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OPTOMETRY SCHOOL IN THE UK WARNING!

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Please be aware of the process of returning to Canada before you even think about going to the UK for optometry school. UK schools, particularly Aston, actively recruit Canadians (because we pay international fees). I think they do a good job in misleading Canadians about the actual process of returning to Canada. After completing 4 years in the UK (a 3 year Bachelors degree in Optometry) followed by a (1 year pre-registration year). Canadians are eligible to return to Canada and apply for licensure.

You have to: 

1) have your degree favourably assessed by FORAC and be approved to write the evaluating exam (IGOEE) 

2) the IGOEE costs $5000 and is a high stake exam because you only have 2 chances to write it after which you are no longer eligible. This exam is only offered one time per year and there is limited seating (only 48 seats). So it can take a maximum of 2 years and $10 000 to successfully complete the IGOEE. You are assessed relative to other examinees, top scoring individuals gain admission to the bridging program (IOBP). If you do not gain admission, your exam score will be valid for a period of three years. So it can take a maximum of 3 years to gain entry into the bridging program.

3) The bridging 1 program has been discontinued. Bridging 2 is one year long and costs $40 000 only 18 applicants were accepted into bridging 2 this year. 

4) After steps 1-3, you can finally challenge the Canadian board exams (OEBC exam) and be eligible to practice in Canada. 

Often times, Canadians take the UK route to optometry because of lower GPAs and a reluctance to write the OAT. There are reduced barriers to entry for the optometry program in the UK but clearly a lot more after you complete the program. It is not impossible to become an optometrist after taking this route, but you should be well aware of the route to come back home. It can take you at the very least 2.5 years - 6+ years. Please be aware of the process before you take the plunge.

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I agree with this. However, Bridging 2 actually cost $61,500 for 2018! Also, those that had qualified for Bridging 1 were forced to do Bridging 2 since their program was discontinued without warning.

The exam and admission process is constantly changing and unfair. They keep accepting all these people to pay and write these exams when they only have limited seats of 12 for bridging 2 which no one is made aware of prior to. The only reason they accepted 18 now was to accommodate the bridging 1 people they were trying to push into bridging 2. Before UK grads did very well and completed bridging 1 which had a lot more seats but now they're restricting the numbers each year. They don't even disclose how people are ranked for admission and it seems to depend on provinces as well. There's no transparency and they just keep you waiting for months to hear any news. There's no guarantee you can even return home. 

I would not recommend going to the UK to study optometry now at all. Some people are deterred by the high costs of studying in the US but at least you are guaranteed to come back home. If you already have finished your training, bridge through the US, don't waste your time and money on the IOBP. Bridging through the US takes 2 years but there are people that finish through the US faster with an OD, while others are still waiting to get accepted by the IOBP. 

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On 3/14/2018 at 7:46 PM, optomgal said:

I agree with this. However, Bridging 2 actually cost $61,500 for 2018! Also, those that had qualified for Bridging 1 were forced to do Bridging 2 since their program was discontinued without warning.

The exam and admission process is constantly changing and unfair. They keep accepting all these people to pay and write these exams when they only have limited seats of 12 for bridging 2 which no one is made aware of prior to. The only reason they accepted 18 now was to accommodate the bridging 1 people they were trying to push into bridging 2. Before UK grads did very well and completed bridging 1 which had a lot more seats but now they're restricting the numbers each year. They don't even disclose how people are ranked for admission and it seems to depend on provinces as well. There's no transparency and they just keep you waiting for months to hear any news. There's no guarantee you can even return home. 

I would not recommend going to the UK to study optometry now at all. Some people are deterred by the high costs of studying in the US but at least you are guaranteed to come back home. If you already have finished your training, bridge through the US, don't waste your time and money on the IOBP. Bridging through the US takes 2 years but there are people that finish through the US faster with an OD, while others are still waiting to get accepted by the IOBP. 

Please can you explain the bridging through the US process

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