Applying to the United States as an International Optometry Student? Start here!

Paperwork on moving for optometry schoolWe all know that applying to optometry schools is stressful, but that isn’t the most stressful part; the most stressful part is all of the pre-planning you have to do BEFORE you are 100% accepted into the school. Being an international optometry student, I felt that I had a disadvantage as I didn’t know where to start or who to contact. I wanted to have something out there specific to international students applying to optometry schools in the United States.

This is a quick “To Do” list to help you get a basis of what you need while applying to schools and when you get your acceptance letter:

While you are applying:


  • Get your finances in order, that means loans, scholarships, line of credits, parents, banking accounts, etc.


  • What is the transportation like at the school, do you need your vehicle, where is the closest grocery store/coffee shop, etc.


  • If you have not done so already, or you just finished your last year of school, ensure that you get all of your transcripts in order and sent – there is a possibility that you will not be completely enrolled until you do this.


  • Ensure that your passport is up to date and if it is not this should be a high priority on your list.

Side note: I know it is hard to look up all of this stuff when you are not even sure if you’re accepted, but TRUST ME this is half your battle and the sooner you get it done, the less of theCanadian Passportother stuff you will have to worry about…you’ll have more time to have fun and relax!

Once you are accepted:


  • How much is tuition/rent/food/transportation/etc.


  • Are you going to live on-campus, or off-campus, will you have roommates, what is your budget, etc.


  • Schedule these early, you may need multiple boosters which cannot all be taken at the same time.


  • Schedule this after you have your vaccinations accounted for, your doctor will be able to send you for other boosters or blood work required by the school.


  • Have your background check completed – this is usually provided to you by your school.


  • What are you cell plans for your country and for the United States?

I-20 (Canadian)

  • You need this to cross the border, you also need to have a financial statement attached to this.


  • Know how you are getting down to the States, are you flying, driving, etc. and start looking at specifics for your trip.


  • Insurance, this may be different depending on where you are originally from, but the Canadian insurance is about a third of the price in the States.


  • The school may or may not send you more updates about what else you may be required for when you are coming down.

** If you have any questions, contact your international office for your school and they will help to point you in the right direction **

I will be putting up a more detailed article for Canadian students which will outline what I did in detail so keep posted!

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