We’ve finally made it to the summer months in the year preceding optometry school! We’ve been counting down from a year until optometry school begins, to months, and now to just weeks and days before it begins!
Here are 5 things to remember to do before you start school:
1. Finalize your transcripts.
First, make sure you have completed all the prerequisite courses required by your optometry school. Some students will need to take one last summer class to complete their final prerequisite course before optometry school begins in August. Be sure to submit the transcript showing the successful completion of the summer class to your optometry school ASAP. Also, be sure to send your final degree conferred transcript from your undergraduate institution when it becomes available. If necessary, follow up with your optometry school to confirm the receipt of these transcripts. Sometimes paperwork gets lost in the shuffle, and you don’t want any complications when you arrive to school in August!
2. Finalize financial aid/loans.
You completed your FAFSA a few months back, sometime around February, and now you’ll finally receive your financial aid award. The financial aid timeline varies by school, so follow the instructions given by your optometry school on how and when to accept your financial aid award. Budgeting out your first year of optometry school is a challenge. The upperclassmen strongly advise incoming first year students not to take out more loans than necessary.
3. Sign up for orientation week activities.
Find out what your school offers during orientation week and sign up for as many activities as you can to get to know your future classmates. If your school doesn’t offer any social activities during
orientation week (or even if it does), work with upperclassmen and other new students to plan a fun gathering to meet other students outside of the academic setting. Some of my classmates and I are planning to run a 5k after the first week of school, and other classmates are making plans to attend a
concert. There are so many opportunities to find fun activities in your new city!
4. Move into your apartment and explore the new area.
If you are able to move into your new apartment a few weeks or days before school starts, you may like to check out grocery stores near your apartment and also practice your commute to school. Depending on how far away “home” is, you may need to look for a new bank or doctor closer to school. Update your car and health insurance if necessary. Anything you can accomplish before school starts will help to make your transition smoother.
5. Enjoy your free time before school starts! The next 4 years will be very busy, so make the most of any time you have to relax with family and friends this summer.
This article completes my “Eying the Future” series. Glance through Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series if you haven’t already. I hope that some of my experiences will give you an idea of what to expect in the year preceding optometry school. It is a busy and exciting time for all of us. I am eager to begin my journey as an optometry student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, and will continue to share my experiences as a first year optometry student on OptometryStudents.com.