interviewer asked me. I think that any pre-optometry student who reads this can really gain something great from it. It is not my specific answers but my general mind set about the situation. If you want to do good on ANY interview related to Optometry, review the content below and I think you will gain something very special. I gave the same exact answers to the admissions panels at my optometry school interviews when they asked me to describe myself so USE THIS POST as a sample interview for when you are ready for your interview into optometry school.
Also as a side note, we held a Optometry Convention on March 14th in the last few months of our senior year with roughly 60+ guests and several important optometry school individuals like Dr. Johnston from SUNY Optometry and Dr. Walter Potaznick from NECO. So when the interview talks about it you can be familiar with it.
How is it that you both got involved in planning the March 14 conference?
The March 14th conference is a manifestation of our pent up creativity to do something new for the field of optometry. When myself and Rob first created the club 3 years ago we had to start out small, with just 1 or 2 members but we still had dreams of doing something BIG. We wanted to have a massive outreach to pre-optometry students at other schools and also to the doctors that maintain the profession and we have succeeded in doing just that. Being President and Vice President of the club it is our obligation to be true leaders and show other pre-optometrists how to raise the bar and pursue greatness.
What led you to the decision to have this conference?
The decision was solely based on going out with a BANG. We are both graduating in May and it is our responsibility to give back to those who have gotten us so far. Rob called me one day and told me the idea, which originally started small… We talked every day and the conference evolved to what it is now.
Why did you choose to study at UAlbany?
I chose to study at UAlbany because it was known for being a very social school with outgoing people who like to have fun yet earn a degree that has a lot of credibility to it. Getting a degree at UAlbany is not easy and knowing this challenge coming in really lit the fire in my eyes. I was very enthusiastic to know I could get my biology degree at a very competitive university, in a great location, all the while enjoying myself socially and meeting wonderful people of all ages.
How did you find out about the preoptometry program?
There really was no “Pre-Optometry Program” when I came into school; it was more just Optometry as a career possibility. I think that myself and Rob have created an official pre-optometry program by establishing the Pre-Optometry club. I found out about Optometry when I met Dr. Edward Johnston of SUNY Optometry College in NYC. Pre-Health adviser Neilia Campbell told me he was coming in to talk to students so I figured it would be a cool idea. After speaking with Dr. Johnston I was convinced that this career was for me. I remember leaving the office on a nice sunny day with a smile ear to ear.
What are your long-term career goals?
My long-term career goals are constantly expanding and evolving as the days go by. Yet a few of them have stayed pretty cemented since day one. This includes becoming a very knowledgeable eye doctor who can treat any eye conditions with the help of his colleagues, also an Optometry Doctor who expands the career for the better. Yet I may choose to pursue a career in Sports Vision or Pediatrics simply for the love of athletics and children, this being something I can choose once I attend my 4 years in Optometry School. I am a pretty vibrant person and I absolutely love learning and experiencing new things so I think I will be a very dynamic Optometrist with lots of freedom and opportunity to live life to my own design. Overall my career is seated mainly in Optometry and the world of eye care but also I am an entrepreneur who has recently started a website design company with my brother Josh. I believe that my future career & lifestyle will consist of great relationships with knowledgeable people in all walks of life.
If you have had an internship experience working for an optometrist’s office, can you describe what has been compelling or most valuable about that experience?
I have been working at a private practice called Optix Family Eyecare Center under Dr. Joel Kestenbaum who is also my mentor who took me under his wing about 2 years ago. This experience has been absolutely fantastic and I could not be more grateful. Seeing as I learned everything from selling eyewear, vision insurance, patient medical records, Rx’s, and the business model of Optometry there is really nothing missing from the picture. The most valuable aspect has been my one-on-one time with the patients seeing as I “Pre-Test” them, which is basically running simple automated tests on them to check the details of their eye prescription and eye pressure, yet it is during this time that I get to talk with them and learn the most. The entire experience has been so valuable and it has allowed me to think out of the box and push the envelope when it comes to being an innovator in eye care. Along with this I have shadowed roughly 7 Optometry Doctors, one of them in England so I have extensive amounts of experience inside and outside the exam room.
I see this is the first annual conference. Why was it needed and how do you get to optometry school from UAlbany?
I have already been accepted to SUNY Optometry in Manhattan and plan to attend this school in 2009, graduating 4 years later in 2013. I got this far by studying very hard and never doubting myself. I think people overlook how powerful raw confidence is and I would say that above all else it was my high spirits, positive attitude and confidence that got me where I am. I just knew “I am going to be an Optometry Doctor” and all the little loose odds and ends took care of themselves. I didn’t have to micromanage every little detail because getting that stuff done was just the standard necessary to achieve the bigger picture. I definitely worked very, very hard and I do not regret it one bit; it has been an amazing experience. I am proud to say this is the first Optometry Conference of many seeing as myself and Rob are handing out positions over to younger club members, something that hasn’t really been done before. The Optometry Club is here to stay and I hope that future students will attend SUNY Albany because of the one of a kind, Pre-Optometry program that I am so happy to be a part of!
What opportunities has your internship experience or experience in the club or in the pre-optometry program offered you that were not available elsewhere? And how have those opportunities prepared you to enter the next phase of your career?
My experiences during my internship, my experience as Vice President of UA Optometry, and this upcoming Optometry Conference all have something in common; they have saturated me in the world of eye care and it is this stimulation that has allowed to me come up with creative and proactive ideas as to how to benefit myself and the world of eye care. I think that if you are going to pursue ANYTHING in your life you need to give it your 100% effort and not a drop less. Even if you are a bus driver or a garbage man you must perform to the best of your ability, never sweating your job or not giving it your all. It is the people who have a positive attitude on whatever they do that are truly happy, these are the people on their purpose. I figured if I am going to do become an Optometry Doctor I am not going to sit on the sidelines while everyone else innovates and paves the path for the careers future. Once I knew that I was going to be an Optometry Doctor I dove in head first, never looking back, and completely saturating myself in the profession. Full force is my motto!
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