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How to Apply to SCCO

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Everything you need to know about applying to SCCO is right here. Use the links below to find what you're looking for and if you have questions, please review our frequently asked questions or contact us.


SCCO uses Rolling Admissions so it is best to apply early. To be on track to interview and receive your admissions decision before the Thanksgiving Holiday, we recommend submitting your application no later than October 15th.

  • Admissions Cycle for Entering Fall 2024: July 1, 2023 through March 15, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2024 at 9:00 p.m. PST. To meet this deadline, comply with the OptomCAS deadlines for submission of all requirements including undergraduate transcripts. 
  • Deadline for OAT and other standardized tests for those applying to Enter Fall 2024: The OAT and other standardized tests must be taken by March 15, 2024. The earliest test date accepted is July 1, 2020.
  • Final Coursework Deadline: it is not necessary to have completed all prerequisite requirements before you apply. Applying with missing prerequisite requirements will not affect your competitiveness as long as you are on track to complete all requirements no later than August 5, 2024, for Fall 2024 matriculation.

Application & Admissions Process Overview

  • OptomCAS Application: SCCO utilizes OptomCAS, the centralized application service for all optometry programs in the US and Puerto Rico.
  • Supplemental Application: SCCO requires a supplemental application in addition to the centralized application. The supplemental essay questions are included in the OptomCAS application; therefore, when you have completed the OptomCAS application you have also completed the supplemental application. 
  • Transcripts: You will submit all official transcripts to OptomCAS for every college, university, or professional school attended. If you have foreign transcripts, they will need to be evaluated before you have them sent to OptomCAS.
  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs): Effective starting 2023-24 cycle, SCCO requires two LORs. An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist must complete one recommendation, but an Optometrist is preferred. The other source may be selected by the applicant. Appropriate sources could be an employer (past or present), faculty member (science or otherwise), supervisor where the applicant volunteers, etc. Applicants may submit up to two additional letters for a maximum of four, but only two are required. LORs are submitted by the recommender(s) directly to OptomCAS.
  • OAT and other standardized tests: The OAT is the preferred test; however, the MCAT and DAT may be substituted. To submit your application through OptomCAS, it is not necessary to have taken the OAT or other standardized tests; however, to advance in the process onto the interview phase, official test scores must be received. In short, you may apply ahead of taking one of these tests, but will not advance in the process until official scores are assessed. Applicants are advised to complete one of these tests before or soon after applying.
  • Shadowing and Experiences: We highly recommend shadowing in a few different locations, however, there are no minimum number of shadowing hours. For more information regarding shadowing objectives and our Alumni Shadowing Program, visit the shadowing section of our Admissions blog.
  • SCCO Supplemental Fee: From the time you hit “submit” on your application, it can take up to four weeks before SCCO receives the verified application from OptomCAS. After we receive your application, you will be prompted via email to pay SCCO’s secondary, non-refundable application fee of $50.00. Payment of this fee initiates the review process.
  • Criminal Background Check: A criminal background check is required after a provisional acceptance. Please note that a conviction will not automatically disqualify a candidate from admission. For more information, please see Note for All Applicants Regarding Criminal History. Prior to licensure, each state board will also review a CBC. The California State Board of Optometry has a FAQ if you would like more information: Applying for Licensure with a Conviction or Past Disciplinary Action.
  • For a comprehensive article that includes tips, timelines, and recommendations regarding the application, visit SCCO’s Admissions Blog.

How You’ll Be Evaluated 

SCCO conducts holistic reviews through two serial “qualifying rounds.” Once both rounds are successfully completed, an applicant is offered a seat in the incoming class of approximately 100 students.

Click here to learn more about what SCCO looks for in Competitive Applicants.

1st Round: The first is an academic qualification, which is based largely on the strength of your GPAs and OAT or other standardized test scores. Competitive applicants are advised to have an overall GPA of at least 3.00 and OAT section scores of at least 300, however, all applications will be reviewed. 

2nd Round: Once you successfully pass the first round, you will be invited for an interview. It is through this process that we assess your personal and professional potential. SCCO conducts "open-file" interviews, so interviewers prepare by reviewing your entire application, including your grades, test scores, essays submitted with your application, your curriculum vitae (CV), and optional letters of recommendation.

Interview & Acceptance

For the 2023-24 cycle, we are excited to welcome applicants on campus for an in-person interview experience. Virtual interviews will not likely be offered. More information on the interview day details will be available in the Fall.

    Once you have successfully completed both rounds and are offered a seat in the class, applicants accepted prior to May 15 have two weeks from the date of acceptance to submit the following three requirements:

    1. Submit a signed Matriculation Agreement stating your intent to matriculate
    2. Initiate a Criminal Background Check (CBC). Click here for more information about the CBC.
    3. Pay a non-refundable $500 deposit. (Two additional $500 deposits are required to finalize acceptance prior to May 15, and the full $1500 is credited towards fall tuition).