This question is a stress test! The interviewers simply want to know if you are happy with your performance in the interview. There is always room for improvement; however, you want to avoid picking your interview apart.
If you feel the interview went well: "I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"
If you feel you could have performed better: "I feel that I was well prepared for the majority of the questions you have asked me today; however, I would like to clarify my answer on one particular point...." Then, return to the question you may have stumbled on and answer how you would have liked to the first time.
Optometry School Interview Questions
How well do you think you have performed in this interview today?
This question is a stress test! The interviewers simply want to know if you are happy with your performance in the interview. There is always room for improvement; however, you want to avoid picking your interview apart.
"I feel that I was well prepared for the questions that you asked me today and am happy with my performance in this interview. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Can I ask if there is anything I can clarify for you, or elaborate on, from today's conversation?"
"I think I have answered all questions honestly, and I am very happy with my performance."Rachelle's Answer
You sound very confident, which is a positive approach! You could also ask a question at the end to ensure your interviewer is on the same page. I have offered an example, below.
" I have answered with honesty, and I am very happy with my performance today. Is there anything from our conversation that I can clarify for you?"Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What do you think will be your greatest challenge in completing optometry school?
The interviewers want to know about your knowledge surrounding the challenges of optometry school. It's great to wear rose colored glasses from time to time, but you must also be realistic when it comes to the difficulties you will face while earning your PhD.
Before your interview, take a look at the course components. Are there any areas that you foresee to be a big challenge?
"I understand that optometry school is going to be one of the greatest challenges of my life. I looked through the course outline here and, from what I see, I think the biggest challenge for me will be visual neurophysiology. I have heard that it is the most challenging course so I have already hired a tutor in anticipation."
What do you know about our university?
It's likely that the interviewers have seen hundreds of applicants, so a question like this is an opportunity for you to stand out. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to conduct research on the school. You don't need to be an expert on their entire history, but you do need to be knowledgeable on their programs, culture, and recent accolades.
Start by searching their website and take special note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community or student body. Identify their mission and values so that you can be clear on what they stand for.
"The passion for community and elevated learning at your school really jumps out to me. It is probably why you are the longest standing university in the entire state. I also love the effort that your school puts in when it comes to residencies and placements for your optometry school graduates. It is very obvious that your faculty goes beyond the general expectations of a university to ensure it's students' success."
"MCHPS has great program outcomes, like higher board rates, student support, student placement."Rachelle's Answer
Good start! Next, take the time to discuss why these factors stand out to you and why they are essential as you pursue further education.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What other schools of optometry have you applied to and where does our school rank?
The interviewers would like to understand the types of schools you are interested in. Knowing where you are applying will help them to better understand if their university will be able to meet your specific needs and educational desires or goals. You should be transparent when answering this question but be sure to avoid saying anything offensive such as 'this school is my last choice'. Pick out the number one reason why you want to attend their school and focus on that.
"I have applied to four other optometry schools. Those schools are A, B, C, and D. My interest in your university is strong because you are highly regarded in the industry. The reputation of your school is unmatched. I would be so proud to say that I graduated from this school."
"I have applied to Salus, but Western MCHPS is my top choice."Rachelle's Answer
Good start! Can you explain why MCHPS is your top choice? What are you looking for in your educational experience?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Do you have aspirations to own your own practice in the future? What appeals to you about business ownership?
The interviewer wants to know about your future plans and if you have intentions of joining an existing practice, or starting your own. Be honest about your plans and desire for your career path.
"My ultimate goal would be to open my own practice one day, as I want to control the prices of my services and provide affordable optometry services to my community. I do have an entrepreneurial spirit so I feel that opening my own practice would scratch that itch as well."
"My goal is to open my own practice one day as being able to manage and lead a team successfully is truly self-gratifying. Being able to take charge as an entrepreneur to make decisions and take risks will fulfill my vocation."Rachelle's Answer
Awesome! You have strong aspirations for your future, which the interviewer will be happy to hear.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"Yes, I would like to open my own practice one day. If I am able to control costs, I can pass the savings along to my patients and offer affordable eye care."Rachelle's Answer
You bring up an excellent reason to open a practice of your own one day - a great motivator!Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Your work load at our school will be high. How do you handle stress?
