Arizona College of Optometry, part of Midwestern University, is one of the youngest optometry programs in the country. With the first class graduating this past May, the program is still very much in a developmental phase, but this is a reason why many of our students chose AZCOPT. Such a new program has a lot to offer students – the enthusiastic and excited faculty is a major draw. Due to the newness of AZCOPT, our faculty is still forming their curriculum and learning from the students just as we are learning from them.
All of Midwestern University offers an open door policy, so our faculty is not only very interested in helping us inside the classroom, but also very approachable and inviting outside class as well. A survey of our three classes currently on campus (2015, 2016, and 2017) showed that this was one of the most popular reasons why our students chose AZCOPT.
From day one, our wonderful Dean Dr. Donald Jarnagin was right there making sure he knew us all by first name and making us feel at home. Our small class size (averaging around 50-55 students) is also very appealing and gets each and every student connected in the AZCOPT community. Everyone has an opportunity to hold a leadership position of some type if they want to either in our SGA, AOSA, or our many clubs. Another advantage of a new program is the flexibility to create a club if it’s not already represented, so you can even make your own leadership position!
Along with our new program came a new technologically advanced clinic, containing equipment that is on the cutting edge of the optometric industry! We have just about every specialty area you can think of, including an electrodiagnostics lab and a prosthetics lab. In fact, our prosthetics lab is lead by one of the top prosthetics specialists in the country, Dr. Sunny Sanders, who is also our Academic Dean. Dr. Sanders is one of our greatest resources at AZCOPT due to her incredibly diverse background in optometry.
Being part of Midwestern University is also an overwhelming reason why our students chose AZCOPT. Midwestern University is an institution exclusively dedicated to the education of health professionals, offering every program a chance to get to know about the others, particularly with respect to professional development. This makes for a much more medically based and interdisciplinary education for each of the programs offered here, which include dentistry, pharmacy, osteopathic medicine and physicians assistant, just to name a few. Midwestern has created a medical community beginning at the educational level and a chance for all of the students to become comfortable interacting with those outside of our own profession.
Arizona is also a wonderful place to go to school. Being from New Jersey myself, walking around a college campus in the rain, snow, and ice was not fun. In the Phoenix area, not only do we not have to worry about rain, but the coldest (and I use that term loosely) it has been during the day during the year I have been here was 65 degrees, and that was in January! Having sunny, warm weather to wake up to just about every day is much more conducive to getting out of bed. However, if you are looking for some cold and snow, drive about two hours north and you can go skiing in Flagstaff! There are so many natural wonders in Arizona, such as Sedona’s incredible rock formations, the petrified forest in Northeast AZ, and, oh right, the Grand Canyon! Only about a 4-6 hour drive from Las Vegas, LA, and Santa Fe, if you manage to get bored of AZ, there are many places to easily escape to. Arizona is such an interesting and different place, I am very glad I will have a few years to explore it and everything around it.
The greater Phoenix area is still up and coming itself so it always has new and exciting things to do (when you find some free time). There are some wonderful outdoor activities that you can do year round (see above, the weather is great!), pretty much any sport you want to watch within a twenty-five minute drive of our campus, some of the best golfing in the country, great restaurants with something for everyone, and lots of free or low-cost events to attend almost every weekend. Oh, and did I mention the incredible shopping?! We hope you come and check us out sometime! I guarantee you will enjoy it!