Opportunities in Optometry

To promote diversity and equity in the optometric profession for generations to come

2024 Opportunities in Optometry application is now open

The Opportunities in Optometry application deadlines are April 1, July 1, and November 1. Please give us up to 60 days after the deadline to review applications and inform you if you are a grant recipient. Note that if you apply in between deadlines that we will not begin reviewing applications until the next posted deadline (4/1, 7/1, or 11/1), so allow 60 days after the nearest deadline before reaching out about your application status. If you have questions on the application, please reach out to the Optometry Cares Program Manager, Molly Brown, at mbrown@aoa.org.

Apply here

To promote diversity and equity in the optometric profession for generations to come, the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) have created the AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grant program. This fund is designed as a one-time stipend for under-represented minority students interested in the field of optometry to help defray the costs associated with applying to optometry school.

Optometry Grants

Multiple grants of $1,500 each will be awarded annually to students who are chosen by the selection committee. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria to be considered by the selection committee. These funds can be used toward the very first steps necessary when pursuing a doctor of optometry degree – offsetting the cost of the OAT exam, school application costs, professional attire or travel costs associated with interviews.

The AOA Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the AOSA Diversity Project Team have committed to paving a path toward a broader and more diverse profession. The AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grant program is a sustained effort to encourage under-represented minorities to join the family of optometry and expand access to primary eye care across the nation.

If you would like to support this initiative, Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation is accepting donations. Your contribution can help offset the cost of study materials, application fees, or transportation for an optometry school interview for an Opportunities in Optometry grant recipient.

Grant Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or DACA recipient
  • Must be a member of one of the following ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in the optometry professions when compared to overall representation in the United States: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American/Alaska Native
  • Must be a student at a four-year, accredited institution within the U.S., carrying the minimum requirements as stated for the program per semester/quarter, or have completed an undergraduate degree with optometry prerequisites
  • *A 2.75 or greater grade point average is suggested.  (If you do not meet this requirement, please see the application checklist below.)

Grant Evaluation Criteria

  • Academic achievement (i.e., grades, SAT, ACT, GRE, GCE, etc.),
  • Personal essay describing optometric career goals, current and past relevant extracurricular activities (i.e., participation in Black Eyecare Professionals Preoptometry Club, Diversity in Optometry, etc.)
  • References (i.e., teacher, guidance counselor, optometric mentor, employer, etc.), and
  • Financial need

Grant Application Checklist

  1. Opportunities in Optometry Grant Application
  2. One letter of reference
  3. Current CV or resume
  4. Unofficial transcripts from your college/university. (If you are selected as a grant recipient, you must provide official transcripts.)
  5. The following essay questions should be answered individually on the application form; or, if submitting video or infographic materials, follow the instructions for uploading the files:
    1. A 250-word paragraph on why you believe it’s important to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in the field of optometry. Please include any accomplishments relevant to increasing awareness about diversity in your community.
    2. Using a medium of your choice (video, infographic, written, etc.) advertise YOU! Help us learn what makes you special and how this grant will impact your life.

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