NYSOA - SUNY Optometry  

Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence Committee Collaboration

Optometry Shadowing Opportunities in New York State


This program is a collaboration between SUNY Optometry and NYSOA that aims to provide everyone, especially students from socioeconomically disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds with access to shadowing opportunities and experiences in the field of optometry.

Shadow a doctor
Host a Student
Scholarships for Underrepresented Students

Shadowing Student Best Practice

The shadowing process can be quite daunting at first but luckily for you, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks for you to have a useful shadowing experience. 

  1. Know what you want first.  

 Do you like working in hospital settings? Do you find fulfillment in owning a private practice and being your own boss? Will you be happy in research or academia? What opportunities are available in the industry, pharmaceuticals, and/or consulting? Know what you want first so you can tailor your experiences. It is also perfectly normal to have absolutely no idea. If that is the case, consider casting a wide net and exploring a variety of options in multidisciplinary settings. Remember, knowing what you do not like is equally as valuable as knowing what you do.  

  1. Do your research. 

Know the 5 Ws. Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Who are you shadowing? Why are you shadowing them? What mode of practice are they in? Knowing this information helps you align your goals with theirs and can help you write a killer resume that is both tailored and relevant! Think about how you can add value, everywhere you go. 

  1. Know your worth.  

Your time and energy are of immense value to doctors so never go into it thinking you are just there to shadow. Go in with the expectation of being a helping hand. What you get out of this experience is what you give so ask for responsibilities and show them that you are committed to adding value. Like any great relationship, everything is a two-way street. The more value you provide, the more knowledge you will receive from this experience.  

  1.  Develop a game plan. 

Bring a copy of your updated resume and ensure that you personally deliver it to their office. Familiarize yourself with the front desk staff and make your intentions clear from the get-go. Ask to speak to the doctor and if he or she is busy, wait until they come out of the office to introduce yourself. Make sure you let them know what you want, what you can provide them with, and your level of commitment/ availability. It is suggested that you go weekly (for example, 4 hours a week) to maximize your learning! 

  1. Ask Tough Questions.  

Ask. Ask. Ask. They will not know unless you ask. Ask them about everything under the sun about optometry and make sure you come with questions prepared. You are giving your time to them so make sure you are getting the guidance you need in return to launch your career! 

Please note that shadowing attire is business casual. Please dress to impress and look the part!

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