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Is ICO accredited? 

The Illinois College of Optometry holds professional accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association, which is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. ICO is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Our degree program curriculum is approved by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 

Are there any resources to shadow an optometrist?

ICO has many alumni that offer shadowing opportunities throughout the US and Canada. Please contact and we will assist you in finding a shadowing opportunity near you. 


What degrees are awarded by ICO?

The Illinois College of Optometry awards the degree of Doctor of Optometry (OD). As a single degree program, all of our resources are dedicated to optometric education and research. 

What is the retention rate at ICO? 

Our total student retention during the 2019-20 academic year was 99.3 percent. This statistic reports any student who leaves the program, for any reason prior to graduating; this includes student withdrawals for personal or medical reasons, as well as, dismissals for academic or disciplinary reasons. 


When should OAT/GRE be completed?

Your test needs to be completed by the application deadline. If you change your testing date after you submit your ICO application, please contact Admissions immediately

How long are my OAT/GRE scores valid? 

OAT and GRE scores reported within the last two years are considered valid. 

What is the minimum OAT/GRE score?

No minimum OAT or GRE score is required, but you can see how ICO first years generally performed on our Entering Class Profile. 


What is ICO looking for in a candidate?

The admissions committee considers your application holistically. Your overall GPA will be considered, as well as your science/math GPA. The Admissions Committee will also consider any patterns or trends in your grades. OAT (or GRE) scores are reviewed. There is not a particular weight assigned to GPA and OAT/GRE scores in the admissions process; both are considered and the committee attempts to understand how they relate to each other and what they indicate in terms of your potential for success at ICO. In addition to the “numbers-side” of your application, the committee is also looking for applicants who have researched the field, are highly motivated, and are passionate about a career in optometry. Your essays and interview will play an important role in the Admission Committee decision. We encourage you to help us get to know you during those parts of the process since we know the numbers and application only tell part of your story and we rely on you to tell us the rest. 

What should I do if I am uncertain whether a course counts toward a prerequisite? 

Our admissions team is happy to advise on whether a course will meet our program requirements. Please e-mail a brief course description, where it was taken, along with the course title and credit hours to The admissions staff will review it and let you know whether it can be used to fulfill the prerequisite.

Do all my prerequisites need to be completed in order for the Admissions Committee to make a decision on my application? 

As long as you take the GRE or OAT by ICO’s application deadline, and you successfully complete all academic requirements by August of your desired year of entry, you may apply. 

What are the admission requirements for international students? 

International students are advised to complete the application process early in order to give the Admissions Committee ample time to evaluate all necessary documents. If you have completed college or university level coursework at an institution outside the U.S. or Canada you are required to submit a detailed course-by-course evaluation of your official transcripts from an approved translation service such as the World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators ( Upon acceptance as part of the F1 VISA requirements, international students must present proof of financial responsibility by June 15 of the year of admission. 

After I submit my OptomCAS application, when will I hear from the Office of Admissions? 

Once your application has been verified by OptomCAS, we will notify you via email. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks after your application has been verified to hear from our office. 

I have already submitted my application. How can I change my address and e-mail address? 

Please e-mail any changes to The Admissions Committee will send the majority of communication via e-mail. With email providers increasing their privacy settings, we strongly suggest that you add our email address and domainto your e-mail contacts and safe senders to ensure all messages are delivered to your inbox and not filtered to a junk or bulk mail folder. 


What happens on interview day and how can I prepare? 

Interview day is an exploratory opportunity for you to learn about ICO support services and meet current students, faculty, and staff, as well as participate in an interview to gain more information about the College. You should come prepared to talk about your background and education, why you are applying to ICO, and what sets you apart from other candidates. We also welcome your questions as you interview us that day. 

You can find several perspectives on interview day is available on ICO’s blog. You can read about them here, here and here

When can I expect to hear ICO's decision after my interview? 

Our Admission committee typically meets every two weeks. Depending on when your interview occurs, you will hear back from the Admissions Committee in 2-3 weeks after your interview. Decisions are sent via email. An acceptance letter will include your next steps to secure your seat in the entering class. 


What scholarships are available to ICO students? 

As a student, you will have exclusive access to nearly $300,000 in private scholarships and awards given by the College each year. We also track more than 100 public scholarships and awards for your benefit. 

ICO also participates in the Federal Work-Study Program, with numerous positions for students in the clinic and administrative offices on campus. 

All students, US and International, will receive full consideration for available scholarships. 

How do I apply for specific scholarships?

A limited number of Presidential Scholarships, Trustees Scholarships, and Illinois College of Optometry Scholarships for Underrepresented Populations are available to incoming students. Your application for admission and supplementary information will form the basis of your application for our scholarships. All accepted students are automatically evaluated during the admissions process for scholarship consideration. 

If you wish to apply for our Scholarship for Underrepresented Populations, you will want to be sure you indicate that on your application. 

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