The interviewers want to see that you will be capable of handling the stressful workload associated with the optometry program at their university.
Are you someone who is able to handle stress like it's nothing or do you implode when times get tough? Talk to the interviewers about your ability to manage the pressure of a heavy and challenging work load.
"I handle stress very well and if you call my previous professors for references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure with a challenging work load, I focus on the task at hand and make sure to not get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful and I will ask for help when necessary to alleviate some stress."
"Stress management is key for both mental and physical peace. Although in the past, I have not studied such a rigorous curriculum, I think time-management and exercise will enable me to deal with stress effectively."Rachelle's Answer
Terrific! Time management and exercise are essential to stress management! I have offered a slight re-word below as the current response 'buries the lead,' which means you leave the actual answer to the very end. I recommend leading with it and then expanding your response with supporting thoughts.
"I handle stress very efficiently through time-management practices (such as?) and exercise (such as?). Stress management is key for both my mental and physical peace."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Which optometry related newspapers, journals or publications do you read to stay in touch with new industry discoveries, and current events?
The interviewers want to see that you have a keen interest in continually learning your craft. The optometry industry is ever changing! Talk about how you stay up to date on industry trends, new breakthroughs, optometry related concerns, and more.
List a couple of optometry related medical journals that you like to read and discuss how often you dive into related news. Perhaps you subscribe to a particular magazine, blog, or follow certain social media accounts.
It's also a great idea to ask the interviewers about their favorite ways to stay in touch on related current events. Asking this question in return can make for a great dialogue, and you never know what you will learn!
"I am sure to read AOA News, and INVISION Mag, on a regular basis. In addition to these medical journals, I also subscribe to Berkeley Eye Center's online blog. It's important to diversify where your news comes from and I would love some fresh suggestions. What are your favorite places for news on current trends?"
"I regularly read Optometry Today, which provides me with the most current developments and stories within Optometry."Rachelle's Answer
Excellent! It's good that you lean on reputable resources for your information.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I read the AOA News and other industry publications."Rachelle's Answer
Okay - good! Now, describe why you lean on this resource and the ways it has been helpful to you. Perhaps you recently read an interesting article? What do you learn from this resource?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
What are you reading right now?
Do you feed your mind on a regular basis? What kind of literature do you prefer and why? Talk to the interviewers about a book that you are currently reading. If you are not currently reading a book - talk about one that has impacted you the most.
"Currently I am reading 'Ego is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday. It is a book about ambition, resilience and success. I feel that everyone should read it - it comes highly recommended."
"I am reading "The Alchemist" and "Moonwalking with Einstein."Rachelle's Answer
Excellent books! Rather than give rapid-fire answers, I suggest using these 'get to know you' style questions as a way to make a connection with your interviewer. For instance, what impact have these books had on you, or what are your biggest takeaways/lessons so far?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Do you consider yourself a leader? When have you led a team?
Perhaps you have led a club at school, been an assistant coach for a youth sports team, or were on the advisory board for a local non-profit organization. You should always be prepared to show the interviewer that you have a natural ability to lead others. Whether you have led a group of 500, or a team of 2, you must display to the interviewer that you are capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a leader.
Talk about your desire to be a leader. Share with the interviewer that you strive to be a role model for others. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be a face of confidence when challenges arise.
"In my current school, I am the president of the social committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage student engagement while being a positive influence on the culture at my university. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentor-ship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to university life, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities when it comes to my career as an optometrist."
"At my last job, my boss took an unexpected leave for two days. We had another manager fill in; however, I quickly realized that this manager did not have a full understanding of our location and how we operated. I volunteered to work alongside him to ensure that our patients received the best service. In the end, we were able to tackle the busy weekend and kept up with our patients' needs."Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic story! You show a willingness to work hard and jump in as a leader. Be sure to address the first part of the question more directly. I have provided an example, below.
"Yes, I do consider myself to be a leader. When I worked at Rite Aid pharmacy, the head Pharmacist took an unexpected leave for two days. We had another Pharmacist fill in; however, I quickly realized that this Pharmacist did not have a full understanding of our location and how we operated. I volunteered to work alongside this fill-in Pharmacist to ensure that our patients received the best service. In the end, we were able to tackle the busy weekend and kept up with our patients' needs."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
In your opinion, what is the most concerning topic facing optometry today?
