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How to Apply

Southern College of Optometry collects applications through a centralized service called OptomCAS from approximately June 30 until March 1 of each academic year. OptomCAS requires a $185 application fee. Each application submitted to a new school costs $75.

Since we process applications as we receive them and offer acceptances on a rolling admissions basis, we strongly encourage applying early on in the application cycle.

Application Requirements for SCO

For an applicant to receive consideration, all of the following must be received by SCO:

1) The OptomCAS application and all supporting documents including:

  • Official transcripts from all previous colleges attended;

  • Two letters of recommendation: one from a pre-health advisor or natural science professor, and one from a non-relative Doctor of Optometry; and

  • A short essay.


2) SCO's supplemental application and supplemental application fee:


Optometry Admission Test (OAT)

The OAT measures general ability and comprehension of scientific information. All applicants are required to take the OAT no later than March 1 of the entering year for which they are applying; however, we strongly recommend taking the test early in the application cycle. Any OAT score used for the admissions process must be no more than two years old from the date the applicant submits the SCO supplemental application.

OAT scores will be sent directly to OptomCAS as long as you select at least one optometry school to receive your scores when you apply to take the test. The OAT requires a $515 registration fee. Registration information and study resources can be found on the OAT website.

SCO's Standardized Test Policy

SCO’s standardized test preference is the OAT (Optometry Admission Test). It is our professional opinion that this exam serves as the best predictor of an applicant’s academic success in optometry school. However, we will accept MCAT and/or GRE scores in lieu of the OAT in certain circumstances. In order for MCAT or GRE scores to be considered competitive, the following parameters must be met: 

  • Generally, SCO considers competitive scores for the MCAT to be 125 in each section with a minimum of 500 overall or 150 in each section with a minimum 300 overall for the GRE. 

  • An overall GPA of 3.5 is recommended. If your overall GPA is below a 3.5 but your MCAT/GRE scores are competitive, please contact the Admissions Office for further guidance. 

  • A candidate who has taken the OAT must provide the OAT score and cannot use any previous or subsequent MCAT/GRE scores to “replace” an OAT score. In other words, your OAT score will be given preference over any MCAT/GRE scores, and an MCAT score will be given preference over a GRE score. 

If you have any questions regarding SCO’s standardized test policy, please contact the Admissions Office at [email protected] or call 800-238-0180.


Admissions Process at SCO

Applications to SCO are handled in the following way:

  • Receiving the Application: After the application and all supporting documents have been received by the Office of Student Services, an initial review is completed by the admissions committee.

  • Selecting the Interview Candidates: Following the initial review, interview invitations are e-mailed to those candidates with competitive applications.

  • Hosting the Interviews: Interviews are held on SCO’s campus in Memphis beginning in mid-August and continuing through the end of March of each application cycle.

Please note that all prerequisite courses must be completed before a student can begin classes at SCO. However, an application may be submitted prior to the completion of the required courses. If an applicant is in the process of completing a degree and/or prerequisite courses, updated transcripts should be submitted to SCO after each semester or quarter.

It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure all documents are submitted and received by OptomCAS and the SCO Office of Student Services. Please call us at (800) 238-0180 or (901) 722-3224, or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.