Apply to Doctor of Optometry (4 years)

Applicants must apply through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS). Upon submission, the Admissions Committee at NECO reviews applications and select candidates are invited to interview and visit.

The majority of our students apply to our traditional 4-year OD degree program and recently completed or are in the process of completing their undergraduate education. Yet, a significant number of our applicants have been working full-time, often in the field of optometry. Others may have experience in other graduate level studies.

Program Details

Application Information


You are eligible to apply for the Four-Year Doctor of Optometry program if:

  • You will have earned at least 90 undergraduate credits or a bachelor’s degree by your intended start term.
  • You have completed the majority of the prerequisite requirements, and will have a plan in place for completing any remaining prerequisites by your intended start term.
  • Recommended: You have 20 hours of shadowing an optometrist.

Application Cycle and Deadline

Our rolling admissions application cycle begins in July and the final deadline to apply is March 31.  We recommend you apply as early in the cycle as possible. Applications received after March 31 are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Application Instructions

  1. Visit OptomCAS to complete the online application.
  • There is a fee of $185 to apply, plus $75 for each additional school. If you would like to submit an application for the opportunity to waive the OptomCAS fee, please complete this form.
  • You will be directed to send official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended to OptomCAS.
  • You will be directed to request two recommendations: One letter must be from a non-relative optometrist. One letter must be from a faculty member (preferably in the sciences) who has taught you in a college-level course or supervised you in a lab setting. One comprehensive recommendation from a university health professions committee may substitute for the two recommendations if your optometrist recommendation is summarized in the letter.

2) Submit the NECO supplemental application fee of $30. Application fee waivers are available on a case-by-case basis. Email [email protected] to receive a waiver.  Submit application fee

3) Take the OAT or GRE early in the application cycle, if possible, and definitely when you feel best prepared. List OptomCAS as the recipient of an official score report. If you apply prior to taking the OAT or GRE, please list on your application the date you will take the exam.

  • In some cases, we will consider the acceptance of other graduate/professional school tests such as the MCAT or DAT for admissions. If you have questions related to the acceptance of tests other than the OAT or GRE, we recommend you send them along with a resume/CV and unofficial transcripts to [email protected]

4) Submit additional requirements as necessary.

  • Applicants whose native language is not English may take the internet-based TOEFL exam (minimum score of 88 and 22 on the speaking section) or the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5). Have your official score reports sent to OptomCAS. You may request to have this requirement waived if you attended an undergraduate institution where English is the language of instruction.
  • A credential evaluation such as that provided by WES is required for students who attended an undergraduate institution outside of the US or Canada.
    Once your application has been verified and received by Admissions, you will receive instructions for accessing your Application Portal. You can visit the Portal to ensure we have received everything needed in order to review your application.

Review Process

We receive verified applications from OptomCAS on a regular basis and in most cases, we are able to screen them within 3-5 business days. The length of time it takes for your application to become verified and received by NECO may depend on how long it takes for all required information and transcripts to reach OptomCAS and OptomCAS processing times. Admissions regularly reaches out with interview invites, other application status updates, incomplete application notices, and advice to candidates who may wish to strengthen their applications. Some students may be invited to interview during an initial review of their applications while others may be held for reconsideration as the application cycle continues.

Interview Process

If you are invited to interview, we will provide a list of available dates (mostly Mondays and Fridays) for you to choose from. The day consists of a welcome program, a 30 to 45-minute interview with a faculty member, a student panel, and a virtual tour and clinic overview. Faculty, staff, and students are available throughout the day to help acquaint you with the college.

Be prepared to articulate your interest and experience in optometry and to discuss your academic and clinical background. The Admissions Committee looks for faculty interview recommendations in order to assess your clinical potential and fit for the Doctor of Optometry program.

Admission Decisions

If you are invited and attend an interview, you will be notified of your admissions decision within 2-3 weeks after the interview. Other types of admission decisions are communicated on a regular basis as the application cycle continues. Applicants are welcome to contact Admissions at any time for an application status check.