Being an aspiring optometrist means that you need to take a keen interest in current events by closely following the challenges the industry faces. The interviewers want to see that your interest is deep and that you spend time learning, and understanding, the challenges you will face in your future career as an optometrist.
Discuss what you feel to be a primary concerning issue, and be sure to ask the interviewers what they personally see as the most concerning issue in the field today. This is an opportunity to start a very insightful conversation.
"I feel that the most concerning issue in the field of optometry is the fact that many children do not receive regular eye exams. Affordable exams should be accessible to anyone, regardless of their financial or social status, which is why I plan to offer free exams to children under 12 years old, when I open my own practice. What do you feel are the most concerning issues facing the medical industry today?"
"I think the rise in online retailers and insurance issues."Rachelle's Answer
Okay - this is good thinking - can you further explain?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Why should our school accept you over another optometry student with the same qualifications?
The interviewers are looking for unique qualities and statements that make you stand out from the other students wishing to attend their university.
Put yourself in their position. You are looking at multiple talented candidates, all have stellar grades, all have drive, and all have potential to be renowned alumni. What would be the primary reason to choose YOU over everyone else?
Some things that make you a stand out candidate:
- Recent volunteer work
- An existing connection to the faculty or facility
- A memorable and personal story of struggle and triumph
- An unusual skill such as speaking multiple languages, or knowing sign language
- An additional degree, diploma, or certification
- Proof that you continually focus on personal and professional development
"I believe I am the strongest student for your optometry program because I am incredibly dedicated to my professional and personal development. Since beginning my undergraduate program I have committed to taking a personal development workshop twice per year. The topics have included communication, person-ability, multi-tasking, organization, and even persuasive writing. I plan to take these skills and apply them to my graduate studies as well."
"I feel as though I have a strong application that portrays my desire to study Optometry. I am committed to this career, having undertaken work experience to not only develop my curiosity and understanding but appreciate the fast-paced environment that's always changing. I obtained a varied skill set, which includes; empathy, dextrous skills, and the ability to maintain focus for prolonged periods of time, which I believe will enable me to become a confident Optometrist."Rachelle's Answer
You sound confident, indeed! In addition to this, are there any academic accolades, volunteer experience, etc. that would set you apart?Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I cannot say whether others are better than me because I don’t know them. But, what makes me unique is that I am hard-working and I have a never-give-up strategy. I have proved time and again that I never allow a failure to reoccur. For example, I have improved my grades each semester and I've been involved in community service."Rachelle's Answer
Your approach is gentle and humble while also being confident at the same time. I have offered some help below, where I believe you could expand your response and strengthen your case by 'showing' rather than just 'telling.'
"I cannot say that I am better than another applicant; however, I can share with you what makes me unique. I have overcome many challenges in life while maintaining a positive mindset. I live by a 'never give up' philosophy, and I have proved it time and again (give real-life examples of overcoming challenges). I learn from setbacks and never see failure as defeat (provide an example). I have shown dedication by improving my grades every semester while also being involved in community service efforts (describe these efforts). I will contribute to your schools' community by (what positive factors will you add to the school, should they choose you?"Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
We want students who have a true passion for optometry. What appeals to you most, about working in the field of optometry?
The interviewers would like to understand what drives your pursuit of a career in the field of optometry. Your core passion is what will keep you going on the toughest of days in university. For the interviewers to understand how to motivate you, they need to know what fires you up!
It is okay to share a personal story when answering this question. Perhaps you can discuss what initiated your interest in attending optometry school to begin with. Whatever drives you, make sure the interviewers can feel your passion!
"There are a number of factors that drive my passion for a career in optometry. If I had to pinpoint one main driver, I would say that helping others to see well, be able to read with ease, and drive safely, are all very fulfilling gifts to give others. Everyone deserves to have full sight, and I love the idea that I could help others in that way."
"I believe having the ability to be able to transform lives, bringing out the confidence within people, and, most importantly, improving the quality in which they live is genuinely self-gratifying. Helping others is what I have done from a young age, so to be able to continue to do so in my career, I feel that is why Optometry is the best fit for me."Rachelle's Answer
This is a good start! To strengthen your answer, try offering up some tangible examples of how you have helped others from a young age.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"Being able to help people keep their eyes healthy."Rachelle's Answer
I have offered a revision, below.
