Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry Western University of Health Sciences
College of Optometry

Student Achievement

Class of 2013 Outcomes 

Number of Applicants

390 people applied to enter the inaugural Class of 2013.

Number Matriculated

A total of 78 students matriculated in the fall of 2009.  The Class of 2013 represented 17 different states and included 3 international students (2 from Canada).  The ratio of applicants per matriculate was 5:1.


On May 15, 2013, 73 students participated in our first commencement ceremony. Of the original 78 students admitted, two withdrew and three are on track to graduate with the Class of 2014.  The attrition rate for the class is calculated as 2 students out of 78, or about 2%.  

On-time Completion 

Of the 73 students who participated in commencement, 64 received their diplomas at that time. Reasons for the delay in completing requirements varied and included medical leave, personal leave, and remediation requirements. All nine remaining students have since completed their outstanding requirements and their diplomas have been awarded.  The on-time completion rate is 94%.

Clinical Education

The patient care experience begins in the first semester of the first year, and continues through all four years of the program. On average, each student interacted with approximately 1,116 patients over the four-year curriculum.

Student Leadership

The inaugural Class of 2013 was very active in student leadership and governance activities. 38 members of the class participated in 62 various leadership roles. Several clubs and WesternU chapters of national organizations were started by members of the class.  One member of the class of 2013 served as President of the University-wide Student Government Association.

Research and Scholarly Activity

An appreciation for research and the latest scientific innovations are incorporated throughout the curriculum. In addition, 4 members of this class participated in extra research activities. Their work produced 6 peer-reviewed posters, 1 scientific presentation, and 1 publication.

Licensing Exam Performance

Final results from the national licensure examinations remain incomplete as members of the inaugural class are still in the process of taking examinations and the College has not yet received all of the score reports. As of the time of commencement on May 15, 2013, 80% of the graduates had passed Part I of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) and 85% had passed Part II of the NBEO. By the end of May, 2013, 85% of the graduating class passed Part III of the NBEO. The “Ultimate Pass Rate” is calculated as the proportion of graduates who took and passed all three parts. The Ultimate pass rate was 77%.

The College has recognized that the pass rate on the NBEO did not meet expectations and has implemented a thorough review and analysis of test performance. The review has indicated that while the majority of students passed the examination, test performance is closely correlated with performance in the WesternU Optometry curriculum. Students who have not done well in the curriculum were also likely to have lower NBEO performance. The analysis also demonstrated that there was no particular area of weakness in the test performance based on the content or subject matter. This indicates that the curriculum has all of the required content to ensure support for the required knowledge base.  The College has implemented, and further enhanced, a required core curriculum course to support mastery of the content, along with test taking preparation and study strategies. Students who were not successful in their first attempt at the NBEO receive personalized academic support and counseling. They are also able to utilize support services through the University for test taking skills, study strategies, tutoring and a variety of other services.

Post-graduate Residency Training

12 members of the graduating Class of 2013 applied for, and were selected, to complete optional post-doctoral residency programs.  They will be participating in a variety of programs across the country, including programs with a rehabilitation emphasis, primary care, and disease management.