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Resource Guide for Canadian Applicants

SCCO welcomes our neighbors to the north. Canadian students planning to attend grad school in the U.S. have inherently additional considerations when applying.  Learn more about how SCCO helps Canadian students with the application process.

During the Admissions Process

Canadian applicants are evaluated with the same criteria as any other applicant. Please visit our How to Apply page for details. 

Questions About GPAs Conversion & Prerequisite Course Requirements:  U.S. terms such as “semesters,” “quarters,” and “grade points” may be confusing for the Canadian student.  Information comparing Canadian to U.S. grading systems, along with other helpful general answers to FAQs can be found in the Canadian Counseling document.

We have pre-approved coursework, or Articulation Agreements, for several Canadian schools. Click here to access these documents. If you don’t see your school listed and you have a question about a prerequisite course suitability, feel free to email questions along with a course description to and we will be happy to assist.

SCCO accepts courses completed online for prerequisites that do not require a lab. Because of accreditation standards not accepted by SCCO, be advised that not all online programs are not acceptable. Read more about our Online Course Policy

Making the Move to the U.S. After Acceptance

There is indeed planning ahead for the Canadian student transitioning to life and grad school in the U.S. We promise that you will have ample support from SCCO’s administration, faculty, and students—many of whom have gone through this process themselves.

SCCO student, Mariam Alkawally, has written a comprehensive article to help fellow Canadians navigate their moves to the States. This article provides answers to the questions such as “Do I need a U.S. driver’s license?,” “Should I get a U.S. cell phone plan?,” “Do I need U.S. health Insurance?,” and more. This article was written in 2017, and some information may have changed. Be encouraged to use her information as a catalyst for your own research.

While not from Canada, two SCCO students who moved from a long distance share their experiences in two articles that provide support and resources for any matriculating student moving from a distance into the Southern California area:

Support While You’re a Student in SCCO’s Program

SCCO, part of MBKU, is a small community of around 400 optometry students. With around 100 students in your class, you’ll soon get to know everyone as friends and feel like part of the family in no time. While your classmates naturally help make SoCal feel like your home-away-from-home, we also have designated others to help with other specific questions incoming students may have:

  • Peer Advisors Assigned to Every Incoming Student: For personal assistance, the Peer Advisor assigned to you will reach out as early as the spring/summer term that precedes fall matriculation. He or she will help with questions regarding housing, moving, and with most anything else you need. Access the Peer Advisor Blog and read various articles written to help all incoming students transition and get ready to make the most of their time at SCCO.
  • Designated Director of International Student Services: Our Office of Student Affairs has an officer specifically designated to help our International students with their financial needs and concerns unique to Canadian students. If you need to speak with her, arrangements for a phone consultation may be made through Once you’re here as a student, she welcomes you to stop by her office anytime to ask a quick question or just to say hello!
  • Canadian Club: two of our Canadian students and one of our Canadian faculty members are in the process of starting a club on campus. Please check back for more information.
  • Canadian Faculty Mentor: Each incoming student is assigned a faculty mentor to assist with career guidance and general questions about navigating life as an optometry student and on to being a practicing OD. For Canadian students, your Faculty Mentor will be Dr. Dashaini Retnasothie who was a Canadian applicant when she applied to optometry school.
  • Skype with SCCO Admissions: Want to learn more about SCCO and what it has to offer? SCCO’s Office of Admissions would be happy to arrange to present to your pre-optometry club via Skype. Please email your request to