"My passion for optometry comes from personal struggles with my sight. At the age of 5, my optometrist diagnosed my left eye with strabismus and lazy eye. As a result, my parents decided I should have surgery. My optometrists' diagnosis saved the vision in my left eye. Then, while in 12th grade, I received a conjunctivitis diagnosis. I had my final exams, so my optometrist made sure my infection was improving with treatment and follow-up calls every two days. She made sure my treatment was a primary concern. Her care inspired me to explore the field of optometry, where I could help people optimize their sight."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
How does your family feel about you becoming an optometrist? Do you have a great deal of support?
The interviewers want to know that if you were accepted into their school that you would have the support required for your heavy and challenging work load.
Discuss a bit about your family such as anyone who lives near you or how your family expresses their excitement for your career. You can also mention anyone in your family who may have had a similar path in optometry.
"My family is incredibly proud of me for attending optometry school. My father is especially keen as he also graduated from this university. Both of my parents, as well as my older brother, live in the area so I will have a very strong and encouraging support system should I be accepted into your school."
"My family is proud of my achievements and has supported me. When I described my interest in optometry, they are happy and very supportive."Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful! Open family support is very important :)Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. When you work in the medical field, those setbacks can be amplified. While attending university, even more so because your grades can greatly determine the success of your future career. Discuss with the interviewers how you typically cope with setbacks.
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be very disheartening, especially when involving a project that I have put a lot of time and effort into. I understand that setbacks happen often, and to everyone - despite their level of expertise or years of experience. If I experience a major setback I will take a few moments to internally debrief, get some fresh air if possible, or discuss what I could have done differently with a mentor. Then, I move on. Rather than dwell on my mistakes, I choose to learn from them."
"Having setbacks is never easy; it is disappointing, but I believe instead of being disheartened, I try to effectively take action to see either how I can prevent this happening in the future or how can I change this to overcome the obstacle. Learning from our mistakes is the only way we are to improve and progress."Rachelle's Answer
Learning from your mistakes is very important, and it's good that you see setbacks this way.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
"I try to analyze what went wrong and try to focus on not making the same mistake again."Rachelle's Answer
This is a good start; however, be sure to analyze the full question and address all parts. In this instance, there is no mention of your emotional response to setbacks. I have offered a revision below.
"Setbacks can be disappointing and I am sometimes disheartened but only for a short time. I quickly move to analyze what went wrong and focus on repairing the situation so that I do not repeat the same mistake in the future."Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
Many optometrists have an area of specialty in which they work. What area of optometry interests you the most?
Before your interview, you should conduct some research on areas of specialty that are offered in optometry.
Some branches of optometry:
- Vision therapy
- Brain injury
- Macular degeneration
- Neuro-optometric cases
- Myopia control
"I have always had my eye on a specialty in vision problems due to brain trauma. I really like working on challenging cases."
"Ocular diseases are what interests me the most."Rachelle's Answer
Interesting! Now, be sure to take this question as an opportunity to expand on why the topic of ocular disease has significance for you.Was this answer helpful? Yes or NoThank you, your vote helps us display the best answers.
As an optometrist, how will you keep in touch with your community's needs?
Why are you choosing optometry over other health care professions?
Who in your life mentors, or inspires you?
How do you respond to feedback and criticism? Describe a situation where your work was criticized. What was your immediate reaction to the situation?
What achievement are you most proud of, so far, on your path to becoming an optometrist?
Tell us something that we would not know about you from reading your CV.
What research did you conduct before choosing to apply to our school?
Tell us about an area of weakness that you would like to improve on while attending university.
What questions do you have for us about our university?
Talk to us about your current GPA.
We believe in the continual development of our students, both professionally and personally. What is your self-development plan?
What do you feel is the single most important quality an optometrist should possess?
Tell us about your overall academic performance, so far. Where have you excelled, and where could you improve?
Optometry school is expensive. Have you made a solid financial plan for tuition costs at our school, and beyond?
It is important that our school exercises great discernment when choosing applicants. What is your plan if you are not accepted into our optometry program this year?