Like any institution of higher learning, SUNY Optometry is only as strong as its students, and we are obligated to ensure that our institution attracts the best and brightest to our programs. Then, we must work hard to provide those students with the finest educational experience available and, once they graduate, help them succeed and thrive in their profession.
The first step in that process, however, isn’t easy. With many highly competitive schools and colleges of optometry across North America, to say nothing of the competition that we face for students from other health professions, prospective students are spoiled for choice.
In recent years, the entering GPAs and OATs of our students have remained consistently high—well above the national averages. And while the number of applicants we’ve seen has fluctuated some, our selectivity has remained consistent, even as our class size rose slightly in response to future workforce demands.
What is most striking, however, are the number of prospective students offered admission who have accepted that offer. Since 2001, that number—known as the ‘yield’—has typically remained relatively steady. This year, however, the percentage of prospective students who have accepted our offer of a place in the Class of 2020 is up by at least 15 percent over what it was at this point last year. With some students still yet to make their final decision on what institution they will attend this fall, that number will surely drop some. But even if that is the case, our final yield for the Class of 2020 will represent a sharp increase over previous years.
What does this mean? It certainly indicates that we've been making quite an impression on prospective students. From the faculty, students and staff that they meet while they’re here for their interview, to the updated, state-of-the-art facilities that they see throughout our building, to the care that they witness us providing to a wide range of individuals at the University Eye Center, to the excitement of New York City outside our windows. All of these things—and much more—seem to be resonating with the applicants.
Whatever the case may be, the staff and faculty on both our admissions team and our admissions committee deserve enormous credit for helping to make SUNY Optometry a welcoming, exciting and innovative place to learn and grow.
David A. Heath, OD, EdM
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