Though optometry school is just the beginning of a career in eyecare, choosing the right school for you is a pivotal decision that can impact not just the course of your next 4 years but your entire approach to patient care.
Prospective students, current students, and mentors have a plethora of quantitative data about optometry schools available to them, including National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) pass rates, faculty-student ratios, attrition rates, and more crucial data.
However, as we learned in 2020, there is much less available information about the experience of optometry school—the reasons behind the choices, the highs and lows of education and support, and so many of the other things that make up the texture of what it means to attend.
In this report, we explore the optometry student experience, delving into why students chose the schools they did, their feelings about clinical and professional education, student loan debt, favored instruments, and more.
Download the 2023 Optometry Student Report or keep reading for a sneak preview of our findings!
The 2023 Optometry Student Report
Featuring detailed infographics, this report outlines how optometry students are managing this unique educational experience and preparing for their future careers.
In the 2023 Optometry Student Report, we cover:
- Optometry school applications: How many schools did students apply to? How many acceptances did they receive? What determined their choice of schools?
- Clinical education: How confident are optometry students in their clinical skills? What subjects are most difficult? How well prepared do students feel for board exams?
- Equipment: What brand of diagnostic sets and binocular indirect ophthalmoscopes (BIOs) are most popular with optometry students?
- Student debt: How much student debt do graduates have, and how confident are they in their ability to pay it off?
- And more!
Make your choice: how optometry students picked their school
Location, location, location! For the third year running, location was the most important factor for students choosing an optometry school. This year, the cost of tuition and NBEO pass rate came in second and third for top priorities, with the NBEO pass rate edging out last year’s clinic quality.
According to the National Board of Examiners in Optometry Yearly Performance Report, national NBEO pass rates slipped from 92.46% to 87.77% in 2022, the lowest average since the NBEO began releasing this data in 2017.
Clinical practice and practice management: students rank their preparedness
In the category of “good news,” this year’s respondents ranked their preparation for clinical practice at 7.35 out of 10, an 8% increase from last year’s 6.79.
While students’ confidence in their insurance coding and billing skills dropped, their feelings of preparedness for handling the business aspects of optometry grew!
Student stress: what optometry students are most worried about
Nearly half of all students were most worried about passing exams, with student debt coming in a distant second.
Concerns over student debt dipped a little, with students growing slightly more confident overall that they will be able to pay off their student loans. Even more promisingly, student confidence in their ability to pass the board exams grew by over 7% each this year!