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Resource Guide for Out-of-State Applicants

With no preference given to instate or out-of-state applicants, SCCO welcomes students from all over the United States. Students planning to attend grad school in a state different from their own have additional considerations. SCCO understands the inherent nature of these considerations and provides necessary additional help with the entire process.

During the Admissions Process

Out-of-state applicants are evaluated with the same criteria as instate students. Please visit our How to Apply webpage for details. 

Questions About Prerequisite Course Requirements:  Pre-approved coursework to fulfill the prerequisite requirements are available for some out-of-state schools in the Articulation Agreements. If you don't see your school listed and you have a question about whether or not a prerequisite course is acceptable to fulfill a prerequisite requirement, feel free to email your question along with a course description to and we will be happy to assist.

SCCO accepts courses completed online for prerequisites that do not require a lab. Because of mandatory institutional accreditation standards, be advised that not all online programs are acceptable. Read more about our Online Course Policy

Making the Move to California After Acceptance

The out-of-state student has inherently more planning when transitioning to grad school in a different state.  You will have ample support from SCCO’s administration, faculty, and students—many of whom have gone through this process themselves.

Two SCCO students who moved from a long distance into the Southern California area share their experiences in these articles:

Financial Considerations

Because SCCO is a private school, tuition is the same for all students no matter their states of origin. To read more about tuition, fees, and other estimated costs of attendance, visit our Cost & Aid page.

Applicants from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming may be eligible to receive scholarship funding for nearly half of their optometric education. If you are a resident from one of these states, visit the website for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Student Exchange Program. Because these western states do not have state-funded optometry schools, their residents must leave the state to attend optometry school. To help subsidize the cost of out-of-state or private school tuition, these WICHE states subsidize a portion of education costs for those who apply and are then selected to benefit from the program. SCCO is one of only four optometry schools who participate in this program by accepting applicants sponsored by WICHE.

Typically, the deadline for submitting an application to WICHE is October 15 of the year preceding fall matriculation.  However and because some state deadlines and requirements may vary, applicants are encouraged to contact the Certifying Officer in their home state for information on applying for WICHE certification. To read more about the WICHE program, see SCCO's Admissions Blog article on this topic

Support While You’re a Student in SCCO’s Program

SCCO, part of MBKU, is a small community of close to 400 optometry students. With 100 students in your class, you will soon get to know everyone as friends and feel like part of the family. While your classmates help make Southern California feel like your home-away-from-home, there are others designated to help with the transition:

  • Peer Advisors Assigned to Every Incoming Student: Each incoming student is assigned a Peer Advisor who will provide personalized assistance. He or she is an upperclassman who will reach out as early as the spring/summer term that precedes Fall matriculation providing assistance with questions regarding housing, moving, and most anything else that's needed. Access the Peer Advisor Blog with articles helping incoming students transition to student life at SCCO.
  • Helpful Financial Aid Officers: Our Financial Aid department has designated helpers for out-of-state students providing specialized assistance for their specific financial needs. If you need to contact them, arrangements for a phone consultation may be made through They welcome all students to stop by their offices to ask questions at any time. 
  • Faculty Mentor: Each incoming student is assigned a faculty mentor to assist with academic advising, career guidance, and questions about navigating life as an optometry student and on to becoming a practicing optometrist. 
  • Student Achievement Center: This resource center offers everything from tutoring services, psychological counseling services, stress recess events, seminars and more. To read more about  these services, visit our Student Life pages.
  • Virtual Presentation with SCCO Admissions: Want to learn more about SCCO has to offer? SCCO’s Office of Admissions will provide a virtual presentation to your pre-optometry club. Please email your request for this service to