Skip to main content

Resource Guide for Canadian Applicants

SCCO welcomes our neighbors to the north. Canadian students planning to attend grad school in the U.S. inherently have additional considerations when applying. There is indeed planning ahead for the Canadian student transitioning to life and grad school in the U.S. We promise that you will have ample support from SCCO's administration, faculty, and students - many of whom have gone through this process themselves. SCCO, part of MBKU, is a small community of around 400 optomtery students. With around 100 students in your class, you'll soon get to know everyone as friends and feel like part of the family in no time. Learn more about how SCCO helps Canadian students with the application process.


During the Admissions Process

U.S. terms such as “semesters,” “quarters,” and “grade points” may be confusing for the Canadian student.  Information comparing Canadian to U.S. grading systems, along with other helpful general answers to FAQs can be found in the Canadian Counseling document. We also encourage you to visit OptomCAS' help center, as they have a detailed explanation of how to submit your transcripts.

We have pre-approved coursework, or Articulation Agreements, for several Canadian schools. Click here to access these documents. If you don’t see your school listed and you have a question about a prerequisite course suitability, feel free to email questions 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 accreditation standards not accepted by SCCO, be advised that not all online programs are not acceptable. Read more about our Online Course Policy

Join our monthly Virtual Presentations to learn more about SCCO or join talks specifically geared towards Canadian applicants. See event dates and RSVP here.

Canadian applicants are evaluated with the same criteria as any other applicant. Please visit our How to Apply page for details. 

The United States school system has two main forms of education: public schools and private schools. Public schools are largely funded by the state and student tuition, and private schools are largely funded by tuition and other means (grants, donors, etc.) MBKU is a private school, so when you look at our Cost & Aid page, you will see tuition is the same for everyone, regardless of their state or country of origin. If you’re looking at another US optometry school’s website and you see “in-state/ out-of-state” tuition or something similar, it indicates the school is a public school and therefore has discounted tuition for students from the state where it resides or who qualify otherwise.

A majority of optometry students require loans to fund their optometric education. Canadian and International students are not eligible for US federal financial aid programs. As a condition for matriculation, Canadian or International students must show proof of earmarked educational funds. MBKU only requires financial documentation covering your expenses for the first year; however, keep in mind that you would need resources to fund your education for four years. When calculating what you need for four years, do not forget to increase the tuition by 3% annually (estimated). Proof of these funds can be in the form of a line of credit or bank records, or Canadian student loans that allow you to study in the States.

Making the Move to the U.S. After Acceptance

For detailed information pertaining to your arrival, health care, driving in the states, and more, click here.

While not from Canada, these SCCO students who moved from a long distance share their experiences in two articles that provide support and resources for any matriculating student moving from a distance into the Southern California area:

This article provides answers to questions such as “Do I need a U.S. driver’s license?” “Should I get a U.S. cell phone plan?,” “Do I need U.S. Health Insurance?” and more. This article was written in 2017, and some information may have changed. Be encouraged to use her information as a catalyst for your own research.

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

For personal assistance, the Peer Advisor assigned to you will reach out as early as the spring/summer term that precedes fall matriculation. They will help with questions regarding housing, moving, and almost anything else you need. Access the Peer Advisor Blog and read various articles written to help all incoming students transition and get ready to make the most of their time at SCCO.

University Student Affairs has an officer specifically designated to help our International students with concerns unique to Canadian students. If you need to speak with them, arrangements for a phone consultation may be made through Once you’re here as a student, they welcomes you to stop by anytime to ask a quick question or just to say hello!

All new students are assigned a faculty mentor upon entering 1st year. Canadian students are specifically assigned to Canadian faculty mentors. This early connection allows Canadian students to ask questions about travel, immigration, navigating financial challenges, and cultural differences they may encounter during their transition to a new country. Who better to be on their welcome team than someone who has lived the journey themselves?

Want to learn more about SCCO and what it has to offer? SCCO’s Office of Admissions would be happy to arrange a virtual presentation for your pre-optometry club. Please email your request to