Summer Optometry Institute

Summer Optometry Institute (SOI)

UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIWRSO) welcomes all Pre-Health and Pre-Optometry students to apply to the Summer Optometry Institute (SOI). This unique program is hosted on-campus at UIWRSO. We will accept 8-12 students and anticipate a competitive applicant pool.

The health and safety of our Cardinal community and prospective students are of the highest importance. Please see the SOI Health and Safety Plan below for more information.

SOI is a program designed to familiarize Pre-Health and Pre-Optometry students with the professional surroundings of optometry school. The special focus is on preparing and strengthening the student's application portfolio for admission, as well as developing the necessary skills to be successful in optometry school. Additional emphasis is placed on fostering mentorship opportunities that can contribute to student success in the health professions.

Program Objectives

  • Focus on career exploration within the field of Optometry to include optometric modes of practice, future trends in optometry, basic clinical skills development and clinical observation.
  • Provide overview of academic experience for students enrolling in an optometry program including course preparation, attending optometry class, and participating in interactive lab activities.
  • Offer pre-admissions workshops on OptomCAS preparation, interview skills, writing skills for personal statement and individualized counseling in preparation for the admissions process.

The Summer Optometry Institute (SOI) is hosted on campus at the UIW Rosenberg School of Optometry. A total of 8-12 students will be selected through a competitive application process. As an institution dedicated to creating opportunities for access to both healthcare and education, special consideration will be given to first generation and underrepresented minority applicants.

SOI admissions criteria includes:

  • Submit a complete SOI Application (pdf). The application due date Wednesday, May 31, 2023 by the end of business day.
  • Must be 18 years or older to apply
  • Required minimum of 45 credit hours completed at a college or university
  • Recommended minimum GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

A complete SOI application packet includes:

  • SOI application (pdf)
  • Personal statement describing your interest in pursing an optometry career. The essay prompt can be found within the application.
  • Unofficial transcript from your primary undergraduate institution

In anticipation of a competitive applicant pool, we encourage you to apply as soon as the application opens. However, please note selections will not be made until after the final deadline.

Applications must be submitted. You may submit your completed application and supplemental documentation by email or mail.

You can submit your electronic application and supporting documentation to with the subject line, “Summer Optometry Institute Application 2023.”

You may also mail a hardcopy of your completed application with supporting documentation to:

University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry
Summer Optometry Institute 2022
9725 Datapoint Drive, CPO 17
San Antonio, TX 78229

Anticipated Costs

There are no application or registration costs. During the program, most meals and housing will be offered. The only expense each participant will be fully responsible for includes travel arrangements to and from San Antonio and any potential costs associated with medical care if necessary.


Most meals will be provided during the SOI program Monday - Wednesday. Participants can expect a light breakfast, snacks and lunch each day of the program. Given the program will conclude at approx. noon on Wednesday, dinners will be provided Monday - Tuesday.

Lodging Accommodations

Participants can arrange for their own lodging accommodations in the San Antonio area or utilize access to lodging through UIWRSO. We typically house our SOI participants in a hotel near the UIWRSO campus. UIWRSO will pay for the cost of the hotel room for the duration of the program.

Each participant that chooses to utilize lodging accommodations through UIWRSO will:

  • Have access to a double occupancy hotel room
  • Prospective student will be asked to roommate with another prospective student
  • Check-in and check-out for the hotel is typically the Sunday preceding the start of SOI through Wednesday.

Transportation Accommodations

Given UIWRSO includes an extended Cardinal community network of clinical and university facilities across San Antonio, small group transportation is necessary for the successful delivery of this program. All transportation will take place using UIWRSO 12-passenger vans. Each participant will be assigned a van and specific seat for the duration of the program to support health and safety measures. All participants must wear masks at all times while in transport. Transportation will include the following:

  • Transportation to UIWRSO and back to the hotel each day of SOI, Monday - Wednesday
  • Transportation to UIWRSO clinical facilities including the Bowden Eye Care and Health Center and the UIW Broadway Campus for the Sports Vision and Enhancement Service
  • Transportation to off-site events including some dinners

More information on housing and transportation accommodations will be shared once final participants have been selected.

We recognize that COVID-19 significantly impacts how we coordinate and manage SOI. The safety of our Cardinal community and prospective students are of the highest importance. Due to the ongoing pandemic, UIWRSO will continue to monitor local, state and national data to assess needed modifications to the health and safety plan.

We will utilize the following health and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 health risks for an on-campus program:

  • All participants are highly encouraged to complete the COVID-19 vaccine series prior to the start of SOI.
  • All participants must complete a Waiver of Liability provided by the University as part of the enrollment process.
  • All participants will have access to a Medical Resource handout which outlines contact information for 24-hr transportation options and local 24-hr medical facilities.
  • All participants are strongly advised to travel to SOI with personal medical insurance information.
  • If a participant is experiencing active COVID-19 symptoms, the individual should contact SOI program coordinators immediately.
    • Program participation will be suspended until the participant is evaluated by a healthcare provider.
    • To resume program participation, the participant cannot have a fever over 99 degrees and must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
      • If the participant is positive for COVID-19, program participation will be permanently stopped.
  • All participants who are unvaccinated are required to wear masks at all times throughout the duration of the program to include while in UIWRSO transportation.
  • All participants who are vaccinated are required to wear masks during all lab activities, clinical observations and while in UIWRSO transportation.
    • KN95 masks will be provided to each participant upon initial check-in.
  • All facilities, equipment and vehicles will be cleaned daily after use.

SOI General Schedule

SOI participants are advised to arrive in San Antonio on Sunday, July 9. The formal SOI program will begin on Monday, July 10- Wednesday, July 12. The following is an anticipated schedule and is subject to change.

Sunday: SOI Participants arrive in San Antonio.

SOI Day 1:

  • Check-In starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 programming includes Optometry career exploration, UIWRSO facility tour, academic success strategies, admissions overview, personal essay writing workshop, and clinical overviews, and clinical lab activities

SOI Day 2:

  • Check-In starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Day 2 programming includes Preparing for Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), interview tips for success, Bowden facilities tour and Sports Vision tour, and clinical services demos.

SOI Day 3:

  • Check-in starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Day 3 programming includes mock interviews, individual advising and SOI graduation with faculty and staff.
  • SOI program concludes at noon

Feedback From Previous Attendees

  • This program was outstanding and surpassed all my expectations. It greatly increased all my interest in UIWRSO. I'm very grateful.
  • The program exceeded my expectations and was extremely helpful.
  • Great experience, extremely beneficial to students considering optometry as a profession. The mock interviews were a great practice and allowed for feedback on a personal level.
  • This program was very fun and informative, I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for putting it all together.
  • Everything was amazing! I enjoyed auditing the class and shadowing the students in clinic.
  • The program exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by the knowledge, information and exposure that was put into SOI for us. I feel like I belong here! This place feels like home.