Pennsylvania College of Optometry accepts applications only through the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS).

The processing of applications by OptomCAS begins the end of June, one year prior to the year of desired enrollment. Applications must be submitted on or before March 31 of the year of desired enrollment.

  • Student application reviews begin when an application is verified by OptomCAS
  • Interviews are scheduled and initiated, beginning in September 
  • Candidates meeting the requirements are admitted on a rolling basis until class capacity is reached 
See a profile of the most recent Entering Class (PDF)

It is to an applicant’s advantage to apply as early as possible to ensure priority consideration for admission. 


Apply at OptomCAS                      
                                                                           
COVID-19 ASCO Updates

Criteria & Prerequisites

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University actively seeks applicants from every state in the nation as well as worldwide. Students currently attending represent many states, as well as Canada and several other countries.

To be considered, an applicant must:

Please note: The admissions process for Traditional OD Program now includes a supplemental application process. Please review all listed requirements thoroughly.  (updated: 6/25/20)
 
  • Submit a properly completed application to the Optometry Centralized Application Service (OptomCAS) at www.optomcas.org. Detailed instructions regarding the completion of the application and the essay are provided on the OptomCAS website.
  • Complete the supplemental application process (Traditional OD Program applicants only) by arranging to take the online CASPer Test (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics). For detailed instructions, please click on the Supplemental Application Process drop down below.
  • Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (or currently attending) directly to OptomCAS.
  • Complete admissions prerequisites (listed below) at the college level with a grade of ‘C-’ or better. Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to starting the program, not prior to application.
  • Arrange to take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) prior to June 1 of the desired entering year; taking the OAT between July and December of the application cycle is highly recommended.
    • Information and registration for online testing: www.opted.org
    • Applicants now have the option to take the General GRE (Graduate Record Exam), in lieu of taking the OAT.  Please contact the Office of Admissions with any questions.
      • In order to submit GRE scores directly to OptomCAS, use Designated Institution (DI) Code: 4566.
    • OAT or GRE exam must be taken within two years, prior to the start of the OptomCAS application cycle to which you are applying. Score reports past two years will not be considered. For example, if you are applying for the 2020-21 application cycle, you must have taken the OAT/GRE on or after June 30, 2018.
  • Three letters of evaluation are required and should be forwarded directly to OptomCAS. Any three of the following options will be accepted in order to fulfill the letter requirement:
    • A Pre-Professional Committee letter of evaluation (consult with your college/university pre-professional advisor regarding the policy for providing letters of recommendation for pre-professional applicants).
      • one committee letter will fulfill the entire letter requirement.
    • Letter from a teaching faculty member who has taught you in a course (science teaching faculty letter is strongly recommended).
      • letter from a teaching assistant only accepted if co-signed by faculty member.
    • Letter from your pre-professional or faculty advisor. 
    • Letter from practicing optometrist for whom you have shadowed or worked.
    • Letter from a healthcare professional or work supervisor who is able to assess your qualifications for professional education and future career in optometry. 
    • Additional letters outside of the above options will enhance the file but will not fulfill our required letters of evaluation.
  • Acquire a minimum of 25 hours of shadowing/observation in the field of optometry or ophthalmology in order to be familiar with the role of the optometrist as a member of the healthcare team. 
  • International Students, please review for any additional requirements in the drop down section below.
  • All credentials submitted on behalf of an applicant become a part of that applicant’s file with the University and cannot be returned.
It is recommended that applicants with less than a 2.5 (C+) overall grade point average should consult the Office of Admissions prior to applying.

Prerequisites

An applicant must have completed a minimum of 90 semester hours or 135 quarter hours of credit from an accredited undergraduate college or university. These credits must include the pre-optometry courses listed below completed with a 'C-' or better.

An applicant need not have completed all prerequisites prior to filing an application but must be able to complete all outstanding prerequisites prior to enrolling. 


Prerequisite credits completed ten or more years prior to the anticipated entrance date will be reviewed for approval on an individual basis.

  • General Biology or Zoology (with labs) - one year
  • General Chemistry (with labs) - one year
  • Organic Chemistry (with labs) - one year  or
    • ½ year Organic Chemistry with lab, plus ½ year of either Biochemistry or Molecular Biology (lab highly recommended)
  • General Physics (with labs) - one year
  • Microbiology or Bacteriology (with lab) - ½ year  
  • English Composition or English Literature - one year
  • Mathematics - one year
    • ( ½ year Calculus fulfills math requirement; however, one year Calculus highly recommended)
  • Psychology - ½ year  
  • Statistics (Math, Biology or Psychology) - ½ year
We highly encourage, but do not require, additional upper level science coursework in such areas as Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, Cell Biology, Genetics and Experimental and Physiological Psychology.    
Supplemental Application Process - Traditional OD Program

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University now requires a supplemental application for the Traditional OD Program.

For the supplemental application process, all applicants to the Traditional OD Program are required to complete an online assessment know as the CASPer Test (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics), to assist with our selection process.  If you are applying for the admission start date of August, 2021,  please select the 2020-2021 cycle.  Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility. Furthermore, an admission decision may not be rendered without receipt of the CASPer score.

CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process beyond grades and test scores. For a more detailed look at the CASPer test, please see this video.

In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a laptop or desktop computer with webcam and audio capabilities. The following is required for both account creation and taking the test:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Valid email address
  • Working webcam
  • Working microphone
  • Reliable high-speed internet connection
Please go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up for the USA Professional Health Sciences test (CSP-10101) and reserve a test using your OptomCAS ID Number and a piece of government-issued photo ID.
  • You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the Test Schedule.
  • The latest possible date to take the CASPer test is April 13, 2021. It is highly encouraged that an applicant take the assessment as early on in the application cycle as possible.
  • There is a $24 (USD) fee in order to take the CASPer test - a $12 (USD) test fee and a $12 (USD) distribution fee. All fees are paid directly to CASPer and are non-refundable.


