July 25, 2012

Illinois College of Optometry Interview

I really liked my experience with ICO. Why? Because they have this awesome program where you can spend the night before your interview in one of their dorm (called the Residential Complex) rooms for free. Did I mention the dorm is right across the street from the campus building? And they give you a free breakfast? As I am a cheap gal, I loved this! However, it is a first come, first serve deal. Make sure you call as soon as you know the date of your interview.

Since I took advantage of this overnight program, my morning was interesting as I woke up, got dressed, and went to the school cafeteria for breakfast which was completely empty. I thought this was really weird, but it turned out the students were taking an exam that morning. This was realized as I walked back to my dorm room after breakfast and encountered an entire hallway of stressed out first years reviewing notes with each other. 'Hey everyone! Check out the awkward applicant in her professional clothes!'

Anyways, I went back to the dorm, packed up my luggage, and headed back over to the main building to officially check in for my interview. My flight back home was later that day, so I was "that kid" and brought everything with me. Thankfully, the security staff took pity on me and let me store my gear in their office.

Turns out? I was the only applicant scheduled for that day. At first I thought it was a little weird since at ICO they have a large room where the financial aid officer, admissions director, and tour guides come meet you. Because of this, I mostly was sitting on a couch waiting for the next person to arrive and talk with me. Though, I got all the free cookies, tea, and water to myself. :)

So, in terms of how the day went:
9am - checked in at main lobby
9:15 - received by a student doing work study in the admissions office and lead upstairs to applicant room.
9:20 - introduced to admissions officer, reviewed academic file, filled out lunch card, and did 15 minute written prompt
10:25 - Welcome to ICO conversation by admissions director on couch
10:45 - financial aid meeting on couch
11:30 - official interview with a professor in his personal office. finally got to leave the applicant room!
12:15pm - lunch with ICO students in applicant room. Chatted about student life, Chicago living, academic/social balance, and how they all wanted to move to Portland because it was so green, sustainable, and had no sales tax.
1:00 - student tour guides picked me up and lead me around the building, residential complex, fitness center, EyePod, and lecture/lab skills rooms.
2:00 - said good bye to admissions officer, picked up my luggage, and went on my merry way to the airport.

As you can see, I was slightly annoyed by the fact that I was stuck in one room, but it worked for the best since I was the only person interviewing that day. Being the only applicant seemed daunting, but worked out ok. I didn't have to compete with anyone to ask questions. Though, it would have been nice to meet other applicants and have a better idea of who ICO was looking for their program. The student lunch was a great way for me to get a better sense of this and they were all extremely nice. They gave tips on what they experienced and gave honest thoughts on what they liked/disliked about the program which was really refreshing.

Hopefully the break down of my day was easier to follow this time? Anyways, like I mentioned in my Salus post, this is merely what I experienced and does not reflect how you or someone else will experience an ICO interview. Take my comments with a grain of salt.

Where am I headed next? Why, my local town of Forest Grove, OR and my review of Pacific University's Optometry Interview!

Until Next Time,


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