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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Please find below a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you still have questions after reviewing, please use the Contact Us page.
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It is recommended that the browser window be maximized to take up the entire screen. PLEASE NOTE: The application may not be accessible to people with certain disabilities. If a disability prevents you from accessing the application, please contact OptomCAS at 617-612-2888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All official transcripts, paper letters of recommendation, foreign evaluations, and payments (if not by credit card) should be sent to:
PO Box 9119
Watertown, MA 02471
Reapplying to OptomCAS
If your OptomCAS application was MAILED to programs last cycle, you are eligible to have your application information imported to the new cycle. Please click the link in the blue "Reapplying to OptomCAS" box on the login page to proceed with creating a reapplicant account. DO NOT CLICK "CREATE NEW ACCOUNT" ON THE HOME PAGE.
U.S. and Canadian Transcripts
To make sure your official transcript is handled properly by OptomCAS, you should print the OptomCAS Official Transcript Request Form by clicking on the orange button next to the school name in your Colleges and Universities Attended page (you must enter your institution information before you will be able to print a transcript request form). You must give this document to your registrar’s office to include with your transcript when it is mailed to OptomCAS. At the same time, you should request an unofficial student copy for yourself to help you complete the online application.
You must read each school’s instructions for submitting documentation of foreign coursework because individual program policies will vary. Some schools prefer to review your transcript directly. In these instances, the official transcript should be sent directly to the school or college that is requesting it.
Many schools require applicants to submit official transcripts to an approved foreign transcript evaluation service for a course-by-course U.S. equivalency report. In this case, the official evaluation should be sent to OptomCAS and these will be forwarded to your designated schools.
Should you be required to have your transcripts evaluated by a foreign evaluation service, we highly recommend that you contact the foreign transcript evaluation service as early as possible. The services may take several weeks to process your foreign transcript once it is received. Below is a list of some of the commonly used evaluation services, but please make sure that you are using an evaluation service that is accepted by your designated schools or colleges.
World Education Services, Inc
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
Josef Silny & Associates, Inc
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc
P.O. Box 514070
Milwaukee, WI 53203-3470
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
Foreign Education Credential Services
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 520
Washington, D.C. 20036-1135
Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
Before you enter your LOR information in this section, it is suggested you contact the individuals to confirm they will author your LOR and to find out which format they would prefer (electronic or paper). If they choose to submit your letter of recommendation electronically, please confirm their preferred email address.
The LOR requires completion of two parts, a rating of attributes (Part I) and a letter (PART II). The narrative can be uploaded. Accepted formats for uploads are .pdf, .doc (Word), .rtf (Rich Text Format) or .txt (ASCII Text File) files only. Uploaded letters must be less than 512KB in size. The narrative can also be typed directly into the space provided, or cut and pasted from a word processor. Because some word processor characters will not correctly translate into text, Recommenders are encouraged to compose their letter in a text-only word processor (e.g., Notepad, not Word), review the letter for errors, then cut and paste the final version into the text box. The limit for entered comments is 4500 characters or less.
Designate your Recommenders early in the application process. We strongly encourage you to enter your LOR information first to expedite their receipt of the Recommendation Request Form. Because OptomCAS recommendation requests may be caught by spam filters, applicants are encouraged to contact their Recommenders to ask them to allow their email systems to "permit" the OptomCAS reference mail address: email@example.com.
Suggested sources strongly encouraged for LORs include:
- An optometrist who can state through documented experience that you know what the profession of optometry entails.
- A professor with whom you have done personal work (such as assisted on a specific project or served as a TA or reader), or with whom you took a course.
- An employer or extracurricular activity advisor who can comment about your maturity, diligence, and conscientiousness.
Do not send LORs from coworkers, someone you have supervised, relatives, or personal and family friends. These are inappropriate and can be detrimental to the review of your application.
Check the status of your Recommenders responses through the Status Section on the main page of the application. Those who use the electronic LOR format will automatically receive a duplicate request one time per month until they either submit the requested recommendation or deny the request.
Finally, it is not necessary to wait until your Recommenders have responded to submit your application.
Applicants should not send LORs directly to OptomCAS; all LORs should come directly from the Recommender to OptomCAS.
Enter up to four (4) evaluator names on your OptomCAS application. Recommenders can submit electronic letters of recommendation (preferred method) or paper recommendations to OptomCAS.