To account for identity verification and payment processing timeline, ensure that you register for your test at least three days before your preferred test date and time. Last-minute bookings are not recommended. If you require testing accommodations for CASPer, you will need to submit the Accommodations Request Form signed by you and your qualified professional 3 weeks in advance of your desired test date. More information regarding CASPer accommodations can be found here.

Please direct any inquiries on the test to support@takecasper.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takecasper.com website.

Note: Altus Assessments has released Casper Snapshot, an extension of the Casper Test to help aid in the admissions process. Our program will NOT be requiring our applicants to complete Snapshot for this admissions cycle, however, please note that because of its one-time completion, other programs you are applying to may require it. You can learn more about Snapshot at the Casper site.

What to Expect and How to Prepare

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections: 8 video-based and 4 word-based scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of 3 probing questions in 5 minutes or less. Halfway through the test, there is an optional 15-minute break.  The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete.

Each of the 12 responses are anonymized and scored by a unique rater, giving a robust and reliable impression of your personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required, however you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the test format via the System Requirements Check and 12 section practice test prior to taking CASPer.  Additional helpful resources are available free of charge at https://takecasper.com/test-prep/ and https://takecasper.com/faq/. Also watch this webinar for more in depth information.


How to Maximize Your Chances for Success on the CASPer


CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it. Applicants from Canada who may have taken the Canadian CASPer Test will need to sit for the USA CASPer Test to be considered for Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. 

CASPer FAQ

International Students & Practitioners

INTERNATIONAL TRANSCRIPTS

For applicants who have attended foreign and French-Canadian schools, please provide the Office of Admissions with the following information:

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in a Salus University academic program as well as to help ensure patient/client safety and/or effective communication with members of a healthcare team. Official results from the TOEFL (or IELTS) examination are required for all students for whom English is a second language (ESL).

Exceptions will be made for ESL applicants who hold degrees or diplomas from accredited post-secondary institutions in countries where English is the official language and in which English is the language of instruction (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand).  

The TOEFL (or IELTS) examination must be taken within two years prior to the start date of the entering class to which an applicant seeks admission.         
Admissions Selection Process

The Admissions Committee has established policies that include the selection of applicants best qualified to serve the public and the profession in the years to come. Many factors are considered in selecting students for our program, including:

  • academic performance
  • motivation
  • extracurricular activities and interests
  • related and unrelated work experience
  • personal achievements
  • essays
  • letters of evaluation
  • communication skills, including a demonstrated command of the English language, both written and oral

When evaluating academic performance, the applicant’s grade point average, performance in prerequisite courses, number of college credits completed, degree status and results of the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)/Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are carefully considered.

When evaluating non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics the CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) Test is considered, among other criteria, as listed above .  We believe these characteristics are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and in implementing CASPer, we are attempting to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. 

Admissions Selection Process - OD Traditional Program
 

Interview Process

Individuals successfully meeting the required admissions selection criteria may receive an invitation to visit our campus for an interview, which provides further insight into the applicant’s character and motivation, and allows an applicant the opportunity to meet with an Admissions staff member to discuss his or her application, tour our campus and meet with faculty and students.

Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the interview process will be conducted virtually until we are able to return to normal campus operations. 

Please note, it is an applicant's responsibility to respond promptly to an interview invitation, either to accept or to decline. Information will be shared with all schools and colleges of optometry if an applicant is a "no show" for a scheduled admissions interview. Please contact the Office of Admissions with any questions regarding the interview process.

Notification of Acceptance and Matriculation Fee

An applicant may be notified of his or her acceptance as early as October, prior to the desired year of enrollment. Upon receipt of acceptance, an applicant is required to pay a $1,000 matriculation fee to the University prior to the start of classes, payable as follows:
  • Return the matriculation form along with a $500 deposit within 14 days of the date of the acceptance letter.
  • The balance of $500 for the matriculation fee is due April 1.
  • If accepted after April 1, the offer of acceptance will detail payment requirements.
  • All monies received above are non-refundable and will be applied toward first term fees.
Please note that all applicants are to respond promptly to all offers of admission. Once an applicant has accepted an offer, it is the applicant’s obligation to immediately notify and withdraw any outstanding applications or to decline offers of admission from other schools and colleges of optometry. Salus University participates in Shared Acceptance Reports during the OptomCAS cycle.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Available internal Optometry Scholarships
Available external Optometry Scholarships
 

deferment of admission

An accepted student with an unforeseen, extenuating circumstance prohibiting them from matriculating may request a deferment of admission in writing. The request must be directed to both the Dean of Student Affairs and the Dean of PCO, and made via the Office of Admissions. 

For deferment consideration, the following is required:

  • A deferment request submitted in writing by May 15th, before the August start of the academic year. Please note, submission of a deferral request by the deadline does not guarantee approval.
  • Official documentation verifying the extenuating circumstance.
  • All non-refundable deposit fees and the matriculation supplement must be received (as directed in the University’s official Letter of Acceptance).

If deferment is approved:

  • Admission will be extended to August matriculation of the next academic year.
  • A deferment will not extend beyond one admission cycle.
  • The student must contact the Office of Admissions, in writing, by April 1st of the deferred admission calendar year regarding his/her intention to resume enrollment.
  • The student will be required to meet with a member of the Admissions Committee prior to matriculation (this may be done in person or via phone/online).

If a deferral request is denied:

  • A student has the option to withdraw acceptance from the Program, and reapply through OptomCAS for future admission. 

For questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@salus.edu

 

Policies and Procedures

Enrolled students who withdraw or are dismissed from the University will be responsible for the payment of tuition in accordance with the institutional refund schedule.