Overall Intro & Inception of Program Design
Drawn from key features of our Traditional Program and consistent with PCO’s reputation for innovation and commitment to excellence, this program provides students the opportunity to complete all of the same traditional program optometry degree requirements in an accredited 36-month, year-round, campus-based program.
How Curriculum Was Accelerated & Quarter Calendar
The Scholars Program follows the University’s quarter schedule with each academic quarter being 11 weeks of instruction and a break week between quarters, while the Traditional Program follows the semester schedule with each semester being 14-17 weeks of instruction. The unique methods of course delivery and the three-year continuous curriculum allow the students to more rapidly acquire basic clinical skills and to become more quickly immersed in patient care.
The Scholars Program uses the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) format rather than a traditional one-on-one interview format. The MMI format presents candidates with three to six different stations to interact with four to six different faculty interviewers. This interviewing technique, developed by McMasters University, is used by a number of medical schools and has been found to be a predictor of academic and clinical success in the medical school setting.
Grand Rounds and DI&T
Scholars Grand Rounds is a unique medical style rounds type of course which is held on a weekly basis where students give grand rounds presentations to their peers and underclassmen. The Scholars Grand Rounds course series runs all year round starting from the first week of first year until students leave on externship rotations. The Diagnostic Imaging and Technology Course provides introductory knowledge on functionality of commonly employed diagnostic imaging methods in optometric practice.
The Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University emphasizes an early and extensive clinical education program. This starts with hands-on practice in our on-site clinical skills labs, beginning in the students' first year, comprehensive patient care at The Eye Institute, our clinical learning facility, in the second year, and continues through 12-months of externships beginning at the start of the third year.
The Scholars Capstone event is a research elective that includes a poster abstract, case report, and a culmination of the Grand Rounds program, occurring during the fourth year after the commencement ceremony.
Students in the Scholars program participate in four externship sites - similar to the traditional OD students. They are required to fulfill specific site 'type' requirements but can choose from over 200 externship sites across the United States and internationally in Canada, Japan and India as well. Requirements for sites include exposure to disease/hospital/IHS/VA, contact lens, pediatrics, and one site is required to be internal at The Eye Institute. The externship selection process starts within the first year and students meet with a mentor to assist with selection.
Clinical Skills Lab
Equipped with stations for each student that replicate the necessary equipment used by practicing optometrists for vision screenings and eye examinations, this facility features state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment and electronic health record capabilities in order to prepare the University’s optometry students for a seamless transition into patient care at The Eye Institute.
Getting Used to Grad School
Transitioning from an undergraduate education to graduate school can be tricky, but current optometry students have some tips on how to successfully adapt to grad school education.
Myth Busters “It’s Impossible”
Scholars students put an end to the myths surrounding an “impossible” accelerated optometry program and share how they use time management to achieve their goals.
Current Salus students share strategies on how to maintain a work-life balance while doing well in the Scholars program.
Bigs and Littles
The Big/Little mentorship program assigns a second-year student to help a first-year student become acclimated to the Scholars program.
Traits and Skills
Learn which traits and skills are most important to ensure success when applying to optometry school.
Early Clinical Exposure
Learn strategies for success when starting clinical experiences early in an accelerated optometry training program.
Salus students compile a review of their externships sites to assist incoming students with selecting their own externship site. Externship sites are also a great opportunity for students to travel throughout the country to see where they may want to live or work in the future.
NBEO Stats, Prep and Timeline
The National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) administers three examinations that students need to successfully pass to be eligible for state licensure and utilize the Doctor of Optometry degree earned from the College.
Residency programs are designed to provide the graduate optometrist excellent training experiences through extensive participation in patient care provided to a large and diagnostically diverse patient population, through rotations to specialized clinical services, and through special lectures and conferences.
Alumni - Where Are They Now?
Sweta Das, OD '17 Video; Carly Grondin, OD '17 Video
Get caught up on what our alumni have been doing since they graduated from PCO!
Accelerated Scholars Program Full Playlist