OptomCAS will not determine if you have met the LOR requirements for a particular optometry program. Therefore, please review programs’ individual websites to determine the number and type(s) of LORs required by each institution for which you wish to be considered for admission.
The applicant will provide the names, addresses and email addresses of a maximum of four (4) people providing LORs. OptomCAS will send an evaluation to the Recommender to be completed and returned.
If your Recommender chooses to submit an electronic LOR, which is the preferred method, enter their email and mailing address on the application.
If your Recommender chooses to submit a paper LOR, complete the mailing and email address fields. For paper-format LORs, you will need to print the appropriate forms and send these to your Recommender(s) to complete. These forms will be made available and printable if you select the paper format option.
Please note some schools and colleges of optometry will not accept a Committee Letter, while others will require a Committee Letter. If you are submitting a Committee Letter, be sure to check the requirements of each individual program for the types of letters they will accept.
Some pre-health advising offices compile academic/personal information and will also coordinate the collection of LORs in order to provide a "Committee Letter" for pre-optometry students. If the Committee Letter of Recommendation is a compilation from several individuals and contains one Recommendation Request Form and one letter, it will be considered as one LOR. The individual writing the recommendation must complete the rating of attributes on the Recommendation Request Form; OptomCAS will accept the name of a college pre-health profession advisor in lieu of the evaluator(s) on the recommendation form.
College and university letter services may submit recommendations to OptomCAS.
If you are submitting LORs through a letter service, you are strongly encouraged to have the original author(s) of the LORs complete the rating of attributes, which is Part I of the Recommendation Request Form.
Please note that while OptomCAS will accept the rating of attributes, which is Part I of the Recommendation Request Form, from a college official who is a designee for the college or university's letter service office, applicants should also check with the individual programs for which they plan to apply to confirm that Recommendation Request Forms completed by a third-party will be accepted.
Only recommendations completed through the OptomCAS online portal can be submitted electronically; therefore, OptomCAS will not be able to accept electronic Virtual Evals.
Yes, a LOR from a Teaching Assistant must be co-signed by a Faculty person.
Please visit Letters of Recommendation on the OptomCAS home page for more information about what letters will or will not be accepted by each Optometry school or college.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives applicants the right to access letters of reference written unless they choose to waive their right of inspection and review. Prior to requesting a reference from an evaluator, you must indicate whether you will waiver your rights. OptomCAS will display your waiver decision to your evaluator and designated Optometry programs. Optometry programs may interpret references as more honest and candid if you waive your right to see the letters. If you decide not to waive your right to the reference, then you must contact the evaluator or the Optometry admissions office directly to view the reference and you be asked to explain your reasons for your choice during the interview(s). OptomCAS will NEVER provide a copy of your reference to you, even if you have not waived your right of access. Your waiver decision on the OptomCAS web application serves the same purpose as a legal signature and is binding. Once your reference is received by paper or electronically, you cannot make changes to your waiver decision.
OAT (Optometry Admission Test)
An applicant’s most recent set of OAT scores must be no earlier than two years (24 months) prior to the opening of the current OptomCAS session.
The GPAs and hours will be summarized by academic year within undergraduate (freshman through senior year), post baccalaureate and graduate work as well as summarized by area of study. There will also be a running total GPA for each academic year that will add all coursework together for an overall total GPA. The GPAs that will be calculated are:
- GPAs by Term
- Post Baccalaureate
- Cumulative Undergraduate
By course subject:
- Biology/Life Sciences
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- BCP Totals
- Other Science
- Other Non-Science
Repeated courses taken at the same school will be marked as repeated under special classification. The final attempt will have full credit value and will be included in the GPA calculations. All prior attempts will have a credit value of 0.0 and will not be included in the GPA, although the course and grade will be listed in the coursework.
Repeated courses taken at a different school will be counted as a normal course and will be included in the GPA calculations.
Fall 2012 Courses
No, OptomCAS does not require you to participate in the Academic Update (AU). The Academic Update is a window of time when you can provide grades for courses earned since the original submission of your 2012-2013 OptomCAS application. The Academic Update period runs from December 15 through February 1. OptomCAS will notify you approximately one month in advance of the opening of the Academic Update period. You will need to submit an updated transcript reflecting the new grades earned. Your revised application will be sent to your designated schools/colleges once your updated transcripts have been received and verified. It is important that you contact the schools/colleges that you are applying to determine if they require you to participate in the Academic Update as some schools ask that you do so in order to have your most recent grades on file.